Ships hit by U-boats

John Hancock

American Steam merchant

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NameJohn Hancock
Type:Steam merchant (Liberty)
Tonnage7,176 tons
Completed1942 - Oregon Shipbuilding Co, Portland OR 
OwnerLykes Bros SS Co Inc, New Orleans LA 
Date of attack18 Aug 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-553 (Karl Thurmann)
Position19° 41'N, 76° 50'W - Grid DM 9691
Complement49 (0 dead and 49 survivors).
RouteHonolulu, Hawaii - Panama Canal - Guantanamo Bay - Philadelphia 
Cargo10.517 tons of sugar 
History Completed February 1942 
Notes on event

At 09.13 hours on 18 Aug 1942, U-553 fired a spread of four bow torpedoes and one stern torpedo at convoy TAW-13 about 95 miles west of Guantanamo Bay, observed three hits and reported three ships sunk. In fact, the Blankaholm was sunk by two torpedoes and the John Hancock by one.

Lookouts on the John Hancock (Master Levi Johnson Plesner) spotted a torpedo seconds before it struck on the port side between #2 and #3 holds. Both holds flooded rapidly, causing the ship to sink within five minutes. All eight officers, 30 crewmen and eleven armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in and four .30cal guns) abandoned ship in four lifeboats and were picked up after three hours by a British corvette and landed at Santiago, Cuba.

On boardWe have details of 1 people who were on board

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