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.
Kaptein Lorents Tvedt fremsto ...
Inga 1 avgikk fra Tyne 7. juli 1941 med en ladning kull, kokes og stykkgods bestemt til Gibraltar. Ved avgangen var skibet i enhver henseende i full sjødygtig stand. Han forklarte at han kunne ikke fremlegge skibets dagbok, da alle skibets papirer gikk tapt da skibet ble sunket ved fiendtlig handling 28. juli, og han forklarte videre at:
Hadde vært fører av "Inga 1" siden 20. desember 1939, og var på enhver måte fornøiet med skibets tilstand og utstyr. Avgang fra Tyne var 7. juli, og neste bestemmelsessted var Oban for å gå i konvoi, men skibet måtte anløpe Scapa Flow 8. til 11. juli for å reparere kondenserlåket hvilket ble ordentlig rpeareret etter ankomst til Oban 13. juli. Som følge herav ble skibets avgang i konvoi forsinket intil 21. juli.
Reisen forløp normalt inntil søndag 27. juli, da commodoren signalerte at der var fiendtlige ubåter i nærheten. Posisjonen til middag var omtr. 43 37 N 17 40 V.
Han ordret alle ombord til å sove og hvile så meget som mulig mens det var dag, samt å gå med livbelter som var utstyret med røde elektriske lys.
Like før midnatt var han på broen og hørte en eksplosjon, og han så at commcoereskibet ble torpederet. Han sto på babord side på broen, 2. styrmann på styrbord side. 2 minutter senere så han en torpedo komme mot "Inga 1" tvers om styrbord.
2. styrmann ropte til allesammen at de måtte komme seg over på babord side, og straks etter fulgte eksplosjonen av torpedoen som rammet skibet og eksploderte i kullbunkerne på styrbord side av kjelerummet.
Begge båtene på styrbord side ble sterkt skadet og vrakstumper fløi omkring. Babords livbåt kunne ikke settes på vannet tids-nok, og motorbåten på No. 3 luken var skadet ved eksplosjonen. Skibet fikk meget slagside og sank på mindre enn 2 minutter. Han så etter de hemmelige bøker og fant at trekassen som de oppbevartes i var blitt smadret av eksplosjonen og at de var forsvunnet blant vrakrestene. Alle skibets dagbøker og papirer samt offiserenes og mannskapets eiendele gikk tapt med skibet.
Han gikk ned på båtdekket, og vannet sto da allerede over føtterne hans. Skibet sank og drog ham langt under vannet. Han kom til overflaten og fikk fatt på noen ituslåtte treluker o.l. og holdt seg oppe inntil han drev bort til en flåte hvor den ene åre var brukket ved eksplosjonen.
Han så de røde lys på redningsvestene hos de overlevede rundt omkring seg. Han klarte å paddle seg over til den annen flåte, hvor han fant en av fyrbøterne. Han fløt rundt på flåten i omtrent en hel time, inntil en båt fra et britisk krigsib kom og tok dem opp. Da han kom over på krigskibet fant han alle de reddede fra "INGA I" ombord der, unntat de savnete, nemlig
1ste maskinist Bernhard Ellingsen
Lettmatros Rolf Abrahamsen
Dlnkeymann Ole Dolve
Han anstillet undersøkelse om de savnete, men ingen hadde noen opplysninger å gi. Han rapporterte at disse tre menn var savnet, til sjefen for krigskibet og dette holdt seg i nærheten og krysset omkring blant vrakgodset til etter kl. 8.30 fm. hvilket er mere enn tre timer etter det ble lyst. Natten var mørk men været var fint med lett NOlig bris. -
De sluttet seg igjen til konvoien om ettermiddagen samme dag og krigskibet fikk ordre om å gå direkte til Gibraltar.- De ble alle godt behandlet ombord på det britiske krigskib, og etter ankomsten til Gibraltar tok Norske Konsulen seg av dem.
First Witness:- The Second Officer Olaf Ringsjø, who stated that:
He sailed as Second Officer of the Norwegian Steamship "Inga I" from tyne with a cargo of coal, coke and sundries on 7th July, 1941.
The ship was well found in all respects particularly as regards life saving equipment.
The voyage was uneventful until warning was received on Sunday 27th July, 1941 that there were enemy submarines, in the vicinity, the approximate position at noon was about 43o 37' N. and 17o 40' W.
The Captain ordered all on board to sleep as much as possible during the day time and remain dressed, awake and with lifebelts on all night.
Just before midnight on 27th July, 1941 he was Officer of the watch, he heard a loud explosion from the Commodres ship of the convoy, which was for or five cables ahead of us, about two or three minutes later he saw thre track of a torpedo coming towards the "Inga I" on the starboard side.
He could not alter the course because there were ships on each side, he shouted to all hands to run over to the Port side.
The Torpedo exploded in the coal bunkers between the engineroom and boiler room on the Starboard side, the ship immediately took a heavy list, both the boats on the starboard side were destroyed.
The motorboat on No. 3 hatch was also destroyed and the ship sank within two minutes, the boats on the Port side could not be launched in the short time available on account of the list.
The Chief Engineer, Bernhar Ellingsen came up on to the bridge just before midnight and after the first explosion, he was wearing his lifeblt, he came to the Port side of bridge with him and he told him to jump off the bridge into the sea, I did not see him do this and I did not see him again. ...
Ordinary Seaman Rolf Abrahamsen was helmsman on watch, he was wearing his lifebelt, I did not see him after the torpedo exploded. Donkeyman Ole Dolva was below in the stokehold, I did not see him after the torpedo exploded and the steampipes burst.
Second Officer Ringsjø stated that he jumped overboard from the Starboard side of the midhsips deck, he swam round and managed to get hold of a wooden hatch cover. He switched on the red electric light on his lifebelt, he saw many other similar red lights in the water, all round, after about half-an-hour he was picked up by a boat from at British Warship.
He believes that Bernhard Ellingsen, Rolf Abrahamsen and Ole Dolva are all dead, all the survivors of the "Inga I" were picked up by this one boat within about one hour, as it had to make several trips over to the Warship which was laying off in the vicinity.
He stated that all the survivors were well treated on board the Warship which remained cruising round the vicinity until about 8.30 a.m. when it was clear that there were no other survivors, several dead bodies were passed and the Warship steamed off to rejoin the convoy.
All the officers and crew effects and the shipæs papers, including engine room log-book, were lost with the ship.
Together with the Mster and the other survivors he was landed at Gibraltar on 30th July, where he was taken care of by the Norwegian Consul.
The Second Witness, Second Engineer Emanuel Høiland, appeared and deposed that:-
That on the evening of Sunday 27th July, 1941, not being on wathc in the engineroom, he was upon the bridge and heard an explosion on another ship in the convoy shortly before midnight.
He immediately told the Chief Engineer Bernhard Ellingsen, and the third Engineer who was at the moment relieving the Chief in the engine room what had occurred, they both came up from below and the Chief Engineer went up on to the bridge.
He had heard the Chief Engineer tell the donkeyman Ole Dolva to come up on deck immediately. The donkeyman did not come up immedieately, possibly because he was waiting for his relief.
He also went up on the bridge on the starboard side with the Chief Engingeer, he did not see the helmsman who was inside the concrete wheelhouse. ...
He saw the wake of the torpedo coming towards the ship from the Starboard beam, the Chief Engineer and Second Mate went over to the Port side but he stayed on the Starboard side, and the torpedo exploded immediately on hitting the ship amidships in the boiler room side bunkers.
All on board including the Chief Engineer and the donkeyman, had their lifebelts on at the time.
The ship took a heavy list to Starboard and he saw splinters flying from both lifeboats on the Starboard side which were both damaged from the explosion. It was a very dark night.
Seeing that the ship was sinking he jumped into the sea on the Starboard ship, and the ship sank immediately.
He found the wooden top of the wheelhourse and uset it as a raft. The Messboy got on to the wheelhouse top at the same time. The red electric lights in the lifebelts shone brightly until they were picked up by a boat from a British Warship about an hour later, perhaps more.
We were the fist survivors of the "Inga I" to be taken over to the Warship, we were given clothes, firt aid and everything on board was placed at our disposal.
He did not see the Chief Engineer Bernhard Ellingsen, or the Donkeyman Ole Dolva, or the Helmsman Rolf Abrahamsen after the ship sank, and as the Warship remained on the spot until after 8.30 a.m., that is three hours after daylight looking for survivors, he believes all three are dead.
All the officers and crew effects and ship's papers were lost with the ship.
He arrived with the remaining survivors of the crew at Gibraltar on the 30th July, where they were looked after by the Norwegian Consul.
Third Witness, Able Seamn Johan Roman Eide Nilsen, appearad and deposed that:-
He joined the "Inga I" on the tine on the 3rd July, 1941, the voyage was normal until the 27th July, when he was lookout on the bridge, his watch being from 7.00 p.m. until midnight. He was just going to be relieved and was standing at the Starboard side of the bridge just before midnight. He saw a torpedo explode on the Commodore's ship just before midnight, he believes on the Starboard side. Imddediately afterwards he saw a torpedo coming towards the "Inga i" about 20 or 25 metres away. He was on the Starboard side of the bridge when the torpedo exploded, and the ship took a heavy list to Starboard immediately.
He was wearing his lifebelt in consequence of the Captin's order the same morning that all on board must wear lifebelts and rest as far as possible during the day time.
Immediately after the explosion he went down to the boat deck to look at the Starboard boats, and found both smashed.
He then went to the Port side to look at the Port boat and he cut the lashings and tried to lower th boat but on account of the heavy list it was impossible to get the boat into the water, and the ship was sinking rapidly.
Hewas standing on the boat deck when the ship sank under water, and he was carried down by the suction several times.
He swam around and came to the Captain, Chief Mate and Sceond Mate holding on to pieces of wreckage. He managed to get hold of a hatch cover and held on to it until he was rescued by the boat from the British Warship.
He did not see Chief Engineer Benhard Ellingsen, Ordinary Seaman Rolfd Abrahamsen or Donekyman Ole Dolva after the ship sank, although he saw the Chief Engineer on the bridge just before the torpedo exploded. He is of the opinion that all these three men are dead. All the ship's papers and the crew's effects were lost.
He was well treated on board the Warship which remained in the vicinity of the wreckage until about three hours after daylight.
The Warship arrived at Gibraltar on 30th July where he was taken charge of by the Norwegian Consul.