The 'Happy Time'
Schepke & U-100
The Men Who Died
Books & Movies
Canonesa, Convoy HX72 & U-100
"Atlantic Ahead" painted by N. Sotheby Pitcher in 1941.
Background information on the Canonesa and on the shipping company who she was owned by, Furness-Houlder Argentine Lines.
Spread over 5 main pages this section includes a description of the attack by U-boats on Convoy HX72, drawing wherever possible on witness accounts, and focussing on the sinking of the Canonesa. A Convoy HX72 ships page, which includes a table of those ships lost and damaged, and information about the eventual fates of the surviving ships, is also provided. The U-100 war diary entry for the sinking of the Canonesa is reproduced, together with the official report of the Canonesa's captain.
THE 'HAPPY TIME'
This section considers why the U-boats were particularly successful in their actions against convoys between June and October 1940, a time which became known to the U-boat crews as 'Die Glückliche Zeit', the Happy Time.
SCHEPKE & U-100
One of the three most famous U-boat aces in the early years of the war, Kapitänleutnant Joachim Schepke in U-100 wreaked havoc on Convoy HX72. Schepke's personality, death and wartime legacy are described.
THE MERCHANT SEAMEN - UNREWARDED BRAVERY
The invaluable role played by the Merchant Navy during the Second World War has gone largely unappreciated. Without the supplies they ferried across the dangerous waters of the Atlantic, the victories of the RAF's fighter pilots in the Battle of Britain and the D-Day invasion would not have been possible. Over 30,000 allied merchant sailors lost their lives.
MEMORIAL PAGE - THE MEN WHO DIED
The names of the 116 allied merchant seamen killed in the attack are listed. In many ways this is the most important part of this site and I hope that you will be able to spare some time to read the names of those who gave their lives.
TOM PURNELL - 4TH ENGINEER
Please also take the opportunity to look at this brief biography of, and tribute to, my grandfather and his widow Anne.
A collection of images, including photos of the Canonesa, my grandfather, the Tower Hill Memorial, U-100 and Joachim Schepke.
Battle of the Atlantic BOOKSTORE
Books and articles found useful in the preparation of this site, over 275 of which with the assistance of Amazon.com and its UK-based partner Amazon.co.uk you can buy online.
You can access related sites from the extensive Links page.
Take a look at the Guestbook. Please add your own comments. You can also view what Yahoo UK & Ireland said when they chose the site as a Pick of the Week in April 1998. An acknowledgments page sets out my thanks to those who have helped me put this page together.
If you are trying to find out more about a relative who served during the Battle of the Atlantic, or are looking for general information on the Atlantic Campaign, you might wish to take a look at the Resources & Contacts section.
On five ancillary pages are interesting articles about the sinking of HMS 'Patroclus' and HMS 'Laurentic', an attack on Convoy SC107, the sinking of the 'Putney Hill', the role of Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships, and the Wartime Memoirs of Fred and Iris Chilton, which include a description of the sinking of U-100.
"Let who will speak against Sailors; they are the Glory and Safeguard of the Land. And what would have become of Old England long ago but for them?"