Ships hit by U-boats

Maiden Creek

American Steam merchant

Photo courtesy of the Mariners Museum, Newport News VA

NameMaiden Creek
Type:Steam merchant (C-2)
Tonnage6,165 tons
Completed1944 - Gulf Shipbuilding Corp, Chickasaw AL 
OwnerWaterman Steamship Co, Mobile AL 
Date of attack17 Mar 1944Nationality:      American
FateA total loss by U-371 (Waldemar Mehl)
Position37° 08'N, 5° 27'E - Grid CH 9566
Complement78 (8 dead and 70 survivors).
RouteNaples (15 Mar) - Oran 
History Completed in January 1944 for US Maritime Commission 
Notes on event

At 09.38 hours on 17 March 1944, U-371 fired a Gnat at convoy SNF-17 about 30 miles north-northeast of Bougie and observed a hit on a ship, which settled by the stern after the hit. At 09.42 hours, a spread of three torpedoes were fired and two hits were heard. After another Gnat at 09.48 hours, a further detonation on another ship was heard. The first torpedo struck the Maiden Creek in station #52 and the second the Dempo. The first ship was hit again at 13.50 hours by a coup de grâce.

The Maiden Creek (Master Oscar Pedersen) was hit by a torpedo forward of the #4 hatch. The explosion broke the shaft, the back of the ship and filled the #4 hold and the engine room with water. The eight officers, 40 crewmen, 29 armed guards (the ship was armed with two 3in and eight 20mm guns) and one passenger abandoned ship in two lifeboats and a raft as the ship slowly settled by the stern. The boats waited two hours near the vessel until an escort appeared and ordered the men back on the vessel to prepare her to be towed by a tug. They tied up the boats at the stern and reboarded the ship.
At 13.50 hours, the U-boat fired a coup de grâce which struck on the port side in the stern. The explosion lifted the ship out of the water, destroyed the lifeboats and killed one officer, two armed guards and five crewmen. The survivors jumped overboard and swam to a single raft near the ship. They were rescued after 30 minutes by motor launches from a British destroyer and brought to Bougie.

The badly damaged Maiden Creek was towed by a British escort vessel to Bougie on the morning of 18 March and beached, but broke in two forward of the #4 hold and was declared a total loss.

On boardWe have details of 17 people who were on board

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