British Steam merchant
|Completed||1919 - Ames Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co, Seattle WA|
|Owner||Sir R. Ropner & Co Ltd, West Hartlepool|
|Date of attack||25 Aug 1940||Nationality: British|
|Fate||Sunk by U-48 (Hans Rudolf Rösing)|
|Position||58° 30'N, 10° 15'W - Grid AM 2583|
|Complement||36 (35 dead and 1 survivor).|
|Route||Port Sulphur, Louisiana - Bermuda - Methil - Hull|
|Cargo||6830 tons of sulphur|
|History||Completed in August 1919 as West Isleta for US Shipping Board (USSB). 1926 sold to American South African Line, New York. 1940 transferred to Britain and renamed Empire Merlin for Ministry of War Transport (MoWT). |
|Notes on event|
At 02.45 hours on 25 Aug 1940, U-48 attacked convoy HX-65A 90 miles east by north of Flannan Isles and hit the Athelcrest in station #13 and the Empire Merlin in station #15 with one torpedo each, claiming two ships totaling 14,000 grt sunk.
The Empire Merlin (Master David W. Simpson, MBE) was hit on port side amidships by one G7e torpedo and broke in two after the cargo of sulphur caught fire. The stern broke off and sank immediately while the fore part sank after 35 seconds before any lifeboats could be launched. The master, 33 crew members and one gunner (the ship was armed with one 4in gun) were lost. The sole survivor ordinary seaman John Lee rescued himself on a potato locker after swimming for 45 minutes and was picked up later that night by HMS Godetia (K 72) (LtCdr G.V. Legassick, RNR) which had troubles locating him in the darkness and searched in vain for another survivor who was heard for some time until the shouting eventually ceased. The survivor was landed in Rosyth.
|On board||We have details of 33 people who were on board.|
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