Friday, 13 July 2012

West Hardaway

West Henshaw
Lowry originally used the name of the ship in an early short story 'On Board the West Hardaway' which was an based on his 1927 voyage to the Far East. The ship re-appears in his first novel Ultramarine; "He watched the oil tanker come right in— she was an American— West Hardaway, Portland, Ore." (Pg. 152)

The West Hardaway was a 5,702 tons steam ship built in March 1919 by Columbia River Shipbuilding Corp, Portland for US Maritime Commission, Washington DC, later laid up as part of the reserve fleet. Owned by Isthmian SS Co, New York during WW2. Sunk by U-502 (Jürgen von Rosenstiel) in 1942 en route Baltimore, Maryland - Hampton Roads - Trinidad - Table Bay - Suez with 7000 tons of war supplies and coal.

At 20.15 hours on 15 Jun, 1942, the unescorted West Hardaway (Master Karl W. Jaenicke) was attacked with a spread of three torpedoes from U-502 while steaming on a zigzag course at 6 knots about 30 miles west of Grenada. One torpedo passed ahead, another astern and the third struck on starboard bow in the #1 hold. Distress signals were sent and the gunners fired five shots at a "slick". The ten officers, 27 crewmen and 13 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, four 20mm and two .30cal guns) abandoned ship in four lifeboats and four rafts, but after 20 minutes the gun crew, the second mate and two crewmen reboarded the vessel. The gunners fired another round at the "slick", but the ship was then hit in the #2 hold by another torpedo and sank about one hour later. All hands survived and made landfall on 17 June at Margarita Island, Venezuela and were three days later landed at Trinidad by the Venezuelan steam merchant.

Note: West Henshaw - same design as West Hardaway but built at Duthie & Co., J. F.Seattle WA.

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