The Empire Heritage and the Sherman tanks graveyard

Shipwrecks

By Pierre Kosmidis

A Sherman tank
PHOTO: Steve Jones
The SS Empire Heritage, a cargo ship carrying oil, US-made Sherman tanks and half-tracks, was torpedoed by a German U-boat. Some 113 people were killed in the disaster.
At 05.51 hours on 8 Sep 1944, U-482 fired a torpedo spread at the convoy HX-305 north-northeast of Tory Island and heard a detonation and sinking noises. The same happened after firing a Gnat at 05.59 hours.
Apparently both torpedoes hit the Empire Heritage. At 06.37 hours, the U-boat fired a Gnat at a stopped ship, which sank shortly after the hit. The stopped vessel was the rescue ship Pinto, which was rescuing the survivors of the torpedoed tanker when attacked.
The Empire Heritage (Master James Jamieson, OBE) was hit on the starboard side just abaft of the bridge and the stern. The ship settled by the stern and soon thereafter capsized before sinking.
PHOTO: Cathy de Lara
The master, 49 crew members, eight gunners, one convoy signalman, one army storekeeper and 52 passengers (DBS) were lost. Two crew members already picked up by the Pinto were lost when she was sunk.
25 crew members, three gunners, 20 passengers (DBS) and one signalman were picked up by HMS Northern Wave (FY 153) (T/Lt F.J.R. Storey, RNVR) and landed at Londonderry.