Ships hit by U-boats

William S. Thayer

American Steam merchant

NameWilliam S. Thayer
Type:Steam merchant (Liberty)
Tonnage7,176 tons
Completed1943 - Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyards Inc, Baltimore MD 
OwnerA.L. Burbank & Co Ltd, New York 
Date of attack30 Apr 1944Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-307 (Friedrich-Georg Herrle)
Position73° 46'N, 19° 10'E - Grid AB 6357
Complement234 (43 dead and 191 survivors).
RouteMurmansk (28 Apr) - Loch Ewe 
Cargo950 tons of sand ballast 
History Completed in August 1943 
Notes on event

At 19.56 hours on 30 April 1944, U-307 fired a spread of three FAT torpedoes at convoy RA-59 about 50 miles south of Bear Island, heard three detonations and sinking noises and reported two ships sunk and one ship damaged. However, only William S. Thayer (Master Daniel A. Sperbeck) in station #33 was hit by two torpedoes on the starboard side between the #1 and #2 hatches and in the #4 hold. The explosions destroyed the shaft and the engines and broke the ship in three in the #1 and #4 hold. The forward part listed to starboard and sank in about 30 seconds, followed by the midships section after two minutes. The eight officers, 33 crewmen, 28 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 5in, one 3in and eight 20mm guns) and 165 passengers (Russian naval personnel) did not have time to launch the lifeboats and abandoned ship on six small square floats. The survivors were picked up by the American Liberty ship Robert Eden from station #35 of convoy and landed them in Glasgow. Most of the Russian stayed on the stern section and were taken off by HMS Whitehall (D 94) (LtCdr P.J. Cowell, DSC, RN), which then scuttled the wreck by gunfire. Six officers, 17 crewmen, seven armed guards and 13 passengers were lost.

On boardWe have details of 31 people who were on board

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