Daily Event for March 16, 2014

The freighter Stangarth was launched at William Pickersgill & Sons in Sunderland, England on October 21, 1941 for the Stanhope Steamship Company of London. Her maiden voyage took her from Sunderland on Jan. 14, 1942 to New York arriving on Feb. 19. They left New York bound for Bombay, India on Mar. 11, 1942 and was scheduled to make a stop at St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, but never arrived.

It was thought for a long time that she fell in with the Italian submarine Morosini and was sunk on Mar. 12, but it would not have been possible for the ship to reach the area that which Morosini had been operating in the short period of time. The other possibility is that she was sunk by a German U-boat.

On the Mar. 12th Korvettenkapitän Hans-Georg Friedrich Poske signaled U-boat headquarters (BdU) that he made three attempts to attack a ship, but could not get into a favorable position and broke off the attack, he moved to a new area and on March 16, 1942 at 1123 hours (U-boat time) he sighted two ships in the pre dawn darkness. He identified one as a freighter and the other as a tanker. Only able to see shadows he was unable to make an attack before the sun came up, but continued to make observations throughout the day.

At 1510 hours he could see clouds of smoke, but only recorded sighting one ship (he never mentions the tanker again) and he began to move U-504 into an attack position. It took over two hours to get into the right position and at 1824 while still submerged he fired two torpedoes at the freighter. Less than a minute later both struck the ship, one forward which caused smoke to be seen and one aft, which caused a massive explosion obliterating the ship.

Poske surfaced at 1828 and could see no sign of the ship, he only saw a massive cloud of smoke which rose
over a mile into the sky. He could also see debris falling from the sky and floating in the water. He suspected that the ship had been carrying ammunition because the explosion was typical of a magazine explosion. In the water he found tires and other debris including boxes marked aircraft parts (Flugzeuteile) that were bound for Bombay. He also found a lifeboat, but he did not find any survivors. The explosion had been so violent it had killed all forty-six men in the ship instantly. There was one other thing he could not find, not on the boxes and not even on the lifeboat, the name of the ship. With no further information to be found he left the area and made for home, U-504 arrived at Lorient, France on Apr. 1st. There is little doubt that his victim was indeed Stangarth.

There is one other unrelated piece of information that I found interesting. On Feb. 22, 1942 while Stangarth was loading at New York for her ill fated voyage, a longshoreman was injured by a falling boom, which was found to have been improperly rigged or defective. In 1944 the Stanhope Steamship Company was found libel for the injuries and ordered to pay $12,000 to the man for his injuries.
© 2014 Michael W. Pocock

Roll of Honour
In memory of those who lost their lives in
SS Stangarth
"As long as we embrace them in our memory, their spirit will always be with us"

Ahmed Ali
Ali Abdulla
Fireman & Trimmer
Ali Mohamed Saif
Fireman & Trimmer
Ali Ranem
Anderson, Andrew D.
Barlow, Harry T.
3rd Engineer Officer
Beck, George J.
3rd Officer
Beech, Norman
Able Seaman (RN)
DEMS Gunner
Bradley, Albert J.
Able Seaman
Burton, William C.
Chief Engineer Officer
Cooper, John F.
Age 17
Dahl, Alexander
Denholm, George R.
Able Seaman (RN)
DEMS Gunner
  Di Giorgio, Vincent Assistant Cook  
Franklin, John M.
Age 16
Ghaleb Mokbil
Fireman & Trimmer
Griffin, Edward T.
Able Seaman
Harlow, Eric H.
3rd Radio Officer
Herbert, William E.
Khoma Mohammed Ahmed
Fireman & Trimmer
King, James W.
Chief Steward
Lewis, Cecil
Chief Officer
Marshall, John H. R.
Ordinary Seaman
Martinson, Noel C.
1st Radio Officer
Middleton, John
Able Seaman
Mohammed Rasid
Fireman & Trimmer
Mohsen Mohamed
Moon, James W.
Able Seaman (RN)
DEMS Gunner
Morrison, Roderick
Able Seaman
Mugbil Abdul
Fireman & Trimmer
Nagi Ahmed
Fireman & Trimmer
Nagi Missula
Fireman & Trimmer
O'Neill, Hugh
Ordinary Seaman
Parkes, Eric J.
Able Seaman (RN)
DEMS Gunner
Perrin, Arthur T.
2nd Officer
Robertson, George
Cabin Boy
Said Hassan
Fireman & Trimmer
Summers, Douglas H.
Able Seaman
Taylor, John
Gunner (Royal Artillery)
DEMS Gunner
Tucker, Norman
2nd Engineer Officer
Turner, Jack W.
4th Engineer Officer
Underwood, John G.
Wee Gon Kin
Winters, Andrew P.
Able Seaman
Woolf, Stanley K.
2nd Radio Officer
Youngson, William J.
Gunner (Royal Artillery)
DEMS Gunner
Received King's Commendation for Brave Conduct when he was Radio Officer in
SS Trevanion, which was sunk by Admiral Graf Spee on Oct. 23, 1939.

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