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stepping stones of maritime history


U-123 came across Grootekerk during the morning of 23 February while heading for convoy OB-288, but misidentified her as Nestor or Ulysses of the Blue Funnel Line. Moehle began to chase the ship which steamed on a zigzag course at 14 knots and soon noticed that it is difficult to overtake her as the U-boat was only marginally faster. However, after a chase of nine hours the ship turned southward and slowed down, giving Moehle the opportunity to fire a first G7e torpedo at 23.35 hours, which missed. At 00.53 hours on 24 February, the U-boat fired a second G7e torpedo that hit the Grootekerk amidships after a running time of two minutes. She stopped and was then hit underneath the bridge by a coup de grâce at 01.05 hours, which was a surface runner that struck close to the area where the crew was lowering the lifeboats. The ship capsized to starboard and sank after 12 minutes about 330 miles west of Rockall.


Type: Cargo vessel, Steamship
Built: Scheepsbouw Maatschappij 'Nieuwe Waterweg' N.V., Schiedam, 1923
Owner: N.V. Nederlandsch-Amerikaansche Stoomvaart Maatschappij 'Holland-Amerika Lijn', Rotterdam
Dimensions: 141.98 x 17.75 x 9.65 Meters Registered
Tonnage: 8365
Propulsion: Steam, Turbine, Power: 4200
Speed: 13
Complement: 52
Master: B.A. Veen


There were no survivors, all 18 Dutch and 35 Chinese crew members and 13 British passengers were lost.


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