Ships hit by U-boats


British Steam merchant

Photo courtesy of State Library of New South Wales

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage8,286 tons
Completed1920 - A. Stephen & Sons Ltd, Linthouse, Glasgow 
OwnerNew Zealand Shipping Co Ltd, London 
Date of attack18 May 1941Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-107 (Günter Hessler)
Position7° 52'N, 14° 57'W - Grid ET 2988
Complement75 (10 dead and 65 survivors).
RouteAlbany, Western Australia - Freetown - Liverpool 
Cargo7100 tons refrigerated goods, 1500 tons zinc, 1500 tons butter, 1500 tons meat and 24 bags of mail 
History Laid down as War Orestes for The Shipping Controller, completed in December 1920 as Piako for New Zealand Shipping Co Ltd, London. 
Notes on event

At 22.27 hours on 18 May 1941 the unescorted Piako (Master Benjamin Evans) was hit underneath the bridge by one torpedo from U-107 about 130 miles southwest of Freetown, stopped, sent distress signals and was abandoned by the crew. A coup de grâce was fired at 22.43 hours, which hit in the after part, broke off the stern and caused the ship to sink. Ten crew members were lost. The master, 62 crew members and two gunners were picked up by HMS Bridgewater (U 01) (Cdr H.F.G. Leftwich, RN) and landed at Freetown.

On boardWe have details of 12 people who were on board

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