Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Sign in to follow this  
Falloden

Sinking of ss East Point and death of U 48 captain.

Recommended Posts

Falloden

On 9 March 1917 ss "East Point", commanded by my grandfather Capt H J Young, DSC, was torpedoed and sunk by U 48, all her crew survived.

Kapitanleutnant Berndt Buss was the commander of U 48. The record shows that Berndt Buss died on 9 March 1917 although his submarine was still operational until 24 November 1917 when she was destroyed after stranding herself on the Goodwin Sands.

Can anyone shed any light on the death of this U-Boat commander and was it linked to the attack on "East Point" on the same day ?

Are there any detailed official reports of merchant ship sinkings which can be easily accessed to see exactly what happened to "East Point" and how the crew were saved. ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lancashire Fusilier

On 9 March 1917 ss "East Point", commanded by my grandfather Capt H J Young, DSC, was torpedoed and sunk by U 48, all her crew survived.

Kapitanleutnant Berndt Buss was the commander of U 48. The record shows that Berndt Buss died on 9 March 1917 although his submarine was still operational until 24 November 1917 when she was destroyed after stranding herself on the Goodwin Sands.

Your Grandfather's ship the " East Point " was a British Steamer of 5,234 tons built in 1901 by J.L. Thompson & Sons, Ltd., of Sunderland, and was operated by the Norfolk & North American Steam Shipping Co., Ltd., of Liverpool.

The East Point was sunk by the German UBoat ' U 48 ' commanded by Kapitanleutnant Berndt Buss on 9th March, 1917 some 9 miles from the Eddystone Lighthouse while on route from London to Philadelphia, U.S.A. carrying a general cargo. There were no East Point casualties reported.

Kapitanleutnant Berndt Buss is recorded as being born on 12th September 1882 and died on 9th March, 1917, the location of his death is shown as the ' English Channel '.

As the East Point was presumably an unarmed Steamer, and there seems to have been no casualties reported during the attack which sank the East Point, and all the East Point's crew were able to take to the lifeboats before U 48 sank her, Buss' death was probably due to ill health, or a possible heart attack ? as Hinrich Hermann Hashagen is listed as taking over command of the U 48 the next day on 10th March, 1917 with the U 48 continuing her patrol. In fact, U 48 under Hashagen's command was again in action on March 12th, 1917 sinking the French ship ' Guerveur '.

Karl Edeling took command of the U 48 on 17th March, 1917 and remained her Commander until U 48 was scuttled by her crew on 24th November, 1917.

Kapitanleutnant Berndt Buss' photograph is attached.

Regards,

LF

post-63666-0-46849100-1400338707_thumb.j

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Falloden

Thanks LF

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lancashire Fusilier

This is what happened to U48 and Commander Buss.

Joe R

Joe,

Great information. I wonder if the ramming of U 48 was intentional or accidental, either way, a tragic and unusual end for the U 48's Commander and it certainly explains his sudden death in the middle of the English Channel.

Regards,

LF

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Falloden

Many thanks Joe, that would certainly explain the strange coincidence of the date.

Regards

Nick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Michael Lowrey

A bit more detail here:

After Buß fired the torpedo at East Point, he turned U 48 to attack a different steamer. U 48 went to a depth of 17 meters for a short time, before returning to periscope depth, and shortly thereafter was rammed in the conning tower by East Point. This popped open the conning tower hatch, and as stated in the link, Buß and U 48's steuermann (warrant officer navigator), Adolf Bergmann, were knocked unconscious and drowned as the conning tower rapidly flooded. The submarine's helmsmen and torpedo officer (one of the two watch officers) got below before the watch to the control room was closed. U 48 bottoms out, which likely saved the boat, but eventually is brought to the surface, and Buß and Bergmann are buried at sea.

Hinshagen, as the senior — the official German history interestingly says "oldest" watch officer — assumes command. After temporary repairs, U 48 could dive in an emergency. The conning tower would flood but the submarine was otherwise stable underwater. Obviously, Hinshagen turned for home and U 48 reached Wilhelmshaven on March 16th. On the 14th, Hinshagen radioed home describing his situation. This message was intercepted by the Royal Navy. In addition, the RN was aware of Buß, as it was listed in the March 21st edition of the Kölnische Zeitung.

Per British Vessels Lost at Sea 1914-18, East Point was defensively armed.

LF's question about where the ramming was intentional or accidental is valid. The best place to look for an answer is likely ADM 137/3982 “Enemy submarines: particulars of attacks on merchant vessels in home waters, 1 March - 9 March 1917” at TNA, Kew.

Best wishes,

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SiegeGunner

Hinshagen, as the senior — the official German history interestingly says "oldest" watch officer — assumes command.

Assuming it says 'der älteste ...', Michael, that should be translated as 'senior'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Michael Lowrey

Mick,

Yes, it says 'der älteste ...', thanks for teh correct translation.

Best wishes,

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Falloden

Thanks again Michael.

Regards

Nick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bad CO

I'm also interested in the wreck of the East Point but because it is a wreck that I have dived a number of times.  The story is fascinating so I'm keen to find out more.

 

I've managed to get hold of the contents of ADM 137/3982 “Enemy submarines: particulars of attacks on merchant vessels in home waters, 1 March - 9 March 1917” which relate to the East Point and have attached them below.  Unfortunately they lack much detail but do refer to other documents.

 

I was hoping that there might be people on here who could suggest where I can find the following:

  • M(?) 63432 - B of Tr - Masters' Rep
  • NJD(?) 4745 Report by Master of St Mattieu(?)

ADM_137_3982_0001.jpg

ADM_137_3982_0002.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Falloden

I would certainly be interested in any further information that comes to light on the sinking of East Point.  My grandfather, Capt. Harold James Young, had already been awarded the DSC for service at Suvla where East Point had been shelled and set on fire by the Turks.  On 13 January 1918 he was master of a new ship Rapallo when she was torpedoed and sunk off Sicily by an Austrian submarine.  I believe Rapallo has also frequently been dived on.

 

Nick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
wightspirit

There are other documents in the National Archives which will shed more light on the incident of 9 March 1917.  If you haven't tried these already, they cover the date of the sinking. They are:

 

ADM137/2961. (British merchant vessels sunk).

ADM137,1294. (English Channel, German submarines).

ADM137/741. (Auxiliary Patrol Weekly Reports, Plymouth).

ADM137/387. (Probably home waters telegrams - for some reason no detail is given, and it is the only period for March 1917 listed in this way. All other periods in March are annotated as Home Waters Telegrams but for the date of the sinking no such detail is given).

 

If you're interested in the last crew agreement, it is in BT99/3326, and the Transcript of Register is in BT110/293/6. You might find it helpful to know the ship's Official Number - it's 113453

.

 

Dave W

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bad CO
20 hours ago, Falloden said:

I would certainly be interested in any further information that comes to light on the sinking of East Point.  My grandfather, Capt. Harold James Young, had already been awarded the DSC for service at Suvla where East Point had been shelled and set on fire by the Turks.  On 13 January 1918 he was master of a new ship Rapallo when she was torpedoed and sunk off Sicily by an Austrian submarine.  I believe Rapallo has also frequently been dived on.

 

Nick

 

That's a pretty eventful life your grandfather had.  Did he also survive the Rapallo?

 

In case you don't already have one, here is a photo of the East Point that I obtained from the gentleman who owns the wreck.

 

East Point.jpg

 

 

8 hours ago, wightspirit said:

There are other documents in the National Archives which will shed more light on the incident of 9 March 1917.  If you haven't tried these already, they cover the date of the sinking. They are:

 

ADM137/2961. (British merchant vessels sunk).

ADM137,1294. (English Channel, German submarines).

ADM137/741. (Auxiliary Patrol Weekly Reports, Plymouth).

ADM137/387. (Probably home waters telegrams - for some reason no detail is given, and it is the only period for March 1917 listed in this way. All other periods in March are annotated as Home Waters Telegrams but for the date of the sinking no such detail is given).

 

If you're interested in the last crew agreement, it is in BT99/3326, and the Transcript of Register is in BT110/293/6. You might find it helpful to know the ship's Official Number - it's 113453

.

 

Dave W

 

 

That's really useful thank you.  Where do  you think I might find the Master's Report?  Possibly in one of the BT documents?

 

Edited by Bad CO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Falloden

Many thanks for the photo of East Point, my grandfather was her Master from 1909 until her sinking in 1917.  He originally went to sea as an apprentice in 1898 on sailing ships Principality and then Loch Trool.  My grandfather survived the sinking of Rapallo and went on to sail as a master for Furness Withy until retiring in 1940.  His final command was Pacific Ranger.

 

The attached photo shows him with the DSC ribbon awarded for services during the Dardanelles campaign.  

09_capt_hj_young_dsc.jpg

Edited by Falloden

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
seaJane

Great picture!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bad CO
14 hours ago, Falloden said:

Many thanks for the photo of East Point, my grandfather was her Master from 1909 until her sinking in 1917.  He originally went to sea as an apprentice in 1898 on sailing ships Principality and then Loch Trool.  My grandfather survived the sinking of Rapallo and went on to sail as a master for Furness Withy until retiring in 1940.  His final command was Pacific Ranger.

 

The attached photo shows him with the DSC ribbon awarded for services during the Dardanelles campaign.  

 

 

Incredible.  I bet he had a few tales.

 

 

The wreck is collapsing now but this is the engine and the prop.  Photography is difficult at those depths hence they're not great.

 

IMG_1583.jpg.b1470c9da01afa2f8d6d2b9a830c1dd5.jpg

 

east_point.JPG.b8d310550566573d7d64d3dfacc9abfa.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
wightspirit

No, it won't be in BT documents. You're likely to find a fairly comprehensive report in ADM137/1294, as it should contain the master's report along with other documents pertaining to the incident, probably including the report from the master of the Matthieu.  If you're unlucky it will be just the report from the master.  I'm guessing here but Matthieu (referred to as ST - steam trawler) may refer to the drifter which rescued survivors, and likely of the Auxiliary Patrol, reported nearby. ADM137/741 quite often contains additional information if there was any involvement of the Auxiliary Patrol. If they played no part in the rescue or transfer of survivors, or a general search of the area, then there may be no entry in the records.  There's only one way to find out..

 

You might find something of interest if you can locate the log of the vessel which was on scene to rescue survivors.

 

Dave W

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bad CO

Many thanks for that additional information.  I've asked some people who are regular visitors to see what they can find.  If anything interesting comes up then I'll post it here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...