Ships hit by U-boats

Leiv Eiriksson

Norwegian Motor tanker

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NameLeiv Eiriksson
Type:Motor tanker
Tonnage9,952 tons
Completed1936 - Bremer Vulkan, Vegesack 
OwnerT. Dannevig & Co, Oslo 
Date of attack27 Jun 1942Nationality:      Norwegian
FateSunk by U-126 (Ernst Bauer)
Position13° 18'N, 59° 57'W - Grid EE 4789
Complement44 (4 dead and 40 survivors).
RoutePort of Spain (26 Jun) - Gibraltar 
Cargo14.366 tons of fuel oil 
History Since 1940 in Admiralty service under Norwegian flag as Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA). 
Notes on event

At 10.55 hours on 27 June 1942 the unescorted Leiv Eiriksson (Master Alf A. Amundsen) was hit by one torpedo from U-126 west of Barbados. Since 04.45 hours, the U-boat followed the tanker, which stopped off Barbados due to engine troubles. Just as a spread of three torpedoes was fired at 10.44 hours, the tanker got underway again and they missed. The torpedo fired at 10.55 hours hit in the foreward cargo hold, resulting in a large hole in her starboard bow. The ship settled by the bow until water started to wash across the foredeck, while some oil was leaking out. The most of the complement of 40 crew members and four gunners abandoned ship in three lifeboats, only the master and eight men, including the gun crew stayed on board to send radio messages and firing star shells to attract help from the nearby land.
As the tanker was not sinking further, the U-boat fired at 11.46 hours a coup de grĂ¢ce, which struck on the port side a little foreward of the bridge and out from #3 center tank. The tanker immediately caught fire and sank rapidly by the bow, leaving a sea of burning oil on the surface. The men had to jump overboard and were picked up by a lifeboat, but the master and second mate had been very seriously burnt and the radio operator and the steward died in the flames.

U-126 then surfaced, approached the lifeboats and Bauer asked the survivors the usual questions. He also said he regretted the loss of lives and asked if they needed first aid articles, but the two injured men were beyond such aid, so the offer was refused. Bauer then gave them the direction of Bridgetown, Barbados, which they could see in the distance, wished them a \"good journey, and I hope that I will never see you again\", then the U-boat left. The lifeboats headed for land, but 45 minutes later a British MTB arrived, took all survivors on board and then proceeded at full speed towards Bridgetown, arriving after 30 minutes. The two injured officers were taken to hospital, but they died and were buried at Bridgetown the following day with the entire crew present, as well as a large amount of people from the local population.

On boardWe have details of 44 people who were on board

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