Ships hit by U-boats


British Motor merchant

Photo courtesy of Stuart Smith collection

Type:Motor merchant
Tonnage5,197 tons
Completed1937 - William Pickersgill & Sons Ltd, Sunderland 
OwnerW.A. Souter & Co Ltd, Newcastle-upon-Tyne 
Date of attack29 Mar 1941Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-48 (Herbert Schultze)
Position61° 22'N, 22° 00'W - Grid AE 7844
Complement43 (0 dead and 43 survivors).
RouteVancouver - Panama - Halifax (17 Mar) – Loch Ewe - Tyne 
Cargo6900 tons of lumber and 1500 tons of wheat 
History Completed in January 1937 
Notes on event

At 06.19 hours on 29 March 1941 the Hylton (Master Watson Edward O´Connell) in station #21 of convoy HX-115 was hit on the starboard side amidships by one G7e torpedo from U-48 about 170 miles south of Reykjavik, Iceland. She was the ship of convoy vice commodore Vice Admiral Sir C.G. Ramsey, CB, KCB, RN. The torpedo apparently penetrated one of the side fuel tanks, the engine room and exploded in the #2 deep tank that held 900 tons of wheat. The engines were stopped at once and the ship took a heavy list to starboard. No distress signals could be sent as the aerials came down. The gunlayer spotted the U-boat immediately after the attack a little abaft of the starboard beam in a distance of 40 yards between the columns of convoy, but could not open fire at it. As the davits of the starboard lifeboat and the jolly boat had been destroyed, the crew stood by the port lifeboat until the order to abandon ship was given 30 minutes after the hit with a view to get the boat away before the list rendered this impossible. The master, the commodore, six naval staff members, 33 crew members and two gunners (the ship was armed with one 4in and one machine gun) abandoned ship in the only remaining boat in slight sea with the intent to stand by until daylight. At dawn, the survivors rowed to a lifeboat from Germanic in order to transfer some men from their crowded boat, but it was also full and soon HMS Sabre (H 18) (Lt P.W. Gretton, DSC, RN) appeared and towed the lifeboat back to Hylton which was kept afloat by the cargo of lumber with the after deck submerged. However, the sea had increased during the night and parts of the deck cargo were floating around the ship that made boarding too dangerous. The wreck of Hylton was scuttled by HMS Venomous (D 75) (Cdr H.P. Henderson, RN) with gunfire at about 14.00 hours. In the meantime the survivors from both ships were picked up by HMS Dianella (K 07) (T/Lt J.G. Rankin, RNR) and landed at Londonderry.

On boardWe have details of 5 people who were on board

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