Ships hit by U-boats


British Steam merchant

Photo courtesy of the Allen Collection

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage5,265 tons
Completed1919 - Short Bros Ltd, Pallion, Sunderland 
OwnerRoyal Mail Lines Ltd, London 
Date of attack18 Feb 1942Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-108 (Klaus Scholtz)
Position35° 30'N, 61° 25'W - Grid CB 8926
Complement58 (58 dead - no survivors)
ConvoyON-62 (dispersed)
RouteLondon - Loch Ewe - Bermuda - Curaçao 
CargoGeneral cargo 
History Laid down as War Toucan for The Shipping Controller, completed in August 1919 as Somme for Royal Mail Lines Ltd, London. 
Notes on event

At 23.27 hours on 18 Feb 1942 the Somme (Master Clarence Cornish Prosser), dispersed on 15 February from convoy ON-62, was hit amidships by one torpedo from U-108 southeast of Sable Island. The ship settled by the stern, while the crew abandoned ship in three lifeboats. At 23.38 hours, the U-boat fired a coup de grâce, which hit aft and caused the ship to sink fast by the stern. The survivors in the lifeboats were questioned by the Germans, but they were never found. The master, 47 crew members and ten gunners were lost.

At 00.45 hours on 19 February, U-108 fired with the 20mm AA gun at a motor launch that had been part of the deck cargo and floated free when the ship sank. The launch was left in a sinking condition, but three hours later the U-boat fired its last torpedo at the shadow of a flat vessel without a bridge in a rain squall and heard several detonations after eight minutes. Scholtz thought that he damaged a patrol craft, but it is very likely that the target had been the motor launch from the Somme.

On boardWe have details of 58 people who were on board

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