American Steam merchant
|Completed||1920 - Merchant Shipbuilding Corp, Harriman PA|
|Owner||Pope & Talbot Inc, San Francisco CA|
|Date of attack||5 Feb 1943||Nationality: American|
|Fate||Sunk by U-413 (Gustav Poel)|
|Position||53° 00'N, 33° 00'W - Grid AK 8134|
|Complement||77 (77 dead - no survivors)|
|Route||New York - Halifax - Liverpool|
|Cargo||6000 tons of general cargo, army stores and mail|
|History||Completed in November 1920 as Emergency Aid for US Shipping Board (USSB), later laid up as part of the reserve fleet. 1939 renamed West Portal for Pope & Talbot Inc, San Francisco CA. |
|Notes on event|
At 14.05 hours on 5 Feb 1943 the West Portal (Master Oswald Joseph Griffin), a straggler from convoy SC-118, was hit forward of the bridge by one torpedo from U-413 and immediately took a list. The U-boat had fired a spread of four torpedoes from a distance of over 3500 yards at the zigzagging ship and hit her with the third torpedo. She was missed by a first coup de grâce, but sank after a second hit in the stern at 15.21 hours. The Germans observed how some of the eight officers, 32 crewmen, 25 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, one 3in and eight 20mm guns) and twelve passengers abandoned ship in lifeboats, but they were never seen again. HMS Vanessa (D 29) (Lt C.E. Sheen, RN) received a distress signal from the ship and left convoy to search for survivors, but no position had been reported so search proved to be fruitless.
|On board||We have details of 65 people who were on board.|
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