Articles, Maritime History, Vessels

Remember: Irish Pine and 33 crew

Oil painting by Kenneth King, in the National Maritime Museum of Ireland

Torpedoed and sunk by U-608, 15th November 1942

Read the wikipedia article

Bent, Patrick, Wexford Dooley, Maurice, Limerick O’Connor, Joseph, Dublin
Cashin, Kevin, Dublin Duffy, Joseph, Dublin O’Donoghue, Thomas, Dublin
Clery, Patrick, Wexford Fanning, Peter, Clogherhead, Co. Louth O’Neill, Matthew, Wexford
Connolly, William, Kinsale Flynn, Michael, Limerick Ryan, Sean, Limerick
Conway, Joseph, Dublin Hartnett, Alfred, Cork Sheehan, Patrick, Kinsale, Cork
Crichton, Robert, Leith, Scotland McCarthy, John, Kinsale, Cork Smith, Stephen, Wexford
Cowzer, Fred, Dublin Murphy, Frank, Limerick Talbot, Richard, Dublin
Cusack, Michael, Limerick Nolan, John, Dublin Tobin, Alphonsus, Limerick
Cusack, Thomas, Cork O’Brien, George, Cobh, Cork Tracy, Frank, Limerick
Daly, Thomas, Dublin O’Callaghan, Michael, Cork Ward, Harry, Dublin
Donnagh, Eamon, Galway O’Connell, James, Cork Young, Hector, Limerick

Shortly after the formation of Irish Shipping Ltd. in March 1941 the company chartered two ships from the American government for the duration of the war. West Hematite was taken over at New Orleans in October and renamed Irish Pine. For the next twelve months she carried grain across the Atlantic from Canada. In November 1942 she was bound to Boston and was only two days from there when sighted by U- 608, (Kapitanleutnant Rolf Struckmeier). He followed her for eight hours, frequently losing her in rain and snow squalls. At no stage does he record seeing her neutrality markings. At 7.15 p.m. Zone Time on Sunday 15th November he attacked her.

The War Diary records the last moments:

“Range 800 metres, torpedo depth 2 metres, running time 80 seconds. Target stopped. The torpedo hit the after part of the ship and she began to settle immediately by the stern. A lifeboat with a very bright light is lowered. Ship becomes perpendicular and sinks stern first at 0017 Central European Time. Wind north-west force 6, sea very rough, barometer 1014 millibars, temperature 12 Centigrade”.

So ended the Irish Pine, sinking in just three minutes. No wreckage or any of the bodies of her 33 crew were ever found.