Ships hit by U-boats

Birmingham City

American Steam merchant

Photo courtesy of The Mariners Museum, Newport News VA

NameBirmingham City
Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage6,194 tons
Completed1920 - Chickasaw Shipbuilding & Car Co, Chickasaw AL 
OwnerIsthmian SS Co, New York 
HomeportNew York 
Date of attack9 Jan 1943Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-124 (Johann Mohr)
Position7° 23'N, 55° 48'W - Grid EO 5238
Complement56 (10 dead and 46 survivors).
RouteNew York - Trinidad - Rio de Janeiro 
CargoGeneral cargo, including machinery and tinplate 
History Completed in June 1920 for US Shipping Board (USSB) 
Notes on event

On 9 Jan 1943 the Birmingham City (Master Michael Francis Barry) served as the ship of convoy commodore in convoy TB-1, when the Broad Arrow off the port beam was struck by two torpedoes fired by U-124 at 04.33 hours and caught fire, lit up the entire convoy. At 04.36 hours, Mohr fired another torpedo which struck the Birmingham City on the port side amidships at the #3 hatch and the ship began to blaze. The explosion blew the port lifeboats overboard, destroyed the fireroom bulkhead and caused her to sink on an even keel in three minutes about 50 miles north of Paramaribo, Dutch Guiana.

The most of the nine officers, 29 crewmen and 18 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, one 3in and four .50cal guns) immediately abandoned ship as she rapidly settled. The #1 motor lifeboat capsized on launching, pitching men into the water and contributing to the drowning of several crewmen. The remaining survivors left in #3 boat or jumped overboard and swam to several rafts. The #1 boat was later righted and the men from the rafts were transferred to it. Three officers, two crewmen and five armed guards died, most from drowning. All survivors were picked up by USS PC-577 ten hours later and landed at Paramaribo.

On boardWe have details of 13 people who were on board

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