Torpedoing the freighter Comayagua by U-125

According to the War Shipping Administration, the US Merchant Marine suffered the highest rate of casualties of any service in World War II. Officially, a total of 1,554 ships were sunk to due to war conditions, including 733 ships of over 1,000 gross tons. Hundreds of other ships were damaged by torpedoes, shelling, bombs, kamikazes, mines, etc. Foreign flag ships, especially those with Naval Armed Guard on board as well as ships belonging to US territories such as the Philippines, are included in this list.

Freighter Comayagua was lost on a voyage from Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, to Niquero, Cuba, in ballast about 14 miles west of Grand Cayman. At that time, under the command of Captain Peter J. Larsen, she had a crew of 42 men including 4 gunners. Six crewmembers were instantly killed, the junior engineer A. MacDougal was badly burned and died later at Georgetown hospital.

On May 14, 1942, she was torpedoed by the U-125, a German IXC type U-boat, under the command of Kaptlt. Ulrich Folkers. The Comayagua was struck by two torpedoes, the first hit just forward amidships, in the boiler room, and the second struck at aftship, about 20 feet of the stern, which blew off the stern.

The crew abandoned the Comayagua in boats and rafts, a U.S. Navy plane arrived at seen 30 minutes later spotted the crew and tried to locate the U-boat, but with no luck. The plane flew back to Georgetown on the Cayman Islands and dropped a note in the Commissioner’s garden, to inform him of the survivors. Later on the crew was picked up by a schooner.

SS Comayagua was built as a banana-carrier in 1921 by Newburgh Shipyard Inc., New York for the Cuyamel Fruit Co., Honduras.
Displacement (tons): 2493
Dimensions (feet): 301`*42`1*23`1
Machinery: one triple expansion steam engine, 492hp, one screw
Speed (knots): 13.5

Two decks hold capacity for 25,000 stems of bananas, passenger accommodation for 25 people.
On the outbreak of World War II she was acquired by the War Shipping Administration. Managed by the United Fruit Co., still used in the banana trade, she was armed with a 4" inch gun aft and two 30 mm caliber machine guns.

Back to History Index

Image Country Year Description
Cayman Is. 1995 Freighter Comayagua torfedoed of Cayman 14 May,1942
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