Ships hit by U-boats


Norwegian Steam merchant

Photo Courtesy of Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage1,277 tons
Completed1910 - A/S Bergens Mekaniske Verksteder, Bergen 
OwnerDet Bergenske D/S A/S, Bergen 
Date of attack1 Dec 1939Nationality:      Norwegian
FateSunk by U-31 (Johannes Habekost)
Position57° 39'N, 0° 36'E - Grid AN 4547
Complement17 (9 dead and 8 survivors).
RouteBurntisland - Trondheim 
CargoGeneral cargo, including tea, gas stoves, steel wire, cardboard folders and diaries, boots, shoes and machinery 
History Completed in December 1910 
Notes on event

At 09.30 hours on 1 December 1939 the unescorted and neutral Arcturus (Master Nicolai Ludvik Engene) was hit on the port side underneath the fore mast by one G7e torpedo from U-31 and sank by the bow within three minutes about 80 miles east of Rattray Head. The master and eight crew members were lost. The U-boat had spotted the ship with lights set in a rain shower at 05.50 hours, but did not see the national markings, probably due to the low visibility from the periscope and missed with a first torpedo at 09.27 hours. Both lifeboats went down with the ship and the eight survivors rescued themselves on two rafts that floated free after she sank. They tied the rafts together and were spotted the next morning by a British aircraft which directed the Danish steam merchant Ivar to their location. The survivors were picked up and landed at Fredrikshavn, Denmark.

Revisions August 1998 by R.N. Baird:
The loss of Arcturus was earlier attributed to an attack of U-21, but the position of the wreck of Mercator and the time of her loss indicate that this was the vessel sunk by this U-boat. The attacker of Arcturus was U-31
More infoMore on this vessel 
On boardWe have details of 9 people who were on board

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