Panamanian Steam merchant
|Completed||1917 - Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co, Newport News VA|
|Owner||US Lines Inc, New York|
|Date of attack||10 Jul 1942||Nationality: Panamanian|
|Fate||Sunk by U-251 (Heinrich Timm)|
|Position||69° 23'N, 40° 50'E - Grid AC 9554|
|Complement||67 (0 dead and 67 survivors).|
|Route||New York - Reykjavik - Archangel|
|Cargo||Machinery, food, leather, ammunition and a deck cargo of tanks|
|History||Completed in September 1917 as El Capitan for Southern Pacific Co Inc, New York. On 21 March 1918 acquired by the US Navy as cargo transport USS El Capitan (ID # 1407) for the Naval Overseas Transportation Service, making four transatlantic voyages between 29 March and 23 November 1918. On her second voyage, one day out of Philadelphia, she sighted a U-boat abeam and forced it to dive with her guns before it could attack. Decommissioned and returned to her owners on 1 February 1919. |
Purchased by the US Government on 26 June 1941 and turned over to US Lines under a GAA agreement at New York. Changed registry to Panama on 1 October 1941.
|Notes on event|
The El Capitan (Master John E. Therik) had been in convoy PQ-17 that was dispersed on Admiralty orders in the Barents Sea on 4 July 1942. On 8 July, she picked up 19 survivors from the John Witherspoon which had been sunk by U-255 (Reche) two days earlier. She reached Novaya Zemlya where she joined five other merchants and eight escort vessels from convoy in the Matochkin Strait. Commodore Dowding assembled a small convoy out of them and then proceeded to Murmansk and Archangel.
The armed trawler tried to scuttle the wreck with gunfire after rescuing the crew but apparently she stayed afloat and was sunk by U-251 with a coup de grâce at 00.45 hours on 10 July.
|On board||We have details of 7 people who were on board.|
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