SS Delfshaven

Steam Merchant Vessel
Built by W. Gray & Co. Ltd.
Completed: 1930
Owned by: Van Uden´s Scheepvaart
Length: 421.2 ft.
Beam 54.1 ft
Service Speed: 11 knots
5,281 tons

Nationality: Dutch

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The Delfshaven was carrying 2,200 tons of ammunition and other war materials from the USA to Capetown and India via Trinidad. It departed from Trinidad on 26 July, 1942 but 10 days out, some of the engine room personnel refused to work. The master ordered a change of course to Freetown, Sierra Leone, where he threatened to turn the men over to the authorities. The men then decided to return to their duties and the course was resumed to Capetown.

The Delfshaven was sighted by U-572 who fired three torpedoes at 00.21 hours on 7 August, 1942 which not only missed the vessel but were unnoticed by those aboard the ship. The U-572 then fired a stern torpedo at 00.28 hours which also missed. At 02.25 the U-572 then fired its last remaining bow torpedo which hit the vessel amidships. The crew then abandoned ship and took to two lifeboats. The vessel, however, did not sink and at 04.42 hours the U-572 fired a stern torpedo which caused the ship to explode. The position was grid reference ES 5466 (07.24N,25.37W).
One of the lifeboats reached French Guinea, about 100 miles north of Freetown and the other landed near Cape Verga, about 100 miles north of the first boat. All survivors were interned by Vichy France but were released in December 1942.

One member of the crew lost his life but 38 men survived the attack.