Ships hit by U-boats

Arthur Middleton

American Steam merchant

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NameArthur Middleton
Type:Steam merchant (Liberty)
Tonnage7,176 tons
Completed1942 - Alabama Dry Dock & Shipbuilding Co, Mobile AL 
OwnerLykes Bros SS Co Inc, New Orleans LA 
Date of attack1 Jan 1943Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-73 (Horst Deckert)
Position35° 45'N, 0° 45'W - Grid CH 8432
Complement81 (78 dead and 3 survivors).
RouteNew York (12 Dec) - Oran, Algeria 
Cargo6412 tons of general cargo, including munition and explosives and a landing craft as deck cargo 
History Completed in July 1942 
Notes on event

On 1 Jan 1943, eleven ships from UGS-3, including the Arthur Middleton (Master John V. Smith) from station #21, broke away from convoy near Casablanca to proceed for their destination port Oran and began to form a single line to enter the harbor. At 14.28 hours, before the line was formed, the Arthur Middleton was hit by two torpedoes from U-73 at the bow. Deckert saw the target explode after 17 seconds. The torpedoes had ignited portions of the cargo and sent water, hull plates, parts of the ship and flames 1000 feet into the air. The Liberty ship disintegrated from the #5 hatch to the bow, only the after part of the ship remained afloat for less than one minute three miles off Oran. Only three armed guards survived of the eight officers, 34 men, 27 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in and nine 20mm guns) and 12 passengers (one US Army security officer and 11 crewmen from USS LCT-21). These three men jumped overboard from the stern gun platform and were picked up by HMS Boreas (H 77) (LtCdr E.L. Jones, DSC, RN) 25 minutes later and were transferred to the British hospital ship HMHS Oxfordshire.

On boardWe have details of 81 people who were on board

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