Ships hit by U-boats


Dutch Steam merchant

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage1,904 tons
Completed1927 - Antwerp Engineering Co Ltd, Hoboken 
OwnerStoomboot Mij Hillegersberg NV (Vinke & Co), Rotterdam 
Date of attack19 Oct 1940Nationality:      Dutch
FateSunk by U-101 (Fritz Frauenheim)
Position57° 12'N, 10° 43'W - Grid AM 2958
Complement25 (6 dead and 19 survivors).
RouteChatham, New Brunswick - Hull 
Cargo790 fathoms of pit props 
History Completed in April 1927 
Notes on event

At 01.22 hours on 19 Oct 1940, U-101 fired three bow torpedoes at convoy SC-7 about 102 miles west by north of Barra Head, Outer Hebrides, and two minutes later the stern torpedo. Frauenheim reported four hits on four ships and claimed 21.000 grt sunk. However, the Assyrian was hit by a bow torpedo and the Soesterberg by the stern torpedo.

The explosion of the torpedo that hit Soesterberg blew four men overboard and wrecked the starboard lifeboat. While three gunners left the ship on a raft, the rest of the crew abandoned ship in the port lifeboat. After a headcount revealed that the men from the engine room were missing, the master and the first mate reboarded the vessel and unsuccessfully tried to locate them, but they apparently had been killed on watch below. The abandoned ship remained afloat and even grazed the stern of the Assyrian nearby. Suddenly she came upright and sank shortly thereafter, bombarding the survivors of the Assyrian with pit props that came loose from the cargo. It wrecked most of the life rafts, but in the other hand the props were then also used as lifesavers by the survivors. A stoker from Soesterberg was later picked up by a lifeboat from Empire Brigade, which had been sunk by U-99 (Kretschmer) at the same time like Soesterberg. The survivors were picked up by HMS Leith (L 36) (Cdr R.C. Allen, RN) and landed at Liverpool.

On boardWe have details of 25 people who were on board

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