Ships hit by U-boats


British Motor passenger ship

Photo courtesy of the Allen Collection

Type:Motor passenger ship
Tonnage11,330 tons
Completed1935 - Cammell Laird & Co Ltd, Birkenhead 
OwnerElder Dempster Lines Ltd, Liverpool 
Date of attack29 Oct 1942Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-575 (Günther Heydemann)
Position48° 30'N, 28° 50'W - Grid BD 3761
Complement393 (362 dead and 31 survivors).
RouteCapetown (10 Oct) - Liverpool 
Cargo3000 tons of wool and bags of mail 
History Completed in September 1935 
Notes on event

At 22.13 hours on 29 Oct 1942, U-575 fired four torpedoes at the unescorted Abosso (Master Reginald William Tate) about 700 miles northwest of the Azores, but only one of them hit. At 22.28 hours, a coup de grâce struck the ship, causing her to sink at 23.05 hours. The master, 150 crew members, 18 gunners and 193 passengers were lost.
Twelve crew members, two gunners and 17 passengers were picked up on 2 November by HMS Bideford (L 43) (LtCdr W.J. Moore, RNR), which was escorting convoy KMS-2 and landed at Londonderry.

Among the passengers was a Dutch submarine crew (34 men from the submarines HNMS K-IX, HNMS K-X and HNMS K-XII) on their way to England to man the Dutch submarine Haai (the former HMS Varne (P 66), still under construction). Their commander, LtCdr H.C.J. Coumou, protests after he learned that the speed of the ship was only 14.5 knots and that she will make the journey unescorted. His protests were disregarded.
Only four submariners (including LtCdr Coumou) survived the sinking and the Dutch Navy was unable to replace the crew. The submarine was handed over to the Norwegian Navy as HNoMS Ula (P 66) (which sank U-974 on 19 April 1944).

On boardWe have details of 311 people who were on board

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