Ships hit by U-boats


Dutch Steam merchant

Photo courtesy of Maritiem Museum, Rotterdam

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage5,158 tons
Completed1923 - Blohm & Voss, Hamburg 
OwnerKoninklijke Rotterdamsche Lloyd NV (W. Ruys & Zonen), Rotterdam 
Date of attack17 Mar 1943Nationality:      Dutch
FateSunk by U-631 (Jürgen Krueger)
Position51° 45'N, 31° 15'W - Grid AK 8878
Complement97 (36 dead and 61 survivors).
RouteWallaroo - Cristobal - New York - Belfast Lough - Swansea 
CargoZinc, wheat and mail 
History Completed in February 1923 as German Essen for Deutsch-Australische DG, Hamburg. 1926 taken over by Hamburg-Amerika Linie (HAPAG), Hamburg. On 10 May 1940, the ship was seized at Sourabaya by the Netherlands and renamed Terkoelei
Notes on event

At 14.05 hours on 17 March 1943, U-384 (Rosenberg-Gruszcynski) fired three torpedoes at convoy HX-229 northeast of St. John’s, heard three detonations and claimed two ships sunk and another as damaged. At the same time U-631 reported the sinking of a tanker with one torpedo. It is unlikely that the Coracero in station #92 and the Terkoelei were hit by the same U-boat, apparently U-384 sank the first ship and U-631 the latter.

The Terkoelei had been in station #104, but in the morning on 17 March took over the station #91 as leading ship of the starboard column. At 14.06 hours, U-631 attacked convoy, heard a hit after 1 minute 18 seconds and then sinking noises. The crew, consisting of Dutch men, Lascars and British gunners, abandoned ship in four lifeboats but many Lascars were so shocked that two boats failed to clear the capsizing ship and were hit by the mainmast and the funnel, drowning many occupants. The survivors were picked up by HMS Mansfield (G 76) (LtCdr L.C. Hill, OBE, RNR) and landed at Gourock.

On boardWe have details of 97 people who were on board

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