Ships hit by U-boats

Severn Leigh

British Steam merchant

Severn Leigh sinking

NameSevern Leigh
Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage5,242 tons
Completed1919 - Caird & Co Ltd, Greenock 
OwnerMark Whitwell & Son Ltd, Bristol 
Date of attack23 Aug 1940Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-37 (Victor Oehrn)
Position54° 31'N, 25° 41'W - Grid AL 4714
Complement43 (33 dead and 10 survivors).
ConvoyOA-200 (dispersed)
RouteHull - St. John, New Brunswick 
History Completed in January 1919 as War Anchusa for The Shipping Controller, managed by J. Temperley & Co, London. 1919 sold to the manager and renamed Bembridge. 1924 renamed Queen Olga for Cadogan SS Co Ltd (T. Dunlop & Sons), Glasgow. 1937 renamed Severn Leigh for Kelston SS Co (Mark Whitwill & Sons Ltd), Bristol. 
Notes on event

At 12.50 hours on 23 August 1940 the unescorted Severn Leigh (Master Robert George Hammett), dispersed from convoy OA-200 on 20 August, was hit in the bow by one torpedo from U-37 south of Iceland. The ship had been spotted at 11.45 hours the day before and missed with a first torpedo at 18.22 hours. During the chase, the Keret was sighted and sunk before the U-boat again located the ship at 08.15 hours on 23 August.

When the crew abandoned ship in four lifeboats, Oehrn observed how the stern gun was manned and they heard how the radio operator sent distress signals, so he decided to surface and to silence the radio with the deck gun and to accelerate the sinking with shots into the waterline. Unfortunately two of the lifeboats were still alongside of the ship when the U-boat opened fire and were hit by shrapnel from the shells that exploded on the hull and killed almost all occupants. 32 crew members and one gunner were lost. The master and nine crew members made landfall at Leverburgh, Harris on 5 September.

On boardWe have details of 35 people who were on board

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