Ships hit by U-boats

Geo. W. McKnight

British Motor tanker

NameGeo. W. McKnight
Type:Motor tanker
Tonnage12,502 tons
Completed1933 - Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft AG, Kiel 
OwnerAnglo-American Oil Co Ltd, London 
Date of attack3 May 1942Nationality:      British
FateDamaged by U-66 (Richard Zapp)
Position11° 18'N, 61° 19'W - Grid ED 9839
Complement55 (0 dead and 55 survivors).
ConvoyON-87 (dispersed)
RouteAvonmouth (5 Feb) - Milford Haven (7 Feb) - Belfast Lough (16 Apr) - Trinidad 
History Completed in January 1933 for Baltisch-Amerikanische Petroleum Import GmbH, Danzig. 1935 transferred to Panama Transport Co, Panama. 1940 transferred to Anglo-American Oil Co Ltd, London.

1950 renamed Esso Edinburgh for Esso Petroleum Co Ltd, London. Broken up at Blyth in July 1954. 
Notes on event

At 10.23 hours on 3 May 1942 the unescorted Geo. W. McKnight (Master Robert Edward Hopkins), dispersed from convoy ON-87, was hit on the port side by the last torpedo from U-66 about 40 miles west of Tobago. The U-boat had chased the zig-zagging tanker since 5 hours and afterwards surfaced to attack with the deck gun. The Germans fired three rounds and scored two hits from a distance of about 4000 meters, but the ten gunners aboard the ship fired back accurately with shots falling as close as 80 meters, forcing the U-boat to break off its attack.

Geo. W. McKnight reached Port of Spain, Trinidad under her own power later the same day, where it was discovered that the explosion had opened a hole of 60 by 30 feet and broke the back of the ship. As there were no facilities available to execute the extensive repairs required, the crew sailed the tanker after temporary repairs at the end of the month to New York, where the ship was repaired at the Bethlehem Steel Yard and returned to service in August 1942.

Examination of the torpedo damage. Photo courtesy of Colin Narramore

On boardWe have details of 5 people who were on board

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