About 5.15am, the German infantry attacked supported by tanks and artillery. As they advanced, a tracked vehicle towing a light gun came to within close range of Private Wakenshaw’s anti-tank gun. The 2-pounder gun opened fire and a direct hit on the vehicle’s engine stopped it dead.
The Putney Hill was lying like a ghost ship on the gentle sea, the silence punctuated by occasional loud bangs as various bits of the structure gave way under the increasing pressure. Without warning an incendiary shell hit the funnel and started a fire. It was followed by a further sixty three shells into the hull, counted by those on the life-raft from their grandstand position. At approximately 0130 hours on June 26th, 1942, Putney Hill became almost vertical and still burning slid beneath the sea, bow first.