Jack "Windy" Magee  from Belfast, merchant seaman in WW2 on SARANAC, torpedoed and sunk by a German U-Boat U-51

Dear Sir,

My name is Carolyn Magee I am 24 and live in Belfast.  I was reading some of the replies to your emails on your site and I was wondering if yo could maybe help me too.  I am trying to find information on my great-grandfather Mr. Jack Magee nick name "Windy" from belfast also.  I know that he was a merchant seaman in WW2 and that he survived 2 sinkings.  I have been told of a story that the boat that he was on was torpedoed and that he directed the surviving in thier lifeboats home by the stars.  I was told that the boat that he was on was called the 'Sarnec' i am not too sure of the spelling.

I would be grateful for any information that you can give me.


Ms. Carolyn Magee


Dear Carolyn,

I can find no reference to any ship named Sarnec, but suspect your Grandfather may have served in a British Tanker of 12,049 tons called SARANAC, she was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-Boat U-51 commanded by Dietrich Knorr on the 25th. of June 1940.

This submarine was launched on the 11th. of June in 1938, commissioned on the 6th. of  August that year. In all, she sank 6 ships totalling 31,020 tons and SARANAC was included in that total.

U-51 was herself destroyed on the 20th. of August 1940 in the Bay of Biscay by a torpedo from the British Submarine HMS Cachalot. The entire crew of U-51 numbering 43 all perished that day.

I hope this information may be of some help to you, I am exploring several other sites and await their response to my questions, and will be in touch again.

Mackenzie. Gregory.

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