Ships hit by U-boats

James Russell Lowell

American Steam merchant

NameJames Russell Lowell
Type:Steam merchant (Liberty)
Tonnage7,176 tons
Completed1942 - Oregon Shipbuilding Co, Portland OR 
OwnerMcCormick SS Co, San Francisco CA 
Date of attack15 Oct 1943Nationality:      American
FateA total loss by U-371 (Waldemar Mehl)
Position37° 22'N, 7° 08'E - Grid CJ 7729
Complement74 (0 dead and 74 survivors).
RouteBizerte, Tunisia (14 Oct) - Hampton Roads, Virginia 
Cargo1200 tons of sand and gravel ballast 
History Completed May 1942 
Notes on event

At 12.39 hours on 15 Oct 1943, U-371 fired a spread of four torpedoes at convoy GUS-18 off Cape de Fer, Algeria and heard three hits. Mehl reported one ship sunk and another probably damaged. In fact, the James Russell Lowell (Master Richard Newton Forman Jr.) in station #85 was hit by three torpedoes. The first struck on the rudder, carrying it and the rudder post away. The second struck on the port side at the #3 hold and blew off the hatch cover, created cracks in the hull on both sides and flooded the hold and engine room. The third torpedo struck at the #1 hold, blew the hatch cover off and flooded the hold.
The engines were secured immediately and the eight officers, 38 crewmen and 28 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, one 3in and eight 20mm guns) abandoned ship in four lifeboats, which stayed near the ship. About one hour later, the British armed whaler HMS Southern Sea (FY 326) appeared and took the master on board for a conference. 30 minutes later the merchant crew went back on board and the whaler took the ship in tow.
During the night the wind freshened to force five and the ship´s port list increased to 22°, forcing the crew, except the master and two mates, to abandon ship again at about 22.00 hours. All hands were picked up by the whaler and taken to Colla, Algeria. Later a British naval tug towed the vessel to Colla, where she was beached in 37°18´15N/07°10´30E on 16 October. A survey showed that the keel was damaged beyond repair, although the engines were in good conditions and the vessel was declared a total loss.

On boardWe have details of 1 people who were on board

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