Ships hit by U-boats


Norwegian Motor merchant

Hird under her former name Hoperange. Photo from City of Vancouver Archives, CVA 447-2306

Type:Motor merchant
Tonnage4,950 tons
Completed1924 - Barclay, Curle & Co, Whiteinch, Glasgow 
OwnerJacobsen & Salvesen, Oslo 
Date of attack15 Sep 1940Nationality:      Norwegian
FateSunk by U-65 (Hans-Gerrit von Stockhausen)
Position58° 00'N, 12° 20'W - Grid AM 1689
Complement30 (0 dead and 30 survivors).
ConvoyHX-70 (straggler)
RoutePanama - Mobile (20 Aug) - Bermuda (7 Sep) - Liverpool - Manchester 
Cargo8101 tons of general cargo, including resin, lumber and 197 tons of black carbon 
History Completed in June 1924 as British Swanley for Swanley Shipping Co Ltd (Harris & Dixon Ltd), London. 1932 renamed Hoperange for Hopemount Shipping Co Ltd (A. Stott & Co Ltd), Newcastle-upon-Tyne. 1937 sold to Norway and renamed Hird.

From 9 until 28 May 1940, the Hird (Master Ansgar M. Fredhjem) had been at Dunkirk, endured continuous air attacks and then evacuated over 3500 Allied soldiers and civilians. The third officer, steward, carpenter and an able seaman in the only undamaged lifeboat rescued survivors from many other ships which had been sunk during the evacuation. The ship then continued to Cherbourg with all the survivors, arriving on 30 May. The master was awarded the Krigskorset (War Cross, the highest Norwegian award) for his actions during this journey. The Hird then proceeded to Cardiff to repair some bomb damages received off the French coast and later to the USA. 
Notes on event

At 06.05 hours on 15 Sep 1940 the unescorted Hird (Master Ansgar M. Fredhjem), a straggler from convoy HX-70 due to a small fire on board on 10 September, was hit on the starboard side between the bridge and the forward mast by a stern torpedo from U-65 about 180 miles from Barra Head, Scotland. The U-boat had spotted the ship at 20.00 hours the day before and fired one torpedo at 21.18 hours that missed before the bow. This attack was noticed aboard the vessel and they tried to escape zigzagging at full speed, so it took the U-boat nine hours to get into firing position again. As the ship developed a heavy list, the crew abandoned ship in one lifeboat and a gig and signaled a nearby trawler to pick them up. The Germans observed how the survivors were rescued and that the ship sank at 08.30 hours. The Icelandic trawler Þórólfur landed the survivors at Fleetwood on 17 September.

More infoMore on this vessel 
On boardWe have details of 30 people who were on board

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