Ships hit by U-boats

John Bell

American Steam merchant

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NameJohn Bell
Type:Steam merchant (Liberty)
Tonnage7,242 tons
Completed1943 - Todd-Houston Shipbuilding Corp, Houston TX 
OwnerJ.H. Winchester & Co Inc, New York 
Date of attack26 Aug 1943Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-410 (Horst-Arno Fenski)
Position37° 15'N, 8° 24'E - Grid CJ 7826
Complement72 (1 dead and 71 survivors).
RoutePhiladelphia - Hampton Roads (5 Aug) - Bandar Shahpur, Iran 
Cargo7200 tons of general military cargo 
History Completed March 1943 
Notes on event

At 22.16 hours on 26 Aug 1943, U-410 fired a spread of three torpedoes at convoy UGS-14 off La Calle, Algeria, heard three hits and reported two ships sunk and another damaged. In fact, the John Bell and Richard Henderson were sunk.

The John Bell (Master David Dunlap Higbee) had been in station #52, but changed the to station #32 in the afternoon as convoy was reformed into four columns to pass through minefields. The ship was struck by one torpedo on the starboard side between the #4 and #5 holds in a compartment with aviation gasoline. The explosion ignited the cargo, the flames rose 25 feet above the holds and spread rapidly aft and slowly forward. The most of the eight officers, 35 crewmen and 29 armed guards (the ship was armed with two 3in and eight 20mm guns) abandoned ship immediately in five of the six lifeboats. But five armed guards on the stern had to jump overboard and swam to the boats. The ship was soon ablaze from stem to stern and burned for nine hours before sinking stern first.
The survivors were picked up within 45 minutes by the British minesweeper HMS BYMS-23 and the South African armed whaler HMSAS Southern Maid (T 27) and landed at Bizerte on 27 August. The only casualty was an oiler who had been trapped in the shaft alley.

On boardWe have details of 2 people who were on board

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