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Misc. reports
(received from Ron Granath, Canada - From Canadian archives)

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Report by 1st Mate - SS Cape Nelson

On Friday 21st February, Convoy was attacked by enemy aircraft. The aircraft followed down 5th column, dropping bombs and machine gunning. (See Page 1 for names of ships bombed).

On Sunday 23rd February, during forenoon, Convoy Escort left, approx. posn. 59N 18 15W. At 09:00 BST Commodore made a signal that convoy was to disperse at 21:00 BST on that day. The position at that time was approximately 59 30N 21 15W. Orders were to proceed at full speed of convoy course for 30 minutes, then star 227° for 50 miles.

At 21:38, when clear of convoy, course was altered as ordered, and approximately 15 minutes later an explosion was heard to the northward. Mean course was maintained, vessel zig-zagging according to Master's orders. Two other vessels were observed to be torpedoed, and a submarine sighted message was received from SS La Pampa.

At about 23:30 another vessel ahead was observed to be torpedoed, and course was altered to starboard. At 23:50, SS Cape Nelson received a torpedo on port side, abreast of No. 2 hatch. This torpedo evidently exploded inside the vessel and beams, hatches and sand ballast were thrown over the bridge, the port side of which was shattered, and the port bridge boat blown away. The Master and three deck officers were on the bridge at the time. The vessel immediately began to sink by the head, and the port side of the main deck was observed to be split abreast of No. 2 hatch.

The Master gave orders to abandon ship, and both lifeboats got away with 34 survivors. The ship sank in about 5-7 minutes, from the attack. At about 02:30 on 24th February a vessel was sighted, and a red flare was burned to attract attention. The vessel approached the two lifeboats, and the survivors were taken aboard, one man being lost during this operation. The rescue vessel was SS Harberton, Captain A. Patterson.

Total crew of SS Cape Nelson - 37. Following are names of men missing:
Captain K. Mackenzie
1st R.T.O. W. A. Bassom
3rd Engineer C. Drysdale
Donkeyman Ali Abdulla.

Signed Chief Officer Binnie.

Related external link:
The loss of Cape Nelson

Report by 1st Mate - SS Anglo Peruvian

On February 23rd, 1941, (Sunday) at 07:00 Destroyer left convoy in approx. 59 20N 18 30W. Convoy steamed on to dispersal point. Signal to disperse was made at 9 a.m. from the Commodore.

At dispersal point on Sunday night, Captain Quick of the above steamer carried out instructions as per Naval Control. At 9:00 p.m. GMT in about 59 36N 21 00W submarine attack began with the above ship first, which received two torpedoes; one in engine room, putting out all lights; the second one striking about 30 ft. abaft the first, within a few seconds. Vessel broke in two and sank in about three minutes.

Twenty seven members, including captain feared lost. Total crew 44.

Related external link:
The loss of Anglo Peruvian

Report by Captain - SS Harberton

In company with Convoy OB 288, at 21:00 BST 23rd February, I received orders from Commodore to disperse and proceed independently to destination.

At 23:00 BST 23rd February, we sighted a raft carrying men, so decided to ease down and attempt a rescue. Rescue was effected successfully, and seventeen men taken aboard. They were survivors from SS Anglo Peruvian. We then proceeded towards destination at maximum speed.

At 00:00 BST 24th February, sighted two lifeboats carrying men, so again decided to attempt rescue. At 01:00 rescue was successfully carried out and thirty-three men, survivors from SS Cape Nelson were taken aboard.

I wish to report the following:

a) During the rescue of the survivors of SS Anglo Peruvian, which was effected with our own lifeboats, one lifeboat capsized, and one man from Anglo Peruvian lost his life.

b) During the rescue of the survivors of SS Cape Nelson one man was killed, falling between the Harberton and the lifeboat of SS Cape Nelson.

c) The lifeboats of both SS Cape Nelson and Harberton were abandoned.

Having due regard to the extra men now numbering 50, in addition to my own crew of 41, I decided to make for the nearest British Port (Halifax) with consideration to the safest navigation, and in view of the fact that SS Harberton did not have sufficient lifeboat accommodation for the 25% of the lives now aboard. Further, I held provisions for 10 days only.

I arrived at Halifax, noon March 4th, 1941, to land survivors of above named ships and report to the British Ministry of Shipping.

I suggest, for consideration, that as this attack occurred only twelve hours after the local escort left the convoy, in Longitude 18° West, it would be in the interest of British Shipping, that the Local Escort should not disperse from the convoy before Longitude 28°W.

Signed Captain A. Patterson.

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To the next available OB convoy in my list OB 290


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