Ships hit by U-boats

W.E. Hutton

American Steam tanker

Photo courtesy of the Mariners Museum, Newport News VA

NameW.E. Hutton
Type:Steam tanker
Tonnage7,076 tons
Completed1920 - Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp, Alameda CA 
OwnerPure Oil Co, Nederland TX 
Date of attack19 Mar 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-124 (Johann Mohr)
Position34° 25'N, 76° 50'W - Grid DC 1183
Complement36 (13 dead and 23 survivors).
RouteSmiths Bluff, Texas (12 Mar) - Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania 
Cargo65,000 barrels of #2 heating oil 
History Completed in April 1920 as Portola Plumas for US Shipping Board (USSB). 1922 renamed W.E. Hutton for Pure Oil Co, Nederland TX. 
Notes on event

At 05.38 hours on 19 March 1942 the unescorted and unarmed W.E. Hutton (Master Carl Alexander Flaathen) was hit by one of two torpedoes fired by U-124 when steaming on a non-evasive course at 10 knots about 20 miles southeast of Cape Lookout. The torpedo was spotted by a lookout before it hit the starboard bow near the stem, buckling the bow, flooding the fore-peak tanks and carrying away both anchors. The master ordered the crew to prepare the lifeboats, sent distress signals and changed course towards the coast. At 05.48 hours, a coup de grĂ¢ce hit on the port side amidships just aft of the bridge, destroying the pilot house, spraying oil over the ship and setting the midship section on fire. The tanker sank by the bow about one hour after the initial attack. One officer and twelve crew men were lost. The master, six officers and 16 crewmen abandoned ship in two lifeboats and two rafts, transferred into one boat at daybreak and were picked up after about 12 hours by the British motor merchant Port Halifax and transferred to the pilot boat at the Savannah Sea Buoy.

On boardWe have details of 15 people who were on board

If you can help us with any additional information on this vessel then please contact us.

Return to Allied Ships hit by U-boats