British Steam merchant
|Completed||1919 - Craig, Taylor & Co Ltd, Stockton-on-Tees|
|Owner||Sir William Reardon Smith & Sons Ltd, Cardiff|
|Date of attack||18 May 1942||Nationality: British|
|Fate||Damaged by U-588 (Victor Vogel)|
|Position||43.01N, 67.02W - Grid BA 9944|
|Complement||61 (1 dead and 60 survivors).|
|Route||Liverpool (6 May) – Belfast (8 May) - New York|
Laid down as British War Ferret for The Shipping Controller, completed in June 1919 as Cornish City for St. Just SS Co Ltd (William Reardon Smith & Sons), Bideford. 1929 sold to France and renamed Fort Binger for Co Française de Navigation à Vapeur Chargeurs Réunis, Paris. On 29 Aug, 1940, seized by Britain at Douala and transferred to Ministry of War Transport (MoWT). From December 1940 to May 1941 requisitioned as transport by the Free French Navy to bring troops to Port Sudan. 1944 returned to French owners.
|Notes on event|
At 03.56 hours on 18 May, 1942, U-588 fired a spread of two torpedoes at the unescorted Fort Binger (Master Andre Jean Jacques Joly) which steamed on a zigzag course at 11 knots about 70 miles west-southwest of Cape Sable. The ship had been in convoy ONS-92 which was left on 7 May to land an ill crew member at Belfast, but failed to rejoin the convoy and proceeded alone. Despite a pitch black night, lookouts spotted the torpedo tracks on the port bow and the ship turned hard to port in order to evade them, causing one to miss astern by 20 yards and the other to hit the port bow at a glancing blow, but it did not detonate. The ship passed over the firing position in an attempt to ram the submerged U-boat, which surfaced 20 minutes later and opened fire with the deck gun from a distance of about a half mile. The ship stopped briefly after a hit near the boiler room, but then proceeded after sending distress signals and returned fire with the 4in stern gun (she was also armed with six machine guns), firing four rounds which all fell short. After ONS-92 scored a few more hits on the bridge and the side of the ship, the Fort Binger turned around in another attempt to ram the attacker but failed to build up speed due to damaged steam pipes and then headed towards Nova Scotia. Fog set in closer to the coast and the U-boat lost contact to the ship in position 43°12N/67°05W. About 50 rounds had been fired at the ship which received about seven hits, causing only slight damage but killing one crew member and wounding four more of the Free French crew of 61 men. Fort Binger headed for Yarmouth and anchored near the coast in the reduced visibility to repair the steam pipes. A lifeboat with six men in charge of the second officer was sent to the harbor for medical assistance and a RCAF crash boat brought a doctor to the ship who cared for the wounded until she could dock at Yarmouth at 16.30 hours.
|On board||We have details of 3 people who were on board.|
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