Ships hit by U-boats


British Steam merchant

Photo courtesy of Allan C. Green Collection

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage7,418 tons
Completed1914 - Workman, Clark & Co Ltd, Belfast 
OwnerAlfred Holt & Co, Liverpool 
Date of attack17 Feb 1940Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-37 (Werner Hartmann)
Position44° 02'N, 10° 18'W - Grid BF 7542
Complement86 (8 dead and 78 survivors).
ConvoyOG-18 (straggler)
RouteGlasgow - Liverpool (12 Feb) - Gibraltar - Manila 
Cargo4000 tons of general cargo, including whisky, golf clubs and embroidery 
History Completed in November 1914 
Notes on event

At 15.53 hours on 17 Feb 1940 the Pyrrhus (Master William Thomas Spencer), a straggler from station #51 in convoy OG-18, was hit on the starboard side at #5 hatch by one torpedo from U-37 about 84 miles north-northwest of Cape Finisterre. She was the ship of the vice-commodore Vice-Admiral Alfred E. Evans, CB, OBE, RN and was about to rejoin convoy after having spent all day rounding up ships from convoy that had lost touch during a gale the previous night. The explosion broke the ship in two, causing the after part of about 160 feet to sink immediately. Eight Chinese crew members were lost. The master, 72 crew members (the ship was armed with one 4in and one 12pdr gun), the vice-commodore and his staff of four naval ratings abandoned ship in three boats in heavy sea and swell about 20 minutes after the hit. Three stragglers were following the ship and two of them, the British steam merchants Uskside and Sinnington Court stopped despite the danger of being torpedoed themselves, picked up the survivors and landed them at Gibraltar. The wreck of Pyrrhus was left adrift and eventually foundered two days later.

On boardWe have details of 13 people who were on board

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