Ships hit by U-boats

Thomas Donaldson

American Steam merchant

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NameThomas Donaldson
Type:Steam merchant (Liberty)
Tonnage7,210 tons
Completed1944 - Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyards Inc, Baltimore MD 
OwnerAmerican Export Lines Inc, New York 
Date of attack20 Mar 1945Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-968 (Otto Westphalen)
Position69° 26'N, 33° 44'E - Grid AC 8867
Complement69 (4 dead and 65 survivors).
RouteGourock (11 Mar) - Murmansk 
Cargo7679 tons of general cargo, including 6000 tons of ammunition, foodstuffs and locomotives and tenders as deck cargo 
History Completed in February 1944 
Notes on event

In the afternoon on 20 March 1945, U-968 attacked convoy JW-65 and reported a destroyer and a Liberty sunk and another Liberty ship torpedoed. In fact, the sloop HMS Lapwing (U 62) of the 7th Escort Group and the Liberty ship Thomas Donaldson were sunk.

The Thomas Donaldon (Master Robert Headden) was the twentieth ship as convoy formed into one column to enter Kola Inlet and was hit at 13.15 hours on the starboard side by one torpedo about 20 miles from the mouth of Kola Inlet. The torpedo struck the engine room, killed one officer and two crewmen on watch below and destroyed the engines. Due to her dangerous cargo the master ordered the crew of eight officers, 34 crewmen and 27 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 5in, one 3in and eight 20mm guns) to abandon ship after 10 minutes. The most left in the two port lifeboats and a raft and were picked up by HMS Bamborough Castle (K 412) (T/Lt M.S. Work, DSC and Bar, RNR), while others jumped overboard and were picked up by HMS Oxlip (K 123) (T/Lt J.K. Craig, RNVR). One man died after being rescued. The master and eight crew members remained aboard and were later taken off by HMS Honeysuckle (K 27) (T/Lt J.A. Wright, RNR), which took the ship in tow toward Kola Inlet. At 16.30 hours, a Soviet tug took over the tow but the Thomas Donaldson sank stern first at 17.45 hours, one-half mile from Kilden Island in 68°26´30N/33°44´20E.

On boardWe have details of 7 people who were on board

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