Ships hit by U-boats


Greek Steam merchant

Photo Courtesy of Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage3,651 tons
Completed1912 - Richardson, Duck & Co Ltd, Stockton-on-Tees 
OwnerJohn G. Goulandris, Andros 
Date of attack17 Jun 1940Nationality:      Greek
FateSunk by U-46 (Engelbert Endrass)
Position43° 46'N, 14° 06'W - Grid BE 9498
Complement28 (0 dead and 28 survivors).
RouteSan Lorenzo, Argentina – Rosario – St. Vincent - Avonmouth 
Cargo6100 tons of wheat 
History Completed in April 1912 as Buranda for Buranda SS Co Ltd (Burdick & Cook), London. 1934 sold to Greece and renamed Elpis
Notes on event

At 01.30 hours on 17 June 1940 the neutral and unescorted Elpis (Master D. Christides) was missed by one G7a torpedo from U-46 while steaming at 8 knots about 220 miles west-northwest of Cape Finisterre. The torpedo went straight to the bottom due to a malfunction and the U-boat was shortly thereafter spotted on the surface by a lookout aboard the ship when turning away on the port beam in a distance of only 150 meters. The master immediately stopped the engines and told the crew to prepare the two lifeboats for launching. The Germans asked for identification by morse lamp and this was correctly answered, but they made no mention of not using the wireless so the master ordered the most crew members to abandon ship in the lifeboats and to remain alongside while the wireless operator sent out distress signals. This provoked Endrass to order his crew to prepare the deck gun, however before fire was opened the lifeboats were seen to get away from the ship so another G7a torpedo was fired as coup de grâce at 01.55 hours. The torpedo struck on the port side amidships in the engine room only three minutes after the last men had abandoned ship in the starboard lifeboat and caused the Elpis to sink within a few minutes after breaking in two. The U-boat then left the area without questioning the survivors. HMS Punjabi (F 21) (Cdr J.T. Lean, RN) and HMS Harvester (H 19) (LtCdr M. Thornton, RN) were sent to assist the steamer after her distress signals were received, but the destroyers did not locate the U-boat or the lifeboats which had remained at the sinking position for a while before sailing towards the Spanish coast in deteriorating weather. Around noon on 18 June, the survivors were picked up by the British steam merchant Merkland in position 40°10N/12°20W and were landed at Falmouth.

On boardWe have details of 1 people who were on board

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