Ships hit by U-boats

Richard D. Spaight

American Steam merchant

NameRichard D. Spaight
Type:Steam merchant (Liberty)
Tonnage7,177 tons
Completed1942 - North Carolina Shipbuilding Co, Wilmington NC 
OwnerAmerican-West African Line Inc, New York 
Date of attack10 Mar 1943Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-182 (Asmus Nicolai Clausen)
Position27° 39'S, 35° 28'E - Grid KP 6827
Complement67 (1 dead and 66 survivors).
RouteSuez, Egypt - Massaua, Eritrea (25 Feb) - Durban, South Africa 
Cargo3000 tons of steel, concrete and a deck cargo of 32 drums of engine oil 
History Completed in August 1942 
Notes on event

At 17.20 hours on 10 March 1943 the unescorted Richard D. Spaight (Master Russell Hoover Quynn) was hit on the starboard side by two torpedoes from U-182 about 270 miles north-northeast of Durban, South Africa. The first torpedo struck at the #1 hold and the second between holds #2 and #3. The explosions extensively damaged the ship and showered the deck with debris. One man sitting on #1 hatch was blown overboard and drowned, while another lying on a mattress on the same hatch survived. He was blew higher than the mast, but stayed on the mattress and landed right side up to be rescued. The bow immediately submerged and the stern lifted the turning propeller and rudder out of the water. The surviving eight officers, 34 crewmen and 24 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 5in, one 3in and eight 20mm guns) abandoned ship in four lifeboats. The men in one of the boats had to jump overboard because it drifted towards the propeller and was swamped. The U-boat surfaced about 2000 yards away and fired about 35 rounds from the deck gun, hitting 25 times and causing the ship to sink after two hours. The Germans questioned the survivors offered medical supplies, food and water and then left the area. Two boats made landfall after three days in Richards Bay, South Africa. Another boat reached Cape St. Lucia, while the fourth landed five days after the attack at Cuanalonbi Beach, South Africa.

On boardWe have details of 5 people who were on board

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