Ships hit by U-boats


German Motor merchant

Doggerbank under her former name Speybank. Photo Courtesy of Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart

Type:Motor merchant
Tonnage5,154 tons
Completed1926 - Harland & Wolff Ltd, Govan, Glasgow 
Date of attack3 Mar 1943Nationality:      German
FateSunk by U-43 (Hans-Joachim Schwantke)
Position29° 10'N, 34° 10'W - Grid DF 9329
Complement365 (364 dead and 1 survivor).
RouteYokohama (17 Dec) - Kobe - Saigon - Singapur - Jakarta (10 Jan) - France 
Cargo7000 tons of rubber, fats and fish oil and other raw materials 
History Completed in April 1926 as British Speybank for Andrew Weir & Co, London.

On 31 Jan 1941, the Speybank was captured by the German raider Atlantis (Kpt.z.S. Bernhard Rogge) in the Indian Ocean. A prize crew led by Paul Schneidewind brought the ship to Bordeaux on 10 May. Taken over by the Kriegsmarine and converted to the auxiliary minelayer Doggerbank (Schiff 53) (KptLt Paul Schneidewind). In January 1942 the ship left France, laid mines off South Africa in March/April 1942 and then proceeded to Japan. 
Notes on event

At 21.53 hours on 3 March 1943, U-43 fired a spread of three torpedoes at steamer of the Dunedin Star type, which sank in two minutes after being hit by all three torpedoes. But it later became clear that they had by mistake sunk the blockade runner Doggerbank (KptLt Paul Schneidewind), which was several days ahead of her scheduled arrival.

On board were many crew members of the German supply tanker Uckermark and the raider Thor which had been destroyed in an accident in Yokohama, Japan on 30 Nov 1942. The U-boat had observed that five lifeboats were launched and even tried to question some of the survivors, but it was impossible to understand them because they could not get closer due to the darkness and left. One of the boats was found by the Spanish motor tanker Campoamor on 29 March, but only one man was still alive, taken aboard and brought to Aruba. Fritz Kürt later reported that there had been 15 survivors in his boat but only six managed to get aboard again when it capsized, including the master. They were in a desperate situation without water and food and Schneidewind committed suicide after shooting four of his crew at their explicit request.

More infoMore on this vessel 
On boardWe have details of 108 people who were on board

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Media links

The Survivor

Herlin, Hans

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