Ships hit by U-boats

Empire Whale

British Steam merchant

Photo Courtesy of Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart

NameEmpire Whale
Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage6,159 tons
Completed1919 - Federal Shipbuilding Co, Kearny NJ 
OwnerDonaldson Brothers Ltd, Glasgow 
Date of attack29 Mar 1943Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-662 (Heinz-Eberhard Müller)
Position46° 44'N, 16° 38'W - Grid BE 5635
Complement57 (47 dead and 10 survivors).
RoutePepel - Freetown (12 Mar) - Methil - Tyne 
Cargo7870 tons of iron ore 
History Completed in September 1919 as Winona County for US Shipping Board (USSB). 1937 laid up as reserve. 1941 transferred to Britain and renamed Empire Whale for Ministry of War Transport (MoWT). 
Notes on event

At 22.50 hours on 29 March 1943, U-662 fired a spread of four FAT torpedoes and one G7e torpedo at convoy SL-126 about 425 miles northwest of Cape Finisterre. Two hits on a first ship were heard, one hit on a second and the last torpedo was considered to be a hit on a third ship. The U-boat had sunk Empire Whale and Umaria and damaged Ocean Viceroy, but the order in which the ships were hit is unclear.

The master, 41 crew members, four gunners and one passenger from the Empire Whale (Master James Thompson Davitt) were lost. Seven crew members, one gunner and two passengers (RAF personnel) were picked up by HMS Spey (K 246) (Cdr H.G. Boys-Smith, DSO and Bar, RNR) and landed at Londonderry.

On boardWe have details of 47 people who were on board

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