Ships hit by U-boats

La Brea

British Steam tanker

Photo courtesy of State Library of New South Wales

NameLa Brea
Type:Steam tanker
Tonnage6,665 tons
Completed1916 - Union Iron Works, San Francisco CA 
OwnerJohn I. Jacobs & Co Ltd, London 
Date of attack24 Aug 1940Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-48 (Hans Rudolf Rösing)
Position57° 24'N, 11° 21'W - Grid AM 2743
Complement33 (2 dead and 31 survivors).
ConvoyHX-65 (straggler)
RouteAruba - Bermuda - Dundee 
Cargo9410 tons of fuel oil 
History Completed in March 1916 for Union Oil Co of California, Los Angeles, CA. 1940 transferred to Britain and taken over by Ministry of War Transport (MoWT). 
Notes on event

At 14.24 hours on 24 Aug 1940 the unescorted and unarmed La Brea (Master George Edward Firth), a straggler from convoy HX-65 since 19 August due to problems with the fuel, was hit on the port side by one G7a torpedo from U-48 west-northwest of Rockall. The torpedo was a surface runner, but nevertheless hit between #10 and #11 tank, right at the break of the poop, opening the deck and causing a fire astern. It went out when the tanker rapidly settled by the stern on an even keel and sank suddenly with her bows in the air after 20 minutes, leaving wreckage and two rafts on the surface. The master had refused to leave as he thought she would remain afloat and was lost as was one crew member on watch below. The survivors abandoned ship in two lifeboats in bad weather with rough seas and observed the U-boat nearby, but were not questioned. The chief officer and 16 men in one of the boats sailed 130 miles and reached South Uist, Outer Hebrides on 25 August. The second officer and 13 men in the other boat made landfall at Islivig Bay, Isle of Lewis on 26 August.

On boardWe have details of 5 people who were on board

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