Ships hit by U-boats


American Steam merchant

Photo from City of Vancouver Archives, CVA 447-1990

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage5,345 tons
Completed1920 - Los Angeles Shipbuilding & Drydock Corp, San Pedro CA 
OwnerWaterman Steamship Co, Mobile AL 
Date of attack22 Sep 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-435 (Siegfried Strelow)
Position71° 23'N, 11° 03'W - Grid AA 9286
Complement75 (0 dead and 75 survivors).
RouteArchangel - New York 
Cargo6100 tons of mineral ore and skins 
History Completed in February 1920 as West Himrod for US Shipping Board (USSB). 1928 renamed Bellingham for Tacoma-Oriental SS Co, Tacoma WA. 1937 sold to Waterman Steamship Co, Mobile AL.

On 7 Jul 1942, the Bellingham in convoy PQ-17 was hit by a dud aircraft torpedo. The next day the armed guards claimed that they shot down a German Fw200 aircraft, but this is not confirmed by German sources. She arrived safely in Archangel and waited there two months for cargo and the opportunity to return in the convoy QP-14
Notes on event

Between 07.18 and 07.19 hours on 22 Sep 1942, U-435 fired five single torpedoes at convoy QP-14 west of Jan Mayen Island and reported five hits on three ships. The ships hit were Bellingham, Ocean Voice and Grey Ranger.

The Bellingham (Master Soren Mortensen) was in station on the starboard wing, in the first line of convoy, when she was hit by a torpedo at the #4 hold on the starboard side. The engines were secured and all eight officers, 31 crewmen, ten armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, four .50cal and two .30cal guns) and 26 passengers (survivors from the American merchants Pan Kraft and Pan Atlantic, which were both sunk by German Ju88 aircraft of KG 30 in convoy PQ-17) abandoned ship in three lifeboats and one raft. Finally the ship sank after one hour about 45 miles west of Jan Mayen Island. 26 survivors were picked up by the British rescue ship Rathlin (Master August Banning, DSO) and the remaining men by various escort ships. All landed at Gourock, Scotland on 26 September, then boarded the British passenger liner Queen Mary to USA.

On boardWe have details of 3 people who were on board

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