Ships hit by U-boats

Empire Endurance

British Steam merchant

Empire Endurance under her former name Alster. Photo courtesy of State Library of New South Wales

NameEmpire Endurance
Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage8,570 tons
Completed1928 - Deschimag Werk Vulcan, Hamburg 
OwnerBooth Steamship Co Ltd (Booth Line), Liverpool 
Date of attack20 Apr 1941Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-73 (Helmut Rosenbaum)
Position53° 05'N, 23° 14'W - Grid AL 8424
Complement94 (66 dead and 28 survivors).
RouteSwansea - Capetown - Alexandria 
CargoGeneral cargo, military stores and two motor launches as deck cargo 
History Completed in February 1928 as German Alster for Norddeutscher Lloyd, Bremen. On 18 Mar 1940 taken over by Kriegsmarine and used as troop transport in operation Weserübung, the invasion of Norway. On 10 Apr 1940, the Alster was captured by HMS Icarus (D 03) (Cdr C.D. Maud, DSC, RN) in the Vestfjord, north of Bodö and was escorted to Britain by HMS Ullswater (FY 252) (SubLt D.R. Stavert, RN). The vessel was renamed Empire Endurance by the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT). 
Notes on event

At 03.32 hours on 20 April 1941 the unescorted Empire Endurance (Master William Willis Torkington) was hit amidships by one G7e torpedo from U-73 southwest of Rockall. The ship had been missed with one G7a stern torpedo 7 minutes earlier. She broke in two and sank after being hit underneath the bridge by a coup de grâce at 03.57 hours. The motor launches HMS ML-1003 and HMS ML-1037 were lost with the ship. 39 crew members, two gunners and one passenger were lost. 18 crew members, two gunners and four passengers were picked up on 21 April by HMCS Trillium (K 172) (LtCdr R.F. Harris, RCNR) in position 52°50N/22°50W and landed at Greenock on 26 April. The corvette had searched in vain for the lifeboat in charge of the master with 28 occupants. On 9 May this boat was found by the British motor passenger ship Highland Brigade. However, the most survivors including the master had died of exposure and only seven crew members were still alive. Two of them died shortly after being picked up and another died in a hospital at Liverpool where the men were landed on 11 May.

On boardWe have details of 60 people who were on board

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