Ships hit by U-boats

Benjamin Brewster

American Steam tanker

NameBenjamin Brewster
Type:Steam tanker
Tonnage5,950 tons
Completed1917 - Harlan & Hollingsworth Corp, Wilmington DE 
OwnerStandard Oil Co of New Jersey, New York 
Date of attack10 Jul 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-67 (Günther Müller-Stöckheim)
Position29° 05'N, 90° 05'W - Grid DA 9252
Complement40 (25 dead and 15 survivors).
RouteBaytown, Texas (8 Jul) - Tampa, Florida 
Cargo70578 barrels of aviation gas and lubricating oil 
Notes on event

At 06.19 hours on 10 July 1942 the Benjamin Brewster (Master Peter George J. Hammel) was hit by two torpedoes from U-67 on the port side about ten seconds apart, while lying at anchor for the night off the coast of Louisiana 60 miles west of Southwest Pass close into shore in about six fathoms of water. One struck at the bridge and the other aft, causing the tanker to immediately burst into flames from bridge forward. Burning oil and gasoline covered the surface of the water for some distance around the vessel. Because the wind kept the flames forward some of the eight officers, 27 men and five armed guards (the ship was armed with one 5in and two .30cal guns) were able to leave the ship from the stern with one partially burned lifeboat as the tanker rapidly sank within three minutes. Six officers, 18 crewmen and one armed guard died, most of them from burns. Three hours later eight crewmen and three armed guards in the lifeboat made landfall at Grand Isle, Louisiana. A fishing boat spotted their campfire, picked them up and transferred them to a Coast Guard vessel, which took them to Burrwood, Louisiana and thence to the Marine Hospital at New Orleans. Three crewmen and one armed guard were picked up by a Coast Guard vessel and also taken to Burrwood.

The Benjamin Brewster laid in 37 feet of water and burned for nine days until the cargo was consumed. The structure above the water was reduced to a molten mass of metal by the intense heat and the tanker was a total loss. The wreck was salved in September 1951 and was broken up.

On boardWe have details of 40 people who were on board

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