Ships hit by U-boats

British Purpose

British Motor tanker

Photo courtesy of the Allen Collection

NameBritish Purpose
Type:Motor tanker
Tonnage5,845 tons
Completed1943 - Furness Shipbuilding Co Ltd, Haverton Hill, Middlesbrough 
OwnerBritish Tanker Co Ltd, London 
Date of attack20 Oct 1943Nationality:      British
FateDamaged by U-532 (Ottoheinrich Junker)
Position11° 49'N, 74° 54'E - Grid MS 8330
Complement60 (0 dead and 60 survivors).
RouteAbadan (4 Oct) - Bandar Abbas - Bombay (18 Oct) - Colombo - Madras 
Cargo8000 tons of motor spirit and kerosene 

Completed in April 1943

1959 sold to Norway and renamed Anella for Arne Blystad A/S, Oslo. Broken up at Bremerhaven in December 1961.

Notes on event

At 18.54 hours on 20 Oct 1943 the British Purpose in station #21 of convoy BM-71 was hit on the starboard bow in the bunker underneath the fore deep tank by one torpedo from U-532 about 60 miles south of Mangalore, India. The explosion lifted the bow, blew bunker oil over the ship and destroyed the forepeak and forward compartments. No injuries were reported by the crew of 51 and nine gunners (the ship was armed with one 4in, one 12pdr, four 20mm and two machine guns). The flooding of the fore hold caused the ship to settle by the bow, but the cargo tanks were not affected. As the tanker stopped the next ship following astern, the Panamanian motor tanker California Standard struck her a glancing blow without causing much damage. The British Purpose fell out of convoy, restarted the engines and headed unescorted for Cochin under her own power at 7 knots because there were not enough escorts with convoy. Underway the crew was forced to jettison approximately 1000 tons of motor spirit from the center tanks to restore the lost buoyancy and reduce the strain on the wing tanks, which were leaking through small cracks. In the afternoon on 21 October, the tanker arrived at Cochin where the cargo was discharged and temporary repairs carried out. After six days, she continued to Bombay for permanent repairs, escorted by the Indian auxiliary patrol vessel HMIS Ramdas and returned to service in May 1944.

On boardWe have details of 10 people who were on board

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