Ships hit by U-boats


British Steam merchant

Photo courtesy of State Library of New South Wales

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage8,581 tons
Completed1919 - Palmers Shipbuilding & Iron Co Ltd, Jarrow 
OwnerFederal Steam Navigation Co Ltd, London 
Date of attack10 Jun 1942Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-68 (Karl-Friedrich Merten)
Position12° 45'N, 80° 20'W - Grid EB 8294
Complement67 (12 dead and 55 survivors).
RouteNew York - Hampton Roads (29 May) - Panama - Sydney NSW 
Cargo9180 tons of general cargo, including 2600 tons of ammunition, tanks, guns and machinery 
History Completed in July 1919 
Notes on event

At 05.20 hours on 10 June 1942, U-68 spotted two steamers in a line northeast of the Panama Canal and fired at 06.17 hours a spread of three torpedoes at the first ship, scoring two hits on Surrey which stopped but did not sink. At 06.20 hours, a torpedo was fired at the second ship, the Ardenvohr, which sank within 8 minutes after being hit. The Germans then questioned the survivors from both ships and fired at 07.04 hours a first coup de grĂ¢ce at Surrey that was a dud, but a second torpedo at 07.22 hours hit aft and caused the ship to sink by the stern. Shortly afterwards a crew member from Surrey was spotted alone, clinging to a buoy and was taken aboard U-68, but about 20 minutes after the ship sank a heavy underwater detonation lifted the U-boat up and caused temporary damage to the rudders, a battery, the periscope and the torpedo firing control. The very grateful man was then placed aboard a lifeboat from Ardenvohr before the Germans left the area for repairs and to reload the torpedo tubes.

Ten crew members and two gunners from Surrey (Master Frederick Lougheed) were lost. The master and 34 survivors were picked up by Resolute and transferred to USS Edison (DD 439) (Cdr W.R. Headden, USN), 20 survivors by Flora and the Panamanian steam merchant Potomac and landed at Colon and Cristobal.

On boardWe have details of 13 people who were on board

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