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We Sailed Half Our Ship for Three Days

Discussion in 'Merchant Navy During WWII' started by Jim, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Crews of of vessels sunk by enemy action have several times navigated small boats in masterly fashion, but a more unusual feat was performed by the crew of the "Imperial Transport" after a torpedo had cut her in two, Their story is here reprinted: after first been seen in the "Daily Telegraph" in 1940
    When the tanker "Imperial "Imperial Transport" of London, was cut in two by a torpedo on February 11, 1940, the crew hurriedly abandoned ship. Later they found that the stern half of the ship was, still afloat, and they sailed in it for three days before they were taken off by a warship.

    Survivors are seen after their strange trip aboard the "Imperial Transport"

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    This feat was described when the skipper, Captain Smiles, and 41 survivors of the crew of 44, most of whom came from Cornwall, were landed at a North of Scotand port on Sunday, February 18th 1940. A member of the crew said: "It was intensely cold and very dark. We saw nothing of the submarine until a terrible explosion shook the ship. We found that the ship had been cut completely in two and the two parts were rapidly drifting apart. The crew of 44 got into two lifeboats and in the process two men were drowned. The two boats got away all right with the rest of the crew. After an hour and a half we saw the stern part of the ship still floating and went on board again. We burned flares, and, after daylight the other small boat returned and the rest of the crew came on board. They had been in the small boats for 17 hours. Many of them were lightly clad. The deck boy aged 17, was in pyjamas and was almost frozen. The engines were still in working condition and Captain Smiles decided to try to bring half of the ship to port. He set a course for Scotland, and, was at the wheel practically continuously for three days, but half a ship is difficult to manage and we drifted a lot . Our wireless had been destroyed in the explosion, so we could send out no call for help, and during these three davs we sighted no shipping. On the third day a warship saw us and tried to tow us in. This was not successful, and a tug was summoned and we were taken on board the warship. And so to home and safety. "

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    Among many freak results of German submarine warfare is the experience of the oil tanker "Imperial Transport" Though she was blown in two by a torpedo, some of the crew sailed this end of her for three days before they were taken off by a warship. On the deck is painted an SOS "Send Help Urgent” so that Air Patrols could see.
     
  2. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    The beached "Imperial Transport" after her 170 miles coverage after losing her front end from a U-boat torpedo.

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