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
June 12, 1941
Location
300 mil nord for Azorene
Cause
Torpedert [av tysk ubåt]
Cargo
Ballast
Route
Glasgow - New York
Crew list
Komplett
Survived
29
Captured
0
Deceased
0 [0]
Missing
0
  • Abstract

    Date
    July 11, 1941
    Location
    Lisboa
    Administrator
    Konsul Ths. A. Todsen

    ...

    Appeared Conrad Martinius Mørland ... master of the s/s "Ranella" ...

    The captain referred to a report which he had prepared with reference to what had occurred and which was produced. Her further stated:-

    The vessel left Glasgow in convoy on the 4th June 1941 bound fior New York in ballast. The convoy consisted of 34/35 vessels of various nationalities escorted by destroyers aand smaller guard-ships. During the voyage depth charges were repeatedly dropped without our seeing anything of the enemy. The "Ranella" left the convoy on the 10th June at about 7 o'clock in the morning. Some other vessels for other ports of destination also left the convoy and shaped their own course. Nothing unusual was noticed until the vessel's position was 43o 39' Nort Latitude, 28o West Longitude, on the 12th June at 11 o'clock a.m., when the vessel was torpedoed. The vessel sustained a hole on each side of the hull as a result of the explosion and began to heel over, and we therefore assumed that she would sink quickly. The crew then went into both the starboard boats because the motor lifebaot on the port side amidship had been smashed. A while afterwards the U-boat came up, across the bow, but only with the tower above water. There was no communication with her and no signals were given. The lifeboats rowed away from the U-boat and the "Ranella" in order to avoid possible firing. About half an hour after the first explosion the U-boat fired another torpedo which caused the vessel to break across, but she continued to float. The U-boat then began to fire with a gun, from 15 to 30 shots, and one of these hit the bow in the formost bunker tank which exploded as a column of fire rose. The boats were then rather far away and visibility was getting poor. As far as we could see, only the tower of the U-boat contiued to be above water. The lifeboats set course for the Azores and had to tack against the wind, and during the second night they lost contact with each other. The captain's lifeboat continued towards the Azores with much head wind, but also had a following wind for acouple of days. On the 22nd June the captain calculated on being off the island of Terceira, but they could no tsee land. Ship's council was then held in which it was decided to turn round in case they did not see land during the next few hours as it was possible that they had sailed past the island. Shortly afterwards they caught sight of it, about 10/12 nautical miles away, covered with fog. The lifeboat set course towards a small landing place which was later found to be Vilanova. Here, with the assistance of fishermen, the boat was hauled up on a small slipway. They then got in contact with the Secretary of the Governor of the island who assisted them best possible with food and drink. They were then sent to the garrison quartes, a couple of kilometers away, where they spent the night in a soldier's barracks. The captain, who, as a result of the explosion on board, had got is arm dislocated at the shoulder, was taken to hospital where it was set again. The crew left Terceira on the 28th June and arrived at Lisbon on the 4th July.

    ...

    ... the 1st witness (steward Gunvald Bjørløw) who made statement in accordance with the captain and confirmed the latter's statement in all respects.

    The second witness (Chief Officer Edvin Anker Olsen) stated that the "Ranella" left Glasgow in convoy together with several other vessels, about 36/40 of various nationalities, escorted by small destroyers and 4 guard-ships. They did not see anything of the enemy. Left the convoy at 8 o'clock in the morning of the 10th June. After the torpedoing it took about 20 minutes before the crew were in the boats, clear of the ship. The torpedo came from the port side, thereafter the U-boat came round aheaad on the starboard side and commenced firing with a gun. On being questioned as to whether she had one or two guns, witness is of opinion that if she was only using one gun, it must be a very quick-firing one, as the shots were in rapid succession. After having lost contact with the other boat, the crew decided on the 16th June, in the evening, to set course for the coast of Portugal as they would have more favourable wind with that course. They also calculated on having a better chance of encountering ships. On the 28th July they sighted land and on the same morning they came in to Figueira da Foz.

    ...