uboat.net - Allied Warships - Destroyer HMS Somali of the Tribal class
: "torpedoed :20 Sep, 1942 "
. . . Ashanti then changed places with Somali on the inner screen to await a favourable opportunity to refuel.
At 1920hours, Somali took up Ashanti\'s position and was immediately hit with a torpedo. ¨
The explosion blew the torpedo tubes over the side and cut all of the port side main stringers so that the ship was only held together by the upper deck and starboard side as far as the keel.
The port engine fell through the bottom of the ship and the Engine and Gear Rooms filled with water. The leaking bulkheads on either side were promptly shored up and seemed to be holding but there was no light or power except from an unreliable auxiliary diesel generator which powered the bilge pumps.
The trawler, HMS Lord Middleton, took most of Somali\'s crew and transferred them to other ships.
Of the 80 men left aboard, all were forbidden to go below except for any critical work.
HMS Ashanti then took her crippled sister ship in tow, cruising at a slow 7 knots. The flat, calm sea was ideal for towing and for revealing periscope wakes.
The tow wire parted company, but HMS Ashanti managed to rig up a new line and both ships continued to crawl to Akureyri. That evening, Somali\'s dynamo seized up so hand pumps were used for the bilge.
These could not cope with the inflow of water so the Tribal\'s 17 degree list increased. With the donation of many electrical cables from other ships, an emergency power umbilical was rigged up from HMS Ashanti to another destroyer and the bilge pumps started operating again. Somali\'s list was reduced to 12 degrees.
Power was now available for lighting and cooking as well.
By the 23/24th September, Ashanti had towed Somali for 420 miles and the weather was getting worse.
Somali\'s plates were groaning terribly. In the middle of a snow squall, observers on Ashanti\'s bridge saw a blue flash behind them. The towline and the electric cable had snapped and a piece of the cable was hanging over Ashanti\'s stern.
Quickly, a 20-inch searchlight was brought to bear on the crippled ship. By now, Somali had folded in half like a hinge with bow and stern climbing skywards.
For a moment, she hung motionlessly; the deckplating then snapped and her bulkheads collapsed. Her stern capsized and sank quickly and the bow went vertically and steadily and was gone.
Lt.Cdr. C. Maud, R.N. was the only survivor of the towing party was dragged out of the water unconscious.
Hit by U-boat
Sunk on 20 Sep, 1942 by U-703 (Bielfeld).
goodbye Daddy - sixty two years now