Ships hit by U-boats


British Steam merchant

Photo Courtesy of Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage3,072 tons
Completed1918 - J. Blumer & Co Ltd, North Dock, Sunderland 
OwnerJoseph E. Murrell & Son, West Hartlepool 
HomeportWest Hartlepool 
Date of attack4 Mar 1940Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-29 (Otto Schuhart)
Position50° 23'N, 5° 49'W - Grid BF 2135
Complement68 (64 dead and 4 survivors).
RouteTakoradi - Dakar - Workington, Cumberland 
Cargo4500 tons of manganese ore 
History Completed in October 1918 as War Sky for The Shipping Controller, London. 1919 renamed Vera Kathleen for The Hartlepools Seatonia SS Co (Hessler & Co), West Hartlepool. 1927 renamed Thurston for Joseph E. Murrell & Son, West Hartlepool. 
Notes on event

At 05.23 hours on 4 March 1940 the unescorted Thurston (Master William Carr Fortune) was hit in the stern by one torpedo from U-29 and sank within one minute 32 miles west by north of Trevose Head. The master and 33 crew members were lost. Three crew members were picked up by the British steam merchant Moyle and landed at Cardiff.

Shortly after midnight on 4 March, the French steam merchant S.N.A. 1 (2679 grt), en route from Ardrossan to Rouen, collided with Thurston about 60 miles south of Milford Haven and sank in 50°33N/05°47W. 31 crew members were rescued by Thurston, but only two men survived the second sinking by rescuing themselves into an overturned lifeboat. They rightened it, but one of the men died of exposure before a fishing trawler found the last survivor after about 11 hours and brought him to a hospital where he had to stay for a week.

On boardWe have details of 34 people who were on board

If you can help us with any additional information on this vessel then please contact us.

Return to Allied Ships hit by U-boats