The Final Hours of the Tiger

Welcome back to “Ocean Echoes: North Carolina’s Shipwreck Chronicles.” In this third episode, we delve into the compelling and dramatic story of the Tiger, a ship with a storied past and a tragic end in 1942.

A Vessel of Many Roles

The Tiger’s journey began in June 1917 as a freighter for the Standard Transportation Co. of Delaware, New York. With the onset of World War I, the vessel was acquired by the US Army Transportation Service in November 1917 to transport essential supplies to France for the American Expeditionary Force. Just a month later, the US Navy commissioned the Tiger as USS Tiger (ID # 1640) for the Naval Overseas Transportation Service. Following the war, the Tiger served with the US Cruiser and Transport Force, repatriating American troops from Europe until it was decommissioned and returned to its owners in August 1919.

A New Role and a New Danger

In 1928, the Tiger was converted into a tanker to carry oil fuel in bulk, and in 1931, it was sold to Standard Vacuum Transportation Co Inc., New York. The ship continued its service until World War II brought new dangers to the Atlantic.

The Fateful Day

On April 1, 1942, the unescorted and unarmed Tiger, commanded by Master Rein Alexander Schnore, was navigating off Cape Henry, Virginia. At 06:18 hours, a torpedo from U-754 struck the Tiger on the starboard side, just aft of amidships. The explosion caused significant damage, blowing oil all over the ship and causing the stern to settle rapidly.

Rescue and Aftermath

The Tiger’s crew, consisting of eight officers, 28 crewmen, and six passengers, abandoned ship in three lifeboats. They were rescued after two hours by the patrol craft USS YP-52 and safely landed at Norfolk. Tragically, one fireman on watch below was killed in the explosion.

The next day, a salvage crew boarded the Tiger, and the American tug Relief, along with the US Coast Guard cutter USCGC Jackson (WPC 142), took the ship in tow for Norfolk. However, the Tiger sank on April 2 in 55 feet of water in Chesapeake Bay and was declared a total loss. In 1954, the wreck was sold for breaking up.

Legacy of the Tiger

The story of the Tiger is a poignant reminder of the perils faced by maritime vessels during wartime. It highlights the bravery and resilience of its crew in the face of sudden disaster. The Tiger’s tale, like many others in the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” underscores the enduring legacy of those who sailed these treacherous waters.

Join Us Next Saturday

We hope you found this episode of “Ocean Echoes: North Carolina’s Shipwreck Chronicles” both informative and moving. Join us next Saturday as we continue to uncover more stories of sunken ships and maritime mysteries. Don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe to stay updated on our latest episodes.

Thank you for joining us on this journey through history. Until next time, stay curious and keep exploring!

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