British Steam merchant
|Completed||1918 - Todd Drydock & Construction Corp, Tacoma WA|
|Owner||Lamport & Holt Ltd, Liverpool|
|Date of attack||24 Jun 1942||Nationality: British|
|Fate||Sunk by U-156 (Werner Hartenstein)|
|Position||25.55N, 51.58W - Grid DQ 1188|
|Complement||38 (6 dead and 32 survivors).|
|Route||Durban - Capetown (30 May) - Charleston, Virginia - Baltimore|
Built for US Maritime Commission, Washington DC, later laid up as part of the reserve fleet. 1941 the ship was transferred to Britain and taken over by the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT).
|Notes on event|
At 09.04 hours on 24 Jun, 1942, U-156 began shelling the unescorted Willimantic (Master Leon Otto Everett) about 700 miles southeast of Bermuda. The ship had been sighted and reported by U-502 (Rosenstiel) the day before. At 16.10 hours on 23 June, U-156 made contact, followed the zigzagging ship and at 08.10 hours fired her last torpedo, which became a tube runner and missed behind the ship after being pushed out. The shelling killed both radio officers in the radio room and two crewmen when both starboard lifeboats were destroyed. The Germans ceased fire to question the survivors, apologized for the casualties, provided some charts and took the master as prisoner on board. At 10.52 hours, the U-boat reopened fire until the ship sank at 11.45 hours after spending 73 rounds for the deck gun and 102 rounds for the 37mm AA gun. In all, three officers and three crewmen were lost. The master was landed at Lorient on 7 July and taken to the POW camp Milag Nord. 14 crew members and two gunners in one lifeboat were picked up after six days by the Norwegian motor merchant Tamerlane and landed at Rio de Janerio. 15 crew members in another lifeboat made landfall after twelve days at St. Martin´s Island, Lesser Antilles and were taken by the Dutch steam merchant Baralt to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
The master Leon Otto Everett had already experienced two other sinkings when Bonheur was sunk by U-138 (Lüth) on 15 Oct, 1940 and Swinburne by a German Fw200 aircraft of KG 40 west of Ireland on 26 Feb, 1941.
|On board||We have details of 13 people who were on board.|
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