12 Jan 1942

United Kingdom
  • The 5,626-ton British steam merchant Lerwick had brought a cargo of manganese ore to the Ford factory at Dagenham, London, England, United Kingdom and was on passage to the Tyne for dry docking. When she reached a position 6 miles east-southeast of Whitby High in Yorkshire, England, the ship was attacked by a single Heinkell III bomber that dropped three bombs, one landed off the starboard quarter and the other two were direct hits. The hatch covers were blown through the ship causing catastrophic damage and letting in a rapid flow of water. The Lerwick sank in less than twenty minutes four miles off Robin Hood's Bay. The ship's master Captain Robinson assisted the crew to get into a boat and then returned to the bridge apparently wishing to go down with his ship as he had just learnt that his wife had been killed in a German air-raid on South Shields in northeastern England. He was persuaded to get into the boat by crew members who had also saved the ship's cat Lucky and six of her recently born kittens named after Disney's seven dwarves. Five crew members as well as the kitten Dopey were lost during the sinking. ww2dbase [Whitby, England | HM]

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, Hugh Martyr, David Stubblebine
Special Thanks: Rory Curtis

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