Ships hit by U-boats


British Steam tanker

Photo courtesy of World Ship Photo Library

Type:Steam tanker
Tonnage3,878 tons
Completed1930 - R. & W. Hawthorn, Leslie & Co Ltd, Hebburn-on-Tyne 
OwnerHadley Shipping Co Ltd, London 
Date of attack10 Nov 1942Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-128 (Ulrich Heyse)
Position12° 27'N, 27° 45'W - Grid EJ 7117
Complement40 (20 dead and 20 survivors).
ConvoyON-141 (dispersed)
RouteLondon - Oban (24 Oct) - Freetown 
History Completed in December 1930 
Notes on event

At 00.02 hours on 10 Nov 1942 the Cerinthus (Master James Chadwick), dispersed from convoy ON-141, was hit by one of three torpedoes from U-128 about 180 miles southwest from the Cape Verde Islands. The U-boat had been led to the tanker by U-462 (Vowe) which had spotted and shadowed the ship since 16.45 hours on 9 November. The tanker stopped after the hit, but at 01.08 hours a first coup de grâce missed because the ship still turned. At 01.26 hours another coup de grâce was fired which hit in the engine room but had not much effect. At 01.45 hours the U-boat opened fire from all guns until the tanker capsized to starboard and sank at 02.25 hours, firing 77 rounds from the deck gun, 75 from the 37mm AA gun and 35 from the 20mm AA gun. The sinking position was shortly thereafter examined by both U-boats but only empty rafts and lifeboats were sighted.

The boat of the master was found by the American steam merchant Kentuckian in 11°22N/38°56W at 14.30 hours on 24 Jan 1943. The boat originally contained 20 survivors, but when located only the last survivor and six bodies were found in it. The donkeyman William Colbon was picked up and landed at Port of Spain, Trinidad on 31 January. The chief officer Hawkins, 15 crew members and three gunners were picked up by HMS Bridgewater (L 01) (Cdr N.W. Weeks, OBE, RN) on 1 December and landed at Freetown five days later. The master, 16 crew members and three gunners were lost.

On boardWe have details of 25 people who were on board

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