SS Fingal (1923)
SS Fingal in 1942
SS Fingal was a Norwegian merchant ship of 2,137 tons which was sunk during World War II off the coast of Australia.
In December 1941, the steamer had been damaged by Japanese bombing when en route between Rangoon and Calcutta.
In May 1943, Fingal was under charter to the Australian Government. She was sailing from Sydney to Darwin shipping cargo and ammunition escorted by USS Patterson, crewed by 31 men, mainly Scandinavian, apart from six Australians including two Royal Australian Navy gunners.
At about 1:35pm off Nambucca Heads, New South Wales on 5 May 1943, two torpedoes fired from the Japanese submarine I-180 struck the side of her hull. Fingal sank within a minute and Patterson dropped depth charges and immediately left the area.
Survivors from the sinking ship clung to debris. A RAAF Avro Anson DG696 from No. 71 Squadron, crewed by Sergeant Geoffery Gillmore (pilot), Flying Officer Max Sharrad (Navigator) and Sergeant J "Poppa" Hall (WAG), operating out of Coffs Harbour was escorting her at the time, flying about 10 miles (16 km) ahead of the ship. DG696 saw that she had been hit by a torpedo, returned to the area, found the survivors and requested that Patterson return to the area to pick up the survivors. The survivors were picked up after spending four hours in the sea; 19 of the crew survived. Patterson dropped off the survivors at Newcastle at 9:00am on 6 May 1943.
Twelve men were killed in the sinking, including the captain, chief officer and all the engineers.
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