Ships hit by U-boats


Dutch Steam merchant

Photo Courtesy of Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage5,825 tons
Completed1919 - Taikoo Dockyard & Engineering Co of Hong Kong Ltd, Hong Kong 
OwnerNederlandsche Stoomvaart Mij ´Oceaan´, Amsterdam 
Date of attack3 May 1942Nationality:      Dutch
FateSunk by U-109 (Heinrich Bleichrodt)
Position28° 21'N, 80° 23'W - Grid DB 9423
Complement66 (18 dead and 48 survivors).
RouteNew York - Hampton Roads - Capetown - Bombay 
Cargo5230 tons of war material, including 3 aircraft, 17 medium tanks and 20 trucks 
History Completed in March 1919 for Ocean SS Co Ltd (Alfred Holt & Co), Liverpool. 1922 transferred to Nederlandsche Stoomvaart Mij ´Oceaan´, Amsterdam.

On 3 Feb 1940, the Laertes was damaged by a mine off Royal Sovereign Light Vessel in 50°43N/00°35E. She reached London under own power assisted by HMS Buccaneer (W 49), was repaired at Amsterdam and returned to service on 21 March. 
Notes on event

At 10.54 hours on 3 May 1942 the unescorted Laertes (Master Casparos Johannes van Heel) was hit by one torpedo from U-109 southeast of Cape Canaveral, Florida. The ship was hit on the port side and the crew began to abandon ship. The starboard lifeboat was lowered without problem, but just as the port lifeboat reached the surface, a second torpedo struck the vessel just beneath the boat, killing all 17 occupants. The first mate was blown overboard from the boat deck and drowned. The British sailor Jones was also blown overboard, but was later picked up by a US Navy flying boat. The survivors in the starboard lifeboat landed at Cape Canaveral about six hours later.

On boardWe have details of 66 people who were on board

If you can help us with any additional information on this vessel then please contact us.

Return to Allied Ships hit by U-boats