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MaSS

stepping stones of maritime history

History

At 09.13 hours on 26 June 1942 the unescorted Jagersfontein (Master M.A. van der Est) was hit by one of two torpedoes fired by U-107 about 500 miles east of Bermuda. The torpedo struck on the port side between #4 and #5 hold and destroyed the bulkhead. The explosion was weakened by the cargo of cotton. Distress signals were immediately sent and the master tried to reach Bermuda. The U-boat chased the ship on the surface but was forced to submerge after the vessel opened fire with the 105mm stern gun. However, soon her rudder jammed as the ship sank slowly by the stern and the engines broke down at 12.15 hours. So the ship was abandoned by the 108 crew members, 14 gunners and 98 passengers (86 US Army officers and 12 civilians, among them women and children) in four lifeboats. At 14.59 hours, the U-boat fired a coup de grâce which hit underneath the bridge and caused the ship to sink by the stern within minutes in 32°02N/54°53W.

The occupants of the lifeboats later observed the U-boat surfacing and searching for traces between the debris and could hear them speaking German before it disappeared on a westerly course.

Rescued
One of the boats had a transmitter, which led the Swiss steam merchant St. Cergue to them on 27 June. Later the same day, USS Bernadou (LtCdr R.E. Braddy, Jr., USN) took the 86 officers and 13 gunners off the Swiss ship and landed them at Bermuda on 28 June. St. Cergue proceeded with the remaining survivors to Gibraltar, arriving on 7 July.

Description

MasterM.A. van der Est
People on board220
Length490.2 feet (149.4 m)
Width63.3 feet (19.3 m)
Tonnage10083 ton

References

Down on 13 April

New in MaSS

Wrecks of Flevoland

Burgzand Noord

13 Provinces