Ships hit by U-boats


Panamanian Steam merchant

The Pillory under her former name Jonna. Photo Courtesy of Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage1,517 tons
Completed1933 - Nakskov Skibsværft A/S, Nakskov 
OwnerDanish Ship Operating Co, Panama 
Date of attack5 Jun 1944Nationality:      Panamanian
FateSunk by U-539 (Hans-Jürgen Lauterbach-Emden)
Position18° 25'N, 67° 17'W - Grid ED 1224
Complement47 (25 dead and 22 survivors).
RouteSan Juan, Puerto Rico (5 Jun) - Guayanilla, Puerto Rico 
History Completed in December 1933 as Danish Jonna for A/S D/S Vesterhavet (J. Lauritzen), Esbjerg. In April 1940 laid up in New York. On 11 Jun 1941 taken over by the US government under Public Law 101, turned over to the US War Shipping Administration (WSA) and operated under bareboat charter by the US War Department after 5 August. On 17 Mar 1942 assigned to the Marine Operating Company under a GAA agreement, renamed Pillory and registered in Panama. From 19 Aug 1942 to 8 Feb 1944, the ship was operated by the Stockard SS Company and then by the Danish Ship Operating Company under a GAA agreement. 
Notes on event

At 20.05 hours on 5 June 1944 the Pillory (Master Laurid N. Sorensen) was torpedoed by U-539 off Puerto Rico. The ship had departed San Juan about 13.00 hours and met six hours later her escort, the US Coast Guard vessel USCGC CG-83310, which took station about 500 yards off the starboard beam but had difficulties to keep up. One torpedo struck in the #2 hold directly below the starboard wing of the bridge, blew away that part of the ship and caused a starboard list because the hold was flooded immediately. Three officers and a signalman were blown overboard. Two minutes later a second torpedo hit amidships on the starboard side breaking the ship in two, blowing parts of the machinery out through the skylight and causing her to sink immediately by the bow.

The 37 crew members and ten armed guards on board had no time to launch the lifeboats and jumped overboard after releasing some rafts. 21 survivors (one later died of wounds in hospital) were picked up by the escort and two more by USCGC Crawford (WPC 134) and were taken to Mayaguez, arriving at 23.30 hours. The master, 20 crew members and four armed guards were lost.

On boardWe have details of 47 people who were on board

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