Ships hit by U-boats


American Steam merchant

We don't have a picture of this vessel at this time.

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage3,478 tons
Completed1919 - Hanlon Dry Dock & Shipbuilding Co, Oakland CA 
OwnerA.H. Bull & Co Inc, New York 
Date of attack19 Oct 1943Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-220 (Bruno Barber)
Position47° 19'N, 52° 27'W - Grid BB 63
Complement42 (0 dead and 42 survivors).
RouteSt.Johns, Newfoundland (19 Oct) - New York 
Cargo3000 tons of zinc concentrate, machinery, vehicles and asphalt 

At 04.53 hours on 5 May 1942, the unescorted and unarmed Delisle (Master William Washington Callis) was hit by one torpedo from U-564 (Suhren) about 15 miles off Jupiter Inlet in 27°06N/80°03W (grid DB 9762), as she was procceding on a non-evasive course at 9 knots from Baltimore, Maryland to San Juan, Puerto Rico with a 2800 tons of general cargo, including a deck cargo of camouflage paint in steel drums.

The wake of the torpedo was seen by the first mate but it was too late to take evasive action and it struck amidships on the starboard side. The explosion created a hole of 20 feet by 30 feet at the engine room, about five feet below the main deck. The crew of eight officers, 24 men and four stowaways abandoned ship in one lifeboat and a raft.

The third assistant engineer and the fireman were killed on watch below. The survivors reached the shore at Stuart, Florida about 30 miles north of West Palm Beach two hours later. The crew reboarded the Delisle the next day and she was towed into Miami by a Navy tug. After repairs she went back in service.

Notes on event

At 20.30 hours on 19 Oct 1943 the Penolver in convoy WB-65 was hit by a mine from a minefield laid by U-220 on 9 October 15 miles off St.Johns and sank within three minutes.

The Penolver was in station #21 about 300 yards ahead of the Delisle (Master William Watts Clendaniel) in station #22, which stopped to pick up the survivors. 15 minutes later, another mine from U-220 struck the Delisle forward of the bridge. The explosion lifted the bow in the air, the foremast collapsed and the ship bounced several times before righting herself on an even keel. The blast virtually blew the bow off and collapsed the wheelhouse and the after gun platform. The ship sank bow first 40 minutes after the hit. The seven officers, 25 men and seven armed guards (the ship was armed with one 3in, one 6pdr and two .30cal guns) and three rescued crewmen from the Penolver abandoned ship in two lifeboats and two rafts. All survivors were picked up within 30 minutes by the HMCS Miscou (T 277) and landed at St.Johns.

Master William Watts Clendaniel was pinned down by one of the booms of the foremast, which had crashed onto the bridge. The master had a wooden leg and they were able to get him free by releasing the leg. He was taken to a hospital in St.Johns, where he recovered from a contracted pneumonia. He could not go home to Baltimore, because artificial limbs were in short supply, due to the war. But amazing as it may seem, a young boy found his wooden leg, which had floated in onto the beach.

On boardWe have details of 5 people who were on board

Attack entries for Delisle

DateU-boatCommanderLoss typeTonsNat.
5 May 1942U-564Kptlt. Reinhard SuhrenDamaged3,478  
19 Oct 1943U-220Oblt. (R) Bruno BarberSunk3,478  

If you can help us with any additional information on this vessel then please contact us.

Return to Allied Ships hit by U-boats