Ships hit by U-boats

West Ira

American Steam merchant

Photo from City of Vancouver Archives, CVA 447-2837

NameWest Ira
Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage5,681 tons
Completed1919 - Ames Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co, Seattle WA 
OwnerPope & Talbot Inc, San Francisco CA 
HomeportSan Francisco 
Date of attack21 Jun 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-128 (Ulrich Heyse)
Position12° 28'N, 57° 05'W - Grid EE 8186
Complement49 (1 dead and 48 survivors).
RouteNew York - Capetown - Persian Gulf 
Cargo6418 tons of general cargo 
History Completed in October 1919 for US Shipping Board (USSB) 
Notes on event

At 04.01 hours on 21 June 1942 the unescorted West Ira (Master Peter G. Winsens) was hit on the starboard side at #2 hold by one of two torpedoes from U-128 while steaming on a nonevasive course at 7.5 knots about 120 miles southeast of Barbados. The ship had been spotted at 21.46 hours the day before and was missed by two G7a torpedoes at 02.14 and 02.15 hours. The torpedo struck in #2 hold and caused the ship to settle immediately and sink after 15 minutes. The eight officers, 28 crewmen and 13 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, four 20mm and two .30cal guns) abandoned ship in four lifeboats and one raft in rough seas. Nine survivors in one boat were picked up by the Dutch steam merchant Macuba and landed at Barbados on 24 June. 14 survivors in another boat made landfall at Trinidad on 25 June and 25 survivors in the two remaining boats landed on Barbados on 27 June. The only casualty was the radio operator who sent distress signals until the ship sank and then apparently abandoned ship on a raft which was washed ashore with his body eleven days after the attack.

On boardWe have details of 3 people who were on board

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