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W.C. Teagle - (1941-1941)
SS W.C. Teagle.
BEFORE Pearl Harbor-but at a time when German submarines were beginning to inflict the serious Allied losses which
reached their peak the following June-the W.C. Teagle left Aruba, N. W. 1., on September 22, 1941, with a cargo of fuel oil for the United Kingdom.
Owned by the Panama Transport Company, the vessel was chartered to the U. S. Maritime Commission for United Kingdom service. After Lend-lease aid was instituted, the Maritime Commission placed many American-owned ships in this service, including a number of Panama Transport Company tankers.
It, was under these circumstances that the W.C. Teagle had been changed from Panamanian to British registry, manned by a British crew, and armed for the perilous transportation of petroleum in the war zones.
From Aruba the W.C. Teagle proceeded to Sydney, Nova Scotia, and joined a large convoy which sailed on October 5.

All Hands Thrown Into Sea.
Eleven days of the Atlantic crossing had passed and the convoy was within about three days' run of its destination when, on October 16, 1941, the W.C. Teagle was struck by a torpedo with unusually devastating effect. She burst into flames and sank by the stern, very suddenly, within 5 minutes, tossing every man into the sea.
Only one member of the ship's company, the radio operator, was rescued. Of the tanker's total complement, 45 officers and men, 44 were lost.

On August 15, 1941, the W.C. Teagle entered a ship repair yard at Baltimore, where she received a thorough overhauling  and was degaussed and armed. By September 13 she was ready to sail and with a British crew of 42 officers and men and a British armed guard of one Navy rating and two Army gunners, she left for Aruba.
At Aruba the tanker loaded 96,595 barrels of fuel oil and departed on the 22 nd, thereafter making brief stops at Halifax and
Sydney, Nova Scotia. On the 5th of October the W.C. Teagle began the Atlantic crossing in a large convoy.
It was during the tenth day at sea that the first submarine attack occurred. The story from that point is told in the report of Radio Operator Norman D. Houston, sole survivor of the W.C. Teagle.

Sole Survivor' s Story.
"On the 15th day of October, 1941, the W.C. Teagle was in convoy, occupying the third station in the tenth column.
"The wireless receiver had been sealed by the naval authorities and accordingly no continuous wireless watch was being
kept. The three radio officers were engaged in assisting the navigating officers on the bridge. (In compliance with British naval regulations in force at that time and instituted by the U.S. Navy after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the wireless receiving set of the T.C. Teagle was sealed, since it was of the regenerative type, and any radio messages received by the vessel might be the means of disclosing her position to enemy submarines.)
"At 4:55 a.m. on the 15th I was on the bridge with the chief officer and the men of his watch. The weather was then fine and clear but dark, the wind west northwest, and visibility good. At this time an explosion occurred to the port side of the convoy and shortly afterward I saw the white wake of a submarine proceeding down between the 9th and 10th columns of ships. The white wake disappeared under the stern of the W.C. Teagle. The presence of the submarine was immediately reported to the naval escort.

Convoy Attacked.
"Thereafter the voyage proceeded without further incident until shortly before 7 o'clock the same evening, when there was
considerable activity by the escort at the after end of the convoy.
"About 8:40 p.m. on the 16th I was in the chart room with the captain when I heard the sound of an explosion, whereupon I
went out on the bridge and saw a glow, as though one of the vessels in the convoy was on fire. The weather at that time was squally with a moderate west northwest wind and freshening with a heavy sea; visibility was good between rain squalls.
"At 9:20 p.m. I was in my cabin when an explosion occurred in the W.C. Teagle, which caused a tremor that was feIt throughout the ship. I immediately went to the wireless room and on my way saw that the vessel was illuminated by a fire on the after deck, just forward of the engineroom.
"Upon arrival in the wireless room I signaled to the commodore vessel that the W.C. Teagle had been torpedoed. Shortly after this I received a call from the bridge by telephone that the tanker appeared to be sinking and that she was being abandon-ed.

Ship Threw Everyone Overboard.
"I left the wireless room and went to the port forward lifeboat. I saw that the fire was being fought by certain members of the
crew and they seemed to be getting it under control when the vessel gave a sudden plunge by the stern, precipitating everyone into the water. This occurred about five minutes after the explosion.
"On coming to the surface I saw the bow of the W.C. Teagle standing vertically out of the water and I swam away from her.
Shortly afterward I looked to where the ship had been, but she had disappeared.
"I was in the water for about 5 hours until rescued by one of His Majesty's corvettes.
"I verily believe I am the only survivor of the W.C. Teagle."

Eye-Witness Account.
An eye-witness of the sinking, Captain Erling Vorberg, master of the Norwegian motor tanker Barfonn, reported the loss of
the W.C. Teagle:
"On October 16 the Barfonn, loaded, was en route to a United Kingdom port in a convoy which included the British flag tanker W.C. Teagle. Soon after 9 p.m. on the 16th I saw the W.C. Teagle, which was of my starboard and slightly astern, suddenly aglow and aflame for several minutes; oil from the W.C. Teagle was also blazing on the waters. As the convoy proceeded I
saw the W.C. Teagle settling by the stern into the sea.
"From the time the W.C. Teagle was struck until several hours thereafter, many other vessels in the convoy were torpedoed.
At about 10 a.m., October 17, my own ship, the Barfonn, was hit by a torpedo on the starboardside, and an hour later, as we
feIl behind the convoy, she was struck again by another torpedo on the starboard side, as a result of which the Barfonn sank.
The surviving crew members were picked up by Canadian corvette No. 175 and landed in Iceland."
The W.C. Teagle was the sixth Panama Transport Company tanker sunk. Captain Vorberg's mention of "many other vessels" probably included the Bold Venture, reported sunk on the same day about 500 miles from Iceland, with a loss of 19 lives.
On October 18, 1941, a special German High Command communique announced that U-boats in the Atlantic had sunk 10
merchantmen and two protecting destroyers in a convoy "en route to Britain from North Africa" in a conflict lasting several  days. This was thought to refer to two convoys, one of which included the W.C. Teagle.
The SS W.C. Teagle was built in 1917 by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, Ltd., at Sparrows Point, Md. She was a
sistership of the James McGee, lost in Bristol Channel on June 20, 1940.
A twin-screw vessel of 16,080 deadweight tons capacity on international summer draft of 28 feet, 61/2 inches, the W.C. Teagle had an overall length of 516 feet, 7 inches, a length between perpendiculars of 500 feet, a moulded breadth of  68 feet, and a depth moulded of 38 feet, 31/2 inches. With a cargo carrying capacity of 119,310 barrels, she had an assigned
pumping rate of 5,000 barrels an hour.
Her triple expansion engines, with steam supplied by three Scotch boilers, developed 3,000 indicated horsepower and gave
her an average speed, loaded, of 9.5 knots.

The wartime life of the W.C. Teagle was not long -just about two years-but in that time she carried 2,250,000 barrels of crude oil and over 800,000 barrels of fuel oil.
During her wartime service she was on an unusual mission, that of dragging an anchor to deepen the channel across the
Maturin Bar, at the mouth of the San Juan River in the Gulf of Paria, Venezuela. In performing this task, the vessel steamed
back and forth, day and night, for 12 days, in the latter part of October, 1940, making a total of 94 trips.
Between the outbreak of war in Europe and the time of her sinking, the W.C. Teagle delivered 30 cargoes, mostly from Gulf
of Mexico and Caribbean areas to United States east coast ports, plus one voyage from Las Piedras to Southampton, one
from Cartagena to Le Havre, and one from Aruba to Cristobal, Canal Zone.
The wartime transportation record of the W.C. Teagle was in summary as follows:

Voyages (Cargoes)

During the war period the American masters of the W.C. Teagle, were Captains Fred Marcus, Walter v. James, Kristen Jensen, Edward V. Peters, and Swen A. Malm.
Her engineroom was in charge of Chief Engineers Pat O'Neil, John A. Waite, Edward A. Snyder, Horace L. Wilson, and Carl Jakobsen.
While the W.C. Teagle was under the Panamanian flag she was manned by a Canadian crew and her masters were Captains John Price, W.J. MacDonald, and O.D. Alcorn. Chief Engineer Lloyd Hopper was in charge of her engineroom. Canadian crews were on board from the time of her sale to the Panama Transport Company, November 13, 1939, until she was tied up in the Patuxent River on July 6, 1940.
When the W.C. Teagle resumed service on October 8, 1940, she was manned by an American crew until the start of her fateful voyage originating in Baltimore on September 13, when a British crew boarded her, since she was then under British registry.
On her last voyage she was commanded by Captain H. R. Barlow and her engineroom was in charge of Chief Engineer E. J. Smith.

Merchant Crew Lost on the "W.C. Teagle"
October 16, 1941
H. R. Barlow
E. S. Kelso
Ch. Mate
J. R. Dawson
2nd Mate
V. C. Baldwin
3rd Mate
E. J. Smith
Ch. Engr.
J. W. Wright.
2nd Engr.
J. B. Walsh
3rd Engr.
D. E. Horobin
4th Engr.
A. E. Lyons
2nd Radio Op.
R. L. Brett
3rd Radio Op.
Fred Winslade
Ch. Steward
Stephen Holmes
Ch. Cook
R. MacDonald
James R. Phillips
G. M. Cooper
J. Guy
J. T. Hawkridge
G. Hoopey
N. Lee
G. Mayo
R. A. Page
W. D. Skerry
Stanley Thomas
R. Roe
Jack McMasters
R. Trussell
Deck Boy
G. D. Bowen
P. B urt
E. Cummings
John Thomson
W. Shearer
S. Farby
William Harvey
R. McMillan
T. C. Newton
H. Summers
M. Sweeney
Wm. Davis
Asst. Steward
A. Sinclair
Asst. Cook
James Thomson
Steward's Boy
J. Quinlan
Cabin Boy

Merchant Crew Survivor of the "W. C. Teagle"
Norman D. Houston
Radio Op.