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Owner: Skibs-A/S Mandeville
Built by Burmeister & Wain's Maskin- & Skibsbyggeri A/S, Copenhagen in 1929.
Captain: Johan Wildhagen
As can be seen when going to Page 1 above, Pleasantville arrived Singapore (from Hong Kong) on Apr. 9-1940, the day of the German invasion of Norway. The document indicates this voyage had started out in Aberdeen (Wash.) and her final destination was Manila. She headed back to the west coast of the U.S. again in May, returning to Manila in July. Her 1941 voyages also start on this document and continue on Page 2 and Page 3.
Pleasantville had departed New York City on June 3-1942 with a cargo of 3000 tons phosphate, cars, trucks, aircraft, 2 locomotives and tenders for Suez/Alexandria via Cape Town, on charter to Fearn Line, New York at the time (it'll be noticed, when going to Page 3, that she had previously had quite a long stay in New York, having arrived there from Trinidad on Apr. 10). She sailed in a convoy as far as Chesapeake Bay, then continued alone on June 6.
She was on a course 126° true, sailing at a speed of 12 knots, not zig-zagging, slight SE breeze, smooth sea and good visibility, 2 lookouts (1 on bridge and 1 on top of bridge), when she at 20:42 on June 7*, in approximate position 34 12N 68 00W was torpedoed by U-135 (Praetorius). The torpedo struck on the port side near No. 3 hatch, resulting in a hole in her side. She listed to starboard, then to port before straightening up and coming to rest with the foreship deep in the water. No SOS was sent because the antenna had fallen down. The engines were stopped from the boat deck and all 3 starboard lifeboats were launched. Shortly after the men had gotten off the ship, about 12 minutes after the first attack, the U-boat came up between the captain's lifeboat and the other 2 boats and sent off another torpedo, fired one quarter mile, 25° from aft on the port side, which exploded in the engine room, and within a couple of minutes she went down by the bow. About 10 minutes later the U-boat came over to the captain's boat, the commander asking the usual questions in German about cargo and destination etc., translated to English by a U-boat crew. The commander also asked if anyone had been wounded, then with a "sorry boys, this is war" and "I wish you good luck", the boat took off.
The captain's boat with 8 crew and 2 passengers set sail in a westerly direction at about 10:30, the other 2 boats being out of sight in the dark at that time. The next morning the wind died down so they continued rowing in the same direction for 2 days. In the afternoon of June 9 they spotted the masts and funnel of a ship which altered course and headed towards them (340 36N 690 55W), and at 16:35 they were picked up by the American Chickasaw City and landed in Port of Spain on June 18. The other 2 lifeboats had been located by the Polish D/S Paderewski the day after the sinking and the men taken to Trinidad.
An inquiry was held in New York on July 20-1942 with the captain, the 1st mate, the 1st engineer, and Able Seaman Sandtorv (helmsman) appearing.
Back to Pleasantville on the "Ships starting with P" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume II (Norwegian Maritime Museum), summary of statements by survivors (signed by U.S.N.R. Lieutenant T. A. Courtney), received from Tony Cooper, England, and misc. (ref. My sources).