Ships hit by U-boats


Norwegian Steam merchant

Photo Courtesy of Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage4,211 tons
Completed1917 - J.L. Thompson & Sons Ltd, North Sands, Sunderland 
OwnerO. Grolle Olsen and I. Hysing Olsen, Bergen 
Date of attack7 Sep 1940Nationality:      Norwegian
FateSunk by U-47 (Günther Prien)
Position58° 30'N, 16° 10'W - Grid AL 3678
Complement32 (11 dead and 21 survivors).
RouteMontreal - Sydney - Manchester 
Cargo6321 tons of wheat 

Built as Tenterden 1920 renamed Gro

On 9 Jun 1940, the Gro escaped from Norway and was attacked by a German aircraft three days later in 70°05N/04°40E, but reached Britain with only minor damages with a cargo of 100 tons aluminum and some passengers on board.

Notes on event

At 05.33 hours on 7 Sep 1940, U-47 attacked convoy SC-2 for the third time, after sinking the Neptunian and José de Larrinaga. The ships in convoy were now zig-zagging, but Prien hit the Gro (Master Paul Brun) in station #83 with a torpedo on the port side amidships. Her boilers exploded and hot steam gushed out. The vessel broke in two and sank within ten minutes. 21 survivors, including the master, had left the ship in the port lifeboat (the starboard boat was destroyed by the explosion). Eleven men were missing, eight whom had been in the engine room. Just before Gro had broken in two, the men in the boat had seen two shadows move below the lower bridge, but could do nothing to investigate when the ship sank shortly thereafter. After a while two lights were seen on the water, but in the gale force wind and high seas they were unable to row in that direction and the lights soon disappeared. At dawn the survivors set sail in an easterly direction and were picked up by the British steam merchant Burdwan in 56°25N/09°35W in the evening of 10 September. But as this ship was en route to Capetown, the survivors were transferred to HMS Arabis (K 73) one day later and landed at Liverpool on 13 September.

On 27 September, HMS Periwinkle (K 55) found a raft from the lower bridge of Gro with two bodies tied to it. The dead men were the second mate and possibly the mess boy or the third mate.

More infoMore on this vessel 
On boardWe have details of 32 people who were on board

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