Reports of wreckage from the Heintzelman  

I found these quotes from a news group on the Armed Guard Web Site:

According to 'The Liberty Ships,' by Sawyer and Mitchell, the Liberty Samuel Heintzelman was sunk in the Indian Ocean while en route from Charleston to Karachi, and that both the Japanese and the Germans claim responsibility for the sinking. A Japanese account says she was sunk by gunfire and torpedo on July 3, 1943, north of Freemantle. German records date the sinking six days later and credit a German submarine, U511. Sawyer and Mitchell say it's a fact that debris and empty boats from the ship washed up on Diego Garcia, in the Maldives, on Sept. 30. The book says, too, that there is no evidence of a Japanese raider being at sea after November of '42 but that the U-511 was in the Indian Ocean, en route to Japan, at the time. 

Captain Moore's A CARELESS WORD...A NEEDLESS SINKING quotes German records claiming the ship. It also quotes a US Navy dispatch from Colombo dated October 5, 1943: 'On 30 September 1943, wreckage washed up off Minni Minni Village, Maldives Islands (5-00 South/72-00 East). 

The wreckage consisted of glass tubes with unidentified powder, ammunition boxes, and a plank marked SS SAMUEL HEINTZELMAN. On the previous day, two ship's boats were sighted and later disappeared in the same area. They were apparently not occupied.' Moore also quotes Heinz Rehse, a member of U-511 who reported that the sub went deep after firing, heard underwater explosions. Upon surfacing, they found no sign of the ship or survivors...and had pieces of wreckage on the deck of the sub. (p. 250) 

The reports of debris found seems consistent with what my family had been told, especially the piece of wreckage with the ships name on it. However I had never known that the debris was washed up on Diego Garcia, a couple of hundred miles from the location where the Heintzelman was sunk. I had always assumed that the debris had been located somewhere near where the ship went down.

 

   debris and 
empty boats 
 washed up 
 on 
Diego 
Garcia 

The 
 wreckage 
 consisted of 
 ... a plank  with the ship's name on it..
 

     

  

 

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