The Cockaponset

On 20th May 1941 immediately after the attacks on the Darlington Court and the British Security, convoy HX-126 was ordered to scatter by its commodore on the advice of its escort Aurania. The order was given about 12:50 GMT.

At 12:55 GMT the John P. Pedersen a Norwegian ship, was torpedoed and within five to ten minutes the Cockaponset was also hit by one torpedo.

The Cockaponset was carrying 320 tons of TNT, 340 tons of cannon powder and 2,700 tons of steel, oak and paper with some motor trucks. It seems the crew were lucky that their explosive cargo was not ignited by the torpedo. Paper in the hold under the TNT was however on fire. All the hatch covers were blown off and the ship started to founder. There was a peculiar noise coming from the hatches.

The Cockaponset sunk within 20 minutes of being hit. Luckily there was sufficient time for all 41 men on board to leave the ship using two lifeboats. They started with 29 men in one boat and 12 in the other so immediately went about balancing their load. Within about twenty minutes there was a loud explosion. This did them no harm but this mystery explosion did have some consequences.

The crew were picked up by the rescue ship Hontestroom the next morning (09:10 on 21/05) and taken to Iceland along with crew from the Darlington Court. They were all safe but complained about the comfort of the rescue ship. While not mentioning the lack of cigarettes the Captain of the Cockaponset was unhappy that there was no separate accommodation for officers and men.

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