The fact that all 23 men of the crew were landed by the Norwegian ship Talisman and landed in Pointe Noire, French Equatorial Africa, may explain the relative dearth of information obtained from them by the US Office of Naval Intelligence. The Talisman left New York for West Africa on the 19th of May, meaning she probably rescued the Frank B. Baird survivors on the 23rd or 24th, or roughly the second or third day of their ordeal drifting in boats and rafts. The Talisman arrived in Pointe Noire on the 8th of June 1942 according to warsailors.com/singleships/talisman.
Frank B. Baird
The Frank B. Baird was a Canadian great lakes steamer of 1,748 tons built by the Napier and Miller Limited shipbuilders in Old Kilpatrick, Glasgow, Scotland in 1923. At 77.27 meters long and 13.17 meters wide the ship was designed with the narrow beam, shallow draft and forward wheelhouse required of Great Lakes trades. Her owners were the Upper Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence Transportation Company, Limited, of Toronto, Ontario.
On the 22nd of May 1942 the Frank B. Baird was en route between Demerara British Guiana and Sydney, Nova Scotia Canada. Her cargo was 2,457 tons of bauxite. Her position was 28.03N by 58.50W, which placed her roughly 400 miles southeast of Bermuda. Her Master, Captain Charles Swanson Tate led a crew of 22 officers and men.
Little is known about the demise of the Baird except that U-158 under Irwin Rostin sank her by gunfire alone at roughly 9:30 am. Rostin’s submarine was to be sunk by Allied aircraft west of Bermuda later in the same spectacularly successful patrol, and therefore his submarine’s war patrol log (KTB) is reconstructed only. The ship sank in 18,000 feet of water, her dense metallic bauxite cargo most likely sending her to the bottom before an SOS could be sent.