November 4 This Day During World War ll

November 4, 1942 – German submarine U-354 damaged US Liberty ship William Clark of Operation FB off Jan Mayen island, Norway at 1333 hours; at 1400 hours, U-354 struck again and sank William Clark (31 were killed, 61 survived). German submarine U-354 was a Type VIIC U-boat of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 15 April 1940 at the Flensburger Schiffsbau yard at Flensburg as ‘werk’ 473, launched on 10 January 1942 and commissioned on 22 April under the command of Kapitänleutnant Karl-Heinz Herbschleb. U-354 served with the 5th U-boat Flotilla, for training and then with the 1st flotilla for operations from 1 October 1942. She came under the command of the 11th flotilla on 15 October. At 13.33 hours on 4 Nov, 1942, the unescorted William Clark (Master Walter Edmund Elian) was hit on the port side amidships by one of three torpedoes from U-354 off Jan Mayen Island. It is possible that the ship was earlier attacked and damaged by bombs from a German Ju88 aircraft of II./KG 30. The torpedo struck in the engine room, disabling the engine, flooding the room and killing the five men on watch below. 66 of the eight officers, 33 crewmen and 30 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 5in, one 3in and eight 20mm guns) abandoned ship in three lifeboats. The U-boat missed the ship with a torpedo at 14.00 hours and hit her ten minutes later with a coup de grâce on the starboard side amidships. The Liberty ship broke in two forward of the midship house and sank in a few minutes. The lifeboats stayed together with the motorboat towing the other two, but they became separated in moderate seas. 26 survivors in one lifeboat were picked up after three days by HMS St. Elstan (FY 240) about 20 miles from the sinking position and landed at Reykjavik on 14 November. On 12 November, 15 survivors and two bodies in another boat were picked up by HMS Cape Palliser (FY 256), but an armed guard died before they were landed at Akureyri and two men lost their legs due to exposure. The motorboat with the master and 22 other men was never seen again after they set sail for Iceland. A total of four officers, 14 crewmen and 13 armed guards were lost.

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