Norwegian Ula visiting Rotterdam, 1947. From left to right: Ula, O 27 and O 21.
(Photo: © Collection G.D. Horneman).
For additional photos and information please visit the off-site Ula & Uredd homepage (Norwegian language) and check the 'related pages list' at the bottom of this page.
19 Aug 1942: The Dutch Navy wants to man the Haai, under construction as the British Royal Navy P 66 / Varne at the time, with some of the former personnel of the decommissioned submarines K IX, K X and K XII, all of which were based at Fremantle. These 34 men, under the command of Ltz. I H.C.J. Coumou, depart Sydney on the SS Westernland, a 16479t mail ship of the Holland-America Line.
The submariners board the British ms Abosso (actually the Abosso II), a 11350t 1935 passenger ship of the Elder Dempster Line, in Cape Town with 182 crew and 189 passengers on board. Ltz. I H.C.J. Coumou protests after learning that the speed of the ship is only 14.5 knots and that she will make the journey to England unescorted. Unfortunately, his protests are disregarded.
The Abosso (Photo: © Collection J. Snyder)
Elder Dempster Lines newspaper add, 7 June 1941 (© Collection http://www.pathian.co.uk/)
8 - 9 Oct 1942: The Abosso (actually the Abosso II), under the command of R.W. Tate, departs Cape Town at night.
29 Oct 1942: The Abosso is spotted by the German submarine U 575.
The U 575, under the command of Günther Heydemann, is on her homeward bound voyage to France when she sights the Abosso somewhere between Newfoundland and Ireland.
U 575 approaches the Abosso surfaced and at full speed. At 19:42 hours, the U-boat fires 4 torpedoes. At 20:15 GMT, the Abosso is hit at portside by one torpedo and after 20/25 minutes she is hit at starboard by a torpedo of a second salvo. After 10/15 minutes, the ship sinks vertically. Position: 48°30'N-28°50'W.
The U 575 is a VII-C class U-boat, check Uboat.net for more information.
Coumou and four of his men are able to lower lifeboat #5. The boat suddenly falls while being lowered and is heavily damaged as it hits the water. The boat springs a leak because of the fall and the survivors are up to their knees in water. They have contact during the night with three other lifeboats and a motor sloop.
2 Nov 1942: After two nights, the English sloop Bideford sights the bright red sail of the lifeboat and the survivors are taken on board in the morning. The patrol boat was part of operation Torch (invasion of North Africa).
Other ships have radio contact with the motor sloop, but the sloop and the other lifeboats are not found. There were only 31 survivors (all in lifeboat #5). There are 5 Dutch survivors, of which 4 were submariners. One of them is Ltz. I H.C.J. Coumou
Because of the death of the majority of the crewmembers of the Haai submarine and because the Dutch Navy is unable to replace the crew, the order for the submarine Haai is cancelled and she is returned to the British Royal Navy.
The names of the lost submariners are listed on the Lost Dutch Submarine Service Personnel page.
Check Gerrit Tigchelaar's WWII naval record for an eyewitness account of the Abosso incident.
28 Mar 1943: The submarine is renamed Ula and is transferred to the Norwegian Navy.
3 Apr 1944: Ula is commissioned to the Norwegian Navy.
8 May 1945: Germany surrenders.
15 Aug 1945: Japan surrenders.
The Ula visits Rotterdam, the Netherlands. (photo).
Dec 1965: Ula is sold to H. Eckhart GmbH (Hamburg, Germany) for breaking up.
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