Ships hit by U-boats


Norwegian Steam merchant

Snefjeld on 19 February 1940. Photo courtesy of Roy Muir

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage1,643 tons
Completed1901 - NV Scheepswerf Voorheen Jan Smit Czn, Alblasserdam 
OwnerHarald Grieg Martens, Bergen 
Date of attack19 Oct 1940Nationality:      Norwegian
FateSunk by U-99 (Otto Kretschmer)
Position57° 28'N, 11° 10'W - Grid AM 2981
Complement21 (0 dead and 21 survivors).
RouteCaraquet, New Brunswick - Sydney, CB - London 
Cargo719 standards of timber 
History Completed in May 1901 as Dutch Maasstad for NV Stoomvaart Mij Maasstad (Driebeek & Sons), Rotterdam. 1909 renamed Ottoland for Stoomvaart Mij Nederlandsche Lloyd, Rotterdam. 1915 sold to Norway and renamed Snefjeld for A/S D/S Storfjeld (Harald Grieg Martens), Bergen. 
Notes on event

On 19 October 1940 the Snefjeld (Master Finn Skage) in convoy SC-7 launched three boats to search survivors from the Thalia, which had been sunk by U-99 at 01.55 hours. They found four survivors and at 03.02 hours were just about to raise two lifeboats back on board, when Snefjeld was hit on the starboard side at hatch #2 by a torpedo from the same U-boat, which had missed the ship with two torpedoes at 02.40 and 02.55 hours. Both lifeboats were destroyed, but a motor lifeboat was still on the water and saved those who had been in the boats, while the remaining crew abandoned ship in a dinghy. After one hour, the ship broke in two and sank.

The survivors in the motorboat and the dinghy started to row towards land because the motor was inoperable. The next day, they found an empty raft of the Greek ship and took supplies from it. Shortly thereafter they found an empty lifeboat from Empire Brigade, which had also been sunk by U-99 and some of the men from the dinghy transferred to it. After one hour, a man standing on some debris was spotted and picked up, he came from Fiscus, another victim of Kretschmer. On 21 October, the survivors met a lifeboat with 29 men from Port Gisborne, which had been sunk by U-48 (Bleichrodt) ten days earlier, but lost contact overnight. The following day, all survivors transferred to the lifeboat as the motorboat kept taking in water and then rowed eastwards until they were picked up by HMS Clematis (K 36) (Cdr Y.M. Cleeves, DSO, DSC, RN) on 23 October.

More infoMore on this vessel 
On boardWe have details of 2 people who were on board

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