Ships hit by U-boats


British Motor merchant

Photo Courtesy of Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart

Type:Motor merchant
Tonnage5,296 tons
Completed1940 - Lithgows Ltd, Port Glasgow 
OwnerThe Hain Steamship Co Ltd, London 
HomeportSt. Ives 
Date of attack12 Sep 1942Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-68 (Karl-Friedrich Merten)
Position4° 30'S, 7° 50'W - Grid FF 8588
Complement43 (0 dead and 43 survivors).
ConvoyOS-38 (dispersed)
RouteMiddlesbrough - Oban (20 Aug) - Capetown - Beira 
Cargo6000 tons of general and military cargo 
History Completed in August 1940 
Notes on event

At 03.32 hours on 12 September 1942 the unescorted Trevilley (Master Richard Harvey), dispersed from convoy OS-38, was hit amidships by one torpedo from U-68 east-northeast of Ascension Island. The master, 32 crew members, eight gunners and two passengers abandoned ship in three lifeboats after the ship stopped. The Germans questioned the survivors and took the master and the chief engineer officer as prisoners aboard. The U-boat then fired seven shots from the 37mm AA gun into the superstructure because lifeboats were seen to approach the ship again and then opened fire with the deck gun, firing 50 high explosive and 36 incendiary rounds until the ship sank at 08.21 hours. Afterwards, the U-boat recovered 66 tubes for aircraft tires from the debris floating around at the sinking position. On 22 September, the prisoners were transferred to U-459 (von Wilamowitz-Moellendorf), landed at St. Nazaire on 4 November and taken to the POW camp Marlag und Milag Nord.

The 13 crew members and one passenger in the lifeboat in charge of the second officer were picked up by Annamite, which was searching for survivors from Laconia, in position 02°07S/07°06W on 17 September, landed at Dakar seven days later and interned by the Vichy French authorities in Sebikotane, Senegal. They were released at the end of the year, but two men had died during internment. The eleven crew members and four gunners in the boat of the chief officer were picked up by the Portuguese steam merchant Cubango in position 01°40N/06°42W on 20 September and taken to Lisbon, arriving on 5 October. The third lifeboat with nine crew members, four gunners and one passenger reached the Ivory Coast, but the third officer decided to proceed towards Takoradi to avoid internment and on 25 September eventually made landfall near Half Assini, Gold Coast. However, two crew members had jumped overboard and swam ashore to be interned by the Vichy French authorities at Abidjan.

On boardWe have details of 35 people who were on board

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