Darlington Court and British Security

Ten hours after the attack on the Norman Monarch the convoy had turned towards Iceland, I would guess trying to connect with their Icelandic escort protection as soon as possible. They thought they were being chased and this became more certain as U-boat wireless signals were heard. At 11:40 GMT the escort Aurania saw a U-boat.

At 12:38 GMT Aurania signaled another U-boat in sight, immediately the Darlington Court was hit by two torpedoes. The second torpedo split the ship in half and she sank within 45 seconds.

The Darlington Court had a crew of 40 and those that were not killed immediately were left floating in the Atlantic clinging to wreckage.

Two minutes later a torpedo hit the tanker British Security which immediately caught fire killing all 52 men onboard. She was to burn for three days.

The Commanding Officer of the Aurania says the following in his report:
"There were several tremendous explosions, sheets of flame and black smoke, which went up at least 500 feet. She was about 2 cables on my port beam when struck. The men on the wreckage from the Darlington Court floated into this burning hell, their cries were ghastly and now I wish I had put my machine gun on them".

Some of the crew of the Darlington Court did survive, drifting in the Atlantic hanging on to life rafts. After an estimated, three hours in the water, so around 16:00, the Chief Engineer and the Captain of the Darlington Court managed to climb aboard a lifeboat that had been thrown clear. The Chief Engineer credited the Captain for the lives of those that survived. The Captain had cut this boat free in the short time before the sinking rather than putting on his own life belt. They were able to pick up five of their crew but could not reach more because of the fire.

They sailed away from the fire and eventually met five more crew on another raft. These twelve men were the survivors, 28 men were killed. They were eventually picked up by the rescue ship Hontestroom which was very uncomfortable as it was overloaded though the rescued sailors were equally unhappy that they were unable to buy cigarrettes.

After this second attack on the convoy the escort Aurania advised the Commadore to scatter and this order was given within 10 minutes.
From the Tower Hill War Memorial

The Tower Hill Memorial does not include the names of the Royal Navy personnel that were lost with the ship. ConvoyWeb has a full list.

No comments: