Ships hit by U-boats

Benjamin Franklin

Norwegian Motor merchant

Photo Courtesy of Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart

NameBenjamin Franklin
Type:Motor merchant
Tonnage7,034 tons
Completed1927 - Ateliers & Chantiers de St.Nazaire (Penhoët) SA, St.Nazaire 
OwnerFred Olsen & Co, Oslo 
Date of attack19 Feb 1941Nationality:      Norwegian
FateSunk by U-103 (Viktor Schütze)
Position58° 50'N, 16° 30'W - Grid AM 1377
Complement36 (0 dead and 36 survivors).
ConvoyHX-107 (straggler)
RouteSan Francisco - Bermuda (1 Feb) - Liverpool 
Cargo8400 tons of general cargo, including 1000 tons of wood pulp, 300 tons of lead, explosives and aircraft as deck cargo 
History Completed in June 1927 
Notes on event

At 22.22 hours on 19 February 1941 the unescorted Benjamin Franklin (Master Alf Anderssen), a straggler from convoy HX-107 due to bad weather, was struck on port side in the engine room by one G7e torpedo from U-103 about 120 miles northwest of Rockall. The ship had been chased for nine hours and missed with a first torpedo at 21.46 hours. The U-boat waited for the ship to sink, but then fired its last torpedo as coup de grâce at 23.21 hours that hit on the starboard side under hatch #4, where 1700 barrels of aceton were stowed. The ship disintegrated in an enormous explosion, but all crew members had already abandoned the ship after the first hit in two lifeboats, which were later separated in heavy weather with snow and strong winds.

On 26 February, the seven sailors in one of them were picked up by HMS Pimpernel (K 71) (Lt F.H. Thornton, RNR) and landed at Liverpool two days later. The remaining survivors were rescued by the Egyptian steam merchant Memphis, but on 28 February her engines were disabled in heavy weather and she foundered northwest of Ireland in 56°40N/10°30W. All on board were lost.

On the morning of 21 February 1941 the Italian submarine Barbarigo (CC Giulio Ghiglieri) came across a raft with seven Norwegian survivors in approx. position 58°25N/16°55W and gave them two boxes of biscuits. It is possible that these were the seven men from Benjamin Franklin that were later rescued by HMS Pimpernel.

More infoMore on this vessel 
On boardWe have details of 36 people who were on board

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