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Owner: Skibs-A/S Mexico
Built by Nakskov Skibsværft, Nakskov, Denmark in 1920.
Captain: Godtfred Sandnes
Her voyages are listed on this original document received from the National Archives of Norway.
Please compare the above voyages with Arnold Hague's Voyage Record below.
(Received from Don Kindell - His source: The late Arnold Hague's database).
Follow the convoy links provided for more information on each.
A Hague has also included Mexico in Convoy TAG 25 from Trinidad to Guantanamo in Nov.-1942 (external link), but this is obviously an error, since she had been lost the year before.
When war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940, Mexico was in Curacao, having arrived there from Chaparra on Apr. 6, leaving again for Kingston, Jamaica a week later - see the archive document. From Kingston, she proceeded to Bermuda on May 18, and with destination Portland and London, she's now listed among the ships in the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 46 on May 27 and arrived Portland on June 14. Together with Brant County, Idefjord, Ila, Nova and Stigstad, she later joined Convoy OB 182, departing Liverpool on July 11, dispersed on the 14th, Mexico arriving New York on Aug. 2. According to the archive document, she subsequently remained there for quite a long time; departure New York is given as Nov. 2, when she headed to Curacao, where she arrived on Nov. 10, continuing to Bermuda 2 days later, with arrival there on the 20th. She was scheduled for the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 91 on Nov. 23, but did not sail; as can be seen from the archive document, she had sailed from Bermuda to Sydney, C.B. on Nov. 22, arriving Sydney Nov. 28 (independently, according to A. Hague) and was also cancelled from the slow Sydney (C.B.)-U.K. Convoy SC 14 on Nov. 30. From Sydney, she sailed to Halifax on Dec. 1, arriving the next day, remaining there for over 2 months. She had been scheduled for Convoy SC 21 on Jan. 31-1941, but again did not sail.
In March-1941 E-boats laid several mine fields along the east coast of the U.K., while aircraft dropped large quantities of magnetic and acoustic mines at the inlets to Mersey, the Thames, Humber and Clyde. Ship losses increased dramatically.
Mexico had finally gotten away in Convoy SC 22 from Halifax on Febr. 8-1941, destination London. Voyage information is given as from Curacao (via Halifax and Methil) to London with 3823 tons fuel oil. She had stopped at Loch Ewe on the 25th, later joining Convoy WN 92, which arrived Methil on March 3. From there, she joined Convoy FS 427 that same day in order to complete her voyage to London. Again, see the document from the Norwegian archives (and convoy links in the table above).
At about 09:05 on March 6 (51 53N 01 37E), she struck a mine near the Thames estuary. The explosion occurred under the engine room, killing all those who were on duty there, and instantly stopping the engine with the result that all the lights went out. 3rd Mate Grøn, the officer on watch, was in the wheelhouse at the time, Ordinary Seaman Mønnerød was at the wheel, while the Latvian Ordinary Seaman Plume was on lookout duty on the starboard side on the bridge. Some of the crew, among them one of the casualties, the Belgian Able Seaman Verheyden, were working on getting the mooring ropes out, supervised by Boatswain Gustavsen.
The captain, who was on the port side of the bridge, was lifted up and fell backwards, and when he got on his feet again he saw a dark cloud of smoke obscuring the entire after section of the ship. As the smoke cleared he saw that the aft deck was under water, the 2 lifeboats there were gone, with the starboard boat floating upside down in the water. A raft was seen on edge near the funnel. The ship started to go straight down very quickly, without listing.
The captain shouted towards aft for those who were there to use the raft, but both rafts were gone. The 3rd engineer and 3 crew managed to get themselves forward*, and the gig was lowered with 11 men, including the captain. They picked up 4 from the water, namely the radio operator, who had jumped overboard from amidships, and 3 others who had jumped from the after part of the ship, meaning there were 15 in the gig. The 1st mate, the 1st engineer, the boatswain, a Canadian gunner (who was injured) and 1 of the crew were in the forward lifeboat**. All 20 were picked up by the British destroyer Witherington, which came to assist shortly thereafter. 3 had to be taken ashore on stretchers upon arrival Sheerness.
An inquiry was held in London on March 24-1941, with the captain, the 3rd mate, Ordinary Seaman Mønnerød, and the 1st and 3rd engineers appearing.
Boatswain Gustavsen had joined D/S Vigrid in London on March 15 (he's listed among the casualties of that ship).
Roger W. Jordan's "The World's Merchant Fleets 1939" says Mexico sank in position 51 55 04N 01 38 01E (claiming that 23 survived).
The wreck of Mexico was visible all through the rest of the war with the forepart above water, and wasn't sunk until Jan.-1946. A visitor to my website has told me that according to "Shipwreck Index of the British Isles" she was dispersed as navigational hazard, 1.75 miles south/southwest of the East Shipwash buoy.
Related external link:
Back to Mexico on the "Ships starting with M" page.
Norway had previously had a whale oil factory by this name, laid down as War Yukon for the Shipping Controller in 1918. Became British Ryckett in 1919, Norwegian Ragnhild Bryde in 1923 (Leif Bryde A/S, Sandefjord), Mexico for Hvalfangerselskapet Mexico A/S, Sandefjord in 1925. Renamed Porvenir the following year (Hvalfangerselskapet Atlas A/S, Sandefjord). Panamanian Coronado in 1927, scrapped in 1937.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Norwegian Maritime Museum, Volume II, and misc. (ref. My sources).