Search: Sort by:





Built: 1921

Tonnage: 7.061

Cargo: Ballast.

Route: Bahia, Brazil - Trinidad

Sunk 07 JUL 43 by  U-185 on pos. 04º05"S 35º58"W

4 Dead

53 Survivors

At 00.53 hours on 23 May 1942, the unescorted and unarmed William B. Thompson (Master Hjalmus V. Rasmussen), en route in ballast from New York to Curaçao, was hit on the starboard side by one torpedo from U-558 while steaming on a nonevasive course at 10.5 knots about 120 miles south of Kingston, Jamaica in 16°26N/77°51W (grid EB 3855). The torpedo hit at #4 tank and opened a hole of 20 feet on the starboard and several small holes on the port side and the weather deck.

While the #3 tank and the pump room flooded slowly, the tanker escaped northwards zigzagging at full speed in a smoke screen. The eight officers, 29 crewmen and two Navy signalmen on board reported no injuries. On 24 May, she arrived at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and returned to service after being repaired.

External damaged suffered by William B Thompson after U-558 attack. 

Internal damage from a torpedo hit

Exit holes from uboat's shelling on the port side. Pictures by

At 06.07 hours on 7 Jul, 1943, U-185 attacked the convoy BT-18 about 175 miles east of FortalezaBrazil for a first time and reported two ships sunk and another damaged. In fact, the William Boyce Thompson and the James Robertson were sunk.The William Boyce Thompson (Master Fred Charles Vosloh) was the ship of the convoy commodore in station #41. The tanker was hit by one torpedo on the starboard side at the engine room, destroying the engine and the steering gear and killed one officer and two crewmen on watch below.

As the ship began settling by the stern rapidly, twelve men panicked and abandoned ship in a lifeboat without orders. Three of them were later picked up by the Brazilian Sub Chaser Jaguarão (CS 55) together with survivors from the other torpedoed ship, James Robertson both in Convoy BT-18 totaling 24 men, while the remaining men were picked up by USS Surprise (PG 63).

Above, William B. Thompson seen with the bow above the water. Photo  Fairwing Brazil by John R. Harrison, PhoM2/c-USNR 

Most of the eight officers, 32 crewmen, eleven armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in and two .50cal guns), the convoy commodore and five naval staff members abandoned ship after seven hours in two lifeboats and a raft and were also picked up by the subchaser, which landed them at Recife on 10 July. One crewman later died of wounds ashore.

The wreck of William Boyce Thompson remained afloat and had to be sunk by gunfire and depth charges from the escort vessels. The master, Fred Charles Vosloh, had only 4 months earlier lost a ship to the same U-boat and commander when Virginia Sinclair was sunk by U-185 (Maus) on 10 Mar, 1943.

By William Boyce Thompson (American Steam tanker) - Ships hit by German U-boats during WWII -


Select nao autorizado. You have an error in your SQL syntax; check the manual that corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right syntax to use near 'and <> 1403 order by ordem asc' at line 1