Ships hit by U-boats


British Steam merchant

Photo courtesy of the Allen Collection

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage3,829 tons
Completed1934 - Bartram & Sons Ltd, South Dock, Sunderland 
OwnerDene Shipping Co Ltd, London 
Date of attack8 Apr 1941Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-107 (Günter Hessler)
Position34° 43'N, 24° 21'W - Grid DG 3319
Complement39 (0 dead and 39 survivors).
ConvoyOG-57 (dispersed)
RouteHull - Methil - Oban - Buenos Aires 
Cargo5167 tons of coal and general cargo 
History Completed in October 1934

At 23.25 hours on 2 Dec 1939, the Eskdene (Master E.J. Niblett), a straggler from convoy HN-3 due to a gale, was hit amidships by one G7e torpedo from U-56 (Zahn) about 70 miles northeast of Tyne in 56°30N/01°40W, but stayed afloat with a heavy list on her cargo of timber that had been loaded in Archangel. The 29 crewmen abandoned ship and were picked up by the Norwegian steam merchant Hild. HMS Icarus (D 03) (LtCdr C.D. Maud, RN) and HMS Ilex (D 61) (LtCdr P.L. Saumarez, RN) searched the area for the U-boat and the floating ship, which was not found although being located by aircraft on 4 December. At dawn on 7 December, the abandoned Eskdene was found by an aircraft in 56°20N/00°15W and the next day towed to the Tyne by the British tug Bullger, escorted by HMS Stork (L 81) (Cdr A.C. Behague, RN) and beached on Head Sands. The ship was later refloated, repaired and returned to service in October 1940.

Notes on event

At 07.42 hours on 8 April 1941 the Eskdene (Master William Joshua Thomas), dispersed from convoy OG-57, was hit by two torpedoes by U-107 southeast of the Azores and was sunk by the U-boat with 104 rounds of gunfire. The master and 38 crew members were picked up on the same day by the British steam merchant Penhale and landed at Pernambuco on 22 April.

On boardWe have details of 2 people who were on board

Attack entries for Eskdene

DateU-boatCommanderLoss typeTonsNat.
2 Dec 1939U-56Kptlt. Wilhelm ZahnDamaged3,829  
8 Apr 1941U-107Kptlt. Günter HesslerSunk3,829  

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