Ships hit by U-boats


British Motor tanker

Photo courtesy of John Ward-McQuaid

Type:Motor tanker
Tonnage8,939 tons
Completed1930 - Lithgows Ltd, Port Glasgow 
OwnerUnited Molasses Co Ltd, London 
Date of attack14 Sep 1942Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-408 (Reinhard von Hymmen)
Position76° 10'N, 18° 00'E - Grid AB 35
Complement61 (3 dead and 58 survivors).
ConvoyPQ-18 (straggler)
RouteTyne - Loch Ewe - Hvalfjodur, Iceland - Archangel 
Cargo9400 tons of Admiralty fuel oil 
History Completed in June 1930. On 14 Dec 1939, the Atheltemplar in convoy FN-53 was damaged by a mine laid by German destroyers two days earlier 11 miles off the Tyne Estuary. Two crew members were lost. The tanker was assisted by the destroyer HMS Mohawk (F 31) (Cdr J.W.M. Eaton, RN) and taken in tow by the tugs Joffre and Langton, arriving in the Tyne the next day where she was repaired and returned to service in April 1940. On 1 Mar 1941, the Atheltemplar (Master Arthur Hill Coates Waterson) in convoy EN-79 was bombed and damaged by a German He111 aircraft in 57°04N/01°50W. The master and ten crew members were lost. The tanker caught fire and burned out, but was taken in tow by HMS Eridge (L 68) (LtCdr W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN) and HMS Speedwell (J 87) (LtCdr J.J. Youngs, RNR), arriving in Methil on 3 March. She was repaired in North Shields and returned to service in June 1941. 
Notes on event

At 04.00 hours on 14 Sep 1942, U-457 (Brandenburg) attacked convoy PQ-18 southwest of Bear Island and reported one tanker and one other ship sunk and two hits on a Javelin-class destroyer. In fact, only the Atheltemplar (Master Carl Ray) was hit and the crew immediately abandoned the burning tanker. The minesweeper HMS Harrier (J 71) (Cdr A.D.H. Jay DSC, RN) attempted to scuttle the vessel by gunfire but failed and the tanker was left behind, last seen burning furiously but still afloat. The master, 42 crew members and 18 gunners were picked up by the British rescue ship Copeland (Master William Joseph Hartley, DSC) and the British destroyer HMS Offa (G 29) (LtCdr R.A. Ewing, RN) and transferred to the British minesweepers HMS Harrier and HMS Sharpshooter (J 68) (LtCdr W.L. O´Mara, RN). Later they were transferred to the British cruiser HMS Scylla (98) (Capt I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, RN) and landed at Scapa Flow. Three crew members later died from their injuries. The master of the rescue ship, W.J. Hartley, was awarded the Lloyd´s War Medal for bravery at sea.

At 14.30 hours on 14 September, U-408 came across the capsized wreck of the Atheltemplar and sank her with a few shots from the 88mm gun.

On boardWe have details of 6 people who were on board

Attack entries for Atheltemplar

DateU-boatCommanderLoss typeTonsNat.
14 Sep 1942U-408Kptlt. Reinhard von HymmenSunk8,939  
14 Sep 1942U-457KrvKpt. Karl BrandenburgDamaged8,939  

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