Ships hit by U-boats

West Chetac

American Steam merchant

Photo Courtesy of Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart

NameWest Chetac
Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage5,627 tons
Completed1919 - South Western Shipbuilding Co, San Pedro CA 
OwnerSeas Shipping Co Inc, New York 
HomeportNew York 
Date of attack24 Sep 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-175 (Heinrich Bruns)
Position8° 45'N, 57° 00'W - Grid EO 1396
Complement50 (31 dead and 19 survivors).
ConvoyTRIN-14 (dispersed)
RouteNorfolk, Virginia - Trinidad - Aruba - Table Bay - Basra, Iraq 
Cargo6097 tons of general war supplies 
History Built for US Maritime Commission, Washington DC, later laid up as part of the reserve fleet. 
Notes on event

At 09.24 hours on 24 Sep 1942 the West Chetac (Master Frank Matthew Jasper), dispersed about seven hours earlier from convoy TRIN-14, was hit on the port side at #2 hold by one torpedo from U-175 about 100 miles north of Georgetown, British Guiana. The U-boat reported that the ship had an aircraft escort for some time, was zigzagging at various speeds and missed by a spread of three torpedoes at 06.45 hours. The explosion blew off the hatch covers and beams and caused the ship to sink by the bow within two minutes. The nine officers, 30 crewmen and eleven armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, four 20mm and two .30cal guns) tried to abandon ship in four lifeboats but rough seas and the suction of the sinking ship capsized all boats, drowning many men. Three officers, 14 crewmen and two armed guards rescued themselves on three rafts and were questioned by the Germans. The survivors were picked up on 1 October by USS Roe (DD 418) about 20 miles off Trinidad and landed at Port of Spain, where six crewmen and the armed guards were hospitalized.

On boardWe have details of 33 people who were on board

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