Ships hit by U-boats

HMS Nabob (D 77)

British Escort carrier

NameHMS Nabob (D 77)
Type:Escort carrier (Ruler)
Tonnage11,420 tons
Completed1943 - Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corp, Tacoma WA 
OwnerThe Admiralty 
Date of attack22 Aug 1944Nationality:      British
FateA total loss by U-354 (Hans-Jürgen Sthamer)
Position71° 42'N, 19° 11'E - Grid AB 9333
Complement836 officers and men (21 dead and 815 survivors).
RouteScapa Flow - Barents Sea 

Laid down as American steam merchant Edisto, acquired by US Navy for conversion to escort carrier USS Edisto (AVG 41). On 20 Aug 1942 reclassified (ACV 41) and finally (CVE 41) on 15 Jul 1943.
On 7 Sep 1943 lend-leased to Royal Navy as HMS Nabob (D 77) manned with a crew from the Royal Canadian Navy, but the air crew stayed British. After training the ship went to San Diego and took the 852 FAA-Sqdn on board, equipped with Avenger aircraft. She then proceeded with HMCS New Waterford (K 321) via Panama Canal to Norfolk, where 45 P-51 Mustang fighters were embarked as deck load and US Army Air Force personnel was taken on board as passengers when the ship made passage to UK in convoy VT-10 and joined the Home Fleet after disembarking the fighters. In April 1944, four Wildcat Mk.V fighters were added to the 852 FAA-Sqdn, while a detachment of the 856 FAA-Sqdn, equipped with Avenger Mk.II aircraft joined the escort carrier in June. The ship then participated in Operation Offspring, a great mine lying operation off Norway.

Notes on event

In August 1944 the HMS Nabob (D 77) (Capt Horatio Nelson Lay) participated in Operation Goodwood and formed together with HMS Trumpeter (D 09) and HMS Kent (54) the second group of carriers from the Home Fleet (Adm Moore), which covered convoy JW-59 and launched further attacks on the German battleship Tirpitz in the Altenfjord. It was planned that the Avengers from the escort carriers fly attacks on German airfields on 20 August and to lay mines before attacking the battleship, but bad weather prevented any attacks and the task force was withdrawing, when U-354 encountered them on her search for convoy northwest of the North Cape in the Barents Sea.
At 01.14 hours on 22 Aug 1944 the U-boat fired a spread of FAT torpedoes and hit the HMS Nabob (D 77) with one torpedo in the starboard side aft, resulting in a hole about 32 feet square located aft of the engine room and below the waterline. At 01.22 hours, the U-boat fired a Gnat to finish off the carrier, but struck the HMS Bickerton (K 466) instead, which was about to refuelling from the escort carrier at the time of the attack. The frigate was subsequently scuttled by a torpedo from the HMS Vigilant (R 93).

The stern of the HMS Nabob (D 77) quickly sank 15 feet and the power went off. The fans in the engine room stopped and the main engines had to be shut down because the temperature soared to 150 degrees. As the ship laid dead in the water, 205 men were evacuated from the ship and transferred to the Canadian destroyer HMCS Algonquin by boats and Carley floats, two weeks later they were transferred to the HMS Zest (R 02) near the Faeroe Islands and finally brought to Scapa Flow. The remaining crew worked hard to get the ship under control. Emergency diesel generators were used to get power for the pumps to limit the flooding, but the engine room bulkheads bulged inward from the pressure of the sea that had rushed in through the hole. Heavy gear was ditched or brought to the bow to improve the trim, including the two 5in guns, which were removed with cutting torches and dropped overboard. This helped raise the stern so there was not as much pressure on the drive shaft bearings. In the early evening, the escort carrier was underway again at 10 knots.
Early the next morning, an HF/DF bearing and a surface contact indicated that a U-boat was in the area. Two Avengers managed to start and kept the U-boat under water for three and a half hours. The first returned and made a good landing, but the second crashed and damaged six other aircrafts on deck, which were later jettisoned. On 27 August, the ship reached Scapa Flow under own power after travelling 1100 miles since being hit. As the galley was destroyed the skeleton crew lived on short rations and rum for the five days it took to get the ship home.

The HMS Nabob (D 77) was judged not worth repairing, towed to Rosyth, beached and abandoned. Decommissioned on 30 Sep 1944 retained in nominal reserve, but was cannibalized for spare parts for sisterships. On 16 March 1946, the vessel was returned to the US Navy and stricken. Sold for scrap in March 1947 in the Netherlands. However, she was resold to the Norddeutscher Lloyd, converted to the German motor merchant Nabob until 1952 and used as a civilian training vessel for the post war German merchant service. 1968 renamed Glory and registered in Panama. In December 1977 sold for scrap in Taiwan.

On boardWe have details of 34 people who were on board

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