Ships hit by U-boats

Jeremiah Wadsworth

American Steam merchant

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NameJeremiah Wadsworth
Type:Steam merchant (Liberty)
Tonnage7,176 tons
Completed1942 - Todd-Houston Shipbuilding Corp, Houston TX 
OwnerMarine Transport Lines Inc, New York 
Date of attack27 Nov 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-178 (Hans Ibbeken)
Position39° 25'S, 22° 23'E - Grid JJ 2557
Complement57 (0 dead and 57 survivors).
RouteNew Orleans - Capetown - Bombay 
Cargo8008 tons of war material and 24 trucks as deck cargo 
History Completed October 1942 
Notes on event

At 14.35 hours on 27 Nov 1942 the unescorted Jeremiah Wadsworth (Master Arnt Magnusdal) was hit by two torpedoes from U-178 about 270 miles south of Cape Agulhas, South Africa, while steaming a zigzag course at 11.4 knots. The first torpedo struck on the starboard side at the #5 hold and the second at the #3 hold. A third torpedo fired at 14.44 hours missed, passing under the fantail. A coup de grĂ¢ce fired two minutes later struck well forward of the bridge in the #1 hold. The explosions fatally wounded the ship and blew two rafts and one lifeboat overboard. The engines could not be secured because of a jammed valve and the first two lifeboats launched swamped due to the headway of the ship, which circled out of control at 7 knots until she plunged by the bow with the screws still revolving. The armed guards fired three shots from the 4in gun and one of the 20mm guns on the bridge fired at the periscope.

15 minutes after the first hits, the eight officers, 35 crewmen and 14 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, one 3in and four 20mm guns) abandoned ship in three boats and two rafts. The survivors were briefly questioned by the U-boat, which left after the ship sank at 15.27 hours. All the survivors eventually combined into the three boats, which became separated during the night. 20 survivors in one boat were rescued by an Allied ship and taken to Capetown. 18 survivors in a second boat were picked up by HMS Alcantara (F 88) the next day and landed at Simonstown. The remaining 15 crew members and four armed guards in the last boat were picked up on 3 December by the American steam merchant John Lykes and landed at Bermuda. From there they were taken to Norfolk, arriving on 1 Jan 1943.

On boardWe have details of 2 people who were on board

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