Archiver > MARINERS > 2005-03 > 1111269374

From: "Dave Mallinson" <>
Date: Sat, 19 Mar 2005 21:58:17 -0000
References: <> <004d01c52ca8$a856b5f0$e1fa86d9@finch96fpe5ia0>

I must admit I find this a fascinating story. Although there are a number of
replies stating the action between the Duchess of Bedford and a U-Boat took
place and that a U-Boat was sunk but no one has mentioned which U-Boat was

I have looked at numerous references on this subject and the closest I can
get is that on the morning of the 8 August 1942 U704, which had been part of
Wolf-Pack 'Wolf' and had joined 'Steinbrinck' in an attempt to intercept the
Sydney to Liverpool convoy SC94, missed the steamer Duchess of Bedford .
U704 return safely to St Nazaire on 16 August 1942.

Two U-Boats, U210 and U379, were lost prior to or during the attack on SC
94. U210 was sunk on 6 August 1942 after being forced to the surface by a
depth charge attack carried out by HMCS Assinboine after which that vessel
engaged the U-Boat by gunfire and eventually rammed her. U379 torpedoed two
ships from SC 94 on the 8 August 1942, sinking the SS Kamimoku and damaging
the SS Anneberg. There was then a hunt for the U-Boat which last 3 hours at
the conclusion of which HMS Dianthus rammed and sunk U379. U593 originally
reported SC 94 on 5 August 1942, she sank the SS Spar and returned safely to
St Nazaire 0n 19 August 1942. In total 11 ships and 2 U-Boats were lost
during this operation. The U-Boats that formed Group 'Steinbrink' for the
attack on SC 94 were U71/ 210/ 379/ 454/ 461/ 463/ 593/ 597/ 607 and 704.

The Duchess of Bedford, according to one reply, had left Liverpool on the 7
August 1942, and as U704 had closed convoy SC 94 on the 8 August 1942, and
had engaged the Duchess of Bedford on that day, presumably the Duchess of
Bedford was in the vicinity of convoy SC 94 by the 8 August 1942. I do not
know if she was sailing to Boston independently but the only two convoys
departed from Liverpool during the period under discussion.. ON 119 departed
from Liverpool 5 August 1943 on route to New York and ON 120 which left
Liverpool on 8 August 1942 for dispersal. If the Duchess of Bedford was in
convoy it would appear the most likely candidate convoy was ON119, bearing
in mind the dates and location of the action against SC 94, but if sailing
independently it would seem odd if she was routed close to a major convoy
action that had started when contact was first made by U593 on 5 August 1942
and which devoid of any air cover until 9 August 1942.

Further information would be welcome in these events. Does anyone know the
number of the U-Boat reportedly sunk by the Duchess of Bedford and can
anyone provide a transcript from the citation to the Master of the Duchess
of Bedford?


Dave Mallinson

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ted Finch" <>
To: <>
Sent: Saturday, March 19, 2005 5:25 PM

> Barry,
> From "Canadian Pacific" by George Musk -
> The DUCHESS OF BEDFORD left Liverpool for Boston on 7th Aug.1942. Two days
> out of Liverpool in heavy seas, a U-Boat was sighted about 400 yards
> Captain Busk-Wood altered course and opened fire at a range of only 100
> yards. The first shell hit the water and ricochetted the length of the
> U-Boat. The second struck abaft the conning tower with a terrific
> Two more direct hits were scored, one entering the hull and the other
> hitting the conning tower. Immediately after these hits, the U-Boats bow
> rose 30 degrees out of the water and she sank. A second u-Boat was sighted
> shortly afterward, but after three rounds from the BEDFORD, she submerged
> quickly. For this action, the captain was made an OBE.
> If this is a true account, I don't think there is much doubt that the
> was sunk.
> regards
> Ted
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Barry Johnson" <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Saturday, March 19, 2005 3:43 PM
> >A friend of mine was evacuated to Canada aboard the DUCHESS OF BEDFORD in
> > 1940. (See also my posting "US built escort carrier, 1944".)
> >
> > He has a book, written and published during the War, in which is
> > an
> > encounter between this ship and a U-boat, during which the latter was
> > by gunfire from the liner.
> >
> > I told him I didn't believe it, as I'd never heard of it, and such an
> > incident would have been widely reported and frequently referred to in
> > histories, like the epic encounter between the US Liberty ship STEPHEN
> > HOPKINS and the German surface raider STEIR.
> >
> > Was I just showing my ignorance? Did it actually happen?
> >
> > Barry Johnson
> >
> >
> > ==== Mariners Mailing List ====
> > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> > Listowners Debbie Beavis:
> > Ted Finch:
> > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> >
> >
> >
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