Castle was a Motor Merchant vessel completed 1928 by Cammell Laird
& Co Ltd, Birkenhead. Her homeport was Liverpool. She was
travelling the route Glasgow - Freetown (28 Mar) - Capetown –
Colombo. Ships complement of 353 (24 dead and 329 survivors).
Cargo capacity 265 passengers and 3000 tons of government stores
22.43 hours on 30 Mar, 1942, the Muncaster Castle (Master Harold
William Harper) was hit by a two torpedo spread from U-68 south-southwest
of Monrovia (in position 02.02N, 12.02W). The U-boat earlier observed
that the ship was in a small convoy of eight ships and one corvette
which was dispersed at 13.35 hours and followed the heavy zigzagging
ship, running at 13 knots, until she stopped zigzagging in the
darkness. The vessel settled immediately after the hits but did
not sink and Merten had to use his last torpedo as a coup de grâce
at 23.16 hours. After the ship sank by the bow, the U-boat observed
more than ten lifeboats and went to one to questioning the survivors,
before leaving the area on home course.
crew members, one gunner and 19 passengers were lost. The master,
69 crewmembers, eleven gunners, two naval signalmen and 246 passengers
were picked up by the HMS Aubretia (K 96) (LtCdr V.F. Smith DSO)
and the Greek steam merchant Ann Stathatos and landed at Freetown.
master, Harold William Harper, was awarded the Lloyds War Medal
for bravery at sea and a posthumous OBE.