Ships hit by U-boats


Dutch Steam merchant

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Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage1,177 tons
Completed1919 - Lobithsche Scheepsbouw Mij v. Gebroeders Bodewes, Lobith 
OwnerNV Koninklijke Nederlandsche Stoomboot Mij (KNSM), Amsterdam 
Date of attack21 Jun 1940Nationality:      Dutch
FateSunk by U-65 (Hans-Gerrit von Stockhausen)
Position47° 10'N, 3° 35'W - Grid BF 5559
Complement47 (39 dead and 8 survivors).
RouteIstanbul (10 Apr) - Bordeaux (20 Jun) - UK 
Cargo1000 tons of manganese ore and passengers 
History Completed in June 1919 
Notes on event

At 08.17 hours on 21 June 1940 the unescorted Berenice (Master A. Huygens) was torpedoed and sunk by U-65. The Berenice had left Bordeaux at 13.30 hours on 20 June with 22 passengers on board (mostly Dutch and Belgians refugees), among them the poet H. Marsman and his wife and the Dutch painter T. Bottema. The ship sailed together with the Dutch steamer Orpheus, the coasters Nettie and Ary Scheffer and the tug Seine, but they got dispersed in the following night and only the Nettie was in visual range.
The Berenice was hit by one torpedo amidships, causing her to sink within three minutes. The coastal vessel picked up nine survivors, including the master and Marsman’s wife, the only surviving passenger. On 22 June, they were landed at Falmouth but the master already died of wounds aboard.

According to the KTB of U-65, they sighted a big steamer, identified as Champlain (28.124 grt), at 5.45 hours, which was shadowed until 7.35 hours, when the U-boat lost contact in fog. A short time later the ship was sighted again and attacked with a spread of three torpedoes at 8.17 hours.
Allied sources reports that the Champlain went to the bottom after being damaged by an air laid magnetic mine off La Pallice at 09.30 hours on 17 June. In knowledge of these sources, the torpedo report of U-65 claims the Champlain as his own success, but date, time and position are well fitting with the loss of the Berenice.

On boardWe have details of 33 people who were on board

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