Sub sinks 'City of Flint,' ship once seized by Nazis (1-23-43)

The Pittsburgh Press (March 21, 1943)

Sub sinks City of Flint, ship once seized by Nazis

Norway freed freighter from German prize crew; all but 17 aboard escape

Washington (UP) – (March 20)
The Navy revealed today that the freighter City of Flint, which was seized in 1939 by a German raider and subsequently released by the Norwegian government, has been torpedoed and sunk in the mid-Atlantic.

The Navy had earlier announced the sinking, which occurred in January, but it did not disclose then that the victim was the famous American vessel.

Bound for Manchester and Liverpool with a cargo of apples, wax, asphalt, machinery, foodstuffs and lubricating oils, the City of Flint (a vessel of less than 5,000 tons) was seized on the high seas by a German surface raider, reportedly the Deutschland, on Oct. 9, 1939. It had sailed for New York six days earlier.

The Germans put a prize crew aboard the City of Flint and also crew members of a British vessel, an earlier victim of the raider.

On Oct. 21, the City of Flint arrived at Tromsø, and was subsequently was to Kola Bay, Murmansk, and to Bergen, Norway. At Haugesund, Norway, authorities interned the German prize crew.

On Nov. 5, the Norwegian government rejected Germany’s demand the prize crew be released and that the City of Flint be held pending German-Norwegian negotiations on her disposition.

The City of Flint was subsequently permitted to sail from Norway for the United States and arrived at Baltimore Jan. 27, 1940.

In releasing Capt. Joseph A. Gainard and his 40 officers and men, Norway did what Russia had refused to do, despite a strong demand by the United States that the ship and her crew be released after her temporary detention at Murmansk.

Russia, after holding the vessel for several days, turned her back to the German crew and permitted the Flint to sail.

A survivor of the Flint told in Philadelphia how all but 17 of a crew of 65 escaped as the ship, swept by fire, sunk within an hour after two attacks.

Forty-seven other survivors, including all the principal officers, were rescued, but have not yet reached the United States, the Navy announced.

Some of the survivors, the Navy said, saw the wake of a torpedo about 150 feet from the ship, before it was hit. The torpedo struck on the port side and fire swept quickly over the entire forward part of the vessel. The ship was abandoned within 10 minutes.

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