Ships hit by U-boats

Port Gisborne

British Motor merchant

Photo courtesy of Allan C. Green Collection

NamePort Gisborne
Type:Motor merchant
Tonnage8,390 tons
Completed1927 - Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd, Wallsend, Sunderland 
OwnerPort Line Ltd, London 
Date of attack11 Oct 1940Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-48 (Heinrich Bleichrodt)
Position56° 38'N, 16° 40'W - Grid AL 0378
Complement64 (26 dead and 38 survivors).
RouteAuckland - Halifax - Belfast - Cardiff 
CargoRefrigerated and general cargo, including 2479 bales of wool and 20 bales of sheepskin 
History Completed in August 1927. In June 1930 the Port Gisborne carried a spare 8in gun turret for HMAS Australia (D 84) to Sydney, NSW. The turret of 90 tons had to be carried on deck resting on wooden beam to spread the load. 
Notes on event

At 22.09 hours on 11 Oct 1940 the Port Gisborne (Master Thomas Kippins, DSC) in convoy HX-77 was hit near the bridge by one torpedo from U-48 about 113 miles west-southwest of Rockall. The crew abandoned ship in three lifeboats, but one of them capsized in gale force conditions and the occupants drowned. The abandoned wreck sank later in 57°02N/17°24W. 26 crew members were lost. The master, 36 crew members and one gunner were rescued: The survivors in one boat were picked up on 22 October by HMS Salvonia (W 43) (Lt G.M.M. Robinson, RNR) and the remaining survivors in another boat on 24 October by the British steam merchant Alpera and landed at Greenock.

The master Thomas Kippins was awarded the OBE and the Lloyds War Medal for bravery at sea.

On boardWe have details of 33 people who were on board

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