The information on registered seafarers is not in all cases complete. As new sources are studied, information on engagements and medals etc. will be added to some of the already registered seafarers.
Registernummer under krigen: London 9043.
Gift med (jf. London-kort): Thelma.
Personbeskrivelse nr.14 Lillesand Mønstringsdistrikt: "Sjøens folk"- Odd Knudsen / Peder Larsen. Lillesand Folkebibliotek.
Reiste til sjøs 1920; sluttet sjøen 1961.
Skipsfører av følgende skip:
D/S EL LAGO
D/S HING HSING
D/S HUANG HSING
D/S THOMAS GREGORY
Skipsfører D/S EL LAGO av Panama. Rederi: Southern Pacific Railroad.Torpedert 14. oktober 1942 kl.15.12 i posisjon 44.00N/40.00W .Torpedert av U-615, kapt. Ralph Kapitsky.
Klipp fra hefte "Seilasen Videre", utgitt av Agder Krigseilerforening 1968 -1988.
Han er en verdig representant for krigsseilerne. Abrahamsen dro til sjøs i ung alder og gikk gradene fra dekksgutt til skipper.
Ved krigsutbruddet i 1940 seilte han for Den Norske Amerikalinje i fart på Nord - Atlanteren. Som skipsfører om bord på EL LAGO seilte han i konvoier både på Atlanteren og nord til Murmansk. 14. oktober 1942 smalt det. Abrahamsen og andre av besetningen kom seg opp på en flåte etter en strabasiøs svømmetur. Men tyskerne gir seg ikke. Ubåten - U-615 - kommer opp til overflaten igjen; kapteinen blir tatt til fange. I 19 døgn satt Abrahamsen lenket om bord i undervannsbåten mens den foretok stadig nye angrep og selv ble forsøkt senket med dypvannsbomber fra allierte fartøyer.
Etter ankomsten til Frankrike ble Finn Abrahamsen utsatt for forhør og tortur, og endelig fangenskap.
Da han etter krigen kom hjem til Norge, var han merket av harde år i fangenskap.
Finn Abrahamsen representerer det beste i norsk sjømanns - og krigsseilertradisjon. Han er en mann som gjør et dypt inntrykk med sin oppriktighet og faste holdninger.
Skipsfører Finn Abrahamsen, Høvåg ble valgt til formann i Agder Krigsseilerforening på stiftelsesmøtet i mai 1968. Han var i tiden 1968 til 1975 formann og viseformann - frem til han valgte å trekke seg av helsemessige grunner.
Skipsfører Finn Abrahamsen ble intervjuet av Fædrelandsvennen 12.02.1977, der han forteller om sin opplevelse som fange om bord på tysk ubåt og om ubåtkapteinens oppførsel.
Fra amerikanske kilder om torpederingen:
SS " EL LAGO" Home Port: Panama, R.P. Company: U.S. Lines Master: Finn Abrahamson (Norwegian) Built: Arlington, NY 1920 Dimensions: 387' x 53' x 27' The freighter, SS "EL LAGO", was an American flag ship owned by the Southern Pacific Railroad. She was purchased from this company by the U.S. Government on June 26, 1941 at Baltimore. At this time the ship was placed under the Panamanian flag to be operated by the U.S. Lines under a GAA agreement. The SS "EL LAGO" was torpedoed by the German U-615 (Ralph Kapitsky) and the U-607 (Ernst Mengersen) at 1512 local time on October 14, 1942 while en route from Reykjavik to New York in ballast. The position of the attack was 44-00 N./40-00 W. On board the ship was a complement of 39 crew members, 14 U.S. Naval Armed Guard, and 6 passengers who were mer- chant seamen being repatriated. The Master and 1st Assistant Engineer were the only survivors, only because they were taken prisoner by the U-615. The " EL LAGO" had left New York on August 20 arriving Boston the next day. After loading cargo she left Boston on August 30 in Convoy BX-35 and arrived Halifax September 1st. Left Halifax on September 5 in Convoy SC 99 arriving Reykjavik on September 17. After discharging all her cargo at Reykjavik, the SS "EL LAGO" departed from that port on October 5, 1942 in Convoy ONS 136s. The convoy was made up of 12 ships in two columns. The "EL LAGO" was the #3 ship in the port column and the convoy was heading south to join a larger convoy from the U.K. to the U.S. When about 250 miles south of Iceland, on October 5th, the convoy ran into a storm with hurricane force winds, tremendous heavy seas, rain, poor visibility. The "EL LAGO" was forced to slow down because of these weather conditions thereby losing the convoy. At noon on October 11th, observations fixed the position of the ship at 442 miles ENE of Cape Race, New- foundland at a speed of 13 knots. On this day, at 1512 local time, the ship was struck by two torpedoes amidships, one on the port side and the other on the starboard side. The stern section sunk within seconds and the forward sank in less than a minute. The ship was equipped with four lifeboats, 4 square rafts, and two donut type rafts. Both after boats were destroyed in the explosion and the two forward boats went down with the ship. The Master was on the bridge at the time of the attack. The ship sank under him. Without his life jacket he managed to stay afloat for about half an hour and then climbed aboard one of the square rafts. When he got aboard he found the 2nd Mate, 1st Engineer, Bosun, Carpenter, an A.B., an O.S., the 2nd Cook, and a Messman. All of them had been in the water for some time and were covered with oil. The Master also saw 2 men clinging to a potato crate plus 3 others on one of the square rafts and 2 more on another. The two donut rafts were empty. As there were too many on the Master's raft, 3 men shifted to an empty raft. At this time, the two subs surfaced. They were the U-615 and U-607. The U-615 approached the rafts and asked for the name of the ship and for the Master. The Master identified him- self and he was ordered aboard the sub. They they asked for the Chief Engineer. When told he was not among them they asked for an engineer officer. The 1st Engineer then identified himself and he was ordered aboard too. The Master asked the Commanding Officer of the U-615 what he intended to do with the others on the rafts. His only answer was, "This is war!" He then ordered the two below. The Master judged the time to be about 1715 at this time. No survivors were ever found so it can be assumed they died from exposure or drowning. The U-615 arrived at La Pallice, France on October 30th. Captain Abrahamson was taken to the prison at La Rochelle and the Engineer to a hospital in Bordeaux suffering from severe burns. Captain Abrahamson was transferred to a prison camp for Merchant Seamen at Bremen. He was repa- triated to the U.S. from Oslo, Norway on the Liberty ship SS "M.E. COMERFORD" on July 30, 1945 arriving in New York on August 16th where he reported to U.S. Lines office. The Engineer was hospitalized a La Rochelle for 14 days and then taken to Bordeaux where he remained until Decem- ber 20, 1942. He was then returned to La Rochelle, placed in prison for 2 days, and then taken by train to Camp Marlag in Bremen where he was reunited with Capt. Abrahamson. He was repatriated to the U.S. from Rotterdam on August 29, 1945 aboard the SS " MORGANTOWN VICTORY" arriving in New York on September 7, 1945. Capt. Abrahamson was a Norwegian citizen from Kristian- sand where his wife was living. Mr. Baas, the 1st Engineer, was a Dutch citizen but lived with his wife in New York City. The U-615 (Kapitsky) was sunk south of Curacoa in posi- tion 12-51 N./64-34 W. on August 7, 1943 by U.S. Navy air- craft and U.S. Army Sqdn. #10. Five were lost and 43 taken prisoner. The U-615 under the command of Ralph Kapitsky, was re- sponsible for the sinking of the American tanker SS "ATLANTIC SUN" from which there was one survivor also. The U-615 pulled this man aboard and made him a prisoner thereby saving his life. The U-607 (W. Jeschonnek) was sunk NW of Cape Orte- gal, Spain in position 45-02 N./9-14 W. on July 13, 1943 by British Sqdn. #228. There were 45 lost and 5 taken prisoner. The U-607 under the command of Ernst Mengersen, was responsible for the sinking of the SS "EDWARD B. DUDLEY", an American Liberty ship. There were no survivors from the "DUDLEY".
The Merchant crew was made up of 7 Norwegians, 8 Chi- nese, 5 Canadians, 5 Belgians, 3 Dutch, 2 Swedes, 2 Scots, and one each from Denmark, Ireland, Estonia, Portugal, Latvia, Poland, and the U.S. U.S. MERCHANT SEAMEN LOST CONROY, Edward Terrance (23) O.S. New York City MANION, Earl S. (27) Oiler Mobile, AL U.S. NAVAL ARMED GUARD SURVIVORS SCHAFFER, James M. Ensign GRAHAM, George M. AS CAGLE, James T. S 2c GREGORY, John E. AS CARNEY, Dale L. S 2c **KOENIG, Emil A. S1c CLARK, Charles F. AS PANTOL, Casimir F. S 2c FAULKNER, Howard R. S 2c SAPIENZA, Joseph J. S 2c FISHER, James C. S 2c TUTEN, Walford C. S lc GHANN, Robert C. AS WARD, Donald E. S 2c **The body of this man was picked up at sea on November 3, 1942 by the USS MANHASSET in position 51-10 N./40-50 W. LOG ENTRIES RELATIVE TO THE SINKING OF THE SS EL LAGO SIGNED BY THE COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE U-615, KPLTN. KAPITSKY. October 11, 1942 1113 While on the surface, smoke sighted bearing 085ø True. 1130 Ship sighted 6 miles distant on course about 230ø. Speed 12 knots. Increase speed to get into attacking po- sition. 1456 Fired two torpedo spread from Tubes #1 and #1. Hit after 90 seconds. Observed ship to be cut in two. After 4 minutes nothing could be seen of the ship. NOTE: There is a discrepancy in the time of the attack. The Master of the "EL LAGO" stated the ship was hit at 1512. 1500 Heard diesel noise bearing 210ø True... noise becomes louder. Noise determined to be that of another U-Boat. 1542 Surfaced. Found U-607 at scene of sinking. U-607 de- parts heading 060ø True. Captain of ship and 1st Machinist taken on board. Steer 050ø True to return to former position. 1836 Radio message to U-Boat headquarters: "In AJ 8898, "EL LAGO" sunk, bound from Iceland to New York in ballast. Captain and I st Machinist on board." Signed: Kapitsky, Kptin. Author's Note: Unfortunately, I have been unable to determin or identify the six seamen passengers. There is no record of them in any government files. Therefore it is impossible to know if any of the six were American seamen. All of the data concerning the attack and rescue was obtained from statements of Capt. Abrahamson and Gerritt Baas after their repatriation to the United States. The Master's statement was signed on August 21, 1945 and Mr. Baas' on September 13, 1945.
"Sjøens folk"- Odd Knudsen / Peder Larsen. Lillesand Folkebibliotek.