Ships hit by U-boats

Minister Wedel

Norwegian Motor tanker

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NameMinister Wedel
Type:Motor tanker
Tonnage6,833 tons
Completed1930 - William Doxford & Sons Ltd, Sunderland 
OwnerKarl Bruusgaard, Drammen 
Date of attack9 Jan 1943Nationality:      Norwegian
FateSunk by U-522 (Herbert Schneider)
Position28° 08'N, 28° 20'W - Grid DG 8636
Complement38 (0 dead and 38 survivors).
RoutePort of Spain, Trinidad (28 Dec) - Gibraltar 
Cargo8920 tons of Admiralty furnace oil 

In Admiralty service as Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) since 1940.

On 9 Aug 1942, the Minister Wedel reported seeing an U-boat four miles away when in 08°52N/52°30W and was subsequently followed for an hour and a half, then saw a periscope two cable lengths off the port quarters. The course was changed and the after gun fired, no attack was observed. 

Notes on event

At 06.19 hours on 9 Jan 1943, U-522 fired three torpedoes at convoy TM-1 and reported three hits, which were also observed by U-575 (Heydemann) and claimed three tankers sunk. It is probable that two torpedoes hit the Minister Wedel, which started to burn fiercely and the other the Norvik. The HMS Havelock (H 88) unsuccessfully tried to scuttle both badly damaged ships by gunfire.

In the afternoon, U-522 reported the sinking of three damaged tankers in grid DG 9510 at 15.15 hours, 16.50 hours and 17.30 hours by coups de grâce. But again, the U-boat probably attacked one of the tankers twice, so only Norvik and Minister Wedel were finished off.

The Minister Wedel (Master Wilh. J. Wilhelmsen) was hit on the starboard side in the foreship and was abandoned by all 33 crew members and five gunners. The HMS Havelock (H 88) (Cdr Richard C. Boyle DSC) picked up the survivors and went alongside, allowing the master and four others to reboard the vessel to see if she could be saved, but nothing could be done. Two days later the master returned on another escort vessel, but the tanker had been sunk in the meantime.

On boardWe have details of 37 people who were on board

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