Ships hit by U-boats

Southern Empress

British Whale factory ship

NameSouthern Empress
Type:Whale factory ship
Tonnage12,398 tons
Completed1914 - William Doxford & Sons Ltd, Sunderland 
OwnerChristian Salvesen & Co, Edinburgh 
Date of attack14 Oct 1942Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-221 (Hans-Hartwig Trojer)
Position53° 40'N, 40° 40'W - Grid AJ 9327
Complement125 (48 dead and 77 survivors).
RouteNew Orleans - New York (3 Oct) - Glasgow 
Cargo11700 tons of fuel oil and a deck cargo of 21 landing craft 
History Built as steam tanker San Jeronimo 1928 converted to the whale factory ship Southern Empress for Southern Whaling & Sealing Co Ltd, London. 
Notes on event

At 00.04, 00.12 and 00.13 hours on 14 Oct 1942, U-221 fired torpedoes at ships in convoy SC-104 northeast of St. Johns and claimed the sinking of three ships with 13.000 grt. Trojer observed how the first ship broke in two and sank after 10 minutes, a second ship developed a list and sinking noises were heard from a third. However, only the Susana was hit during these attacks. At 00.32 hours, a fourth attack was made in which the Southern Empress was hit and later sunk by a coup de grâce at 03.21 hours.

The master, 23 crew members, 20 DBS and four gunners from Southern Empress (Master Olaf Hansen) were lost. 44 crew members, 31 DBS and two gunners were picked up by HMS Potentilla (K 214) (LtCdr Monsson), transferred to the Norwegian whale factory ship Suderøy and landed at Liverpool.

Eleven small British landing craft and the following bigger vessels were lost aboard the Southern Empress: HMS LCM-508, HMS LCM-509, HMS LCM-519, HMS LCM-522, HMS LCM-523, HMS LCM-532, HMS LCM-537, HMS LCM-547, HMS LCM-620 (each 52 tons) and HMS LCT-2006 (291 tons).

On boardWe have details of 49 people who were on board

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