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SHIPS ENGLAND - D E F

41)FORT HALKETT MoWT




Sister ship Fort Stikine Photo www.photoship.co.uk


  


Built 1940


Tonnage 4,244 / 7,133 tons


Cargo Ballast


Route: Bone - Freetown - Rio de Janeiro


Sunk 6 Aug 43 by U-185 on pos. 09º 30’S 26º 50’W


0 Dead


59 Survivors


Completed November 1942, with the hull built by Vancouver Dry Dock Co, for US War Shipping Administration (WSA), lend-leased on bareboat charter to British Ministry of War Transport (MoWT).


600 miles off the coast of Brazil at 04.50 hours on 6 Aug, 1943 she had the misfortune to cross with the 750 tonne type IX-C submarine U-185 commanded by Kapitänleutnant August Maus of the 1934 Naval term. Despite he and his crew being described as an efficient, experienced and well commanded team on their third patrol Herr Maus did not have his eye in that day and no fewer that five torpedoes missed before a sixth, the very last on board struck the forward but was ineffective.


Maus surfaced and expended the majority of his remaining 105mm ammunition before the ship sank. Incidentally this was the second time Maus took six torpedoes to score one hit, the first being against the PETER MAERSK 8 months earlier. On another occasion the torpedoes failed top even leave the tubes despite the order to fire being given. Over his career he suffered more misses than hits but is credited with 9 ships sunk for a total of just over 60,000 tons with a tenth ship damaged.


The Master of the Fort Halkett, Captain William Walker DSO ordered the crew to abandon ship and three groups survived. Captain Walker made the 600 miles to Brazil in an open boat with 23 crew. The second officer with 10 men in another lifeboat also made it to Brazil while a third life boat of survivors was picked up the American destroyer USS Goldsborough (DD 188). Internet sources appear divided on the number of crew who lost their lives.


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