Maritime inquiry 1939 - 1945

The information below regarding ships in the Nortraship fleet is a direct transcript of the original source "Sjøforklaringer fra andre verdenskrig (1940 - 1945)". The informasjon is collected from maritime inquiries held during and right after the war. The information may differ from the other quality assured information in Krigsseilerregisteret.

Date
January 28, 1942
Location
Ca. 5 nautiske mil av Lizard
Cause
Bombet av fly [tyske fly]
Cargo
880 tonn
Route
Cardiff - Barry Roads - ?
Crew list
Komplett
Survived
3
Captured
0
Deceased
16 [17]
Missing
0
  • Abstract

    Date
    February 9, 1942
    Location
    London

    ...

    Appeared the 1st witness, Stephan Meyer, ...

    The witness produced a report, prepared by himself and R. Skauge, about the catastrophe.

    The witness referred to what had been entered in the report. In connection with this he stated that, as soon as the shock of the explosions was over, he got up and saw that the after part of the ship was going down quickly. He then threw himself over the rail and began to swim. He caught hold of a hatch. This, together with other wreckage, went into the votex and he was drawn under for some seconds. But he came up again; he then saw the forecastle going down. The witness thinks that not more than about 30 seconds could have passed from the moment he jumped over board until the vessel disappeared. When the witness came out on deck the aeroplanes were immediately over the ship, very low. He had not heard anything of the attacking aeroplanes before he came out on deck. Just before he came out they heard the shots from the machine guns on the bridge. He then appreciated that the vessel was being subjected to aeroplane attack and he ran out on the after deck in order to get to the machine gun aft. But before he got to it he was knocked to the deck by the blast. No one was on watch at that machine gun. It was arranged so that the two machine guns on the bridge had permanent watch so that they could at once be brough into action, whilst the machine gun aft and the 4th machine gun on top of the wheel-house did not have permanent watch. It was the steward who served the machine gun aft and in the ordinary way he would have been able to get there in the course of about ten seconds in order to handle it. But on this occasion there was no time at all to do anything.

    The witness further stated that the vessel had parachute rockets, which could be fired from the bridge, but this was not done. When he came out on the deck the witness at once thought that this should have been done. The English gunner, who was one of the survivors, had told the witness that they commenced the machine gun firing a little late. The reason for this he gave as being that they were afraid that the aeroplanes were English, because they were quite close to an English base. The witness, personnally, however, did not know about this because, as stated, he only came out on deck after the firing had commenced.

    On the Bridge were the 2nd officer, the surviving gunner and A.B. Seaman Stahl at the helm. Stahl lost his life.

    It was only the witness, fireman Skauge and the gunner mentioned, whose name the witness does not know, who were saved.

    The vessel had an exceptionally good lifebuoy-raft. It was on to this that the witness got up. The two others, who were saved, were then already in the buoy. In addition to this buoy the vessel had a wooden raft which was in complete order. But this was presumably destroyed in consequence of the explosion. In addition there were two lifeboats with complete equipment which were in good condition and had been tested some days previously. These lifeboats could accomodate the whole crew. There were also five lifebuoys with lights. The reason why no more were saved is, in the opinion of the witness, due to the others having been drawn down by the vortex.

    The witness added that there were lifesaving jackets with electric light for all the men.

    ...

    Appeared the 2nd witness, Ragnar Skauge, ... fireman ...

    The witness was off duty when the aeroplane attack occured and he was forward in his cabin. He did not know what was going on until the bombing started. The first thing he heard was a hissing sound in the air above the vessel. Immediately thereupon came the first explosion. The witness was knocked down in his cabin by the blast. He immediately got up and rushed out on deck. There he met a fireman (the withess does not know his name, but he was from Bergen), donkeyman Saarkoppel, two of the A.B. Seamen and the boatswain. The last mentioned asked the crew to assist in getting out the lifeboat-buoy which was lying at the No. 1 hatch on the port side. This, however, they could not manage owing to smoke and flames. The witness said to the others:- "Come on boys", and he himself jumped over board. The others, however, did not come and were undoubtedly sucked down by the vortex. The witnes started to swim and after some minutes had passed he saw the lifeboat-buoy and got up into it. All the ship's lifesaving equipment was in good order.

    Chief officer Meyer and the English gunner had also saved themselves by getting on to the lifeboat-buoy. They rowed towards land, but owing to current and wind they were not getting nearer land. After 17 hours of hardship a Dutch motor vessel arrived which saved them.

    ...