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The Battle of the Atlantic

The Diaries of Joseph Hart

Organisational Convoy Chart for HX348 - Halifax Nova Scotia to United Kingdom & English Channel 3rd April 1945
S.S. Manchester Port (3) is in station 55
   
 
Photograph: Courtesy of The Mariners' Museum, 100 Museum Drive, Newport News, VA 23606, U.S.A. ©
 
   
   
 
S.S. Manchester Port (3)
 
 
Entering the Manchester Ship Canal
 
 
Photo: © National Maritime Museum London - P23337
 
 
MANCHESTER PORT 055 Br 7,071 35 GENERAL,AMMO EX HALIFAX
 
 
A full list of the ships in the convoy and their escorts can be found on
 
 
http://www.warsailors.com/convoys/hxconvoys7.html
 
 

 

 
 

The convoy comprised of 82 vessels + 30 escorts

 
 

http://www.warsailors.com/convoys/hxescorts.html

 
 

Sustaining two losses, both topedoed by U-1107 (Fritz Parduhn) in the same spread, at 1015 hrs on 18th April 1945 at position 47º 47"N 06º 26"W 70 miles west of Brest.

 
  British MoWT tanker S.S. Empire Gold  
  On passage from Philadelphia, via New York to Antwerp. 43 lost and 4 survivors  
  US Liberty ship S.S. Cyrus H McCormick  
  On passage from New York to Antwerp. 6 lost and 47 survivors  
  http://www.uboat.net/ops/convoys/convoys.php?convoy=HX-348  
     
 

From: K F S Wood
Sent: 01/08/2016 16:27:13
To: info@manchesterliners.co.uk
Subject:
SS Manchester Port, Convoy HX348, April 1945)

To the Manchester Liners Old Shipmates Association:

Hello,

In April 1945 I travelled as a six year old with my Mother and six months old sister on the SS Rangitata in Convoy HX 348 from New York (in our case) to Liverpool. Also in that convoy was the SS Manchester Port.

I cannot tell you how thrilled I was to find on your web site, a chart showing sailing positions of ships in that convoy.  Although the Rangitata is not marked on the chart I can clearly recollect her position in the convoy.

The ship marked on the chart in position “66” was carrying aircraft with folded wings on its decks—as a child I saw this to the left and slightly behind the Rangigata. During the voyage, we were hit by a terrible storm, the convoy scattered and when the convoy regrouped most of the aircraft on that ship had been washed overboard.  This would make the position of the Rangitata at no. 72.

When the convoy reformed a 21 gun salute was fired by an escort vessel to mark the death of President Roosevelt. 

On April 18, 1945, and with only two days to go before the convoy arrived in Liverpool, it was intercepted in the Bay of Biscay by U-boat 1107 with disastrous results.  I still have a clear memory of huge black clouds of smoke from  burning fuel as the British tanker Empire Gold sank with the loss of 43 men. The U-boat also sank the US Liberty ship Cyrus McCormick with the loss of six more lives.

I recall adults speaking only in whispers and, probably in trying to ease anxieties, telling youngsters on board the Rangitata that the Empire Gold had been set alight by ‘spontaneous combustion’.

Twelve days later the U-1107 was itself sunk by the crew of an American Air Force Catalina captained by Lieutenant Frederick G. Lake, stationed at RNAS Dunkeswell, near Honiton, Devon.

Some years ago I was fortunate enough to discover a copy of the  Log of the R/s Gothland which had sailed with HX-348 as a rescue ship.

I am writing to ask if in your records you have any details of Convoy HX348, and the SS Manchester Port which is in Station 55 on the Convoy Chart of Ships.  I am currently compiling for my grandchildren an account of my 1945 travels from a farm in Kansas to Bolton in Lancashire in one of the last Atlantic convoys of WW2.

Regards

Florence Star Wood.  (My mother was travelling to the UK to rejoin her husband who was then serving as an RAF pilot.) 

 
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