Ships hit by U-boats

Irénée Du Pont

American Steam merchant

Photo courtesy of the Mariners Museum, Newport News VA

NameIrénée Du Pont
Type:Steam merchant (C-2 type)
Tonnage6,125 tons
Completed1941 - Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co, Newport News VA 
OwnerInternational Freighting Co Inc, New York 
Date of attack17 Mar 1943Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-91 (Heinz Walkerling)
Position50° 38'N, 34° 46'W - Grid BD 1334
Complement84 (14 dead and 70 survivors).
ConvoyHX-229 (straggler)
RouteNew York (8 Mar) - Liverpool 
Cargo5800 tons of general cargo, 3200 tons of oil and 11 medium bombers as deck cargo 
History Completed in August 1941 
Notes on event

At 05.56 hours on 17 March 1943, U-600 (Zurmühlen) fired a spread of four FAT torpedoes at convoy HX-229 in 50°36N/34°30W and observed a hit amidships on the Nariva in station #91 and two on the Irénée Du Pont in station #81. A further detonation was heard, this was the hit on the Southern Princess in station #72, which caught fire and sank during the morning. At 05.58 hours, the stern torpedo was fired and was seen to hit another freighter amidships, which sank after 10 minutes, but this can not be confirmed from Allied sources. At 08.39 hours the same day, U-91 fired a spread of three torpedoes at some ships behind convoy in 50°38N/34°46W and noted two hits, one on a moving freighter and the other on a burning ship. These hits finished off Nariva and Irénée Du Pont and their sinking in 51°05N/33°55W was observed by U-91 in the afternoon and reported at 16.08 hours by a radio message.

The Irénée Du Pont (Master Christian Boel Simonsen) was struck by two torpedoes on the starboard side at holds #2 and #3. The explosions knocked out the generators, flooded both holds and also flooded slowly the engine room and hold #1. The ten officers, 39 crewmen, 26 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 5in, one 3in and eight 20mm guns) and nine passengers (naval personnel) abandoned ship 45 minutes after the hits in two lifeboats and three rafts. Some of the men jumped overboard because a third lifeboat fouled a cargo net and other rafts could not be launched. Six armed guards, six crewmen and one passenger drowned. The British steam merchant Tekoa in station #84 stopped, picked up 55 survivors and later landed them in Liverpool. HMS Mansfield (G 76) (LtCdr L.C. Hill, OBE, RNR) rescued 16 others, of which one later died from shock and was buried at sea. HMS Anemone (K 48) (LtCdr P.G.A. King, RNR) tried to sink the ship with 4in gunfire and a depth charge, but the ship remained afloat and was later finished off by U-91.

The master of the Irénée Du Pont asked to leave convoy since his ship could steam at 16 knots, but this permission was denied.

On boardWe have details of 57 people who were on board

Attack entries for Irénée Du Pont

DateU-boatCommanderLoss typeTonsNat.
17 Mar 1943U-600Kptlt. Bernhard ZurmühlenDamaged6,125  
17 Mar 1943U-91Kptlt. Heinz WalkerlingSunk6,125  

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