Ships hit by U-boats


American Steam merchant

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage4,637 tons
Completed1913 - Wm Cramp & Sons Ship & Engine Building Co, Philadelphia PA 
OwnerA.H. Bull & Co Inc, New York 
HomeportNew York 
Date of attack7 Mar 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-126 (Ernst Bauer)
Position20° 10'N, 73° 05'W - Grid DN 8423
Complement85 (26 dead and 59 survivors).
RouteBaltimore - San Juan, Puerto Rico 
Cargo4015 tons of general cargo 
History Built as Santa Cruz 1930 renamed Barbara 
Notes on event

At 08.35 hours on 7 March 1942 the unescorted and unarmed Barbara (Master Walter Gwynn Hudgins) was hit by a torpedo amidships on the port side, despite sailing an approved zigzagging course in moonlight. The torpedo penetrated the hull deep and exploded on the starboard side, causing a fire which damaged the engines, killed the watch below and reached mast high amidships. The fire prevented the survivors from launching any lifeboats, so they had to jump or climb into the water and swim to the life rafts. The ship burned for two and a half hours and sank stern first about nine miles north-northeast of Tortuga Island, Dominican Republic.
On 9 March, the master, 15 men and a stewardess were picked up after three days at sea by a PBY Catalina flying boat of the US Navy several miles off Porta lĀ“Ecu, Haiti. The pilot who risked two landings and overloaded his plane was cited for the act.
A group of 21 survivors landed on Tortuga Island after nearly three days at sea. The Able Seaman Maximo Murphy walked 18 hours across the island to get help from natives, who send a Haitian coast guard vessel to the survivors. Murphy earned the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal for his actions. Two other rafts with 19 survivors made it to the shore safely.
Bosun Charles Rooney and AB John Taurin had released a portable gangway when the ship was sunk and clung to this gangway along with a passenger, who died on the second day. Both men were spotted by an aircraft on the forth day and were picked up by a destroyer, which was directed to them by the aircraft. Of the eight officers, 50 crewmen and 27 passengers aboard, four officers, 14 crewmen and eight passengers lost their lives.

The master Walter Gwynn Hudgins later commanded the Elizabeth, which was sunk by U-103 (Winter) on 21 May 1942.

On boardWe have details of 85 people who were on board

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