Blythswood Vessels during WWII

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Angus Mac Kinnon
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Blythswood Vessels during WWII

Post by Angus Mac Kinnon » Sun Sep 19, 2010 10:30 pm

A WAR DIARY OF ENEMY ACTIONS INVOLVING BLYTHSWOOD-BUILT VESSELS
(presented in chronological date order)

26-12-1939 ADELLEN YARD No. 30 ADELLEN SHIPPING COMPANY
Sustained damage when she struck a mine, in position 51’ 30 North 01’ 43 East. See further entries below at 01-04-1941 and 22-02-1942 for details of subsequent attacks and the ultimate destruction of this vessel

20-01-1940 CARONI RIVER YARD No. 19 HOULDER BROTHERS
Sunk after striking a mine, in position 50’ 06 North 05’ 01 West, when leaving the harbour at Falmouth to undertake sea trials. All crewmembers were saved. (The mine she struck had been laid by the German submarine U-34 in the early hours of 20-01-1940 as part of a minelaying exercise being undertaken by the U-Boat off the South-East coast of England)

11-02-1940 IMPERIAL TRANSPORT YARD No. 31 HOULDER BROTHERS
Torpedoed by U-53, in a position approximately 59’ North 12’ West, North of Rockall in the North Atlantic. In a tremendous explosion, the vessel broke in two as a result of this attack, severed abaft the Bridge. Although eleven crewmen died in the incident, the remainder managed to jump over onto the stern half of the ship, which included her machinery, and which remained afloat and seaworthy. The forepart sank very quickly. The stern half was sailed at a slow speed of just over 3 knots by use of a jury-rigged steering gear system from the poop deck and navigated using an atlas and ruler. ( In the explosion the Bridge and all navigating instruments were destroyed) A course was set for the Scottish coast and eventually the stricken vessel was taken under tow and beached on the Isle of Bute. Later, she was taken to the Clyde and a new forepart was constructed and built onto the original stern section by Barclay Curle Limited at their Elderslie Drydock, Scotstoun West, after which the ship was returned into service.

This vesel was again damaged by further submarine torpedo attack - see entry below at 25-03-1942.

[ U-53 carried out a total of 3 war patrols, sinking 7 Allied ships amounting to 27,316 GRT and damaging one other ship. This U-boat was herself destroyed 12 days later, on 23-02-1940, in a position South of the Faroes, by depth-charge attack from the destroyer HMS Gurkha. There were no survivors - 42 dead ]

04-03-1940 PACIFIC RELIANCE YARD No. 14 FURNESS WITHY & COMPANY
Torpedoed amidships by U-29, in position 50’ 23 North 05’ 49 West, in the South-West Approaches, West of Newquay, whilst on a passage from New Westminster/Los Angeles/Halifax/London bound for Liverpool and Manchester. Shortly after being struck, she broke her back and slid beneath the surface within ten minutes of the torpedo attack. All 53 crewmembers survived this incident, being picked up by the coastal steamer MACVILLE and landed in Cornwall.

[ U-29 carried out a total of 9 war patrols, destroying 11 Allied vessels amounting to 62,088 GRT and an Aircraft Carrier of 22,500 DWT. Taken out of active service in January 1941, she was used for training purposes for the remainder of the war and scuttled in Kupfermuhlen Bay on 04-05-1945]

22-06-1940 O. A. KNUDSEN YARD No. 10 KNUT KNUDSEN (NORWAY)
Under her new name, ELI KNUDSEN, this Norwegian-owned Blythswood-built motor tanker was sailing as part of Convoy HX 49, in position 50’ 36 N 08’ 44 W, South-East of the Fastnet Rock when she was torpedoed and sunk by U-32. Remaining afloat after the attack, but with her bows submerged, the stricken vessel was taken in tow on 23-06-1941, but sank later that same day. She had been on a passage from Aruba to Swansea carrying 9,000 tons of diesel oil + 3,000 tons of fuel oil. The crew of 37 were all saved.

[U-32 carried out a total of 9 war patrols, destroying 22 Allied vessels amounting to 128,767 GRT, in addition to damaging a further four vessels. (Among her conquests was the destruction of the largest Allied ship ever destroyed by a U-Boat, the 42,348 tons liner EMPRESS OF BRITAIN of the Canadian Pacific S. S. Company) U-32 herself met her end on 30-10-1940, justb two days after sinking the EMPRESS OF BRITAIN, when she was caught tracking another British vessel (S.S. BALZAC) by the British Destroyers HMS Harvester and HMS Highlander. The two destroyers continued their pursuit of the quarry and subsequent heavy depth-charging by HMS Highlander forced the U-Boat to the surface. Heavy fire from the destroyers forced the crew of U-32 to abandon their vessel which they scuttled as they left. 9 men were lost from the U-Boat crew, the remainder were picked up by the British warships]

26-09-1940 WELSH PRINCE YARD No. 60 FURNESS WITHY & COMPANY
Bombed by German aircraft and severely damaged, in position 57’ 37 North 01’ 34 West, off Aberdeen, whilst on a passage from London to New York. Was able to make port and subsequently repaired.

See entry below at 07-12-1941 for ultimate fate of this vessel

05-11-1940 SAN DEMETRIO YARD No. 52 EAGLE OIL & SHIPPING COMPANY
In the North Atlantic, some 1,000 miles East of Newfoundland, and part of the historic ‘JERVIS BAY’ homeward-bound 38-ship Convoy HX 84, which came under attack from the German pocket-battleship Admiral Scheer, in position 52’ 48 North 32’ 15 West, the SAN DEMETRIO was set alight and, amid a hail of shellfire and shrapnel, all crew took to the boats. One of the boats, containing 23 survivors from the SAN DEMETRIO, was found two days later by the GLOUCESTER CITY and these survivors were landed at St. Johns, Newfoundland, on 13-11-1940. As these survivors were being picked up by the GLOUCESTER CITY, the other SAN DEMETRIO lifeboat, with 16 survivors on board, sighted a ship which turned out to be their own SAN DEMETRIO, still ablaze but afloat. With some difficulty, and under the leadership of the Chief Engineer, C. Pollard, and 2nd Mate, Mr Hawkins, they re-boarded the vessel and after two days of heroics that became an epic of WWII, they managed to put the fires out and start her engine. Without charts, compass or sextant, they steered for the Clyde, and succeeded in covering over 1,000 miles in eight days and making port on 13-11-1940. The vessel, extensively damaged, was subsequently repaired and returned in service, but was not to survive the war.

See entry below at 17-03-1942 for the ultimate fate of this vessel

An excellent large scale model of the SAN DEMETRIO can be seen at the British Maritime Museum at Greenwich showing the vessel in the burnt out condition in which she arrived on the Clyde in the winter of 1940. It is a first-class likeness when compared with photographs and, apart from being an extremely unusual ship model, it must have been particularly difficult to capture the devastation and destruction in such a true and realistic manner as achieved by the model-maker. The vessel’s Red Ensign is held at the Imperial War Museum in London, presented in December 1959 by the Owners of the vessel, the Eagle Oil & Shipping Company. Her voyage in November 1940 was officially recorded by F. Tennyson Jesse in ‘The Saga of San Demetrio’ (HMSO 1942 publication) and was also the subject of a film entitled ‘San Demetrio, London’ The following officers and crew-members of the SAN DEMETRIO were duly awarded the Lloyd’s War Medal :

+ Captain C. Vicot, OBE : Master
+ Mr. G. W. Jennings, MBE : Radio Officer
+ Mr. C. Pollard, OBE : Chief Engineer
+ Mr. J. L. Jones, BEM : Apprentice

23-12-1940 PACIFIC PIONEER YARD No. 16 FURNESS WITHY & COMPANY
Damaged through aerial bombing by enemy aircraft whilst berthed at Manchester.

See entry below at 29-07-1942 for ultimate fate of this vessel

12-02-1941 ARGENTINE TRANSPORT YARD No. 35 HOULDER BROTHERS
Sunk in position 37’ 10 North 21’ 20 West, approximately 200 miles South-East of the Azores, by the German Heavy Cruiser Admiral Hipper whilst on a passage from Rosario to Liverpool, carrying 7,368 tons of general cargo, and part of a Freetown to UK unescorted Convoy. Taking a heavy shelling from the warship, the OSWESTRY GRANGE, as she had been renamed, was hit aft and amidships, shelter deck and lower bridge structure, and was abandoned. The shelling continued after the vessel had been abandoned and one of the two lifeboats was damaged and capsized, drowning the Captain, 4th Engineer and three seamen. The other surviving 37 crewmembers, of the total crew complement of 42, were picked up by the remaining lifeboat and shortly after this the OSWESTRY GRANGE turned turtle and sank after the German warship had put a further twelve rounds into her side. She had been carrying amongst other cargo a valuable shipment of frozen meat from Argentine.

17-02-1941 SIAMESE PRINCE YARD No. 24 FURNESS WITHY & COMPANY
Torpedoed by U-69, in position 59’ 53 North 12’ 13 West, South-East of Iceland and some 180 miles North-West of the Hebrides, whilst on a passage from New York to Liverpool carrying a special and general cargo. All 67 persons on board the British cargo liner perished in this incident - 58 crewmembers, 1 gunner and 8 passengers.

[U-69 carried out a total of 11 war patrols, destroying 16 Allied ships amounting to 64,812 GRT and damaging one vessel. ’Siamese Prince’ was the first victim of this U-boat. U-69 met her end on 17-02-1943, exactly two years to the day from the destruction of the ‘Siamese Prince’, and whilst engaged in attacking South-West bound Convoy ON165. In a position East of Newfoundland, U-69 was destroyed by depth-charge attack from HMS Viscount. No survivors - 46 dead]

15-03-1941 SAN CASIMIRO YARD No. 43 EAGLE OIL & SHIPPING COMPANY
Whilst on passage from Freetown to Curacao, and on the third day out of the West African port, SAN CASIMIRO was chased and fired upon from a distance of twelve miles by way of warning shots to stop, by the German Battlecruiser Gneisenau, and was duly taken as a prize ship. However, a few days later the SAN CASIMIRO was scuttled by her captors to avoid her falling back into Allied possession, and sank in position 39’ 58 North 43’ 19 W, All survivors from SAN CASIMIRO were transferred over to the British Battlecruiser HMS Renown, with the exception of the tanker’s Master who had been taken on board the Gneisenau to spend the next four years in a German POW Camp. The SAN CASIMIRO crew were taken to Gibraltar where they were transferred to the accommodation/troopship EMPIRE TROOPER (ex-German liner Cap Nord taken as a prize by HMS Edinburgh) The German prize crew taken from the SAN CASIMIRO were sent to Canada for internment as POW’s.

01-04-1941 ADELLEN YARD No. 30 ADELLEN SHIPPING COMPANY
Bombed and damaged by enemy aircraft, in a position 7 cables from the Sea Buoy, off Milford Haven.

See entry below at 22-02-1942 for ultimate fate of this vessel

06-04-1941 CINGALESE PRINCE YARD No. 23 FURNESS WITHY & COMPANY
Bombed and severely damaged in the evening of this day by German dive-bombers whilst lying at Piraeus, due to engine problems, during a voyage from Bombay and Table bay, bound for Trinidad and Liverpool, carrying 2,000 tons of manganese ore, 1,000 tons of pig-iron and 8,156 tons of general cargo The vessel was duly repaired and returned in service again but was not to survive the war, being the first British merchant vessel torpedoed by a German submarine South of the Equator some six months after surviving the bombing of the port of Piraeus.

See entry below at 20-09-1941

20-05-1941 JAVANESE PRINCE YARD No. 75 FURNESS WITHY & COMPANY
Torpedoed by U-138, in position 59’ 46 North 10’ 45 West, in the North-West Approaches, South-West of the Faroes, whilst on a passage from Cardiff and Milford Haven to New York, in ballast. Carrying a crew of 48, 8 gunners, and 4 passengers, 2 crewmembers were killed in this incident.

[U-138 carried out a total of 5 war patrols, destroying 6 Allied ships amounting to 48,564 GRT and damaging one other vessel. Whilst on a patrol, West of Gibraltar, she was detected by a fleet of five British destroyers who were bound for Gibraltar for refuelling. The destroyers, HMS Faulknor, Fearless, Forester, Foresight and Foxhound carried out an intensive depth-charge attack and sank the U-Boat. The entire crew of U-138 were picked up by the British fleet of destroyers]

26-04-1941 SCOTTISH PRINCE YARD No. 49 FURNESS WITHY & COMPANY
Suffered damage from aerial bombing by enemy aircraft, in position 36’ 07 North 24’ 30 East.

See entry below at 17-03-1942 for ultimate fate of this vessel

19-09-1941 EMPIRE SILVER YARD No. 62 MINISTRY OF WAR TRANSPORT
Under her new name ‘DENBYDALE’, was severely damaged whilst lying at anchor off Gibraltar. Italian frogmen, operating from the Italian submarine ‘SCIRE’, carried out a chariot attack (‘human torpedoes’ steered by Lieutenant Commanders Vesco, Visintini and Catalano) on several Allied ships including the oiler ‘DENBYDALE’, breaking her back.

A constructive total loss, she remained where she lay for use as a hulk, her engines being removed by the Royal Navy for re-use in another RFA oiler. After the war, she was raised and patched up for towing back to Britain where she was finally scrapped

20-09-1941 CINGALESE PRINCE YARD No. 23 FURNESS WITHY & COMPANY
Torpedoed by U-111, in position 02’ 00 South 25’ 30 West, South of the Saint Paul Rocks, whilst on an outward-bound passage from India to Liverpool via South America. In this incident, 48 of the 62 crewmembers were killed, and 8 of the 11 gunners on board also lost their lives.

[U-111 carried out a total of 2 war patrols, destroying 5 Allied ships amounting to 30,171 GRT. 14 days after sinking the ‘Cingalese Prince’, U-111 was located in a position West of the Canaries by the anti-submarine trawler HMS Lady Shirley. The trawler dropped five depth-charges over the site of the submerged U-Boat, forcing her back up to the surface. The U-Boat’s deck gun was knocked out by the trawler’s first shell and shortly after that the U-111 was sunk. Her commander, Kapitanleutnant Wilhelm Kleinschmidt, and seven of his crew were lost, the other surviving crewmen, totalling 44 men, were taken prisoner and taken back to Gibraltar by HMS Lady Shirley]

17-10-1941 PASS OF BALMAHA YARD No. 33 BULK OIL S.S. COMPANY
Torpedoed by U-97, in position 31’ 14 North 28’ 50 East, off Alexandria, whilst on a passage from Alexandria to Tobruk. Her cargo of petrol blew up, destroying the ship. The crew of 16, along with 2 gunners, all lost their lives in this incident.

At the time of her loss, the PASS OF BALMAHA was chartered to H.M. Government

[U-97 carried out a total of 14 war patrols, destroying 16 Allied ships amounting to 71,240 GRT and damaging one other ship. On 16-06-1943, whilst on her 15th war patrol, U-97 was caught on the surface, in a position North of Tobruk, by a Hudson aircraft of RAAF 459 Squadron. The aircraft dropped depth-charges on to the U-Boat from a height of some 50 feet causing some of the submarine’s crewmen to dive overboard. The aircraft was caught by blast from the detonation and almost lost control but managed to reach her base despite the damage sustained. U-97 on the other hand was not to survive this attack, her bow rose in the air and she slid down stern first into the deep. 21 survivors were picked up by the Royal Navy. The U-97’s commander, Kapitanleutnant Hans-Georg Trox, along with 26 of his crew were lost]

22-10-1941 EMPIRE OIL YARD No. 61 MINISTRY OF WAR TRANSPORT
Under her new name ‘DARKDALE’, was attacked with a spread of four torpedoes by U-68, and exploded whilst lying at anchor in St. Helena Roads, off Jamestown, Ascension Island. 39 crewmen and 2 military personnel lost their lives in this incident.

[U-68, one of the most successful during WWII, carried out a total of 9 war patrols, destroying 32 Allied ships amounting to 197,477 GRT and also an anti-submarine trawler of 545 DWT. This U-Boat was to meet her end on the night of 10-04-1944, in a position West-North-West of Madeira, when she was caught on the surface, in moonlight conditions, by two Avenger aircraft and a Wildcat of VC-58 operating from the escort-carrier USS Guadalcanal. The aircraft proceeded to launch their attack, using depth-charges, rocker-projectiles, and straffing. Under this heavy aerial attack, U-68 rapidly came to the end of her career and of her total complement of 57 crew, there was only one survivor]

07-12-1941 WELSH PRINCE YARD No. 60 FURNESS WITHY & COMPANY
Sunk after striking a mine, in a position 110 degrees and about 5 cables from Buoy No. 59 in the vicinity of Spurn Head, River Humber, whilst on a passage from London to New York, carrying 1,467 tons of general cargo including some 90 tons of Government stores. Abandoned in position 53’ 24 North 00’ 59 East, where she sank in 9 fathoms of water, breaking in two on the bottom. The entire complement of 41 crewmembers and 6 gunners survived.

16-02-1942 RAFAELLA YARD No. 50 SHELL OIL COY. - NETHERLANDS
Damaged in a torpedo attack by U-67, in a position one mile off Willemstad, Curacao.

[U-67 carried out a total of 8 war patrols, destroying 13 Allied vessels amounting to 71,704 GRT of shipping, in addition to damaging five other vessels. U-67 met her own end on 16-07-1943 in a position some 850 miles WSW of Flores, Azores, when she came under aerial attack from an Avenger aircraft from the Escort-Carrier USS Core. Using cloud cover, the aircraft approached the U-Boat and dropped four depth-bombs. The bow of U-67 rose out of the sea and she quickly disappeared under the surface, leaving tell-tale wreckage and oil on the surface. One officer and two ratings survived from U-67, all remaining 48 crew-members went down with the U-Boat]

22-02-1942 ADELLEN YARD No. 30 ADELLEN SHIPPING COMPANY
Torpedoed by U-155, shortly after 07:00 hours, in position 49’ 20 North 38’ 15 West, South of Cape Farewell and some 600 miles North-East of Cape Race, whilst on a passage from Newport and Belfast Lough to Trinidad, in ballast, and part of the West-bound Convoy ON S67. Of her total complement of 39 crewmembers and 9 gunners, 29 crewmen and 7 gunners lost their lives in this incident. The twelve survivors were picked up by the rescue ship TOWARD and landed in Halifax on 01-03-1942.

At the time of her loss, the ADELLEN was chartered to H.M. Government

[ U-155 carried out a total of 10 war patrols, destroying 25 Allied vessels amounting to 126,664 GRT, in addition to an Aircraft Carrier of 13,785 DWT and damaging one other vessel. In May 1945, U-155 was surrendered at Fredericia in Denmark and on 21-06-1945, U-155 left from her base at Wilhelmshaven under the command of her 1st Officer to sail to Loch Ryan, Scotland, where other surrendered U-Boats were being assembled by the Royal Navy in readiness for a large scale scuttling operation which became known as Operation Deadlight. (See photograph appended showing U-155 being surrendered at Wilhelmshaven) In December 1945, under tow of the RN Tug HMS Prosperous, U-155 commenced the long tow out through the North Channel on her way to the selected U-boat scuttling ground, over 100 miles out in the Atlantic in over 500 fathoms of water. However, in a position NNW of Malin Head, the tow-line parted in heavy weather conditions and U-155 broke adrift. On 21-12-1945 the U-Boat was sunk by gunfire where she drifted]

22-02-1942 KARS YARD No. 53 WESTERN OIL SHIPPING COMPANY
Torpedoed by U-96, in position 44’ 15 North 63’ 25 West, South of Halifax, whilst on a passage from Trinidad to Halifax and Belfast. Carrying 12,700 tons of aviation and fuel oil. Of a total complement of 43 crewmen and 4 gunners, only 1 crewman survived this incident.

The aft end section of the vessel was subsequently beached at Halifax on 27-02-1942. Sold to the War Shipping Administration, the machinery was removed for subsequent use and the hull section scrapped.

[U-96 carried out a total of 11 war patrols, destroying 28 Allied ships amounting to 190,181 GRT, as well as damaging four other ships. Taken out of operational service in February 1943 and used for training purposes and as a school boat. Decommissioned in February 1945. Sunk at Wilhelmshaven on 30-03-1945 during an air raid on the port by USAF bombers and later raised and scrapped]

17-03-1942 SCOTTISH PRINCE YARD No. 49 FURNESS WITHY & COMPANY
Torpedoed by U-68, in position 04’ 10 North 08’ 00 West, near Cape Palmas, West Africa, whilst on a passage from Calcutta, India to the UK via Freetown, carrying 6,000 tons of palm kernels, 600 tons of castor seed, 90 tons of pig-iron, and forming part of a Convoy. 1 life was lost in this incident, the remaining 34 crewmembers and 3 gunners surviving the incident.

[ See entry above for 22-10-1941 for information on U-68 ]

17-03-1942 SAN DEMETRIO YARD No. 52 EAGLE OIL & SHIPPING COMPANY
Torpedoed by U-404, in a position 37’ 03 North 73’ 50 West, East of Cape Henry / Chesapeake Bay, whilst on a passage from Baltimore to the UK via Halifax, and carrying 4,000 tons of alcohol + 7,000 tons of motor spirit. From a total complement of 43 crewmembers and 10 gunners, 16 crewmen and 3 gunners lost their lives in this incident.

[U-404 carried out a total of 7 war patrols, destroying 71,450 GRT of Allied shipping, a destroyer of 1,120 DWT, and damaging one other vessel. Shortly after setting out from St. Nazaire for her 7th and last patrol, U-404 was sighted on 28-07-1943, in a position NNW of Cape Ortegal, by two USAF Liberator aircraft which dropped depth-charges on the U-Boat and sank her. There were no survivors - 50 dead]

25-03-1942 IMPERIAL TRANSPORT YARD No. 31 HOULDER BROTHERS
Badly damaged by torpedo attack from U-94, in position 46’ 26 North 41’ 30 West, East of Newfoundland, as part of West-bound Convoy ON 77. Vessel abandoned, but was later re-boarded when it was seen that she was remaining afloat. Eventually taken to St. John’s, Newfoundland and repaired.

[U-94 carried out a total of 10 war patrols, destroying 25 Allied ships amounting to 142,248 GRT of shipping, an armed trawler of 655 DWT, and damaging two other vessels. U-94 reached the end of her war career during the early hours of the morning of 28-08-1942 in a position South of the Eastern tip of Haiti in the Caribbean. Whilst attacking Convoy TAW 15, the U-Boat was deteced on the surface by a USN Catalina aircraft which depth-charged the submerging U-Boat, forcing her to re-surface. A flare was dropped by the aircraft, revealing the U-Boat’s position to the Corvette HMCS Oakville, which immediately attacked the U-Boat by gunfire and depth-charge. In addition, the Corvette rammed U-94 three times, and on the final occasion the order was given to abandon ship. The Corvette sent a boarding party across to the U-Boat and two crewmen who resisted arrest were shot. The U-94 commander, Oberleutnant zur See Otto Ites, and 25 other crewmen, were picked up by HMCS Oakville and USS Lea]

17-05-1942 SAN VICTORIO YARD No. 66 EAGLE OIL & SHIPPING COMPANYTorpedoed by U-155, in position 11’ 40 N 62’30 W, West of Granada, whilst on a passage from Aruba to UK via Freetown, on her maiden voyage. Of all the oil tanker losses throughout the war, this was one of the most horrendous.

Brand new and fully laden with a cargo of benzine and paraffin on her maiden voyage, the SAN VICTORIO blew sky-high almost as soon as the topedoes struck her. The effect was volcanic. All hands perished in the appalling holacaust except for a Gunner from the Maritime Regiment who was blown violently over the stern in the first pre-explosion wave and was thrown far enough away from the doomed ship to survive the cataclysmic explosion that followed and which vapourised everyone else on board. The death toll from this incident, 48 crewmembers, 8 gunners, 1 passenger

(For 16 hours this man survived in the sea without a lifejacket, in waters infested with sharks and barracuda)

[ See entry above for 22-02-1942, which provides details on the ultimate fate of this U-Boat, which was also responsible for the destruction of another Blythswood ship, the ADELLEN of 1930, which was lost through enemy action on 22-02-1942 ]

20-05-1942 DARINA YARD No. 55 ANGLO-SAXON PERTOLEUM COY.Torpedoed and sunk by shell fire, by U-158, in position 29’ 17 North 54’ 25 West, East-South-East of Bermuda in the North Atlantic, whilst on a passage, in ballast, from Stanlow and River Mersey to Texas City in the US Gulf. Carrying 50 crew and 6 gunners, 5 crewmembers and 1 gunner lost their lives in this incident.

[ U-158 carried out a total of 2 war patrols, destroying 16 Allied vessels amounting to 91,770 GRT, in addition to damaging two other vessels. However, her war was to be over just 40 days after the sinking of tanker DARINA. On 30-06-1942, in a position some 200 miles West-North-West of Bermuda, the U-Boat was caught on the surface by a USN Mariner aircraft which attacked the enemy submarine with depth-charges. The U-Boat was taken completely unawares, with crewmen sunbathing on her deck when the American aircraft came in to attack. As she was submerging, one of the depth-charges lodged in her conning tower and exploded shortly after she had submerged, destroying U-158 and all those on board her – 55 men including two Allied merchant ship officers who had been taken prisoner on board the U-Boat]

20-05-1942 EMPIRE PICT YARD No. 64 NORWEGIAN GOVERNMENT
Under her new name ‘NORLAND’, was attacked and sunk by torpedo and gunfire from U-108, in position 31’ 29 North 55’ 37 West, some 600 miles East of Bermuda, whilst on a passage from the Tail-of-the-Bank, River Clyde to Corpus Christi, in ballast, part of the outward-bound Convoy ON 93. All 48 crewmembers survived this incident.

[U-108 carried out 11 war patrols, destroying 127,990 GRT of Allied shipping. From September 1943, U-108 was used for training purposes. On 11-04-1944 she was sunk at Stettin during bombing raids by USAF aircraft. Salvaged later, she was decommissioned on 17-07-1944, but was scuttled on 24-04-1945 at Stettin]

29-07-1942 PACIFIC PIONEER YARD No. 16 FURNESS WITHY & COMPANY
Torpedoed by U-132, in position 43’ 30 North 60’ 35 West, South of Nova Scotia and South-West of Sable Island, whilst on a passage from the Cardiff and Belfast Lough to New York, in ballast, as part of outward-bound Convoy ON 113. The entire complement of 59 crewmembers and 7 gunners survived this incident.

[ U-132 carried out a total of 4 war patrols, destroying 8 Allied vessels amounting to 36,723 GRT, in addition to a Cutter of 2,216 DWT and a Patrol Craft of 558 DWT, and damaging one other vessel. It is not clear what fate befell U-132 in the end. On her 5th and last war patrol, in the early hours of 03-11-1942, it is known that U-132 torpedoed and sank British cargo ship S.S. EMPIRE LYNX, and damaged the British Cargo liner S.S. HATIMURA which was carrying munitions. The damaged HATIMURA was again torpedoed a few hours later by another U-Boat (U-442) and as U-132 was known to have still been close by the crippled British vessel, it is widely regarded that when this vessel exploded under the attack from U-442 the other U-Boat was destroyed in the blast, but it unlikely that the cause of her destruction will ever be proven beyond doubt]

16-10-1942 MID-OCEAN YARD NO. 26 FURNESS WITHY & COMPANY
Under her new name of ‘CASTLE HARBOUR’, was sunk by U-160 in position 11’ 00 North 61’ 10 West, just North of Trinidad in the West Indies, on passage from Trinidad to Pernambuco, in ballast, and sailing as part of an East-bound Convoy. Sank in 30 fathoms of water. Carrying a crew complement of 23, of which 9 crewmembers lost their lives in the incident.

At the time of her loss, this vessel was on charter to H.M. Government

[U-160 carried out a total of 5 war patrols, destroying 26 Allied vessels amounting to 156,082 GRT, in addition to which she damaged five other vessels. Her war career ended abruptly on 14-07-1943, in a position some 300 miles South of the Azores, when she was spotted and attacked by two aircraft from the Escort-Carrier USS Santee, an Avenger and a Wildcat. U-160 quickly dived as the fighter-plane straffed her, but the Avenger came in low and dropped a homing torpedo ahead of the swirl and shortly later the pilot witnessed a shock tremor in the sea, followed by foam and an oil patch. U-160 had been destroyed, no ssurvivors - 54 dead]

28-12-1942 LYNTON GRANGE YARD No. 47 HOULDER BROTHERS
Torpedoed by U-628, in position 43’ 23 North 27’ 14 West, North of the Azores, whilst on a passage from Swansea and Belfast to Saldanha Bay, Table Bay and the Middle East and part of outward-bound convoy ONS 154 which came under attack from a large ‘wolfpack’ comprising no less than nineteen U-Boats. Was carrying 5,997 tons of general cargo including Government stores and a quantity of explosives. All 52 crewmembers survived this incident.

A total of thirteen Allied vessels were destroyed in this carefully planned attack on the convoy

[ U-628 carried out a total of 4 war patrols, destroying 3 Allied vessels and participating with others in the destruction of two other vessels, amounting to a total of 23,136 GRT of shipping, in addition to which she damaged three other vessels. The end of her war career came for U-628 on 03-07-1943, two days out from her base at Brest on the start of what was to have been her 4th War Patrol. In a position SSW of Reykjavik, a Liberator aircraft spotted the U-Boat on the surface and came in to attack her with 35 lb anti-submarine bombs in the first attack move. For the second attack, the Liberator dropped a total of eight depth-charges on U-628, destroying the U-Boat from which there were no survivors - 49 dead]

25-02-1943 MANCHESTER MERCHANT YARD No. 58 FURNESS WITHY & COMPANYTorpedoed by U-628, in position 45’ 10 North 43’ 23 West, East of Cape Race, whilst on a passage from Manchester to Saint John, New Brunswick, in ballast, as part of a 63-ship convoy (ON 166) reduced to about 4 knots as a result of atrocious weather conditions. Carrying 55 crewmen and 10 gunners, 30 crewmembers and 6 gunners lost their lives in this incident.

[ Details of the subsequent fate of U-628 are given above for the entry of 28-12-1942 ]

24-08-1944 EMPIRE ROSEBERY YARD No. 77 MINISTRY OF WAR TRANSPORT
Struck a mine in Seine Bay, off the Normandy coast, in position 49’ 22 North 00’ 36 West, whilst on a passage from En Bessin to Hamble, in ballast. Carrying a crew of 24 and 8 gunners, 10 crewmen and 3 gunners lost their lives in this incident.

At the time of her loss, this vessel was on Government charter

18-04-1945 KARMT YARD No. 48 WRANGELL – NORWEGIAN
Torpedoed and sunk by U-245, in position 51’ 27 North 01’ 43 West, East of Pegwell Bay and 10 miles ESE of North Foreland, whilst on a passage from Port Harourt to Antwerp carrying 7,539 tons of general cargo from West Africa, and part of Convoy TAM 142. Carrying a crew of 41 including a pilot, four lives were lost in this incident.

[ U-245 carried out a total of 3 war patrols, destroying 3 Allied vessels amounting to 17,087 GRT and damaging one other vessel. U-245 surrendered at Bergen on 09-05-1945 and sailed from that port under the command of her 1st Officer on 30-05-1945 to formally surrender the vessel at Loch Ryan, Scotland. As part of Operation Pedestal, the scuttling of 110 U-Boats in positions more than 100 miles North-West of Northern Ireland, the U-245 was towed out through the North Channel by the RN Tug HMS Enchanter in early December 1945 but, on 07-12-1945, in heavy weather conditions NNW of Rathlin Island, the tow-line parted and U-245 sank shortly later]

NOTE BELOW :

In addition to the vessels included above, the 5,600 GRT 1937-built S.S. MANCHESTER CITY, Blythswood Yard No. 46, was also reported to have been been a wartime casualty, although research to date has failed to provide any evidence of this. According to the contemporary publication ‘Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two’, by the German naval historian Prof. Dr. Jurgen Rohwer, this British cargo liner (Houlder Brothers) was attacked and damaged by torpedo from the Italian submarine ‘Perla’, in a position off Beirut in the Eastern Meditarranean, on 09-07-1942. Until now, this claim has not been corroborated by research of the British records and the vessel clearly survived the war as she was still in Lloyds Register of Shipping in the 1950’s.

SUMMARY OF THE U-BOATS INVOLVED IN ATTACKS ON BLYTHSWOOD-BUILT SHIPS

U- 29 VII 1936 Bremen 04-03-1940 KL Otto Schuhart Pacific Reliance
U- 32 VII 1937 Bremen 22-06-1940 OL Hans Jenisch O. A. Knudsen
U- 34 VII 1936 Kiel 20-01-1940 KL Wilhelm Rollmann Caroni River
U- 53 VIIB 1939 Kiel 11-02-1940 KK Harold Grosse Imperial Transport
U- 67 IXC 1940 Bremen 16-02-1942 KL Gunther Muller-Stockheim Rafaella
U- 68 IXC 1940 Bremen 22-10-1941 KK Karl-Friedrich Mertin Empire Oil
U- 68 IXC 1940 Bremen 17-03-1942 KK Karl-Friedrich Mertin Scottish Prince
U- 69 VIIC 1940 Kiel 17-02-1941 KL Jost Metzier Siamese Prince
U- 94 VIIC 1940 Kiel 25-03-1942 OL Otto Ites Imperial Transport
U- 96 VIIC 1940 Kiel 22-02-1942 KL H. Lehmann-Willenbrock Kars
U- 97 VIIC 1940 Kiel 17-10-1941 KL Udo Heilmann Pass of Balmaha
U-108 IXB 1940 Bremen 20-05-1942 KK Klaus Scholtz Empire Act
U-111 IXB 1940 Bremen 20-09-1941 KL Wilhelm Kleinschmidt Cingalese Prince
U-132 VIIC 1941 Vegesack 29-07-1942 KL Ernst Vogelsang Pacific Pioneer
U-138 IID 1940 Kiel 20-05-1941 OL Franz Gramitzky Javanese Prince
U-155 IXC 1941 Bremen 22-02-1942 KK Adolf Piening Adellen
U-155 IXC 1941 Bremen 17-05-1942 KK Adolf Piening San Victorio
U-158 IXC 1941 Bremen 20-05-1942 KL Erwin Rostin Darina
U-160 IXC 1941 Bremen 16-10-1942 KL Georg Lassen Mid-Ocean
U-245 VII2 1943 Kiel 18-04-1945 KK F. Schumann-Hindenberg Karmt
U-404 VIIC 1941 Danziger 17-03-1942 KK Otto von Bulow San Demetrio
U-628 VIIC 1942 Hamburg 28-12-1942 KL Heinrich Hassenschar Lynton Grange
U-628 VIIC 1942 Hamburg 25-02-1943 KL Heinrich Hassenschar Manchester Merchant

ABBREVIATIONS

KL Kapitanleutnant zur See
KK Korvettekapitan zur See
OL Oberleutnant zur See

KNOWN NAME-CHANGES OF BLYTHSWOOD-BUILT SHIPS

ORIGINAL NAMES SUBSEQUENT NAME CHANGES
ARGENTINE TRANSPORT OSWESTRY GRANGE
BASSETHOUND POINTSMAN
BENEDICK NONNA MARO
BRITISH CHIVALRY CLYDE CHIVALRY
BRITISH PIONEER CLYDE PIONEER
EDDYCLIFF KNOSSOS
EMPIRE JET REGENT JAGUAR
EMPIRE OIL DARKDALE
EMPIRE PICT NORLAND
EMPIRE SILVER DENBYDALE
EMPIRE TRINIDAD REGENT LION : CAMILLO
FARNWORTH AQUITANIA
FORT AMHERST AMHERST
FORT TOWNSEND AL AMIR SAND : MANSOUR : ROMANTICA
HAMLET SOL : KAVO MALEAS
HERMES PRESIDENTE CARDENAS
HERTHA SILDIN
HULDRA PORT NAVALO
IMPERIAL TRANSPORT MESNA : RONA
IRANIA ELIZABETH MARY : FRIMAU : THESSALONIKI
JAVANESE PRINCE BENLARIG
LANLEECLYDE LOOSDRECHT
LANGLEESCOT CITY OF BATH
LAUREL THABONEE : DAUPHINE
LINCOLN ELLSWORTH IMACOS
MERCHANT ROYAL DIONE
MID-OCEAN CASTLE HARBOUR
NAREK HOLY CROSS
NEOTHAUMA JASPIS
NORTH KING OCEANIC LIBERTY
O. A. KNUDSEN ELI KNUDSEN
PACIFIC EXPORTER GIOCOMO C.
PACIFIC FORTUNE MALAYSIA FORTUNE
PASS OF BALLATER RAFFINAGE : JACKSON PRINCESS : HOLYROOD PRINCESS
PASS OF LENY ESSAR I : PATRAI
PASS OF MELFORT AGHIOS NICOLAOS
REGENT LEOPARD PROSPERO : PONTIGNY
REGENT SPRINGBOK PROSPERO
SAN AMADO GOLFO D. CASTELLAMARE
SILURIAN CYNTHIANA
TALUNE AMOS


LIST OF BLYTHSWOOD BUILT SHIPS : FROM SHIP / YARD NO. 60

Column 1 = Date of Launching
Column 2 = Building Berth from which launched
Column 3 = Yard or Ship Number
Column 4 = Vessel Original Name
Column 6 = Vessel Type

23-04-1940 4 060 Welsh Prince Cargo
23-07-1940 2 061 Empire Oil Tanker
19-10-1940 3 062 Empire Silver Tanker
28-11-1940 5 065 Nasprite Tanker
27-05-1941 4 063 Empire Jet Tanker
11-09-1941 2 064 Empire Pict Tanker
23-10-1941 5 067 Empire Bairn Tanker
20-01-1942 3 066 San Victorio Tanker
01-06-1942 1 068 Nassa Tanker
13-10-1942 4 069 Naranio Tanker
22-12-1942 5 072 Airsprite Tanker
09-03-1943 2 070 Ninella Tanker
30-06-1943 3 071 Manchester Shipper Cargo
18-10-1943 1 074 Neocardia Tanker
10-02-1944 4 076 Northia Tanker
22-05-1944 5 077 Empire Rosebery Tanker
07-08-1944 2 075 Javanese Prince Cargo
28-12-1944 3 079 Nuttallia Tanker
12-04-1945 4 078 British Wisdom Tanker
10-07-1945 2 080 Empire Trinidad Tanker
07-11-1945 3 081 British Success Tanker
21-03-1946 4 082 Neothauma Tanker
01-07-1946 2 083 Neritopsis Tanker
16-10-1946 1 084 Manchester Regiment Cargo
25-02-1947 3 085 Langleescot Cargo
04-09-1947 4 086 Pacific Fortune Cargo
27-04-1948 2 088 British Chivalry Tanker
11-05-1948 5 087 Lincoln Ellsworth Tanker
23-08-1948 3 089 British Progress Tanker
20-12-1948 1 090 British Prudence Tanker
28-04-1949 4 091 Hamlet Tanker
07-09-1949 2 092 Regent Leopard Tanker
10-12-1949 5 098 Huldra Tanker
21-12-1949 3 093 Lancing Tanker
16-05-1950 1 094 Langleeclyde Cargo
27-09-1950 2 095 Manchester Merchant Cargo
28-12-1950 4 096 Regent Caribou Tanker
24-04-1951 1 097 British Pioneer Tanker
03-12-1951 2 101 Cearna Tanker
21-12-1951 3 099 Regent Springbok Tanker
26-05-1952 4 102 North King Tanker
25-08-1952 5 100 Eddycliff Tanker
24-09-1952 1 104 Harold Sleigh Tanker
18-02-1953 3 103 Nicolas Tanker
12-08-1953 2 105 Border Keep Tanker
26-11-1953 5 109 Hertha Tanker
18-01-1954 1 106 Regent Royal Tanker
21-04-1954 4 107 British Chancellor Tanker
31-08-1954 3 108 Border Minstrel Tanker
07-04-1955 1 111 Hermes Tanker
08-06-1955 2 110 Narek Tanker
01-12-1955 4 112 North Monarch Tanker
26-04-1956 3 114 Atlantic Knight Tanker
20-12-1956 2 119 North Empress Tanker
06-09-1956 1 116 Merchant Royal Cargo
15-05-1957 4 120 Grecian Emblem Cargo
12-09-1957 3 121 Sagamore Bulker
24-12-1957 1 122 Edenmore Bulker
16-04-1958 2 123 North Countess Tanker
29-08-1958 4 124 North Lord Tanker
24-02-1959 2 126 Regent Eagle Tanker
05-06-1959 4 127 British Gannet Tanker
25-04-1960 2 129 Texaco Oslo Tanker
07-11-1960 4 131 Hamilton Sleigh Hull
18-05-1962 4 138 Lake Winnipeg Hull
16-10-1962 3 139 Texaco Bristol Hull
08-08-1963 2 140 Fingal Tender
21-12-1964 3 141 Hecla (By Yarrow) Hull

RESEARCH SOURCES AND PUBLICATION REFERENCES

1. University of Glasgow : University Archives and Business Records Centre
2. Mitchell Library, Glasgow : Social Sciences and the Glasgow Room
3. ‘Ironfighters, Outfitters and Bowler Hatters’ by George C. O’Hara
4. ‘British Shipbuilding Yards’ - Volume 2 / Clydeside - by Norman L. Middlemiss
5. ‘War Beneath the Sea’ by Peter Padfield
6. ‘British Vessels Lost at Sea : 1939 – 1945’ - HMSO official records publication
7. ‘Britain’s Sea War : A diary of Ship Losses : 1939 - 1945’ by John M. Young
8. ‘The War at Sea’ by Julian Thomson through the Imperial War Museum
9. ‘U-Boat Operations of the Second World War’ : Volumes 1 & 2 : by Kenneth Wynn
10. ‘The British Tankers’ b y Norman L. Middlemiss
Angus Mac Kinnon

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Deepol
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Re: Blythswood Vessels during WWII

Post by Deepol » Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:54 pm

A pic of NERITOPSIS on trials in 1946.
Attachments
Neritopsis-Blythswood.jpg
From Bill Forth's Shell Collection
Paul Strathdee

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Deepol
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Re: Blythswood Vessels during WWII

Post by Deepol » Tue Aug 04, 2015 10:33 am

AtlanticKnight.jpg
ATLANTIC KNIGHT completed in 1956.
Paul Strathdee

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