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.
Statement on S/S "HERO"
The S/S "HERO" left Beirut 0900 hrs. on the 5th of July 1942 with 2 tons of general cargo for Port Said. The ship left in convoy under the escort of 3 warships.
At 0515 on the 6th of July dept-charges were dropped by one of the escort ships but no signals were given to our ship.
Suddenly about 0600 hrs. the ship was hit by a torpedo in the forehold and 30 seconds later a second one in the aft part. The ship was practically blown up and sunk within 40 to 50 seconds, and itwas impossible to get out any of the boats. The only survivors were those who happened to be on deck and had the possibility to jump into the water.
About half an hour later those who were in the water and on one life-raft were picked by one of the escort vessels.
The wounded were given first aid and captain E. Nielsen who was taken on board unconscious was applied artificial respiration. As no doctor was onboard one was ordered by wireless from one of the other warships, and boarded the ship about 15 minutes later and took charge of the wounded.
Artificial respiration was applied to captain Nielsen for two hours without success til reaching port.
Of the 14 survivors who were landed at Jaffa, 13 were brought to hospital in ambulances. Amongst them were 7 Europeans and 6 Chinese. The hospital doctor could only state that captain Nielsen was dead.
British gunner Pottinger who had a bad cut on his thig had to have one leg amputated. British gunner Cerighton was injured in the back. The six wounded Chinese surrered from burns, cuts and bruises but nothing of really serious character. 4 Europeans could leave the hospital the same evening after being attended to. Six Chinese remained in the hospital.
Chief officer Fredriksen reported the accident to Mr. William McCallum, Norwegian Consul in Haifa, immediately after landing ashore at Jaffa. The Consul came spesially to Jaffe to make the necessary arrangement.
Captain Nielsen was identified by chief officer Fredriksen, and same evening after port mortem certificate was issued that he died from drowning caused by the injures he had received.
Captein Nielsen was buried on the 7th of July 1000 hrs. at the Military cemetery in Ramleh outside Jaffa. Present at the funeral were: Norwegian Consul Mr. McCallum, chief officer Fredriksen, chief engineer Olsen, 3rd engineer Abrahamsen, captain Gulbrandsen and his 2nd officer from Norwegian S/S "HALLBJØRG" who have come from Haifa to the funeral.
Captain Nielsen was given a Military funeral.
Out of the S/S "Hero"s crew of 43 are only 13 alive and 30 dead and missing. Please refer to list attached.
Captain Nielsen had the ships papers in a bag which chief officer took over and later handed over to the Norwegian consul in Haifa.
At the present time the two British gunners and the six Chinese are still in hospital in Jaffa.
The ships log book went down with the ship.
The survivors lost all their belongings.
This statement is written in Haifa on the 14th day of July 1942.
Einar Fredriksen, Chief Officer
K. Olsen, Chief Engineer
Alb. Abrahamsen, 3rd Engineer
Finn Kjølevik, 3rd officer
Lee Man Cheng, Sailor
Lee Theng Joo, Qr. master
W. McCallum, Vice consul for Norway