Ships hit by U-boats

Baron Ogilvy

British Steam merchant

Photo Courtesy of Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart

NameBaron Ogilvy
Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage3,391 tons
Completed1926 - Ayrshire Dockyard Co Ltd, Irvine 
OwnerH. Hogarth & Sons Ltd, Glasgow 
Date of attack29 Sep 1942Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-125 (Ulrich Folkers)
Position2° 30'N, 14° 30'W - Grid ET 8994
Complement40 (8 dead and 32 survivors).
RouteRio de Janeiro (18 Sep) - Freetown - UK 
Cargo5150 tons of iron ore 
History Completed in August 1926 
Notes on event

At 12.55 hours on 29 Sep 1942 the unescorted Baron Ogilvy (Master John Steven) was hit on the starboard side in #5 and #4 holds by two torpedoes from U-125 southwest of Cape Palmas, Liberia. The explosions blew the hatch covers, parts of the cargo and debris high into the air, fell the main mast and severed the aerial, preventing the sending of a distress signal. The crew of 33 men and seven gunners (the ship was armed with one 4in, one 12pdr and five machine guns) had difficulties to abandon ship as both lifeboats were damaged and both rafts aft had been destroyed. The starboard boat swamped on launch, but was nevertheless used to pick up survivors swimming in the water or clinging to debris or rafts. Its radio set was unusable as it had been disabled by flooding and the boat was subsequently lost. The ship quickly settled aft, remained at an angle of 60° until #3 bulkhead gave way and then sank by the stern about eight minutes after the torpedo hits. Four crew members and four gunners were lost. The U-boat surfaced, took photos, picked up the name board of the vessel and questioned the survivors, who told them that the master and chief engineer were lost. The Germans did not believe this but soon left the area without taking prisoners.

The master, 28 crew members and three gunners spent rest of the day patching up the holes in the port lifeboat, salvaging equipment and provisions from the water-logged starboard boat and rafts and then set sail in the crowded port boat for Freetown. On 1 October, they sighted a small convoy and unsuccessfully tried to attract attention by flare signals, the chief officer sustaining severe burns when one of them inadvertently ignited in his hand. On 5 October, the survivors and their lifeboat were picked up by the Portuguese steam passenger ship Mouzinho in 05°40N/11°22W and landed at Capetown on 21 October.

On boardWe have details of 17 people who were on board

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