Daily Event for March 9, 2014

Launched on Dec. 5, 1900 the freighter East Point became the victim and nearly the victor against a German U-boat. On March 9, 1917 nine miles off the Eddystone lighthouse SMS U-48 fired a torpedo, without warning, which hit the 5,234 ton ship. The damage would sink her, but she did not immediately slow down. U-48 was submerged when the torpedo was fired, but shortly afterwards the commanding officer brought her to periscope depth. Apparently his intention was to attack another ship, but East Point, still underway, ran down the submerged U-boat hitting her in or near the conning tower and sending her to the bottom.

There were four men in the conning tower, two had been knocked unconscious and two escaped into the boat, the inner hatch being secured behind them. The two unconscious men were now trapped in the conning tower which was soon flooded, of course they did not survive. One was the commanding officer the other was the navigator.

The boat hit the bottom at about 230' and the crew began to make the necessary repairs. Some hours later they were able to surface and they held a service for their dead crew mates. Unable to remain underwater because the conning tower could not be sealed, they proceeded toward Germany on the surface. They sank the French sailing vessel Guerveur en route and arrived in Wilhelmshaven on the 16th.

U-48, under a new commander was lost on Nov. 24, 1917 on the Goodwin Sands after fowling the nets and being grounded. East Point sank, all forty-five men taking to the boats and being picked up. It is not clear to me if the survivors of East Point even knew they had hit the U-boat or not, it appears that the ramming was not intentional, but an accident, U-48 just happened to be in the path of the ship before she stopped.
© 2014 Michael W. Pocock

East Point, date and location unknown.
(Photo courtesy of Norman H. Young)

SMS U-48 seen underway.
(Photo courtesy of Norman H. Young)

Harold James Young, D.S.C.

May 19, 2014

The ship was under the command of my grandfather, Harold James Young, DSC (shown above). Harold Young had commanded East Point since 1909 and had been awarded the DSC for saving East Point after she had been set ablaze by Turkish shells at Suvla during the Dardanelles campaign.  My grandfather and East Point were also involved in the final evacuation of troops from Suvla under conditions of great secrecy, as detailed in a letter of his in my possession.

My father, Richard H. Young, followed his father to sea, joining Queen of Bermuda as a cadet for her sea trials and subsequent millionaires cruises from NY to Bermuda during Prohibition.  He was Second Officer on SS Harmatris when she was torpedoed off Murmansk on 17 January 1942 by U-454. Harmatris was towed into Murmansk and repaired over 8 months.  My father received a "King's Commendation" plus a cash award and the ship's senior officers were all awarded honours.

Norman H. Young

In Erinnerung an die gefallenen Besatzungsmitglieder der SMS U-48

Bergmann, Adolf
Buss, Berndt
Commanding Officer

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