Ships hit by U-boats


Dutch Steam merchant

Photo courtesy of Allan C. Green Collection

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage8,679 tons
Completed1922 - New Waterway Shipbuilding Co, Schiedam 
OwnerNV Vereenigde Nederlandsche Scheepvaart Mij, The Hague 
HomeportThe Hague 
Date of attack8 Oct 1942Nationality:      Dutch
FateSunk by U-68 (Karl-Friedrich Merten)
Position34° 20'S, 18° 10'E - Grid GR 5932
Complement64 (0 dead and 64 survivors).
RouteAlexandria - Aden (23 Sep) - Capetown - New York 
History Completed in October 1922 as Gaasterdijk for NV Nederlandsche-Amerikaansche Stoomvaart Mij, Rotterdam. 1931 renamed Gaasterkerk for NV Vereenigde Nederlandsche Scheepvaart Mij, The Hague. 1932 lenghtened. 
Notes on event

At 03.46 hours on 8 Oct 1942 the unescorted Gaasterkerk (Master Francois Maas) was hit on the port side aft of amidships in the engine room by one of two torpedoes from U-68 while steaming with dimmed navigational lights set on a non-evasive course at 14 knots about 15 miles west of the Cape of Good Hope. The crew sent distress signals and immediately abandoned ship in the lifeboats. At 04.16 hours, a coup de grĂ¢ce was fired as she only settled slowly and the torpedo hit aft, igniting the magazine for the stern gun (the ship was armed with one 4.7in, two 20mm and four machine guns). The resulting explosion completely blew off the stern and caused the Gaasterkerk to sink rapidly. The U-boat had to retreat without questioning the survivors when debris from the explosion fell all around it and some even hit its deck. All survivors were picked up shortly afterwards by HMAS Nizam (G 38) (Cdr M.J. Clark, DSO, RAN) and landed in Capetown.

On boardWe have details of 4 people who were on board

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