Ships hit by U-boats

Flora MacDonald

American Steam merchant

NameFlora MacDonald
Type:Steam merchant (Liberty)
Tonnage7,177 tons
Completed1943 - North Carolina Shipbuilding Co, Wilmington NC 
OwnerCalmar SS Co Inc, New York 
Date of attack30 May 1943Nationality:      American
FateA total loss by U-126 (Siegfried Kietz)
Position7° 15'N, 13° 20'W - Grid ET 6243
Complement70 (7 dead and 63 survivors).
RouteMarshall, Liberia (29 May) - Freetown 
Cargo6270 tons of cocoa, mahogany and rubber 
History Completed February 1943 
Notes on event

At 21.57 hours on 30 May 1943 the Flora MacDonald (Master Ernest Wright Jones), escorted by HMS Fandango (T 107), was hit by one torpedo from U-126. The torpedo struck on the port side in the engine room, killing the third assistant engineer and a fireman. The explosion opened a large hole that immediately flooded the engine room, stopped the engines and caused the ship to settle by the stern. A fire started in the #3 hold and flames, shooting 40 feet in the air, quickly trapped some of the men in their quarters. The surviving crewmembers of the eight officers, 36 men, 24 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 5in and nine 20mm guns) and two passengers abandoned ship in six lifeboats and two rafts. Five of these men suffered severe burns. The fire raged out of control and spread to the #2 and #4 holds and the entire midships house. The armed trawler picked up the survivors and decided to head to Freetown, so the badly burned men could be treated. Three of them died on board and the other two died in the hospital in Freetown from their burns. 20 men were hospitalized.

At 14.30 hours the next day, HMS Zwarte Zee (W 163), escorted by HMS Milford (L 51), HMS Woodruff (K 53) and HMS Tamarisk (K 216), took the still burning vessel in tow for Freetown at 5.5 knots. At 18.00 hours on 1 June, they beached the ship in Freetown Harbor where the cargo of rubber was salvaged. The Liberty ship burned for 16 days and was later declared a total loss.

On boardWe have details of 11 people who were on board

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