Ships hit by U-boats

Empire Gilbert

British Steam merchant

Photo courtesy of Douglas Meadows

NameEmpire Gilbert
Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage6,640 tons
Completed1941 - Bartram & Sons Ltd, South Dock, Sunderland 
OwnerTurner, Brightman & Co, London 
Date of attack2 Nov 1942Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-586 (Dietrich von der Esch)
Position70° 15'N, 13° 50'W - Grid AA 9468
Complement67 (64 dead and 3 survivors).
RouteTyne - Loch Ewe - Reykjavik - Archangel 
CargoWar material, including tanks and aircraft 
History Completed in September 1941 for Ministry of War Transport (MoWT). 
Notes on event

At 01.18 hours on 2 Nov 1942 the unescorted Empire Gilbert (Master William Williams) was hit on the port side by two torpedoes from U-586 and sank within 2 minutes southwest of Jan Mayen. The U-boat had chased the ship for about two hours and missed with a first spread of two torpedoes at 00.17 hours. The Germans arrived at the sinking position after 30 minutes and rescued two men (deck boy Ralph Urwin and gunner Arthur Hopkins) sitting on a beam in the ice cold water, who were already unable to move and had to be lifted aboard. Von der Esch then tried to question six survivors on a raft but received no answer, so he took another man as prisoner aboard, the gunner Douglas Meadows. They took care of the survivors and landed them at Skjomenfjord, Norway on 5 November. The master, 46 crew members and 17 gunners (the ship was armed with one 4.7in, one 40mm, four 20mm and eight Twin Marlin machine guns) were lost.

On boardWe have details of 66 people who were on board

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