Ships hit by U-boats

Julia Ward Howe

American Steam merchant

NameJulia Ward Howe
Type:Steam merchant (Liberty)
Tonnage7,176 tons
Completed1942 - New England Shipbuilding Corp, Portland ME 
OwnerAmerican-West African Line Inc, New York 
Date of attack27 Jan 1943Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-442 (Hans-Joachim Hesse)
Position35° 29'N, 29° 10'W - Grid CE 8763
Complement74 (4 dead and 70 survivors).
ConvoyUGS-4 (straggler)
RouteNew York - Oran, Algeria 
Cargo8000 tons of war material, incl. 60 tanks, foodstuffs, cigarettes, clothing and 4 railroad tank cars 
History Completed November 1942 
Notes on event

At 18.07 hours on 27 Jan 1943 the Julia Ward Howe (Master Andrew Anthony Hammond) was torpedoed by U-442 about 175 miles south of the Azores. The ship was a straggler from convoy UGS-4 due to heavy weather. One torpedo struck on the starboard side between #3 hold and the deckhouse. The explosion blew off the #3 hatch cover, wrecked two lifeboats and destroyed the radio equipment. The ship immediately took a 15° list but flooded slowly afterwards and gradually righted herself on an even keel. Three shots from the after 5in gun (the ship was also armed with one 3in and eight 20mm guns) were fired in the direction of the U-boat. The eight officers, 36 crewmen, 29 armed guards and one passenger (US Army security officer) abandoned ship in two lifeboats and two rafts. The master, one armed guard and the passenger were lost. 40 minutes after the attack, a coup de grâce struck amidships and broke the ship in two. The U-boat then surfaced and questioned the crew, taking the second mate on board for closer examination. Then the mate was released and the U-boat left.

The rafts were secured to the lifeboats and they set sail for the Azores. After 15 hours, the survivors were picked up by the Portuguese destroyer Lima about 330 miles southwest of the Azores and landed at Ponta Delgada, but the chief engineer died of wounds on the rescue ship.

On boardWe have details of 4 people who were on board

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