SS Mamura, Source: http://www.uboat.net/allies/merchants/ships/1382.html
There isn’t much to write about the Motor Tanker Mamura because she and her crew were obliterated so quickly that the only survivors of the encounter were her killers, the captain and crew of U-504, and wartime diary entries are by necessity brief and to the point. Less than a decade old when sunk, the Mamura was built by NV Wilton´s Maschinefabriek & Scheepswerf (machinery fabrication and ship building) in Rotterdam, the Netherlands in 1932. Her owners were NV Petroleum Mij, also known as “La Carona”, out of the Hague, Netherlands, to which port the ship was registered.
“La Carona” was a subsidiary of the Dutch Shell Company and was based in Gravenhage. Her gross registered tonnage was 8,245 and she was propelled by a motor engine as opposed to the steam utilized my most of her contemporaries. On her last voyage she loaded 11,500 tons of clean (refined) petroleum products – gasoline – in Houston, and was proceeding for Halifax, Canada and then Belfast, Ireland.
Mamura’s master was Peter Dobbenga of the Netherlands, 35 Chinese crew and 14 others, presumably Europeans or Americans. At 19:13 German time (about 3:13 P.M. local time), Poske sent two torpedoes into her roughly 230 miles East of Florida and 150 miles Northeast of Elbow Cay Light, Hope Town Abaco. The first torpedo penetrated the engine room, disabling the ship, and the second struck the bow, igniting an instant explosion. With fires soon raging from stem to stern, the ship broke in two and sank some 400 meters from U-504.
The spread of burning gasoline was so instantaneous that the submarine was forced to dive to avoid it. At 19:21 the sub resurfaced and witnessed the stern sinking, though the bow was still above water (uboat.net and wrecksite.eu). Nothing was ever heard of any member of her crew of 49. The signers of both their death warrant headed East back towards Europe. Families on both side of the Atlantic and indeed in Asia and around the world would be receiving “ship overdue” notices before long, and after that the sadly nuanced “missing – presumed lost at sea.”
The Mamura had been spared a very close call in January 1940 when her anchor cable snagged on a mine, detonating it and blowing her crew off their feet, but leaving the ship unscathed. (The Canberra Times, 30 Jan. 1940). She had also contributed to the war effort in more ways than carrying cargo – on 14 September, 1939, just a week or so into the war, she rescued Captain Hugh Charles Egerton and 29 crew members from the Vancouver City which had been sunk west-southwest of Milford Haven, Wales. Mamura landed them in Liverpool (Uboat.net).