Crew list of Ships hit by U-boats

Robert Ryan

Merchant Marine (Z192796). Australian

Born  26 Aug 1923Ashfield, NSW

Roster information listed for Robert Ryan

ShipTypeRank / roleAttacked onBoat
Andrea F. LuckenbachSteam merchantWiper10 Mar 1943U-221 (1)

Personal information

Robert Ryan remembered the sinking of Andrea F. Luckenbach in September 2014:
When the first torpedo hit I was in the laundry and the steel door slammed shut. I felt that I was trapped, thinking maybe, being small I might fit through a port hole. When the second torpedo struck, it blew the steel door open. What confronted me was a wall of flame in the alley way, but thank the Lord I didn`t panic and realized it was a reflection from fire abaft. By the time I had ran up to the flying bridge, the first thing I saw was a ship ahead of us going down. My mate, the bosun John, was helping to lower the lifeboat on the port side. I saw no other lifeboat and asked him if he had a life jacket, he didn`t. I had my head down rummaging in a big tool box, but found no life jackets. When I looked up the lifeboat had gone and I was alone. The only thing in tool box was a zoot suit, thinking it might keep me warm once I was lucky enough to get into a lifeboat I looked over the side and saw that the lifeboat was in the water. I saw our mess boy crushed between the side of the ship and the lifeboat. I ran down to lower deck, climbed down a rope ladder someone had cut loose and dived into the freezing water. Boy was I glad I had learned to swim and eventually reached the lifeboat, holding on to gunwale and looking around saw our ship going down stern first. One man was clearly to be seen running towards the bow, but he had no chance. I was hauled aboard while a small ship stopped nearby to rescue us. At the same time we saw a periscope and then the U-boat slowly submerge. I always thought the commander of the U-boat must have been a German, not a Nazi. We survivors owe our lives to the skipper of the ship that stopped and picked us up. I witnessed something like 11 ships go down that night. The crew gave us a change of their clothing because some of us were soaked in oil. We were told we would be put ashore in Ireland, but we were landed somewhere in the Orkney Islands, then travelled by train over night to Glasgow. Given new clothing we then travelled to Bristol. I was repatriated aboard an American freighter and landed in New York.


  1. Personal communication

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Crew list for Ships hit by U-boats