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
October 19, 1941
Location
Utenfor Tusker
Cause
Bombet og senket [av tyske fly]
Cargo
Ballast
Route
Cork - Newport
Crew list
Komplett
Survived
10
Captured
0
Deceased
8 [7]
Missing
0
  • Abstract

    Date
    October 30, 1941
    Location
    Cardiff

    ...

    The Captain appeared and brought with him a written statement of the incident and will bring later a full list of the dead and surviving crew.

    The following is the written statement handed in by the Master:- ...

    ...

    The Captain stated as follows:-

    I was in my cabin with the Chief Engineer prepared to listen to the Norwegian news when we heard the 'planes overhead as described in my statement. I went up to the wheelhouse and took command. All the ship's papers were brought down to the ship's lifeboat and I asked the cheif Engineer to look after them. Unfortunately the boat capsized and the ship's papers were lost. I believe that two of the 'planes were so damaged by our machine gun firing that they most likely are destroyed. They had to stop fighting and one of them was seen wobbling just above sea level when it disappeared in the darkness. I would like to record that the two British gunners and the three members of my crew who were Chief Engineer, Mr. Pedersen, A.B. Ragnvald Antonsen and Chief Mate Harald Hansen, remained at their posts and did exellent work all the time during the attack.

    I wish to point out what is mentioned in my statement that the ship was inside Irish territorial waters at the time of the attack.

    ...

    Next appeared as first witness, Chief Engineer Trygve Konrad Pedersen ... and stated verbally as follows:-

    On Sunday the 19th October about 6.30 p.m. I was with the Captain waiting for the Norwegian news when I suddenly heard the sound of 'planes above. I rushed up to the bridge and took possession of the starboard machine gun. There were three planes and I thought they were Irish. They flew very low and passed once over the ship without attacking. They came in again from the port side and at that time somebody on board shouted that they were German and at the samøe time they opened fire on us and dropped bombs or torpedoes. I immediately opened fire and so did all the other four guns. I could see the planes being hit many times. I saw one plane defintely hit by our gunners straight in her engine, when the plane stopped firing and disapperared out of control. The second one was also damaged and disappeared. I feel quite sure that those two were destroyed and only the third one returned. I remained at my gun and when the third plane returned we all opened fire but her fist discharge hit the ship and an explosion threw me from my gun on to the bunker hatch. I went back to my gun and fired a few shots, then I was ordered to the lifeboat. The ship then had a considerable list to port. The engine and the dynamo stopped.

    After about three hours in the boat, about 11 p.m. she capsized and we lost one of our gunners. The boat capsized again and we lost the second engineer. After that the boat capsized continuously when five more men disappeared so when at about 6 o'clock a.m. s.s. "Wallace Rose" picked us up we were only five men left out of twelve. The "Wallace Rose" afterwards picked up three bodies. We were exceedingly well treated and were landed at Newport Mon., after having called at an Irish port where the second mate was landed being ill.

    I would like to mention that A.B. John William Braathen took over one of the gunners machine gun and continued to fire even after the gun was torn loose from its foundation.

    I saw that the ship's papers were in my boat but they must have been washed away during the nigth. I saw them until the boat capsized the first time.

    ...

    As second witness appeared Henrik Wilhelmsen, second mate ... and he stated as follows:-

    I have read the Captain's statement and have no remarks to make in this respect.

    I was on watch on Sunday the 19th of October when about 6.30 p.m. I saw three planes coming in from the stern flying very low. They did not drop anything and I could not identify their nationality. When they turned to come back I saw the "Swastika" mark on their tails. The Captain immediately came on the bridge and we manouevred in zig-zag I saw bombs and torpedoes discarged but nothing hit us. Our guns fired all the time and I saw the planes were hit many times. All three attacked us twice without hitting us and after having disappeared for about twenty minutes one came back and attacked us and the ship was hit by a torpedo somewhere under the bridge, probably in the bunkers. It was bitterly cold in the lifeboat and out of the twelve men only five survived. The other seven disappeared during the night except the messboy who died whilst I was holding him.

    ...

    As last witness appeared A.B. Ragnvald Victor Antonsen ... who stated as follows:-

    I was in my cabin on Sunday night on the 19th of October when I heard planes overhead at about 6.30 p.m. I immediately ran up to the bridge and took charge of the port gun. The first I saw of the planes when they came in from the port side and I immediately opened fire. The planes were flying so low that it was impossible to miss the target and I could see I hit them every time and I believe two of the planes never got back to their base. At about 8 o'clock one of the planes returned and fired at us. The flashes blinded my eyes and I did not see any bombs or torpedoes being dropped but I was suddenly thrown off my feet from the explosion of our ship. The ship had a heavy list when we left in the Captain's lifeboat which was the last boat to leave the ship. Our boat had not been damaged so we haad time to prepare ourselves with extra clothing and I think we spent about half an hour just astern of the ship when we lost sight of her. It was pitch dark. We spent the night in the boat where everything was alright and we landed on the beach in the neighbourhood of Blackwater at about 11 o'clock in the morning.

    ...