Ships hit by U-boats


American Steam merchant

Photo courtesy of Marines Museum, Newport News VA

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage6,191 tons
Completed1920 - George A. Fuller Co, Wilmington NC 
OwnerLykes Bros SS Co Inc, New Orleans LA 
Date of attack26 May 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-703 (Heinz Bielfeld)
Position72° 35'N, 5° 30'E - Grid AB 5581
Complement40 (12 dead and 28 survivors).
RoutePhiladelphia - Reykjavik - Murmansk 
Cargo6390 tons of general war cargo, including ammunition 
History Completed in October 1920 
Notes on event

At 02.59 hours on 26 May 1942 the Syros (Master Cornelius Albert Holmes) in convoy PQ-16 was hit on the port side by two torpedoes from U-703 about 200 miles southwest of Bear Island. The first torpedo had been spotted by other ships in convoy and was fired on, but it struck abreast of her stack in the engine room and was followed by a second torpedo which hit at the #2 hatch, causing the ammunition in the cargo to explode. The ship broke in two and sank within 80 seconds. The eight officers, 30 crewmen and two armed guards were not able to abandon ship in the lifeboats because both on the port side had been destroyed by the explosions and the others could not be launched in time. The survivors left on three rafts or jumped overboard and clung to wreckage until they were picked up by HMS Hazard (J 02) (LtCdr J.R.A. Seymour, RN) and landed at Murmansk, but two of them died of exposure and were buried at sea. The master, two officers, eight crewmen and one armed guard were lost.

26 survivors boarded the American steam merchant Hybert and left for Reykjavik in convoy QP-13, but on 5 July convoy unintentionally entered a British minefield in bad weather northwest of Iceland and the ship sank after striking a mine in 66°34N/23°14W. All hands safely abandoned ship, were picked up by HMS Lady Madeleine (FY 283) (T/Lt W.G. Ogden, RNVR) and FFL Roselys (K 57) and landed at Reykjavik.

On boardWe have details of 13 people who were on board

If you can help us with any additional information on this vessel then please contact us.

Return to Allied Ships hit by U-boats