Ships hit by U-boats


American Steam merchant

Executive under her former name Carenco. Photo courtesy of State Library of New South Wales

Type:Steam merchant (Hog Island)
Tonnage4,978 tons
Completed1920 - American International Shipbuilding Corp, Hog Island PA 
OwnerAmerican Export Lines Inc, New York 
HomeportNew York 
Date of attack5 Mar 1943Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-255 (Reinhart Reche)
Position72° 44'N, 11° 27'E - Grid AB 5939
Complement62 (9 dead and 53 survivors).
RouteMurmansk (1 Mar) - Loch Ewe, Scotland 
Cargo1500 tons of potassium chloride 
History Completed in August 1920 as Carenco for US Shipping Board (USSB), Philadelphia. 1928 renamed Executive for American Export Lines Inc, New York. 
Notes on event

At 09.26 hours on 5 March 1943, U-255 fired a spread of three torpedoes at convoy RA-53 and heard two detonations. The Executive was sunk and Richard Bland was damaged, but five days later finished off by the same U-boat.

Lookouts on the Executive (Master James Walden) in station #52 (orginally in #51) spotted the first torpedo, which crossed the bow of the ship. But the second torpedo struck on the starboard side between the #4 hatch and the engine room. The explosion blew the hatch covers off the #4 hatch and demolished the booms, the engine, the dynamos and all the equipment in the immediate area. The #4 hold was rapidly flooded and the ship began to settle slowly by the stern. The eight officers, 30 men and 24 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, two .50cal and two .30cal guns) abandoned ship without orders in three lifeboats and one raft. One armed guard, three officers and five crewmen died. Eleven survivors were picked up immediately by HMS St. Elstan (FY 240) (Lt R.M. Roberts, RNR) and 42 survivors by HMS Northern Pride (FY 105) (T/Lt A.L.F. Bell, RNR) and landed in Iceland five days later. The drifting ship was scuttled by gunfire from a destroyer about one hour after the attack.

On boardWe have details of 10 people who were on board

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