Liberty ship Liberty ship Roger B Taney torpedoed in the South Atlantic on the 2nd. of July 1943

Hello, like to know if you have any information on a liberty ship of ww2, called the ROGER B. TANEY, my father
was on this ship when it sunk in the south atlanic 2/7/43, he was in a liftboat for 22 days. He is alive today at
89 years old. He would appreciated any information.


The Liberty ship Roger B Taney was named after Roger Brooke Taney 1777-1864, the 12th US Attorney General and the 5th. Chief Justice of the US. The ship was laid down at the Bethlehem - Fairfield Shipyard Inc, at Baltimore Maryland on the 21st. of June in 1941, launched on the 6th. of December 1941, to commission on the 9th. of February 1942. She was a US Army Transport, torpedoed in the South Atlantic on the 2nd. of July 1943, and 3 crew members died.


Hello Mackenzie,
Just a little note to thank you for all the information and contacts you made for me and my father.My father never talked very much about the war and the sinking of the Taney, but he really open up after i gave him the e-mail you and greg lenci provided. You put a smile on his face and talks about it all the time. He has never had any contacts with survivors, he tells me the information is very accurate and adds more to the story everyday. If you have any questions or more information please e-mail me.

Glad we could help.
Best wishes to both your Dad and yourself.
Mac. Gregory.


It’s great to hear from you. I will give you as much information that I have gathered. My good friends father was on lifeboat #4 ( Sam LoPresti- he was a goalie for the Chicago Blackhawks)

We also got a lot of information from Donald Zubrod’s son who father was the purser on the Taney and in lifeboat #4. Both are deceased now.

Roger B. Taney- was westbound from Africa to Brazil on the return passage and nearly ran into the U160 German submarine. This we know because Zubrod met with Captain George Lassen the submarine captain many years after the war and gave him information on this.

Taney torpedoed Latitude 21.2 South and Longitude 7.1 west – the U160 chased the Taney from noon on the 6th Feb. 1943 after Taney almost ran it over. U160 followed until 11pm that night. 1st torpedo missed the bow by 20 feet. Lookout sounded general alarm. 2nd hit mid-ship on star board side and killed 3 engine room crew. 3rd dud- unsure if hit ship or was sent off course. 4th struck ship huge explosion – sank Taney after midnight Feb. 7, 1943

54 surviving crew members piled into 2 lifeboats

#2( your Dads) had 26 crew members and was rescued by a British ship Penrith Castle on March 1st.

#4 had 28 crew members – 42 days across Atlantic 2,600 miles – rescued by Brazilian ship The Bage 5 miles off coast of Brazil

#4 lifeboat had Sam LoPresti, Donald Zubrod (the purser) and Captain Tom Potter ( who kept a daily log of the 42 days and we have a copy of that)

The #4 lifeboat is the longest open boat voyage in history of man (42 days and 2,600 miles)

I would appreciate any stories your father can remember and also has any other surviviors contacted you?

Hope to hear from you soon, Greg Lenci- ( Virginia Minnesota USA)

Here are a few interesting web sites that might interest you.

www.usmm.org/sailing-html    story -Sailing under Fire

www.legendsofhockey.net  - story on Sam Lopresti

www.uboat.net     shows pictures of the Roger B. Taney

I have told Greg the facts about being the longest sea voyage in the world in an open boat may be open to challenge.

See what is already on AHOY here:

Greg, below is some detail of another open boat journey in WW2, they may challenge which was the longer both in days and distance.

Thank you for all the detail.

German Armed Merchant Raider Widder, sank the British Tramp steamer Anglo Saxon on the 21st. of August in 1940

The Ship's Jolly boat.
A small boat known as the Jolly boat, had been launched after the torpedoing, and it had seven men on board. The fate of the second boat and its occupants is unknown, other than it was not seen nor heard of again. Of these seven men, only Robert Taggert and Roy Widdiscombe lived to reach the Bahamas.

The Jolly boat made one of the longest journeys in maritime history covering some 2,700 miles. After some weeks only two men still lived, Robert and Roy, they noted on the 24th. of September: " All water and biscuits gone, but still hoping to make land."

For the remaining 37 days they survived on rainwater, seaweed, and a few small sea creatures. They contemplated suicide, they fought, but managed to live through a three day hurricane, to finally land in the Bahamas on the far side of the Atlantic Ocean on the 30th. of October 1940.

They had been battling the elements to survive an amazing sea voyage in a small open boat over 70 days.

Survivors Tapscott, and Widdicombe, from Anglo Saxon visited in Nassau General Hospital by the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The Duke was the appointed Governor of the Bahamas.

Widdicombe when returning home 3 months later died, when his ship SS Siamese Prince was torpedoed by U-69. All the crew were lost, thus Tapscott remained the sole survivor from the sinking of the Anglo Saxon.

The Jolly Boat on show at Mystic Seaport.
This small boat was on show at Mystic Seaport in the US for all who viewed it to marvel at the sheer guts and determination that carried both Robert and Roy to safety on their epic voyage.

In 1977 the Jolly Boat was shipped back to UK where it now forms the centre piece in a Battle of the Atlantic display in London's Imperial War Museum.


back to letters index


This site was created as a resource for educational use and the promotion of historical awareness. All rights of publicity of the individuals named herein are expressly reserved, and, should be respected consistent with the reverence in which this memorial site was established.

Copyright© 1984/2014 Mackenzie J. Gregory All rights reserved