Sjøforklaring 1939 - 1945
Informasjonen nedenfor vedr. skip i Nortraships flåte er direkte avskrift av orginalkilden "Sjøforklaringer fra andre verdenskrig (1940 - 1945)". Informasjonen her er fra sjøforklaringer holdt under og rett etter krigen og kan derfor avvike noe fra den øvrige kvalitetssikrede informasjonen i Krigsseilerregisteret.
The m/t "SCOTIA" was attacked, without warning, by a Japanese submarine at 17-25 hrs. on 27th November 1943, the position of the vessel being about 3 degrees South and 69 degreees East, som 200 miles from the Addu Attol southern point of the Maldive Islands. There is a British Naval Station on this Attol, and the rescue ship H.B.M.S. "Okapi" is based here. The "Okapi" was formerly a whaler. The "SCOTIA"s Log Book and secret papers have been dropped into the sea by the Captein they could nod be produced at the enquiry.
Owing to the death of the Captain and the 1st. Mat the 2nd. Mate Reider Blindheim was in charge of the survivors of the Crew. Owing to the later arrival of the 2nd Mate the proceedings were opened by recording the evidence of Able Seaman Torbjørn Kristiansen whose evidence is given on the attached sheets. This seaman was the only one of the survivors who had been in the shipæs boat from which the Captain was taken on board the submarine.
He was followed by the 2nd. Mate Reidar Blindheim. This Officer's evidence had been recorded by the British Naval Officer in Charge at the Addu Attol. The British Naval Office Colombo gave this Consulate a copy of the proceedings. The record of Blindheims evidence as so recorded was shown to him and he verified the record which is attached as part of the 2nd. Mate's evidence. Several other questions were put to him his replies to which are given on the attached sheets.
He was followed by 2nd. Engineer Olaf Haakonsen whose depositions will be found attached.
The next witness was Peder Ronning the Ship's Carpenter who gave the evidence recorded ont he attached sheet.
He was followed by 3rd. Engineer Jorgen Storlie a record of whose evidence is enclosed herewith.
The last witness was Able Seaman Donald Paton a record of whose - - - (fortsettelse mangler både i NSM og på Riksarkivet)
In an effort to elicit some more definite information as to the disposal of the ship's Log and Secret papers Able Seaman Thorbjørn Kristiansen was recalled and interrogated in the Norwegian Language by Captain Lampe and his further testimony is added to the sheets giving the evidence collected.
TORBJØRN KRISTIANSEN, A.B. At about 5.30 p.m. on the 27th November the first torpedo struck the ship. The engine was going full speed and nothing happened to it. It continued going full speed. When the first torpedo struck the ship I was up on the foremast on the look-out. I turned round and had a look down. I did not feel anything. I did not have good glasses, so I did not see anything. So I went midships for orders. I was ordered to let go the lifeboat and we let it half down and waited for an order from the Captain. In that boat were the Chief Officer, the Third Mate, the Fourth Engineer, the pumpman, the Captain, the saloon boy and Purdy and myself. We did not cast off until the second torpedo hit the ship and it was beginning to sink. When the second torpedo hit it the Captain was on the boat deck. He was ready to let go because the ship was sinking. The Wireless Operator was still on board. He (the Captain) called to him two or three times. The boat was 25 or 30 yards from the wreck when he saw the Wireless Operator come down. The Captain told him to jump overboard. He jumped overboard but the Captain ordered us to draw away from the ship. He said the submarine was coming up. He said we will have to pick up the Wireless Operator later. The Wireless Operator had a life-belt on, so we just got away. The submarine came up alongside of us and asked for the Captain of the ship. The Captain answered. Our boat went alongside the submarine and the Captain went into the submarine. That was the last I saw of him. I do not know whether he is a prisoner of war or whether he is dead. After that we just got away and tried to push off from the submarine. There was still a machine gun trained on the boat but never pulled the trigger. It was about 100 yards when the submarine was moving up again and they came on the other side - the port side of the submarine. They took the Bren gun on the other side of the submarine just to make it ready. They commenced firing on us with the machine gun. I jumped overboard and swam below the lifeboat. I came up on the other side and I met the Chief Officer and the Third Mate and they were still machine-gunning us. The Chief Officer was wounded in his left leg. The Third Mate had some bullets on the shoulder. The Chief Officer spoke of giving up and the Third Mate told him never to do that. Four or five minutes later he was "again hit". The Third Mate was hit just a minute after. I did not see the Chief Officer again because I was trying to keep myself below the liefboat. I was hidning on the port side of the lifeboat. They were still firing about 25 miutes later on the lifeboat. I heard the engine of the submarine. I saw the smoke. I saw the submarine moving round to have a look. I dived under the lifeboat again.
They kept firing for about 25 minutes. When I came up again I saw the Chief Officer and the Third Mate floating on the other side of the lifeboat. The lifeboat was placed to the submarine on the leeward side. As I was alone I thought the only chance I had was to get away from the submarine because they kept on shooting on the lifeboat. In the meantime one of the bullets hit the Chief Officer. I think that bullet hit the Chief Officer on the forehead. I was all alone and I dived under the lifeboat and under the submarine and came over on the other side of the submarine. When I came up on the other side of the submarine nobody noticed me because they were all standing on the other side shooting at the lifeboat. That is why I escaped. I was close to the submarine when I came up. I got the swell and hooked myself to an opening of the submarine and was hanging on the submarine. I was hanging on to it quietly till they started the submarine. Then I let go and stayed in the water for some while til the submarine had got far away, and then swam to the lifeboat which was still floating with four dead bodies. These four men were the pumpman, the Fourth Engineer, the saloon boy and the South African, Purdy. I hung on to the lifeboat till it was dark. Then I went into the boat. I found that these were dead bodies. So I put them outside. I could not to very much after that because I was warn out entirely. The ship's dog was on the boat too. He was keeping me company all night. I was picked up on Tuesday, 30th, about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, by the whale boat.
Altogether there were nine lives lost. There were eight men in the lifeboat. The Third Mate and the Chief Officer were in the water when they got shot. The First Engineer was not in the boat. I do not know anything whatever about what happened to the First Engineer. I never saw the Wireless Operator again.
REIDAR BLINDHEIM, Second Officer. I have already given a statement. The Japanese submarine torpedoed our ship at about 5.30 p.m. on the 27th November. I was in the bathroom at that time, I was not on duty. The Chief Officer was on duty. There was only one lookout. He was on the crowsnest. The Chief Officer was on the bridge. There was no forward watch. There was only one on the mast. We had a grunner crew. But the watch was broken because the gunner crew was signed on as gunners. There were only one man at the wheel and one lookout. His name is Paton. He was one of the crew on watch. He might have been on the masthead.- I do not know. At the time the first torpedo struck I was in the bathroom. I got dressed up as quickly as I could. Then I went up on deck. The starboard lifeboat was damaged by the torpedo. It was blown to pieces. I got orders from the Captain to to and stop the engine. The engine was then going full speed out.
Consuls's Note: The remainder of his evidence was in accord with the report by the report by the British Navy at Colombo ...
Mr. Blindheim further examined.
There were nine lives lost. I do not know anything special about Capt. Hansen. I last saw the Captain when he was on the bridge when I set off to bring up three boys in the water. I do not know what happened to the Log or the papers of the ship. They were kept on board in bags. I do not know whether the Captain had them with him when he went into the submarine or whether he threw them overboard. I do not know what happened to the ship's papers at all. I saw Niels Andersen on the ship's deck. Arnfin Strom, Kristiansen, Victor Purdy, Saloon boy, Fritjof Mehtum, Bjarne Omdahl were in the lifeboat on the port side before the ship sank. That was before the ship was hit the second time. The lifeboat was cast off after the second hit. I left the ship on the starboard lifeboat. I was found by the Catalina lifeboat. There were ten men, inclucing myself, in the lifeboat. None of them were lost. I was picked up by the OKAPI. I did not see what happened to the Captain at all.
OLAF HAAKONSEN, Second Engineer. I have not made any statement to the British Navy. At about 5.30 in the afternoon of the 27th. November I was in the engine room on duty. I heard the explosion from the torpedo and I was standing waiting for orders. But no orders came. So I went up and asked the Chief Engineer what it was. I did not know how the fight was going. He said there was a big hole on the side. I went down and waited for an order but no order came. The I went up again. The telegraph gear from the engine room was damaged by the first explosion. I know that for a fact. I could get no communication whatever from the bridge. The engine was running at full speed. I came up on deck for orders and the went back to the engine room to stand by. Then the Second Mate came down with orders to stop the engine. Then I went up on deck and entered the lifeboat. There was one other man in the engine room. He had gone up to get some drinking water. When the ship was hit there was nobody else in the engine room, only myself. After I got orders through the Second Mate to stop the engine I went up and entered a lifeboat. That was the port side lifeboat. There were no Officers in that. The boat was lowered and we got away from the ship. Everyone was in the boat. There were nineteen men in the lifeboat. None of the men in that boat was killed. We were sighted by the Catalina lifeboat 24 hours after the torpedoeing. We were out one night and one day. We were told that the OKAPI was on the way to pick us up. The OKAPI picked us up next day about 2.30.
I do not know anythng about Capt. Hansen. I did not see him at all. Nor did I see the Fist Mate Niels Andersen or the Wireless Operator Kåre Kristiansen or Victor Purdy. I saw the First Engineer when we cast off from the ship. We saw him on the deck. We told him to jump. Hed did not jump. He was old man. He was trying to jump, but he did not do it. That was on the aft part of the ship. Later the First Engineer was found on a raft. I cannot say whether he was alive when he was on the raft. I did not see him on the raft with his little bag. I do not know anything about him. I don not know anything about the Fourth Engineer or about the pumpman.
(Replying to Capt. Andersen): The ship's engine was stopped before the ship got the second torpedo.
CARPENTER PEDER RØNNING. When the ship was torpedoed on the 27th. November I and the fellow left behind at Addu Attol (Larsen) were sitting on the aft boat deck. All of a sudden we saw the whole deck blow up and we were struck down by the sea which came on board. When I camt to I found the other man struck down by the boat davit. This was on the starboard side. The torpedo hit us on the starboard side. We were sitting on the starboard side and we were both thrown on to the port side. When the rest of the crew came up to go on the lifeboat I ran to midship because I belonged to the starboard lifeboat. Nobody came to help me. So I went over to the port side where the Chief Mate and the Third Mate were making ready. I had no lifebelt. So I went up to the top bridge and I threw some lifebelts to the other people and put on one myself. In the meantime the Captain had sent the Quartermaster to ask the engine to be stopped. The the Captain sent me down to my boat. When I came down from the bridge again the Third Engineer and one of the gunners came to assist me to the boat. Then one of the gunners started his end of the boat but he was stopped as the ship had too much speed. At the same time the Captain came on this side of the ship and told him not to lower the boat as long as there was much speed. Afterwards the Captain ordered us to lower the lifeboat and to save somebody who was in the water on the capsized lifeboat. On the port side aft there were two lifeboats. The first one capsized and three men were thrown into the sea. That was why the Captain asked the men to lower the boat to pick up those three men. None of those three men lost their lives. There were seven men in our boat and we picked up those three men who were swimming in the sea. None of these ten men lost their lives. When we were on the way to pick up those men the ship was struck a second time. Then the aft part of it sank. Then the submarine came up and went round by the side of the vessel. A little time passed and the submarine opened fire on the part of the vessel that was afloat. This happened on the other side of the wreck. So we could not see anything. We set the sail and got off. Later on it got so dark we could only see the flare of the gunshots. That was approximately at 7 o'clock. We were in the boat forty hours - - the whole nigth, the next day, the next night and half a day. We were observed by a Catalina on the Sunday after the ship was sunk and the Catalina came back on Monday morning. We were picked up about noontime on Monday. At the time we were going to pick up the three men the Wireless Operator was not in the water. I did not see anything of him at all. I did not see what happened to the Captain or to the Chief Engineer. I do not know anything about any of the nine men who lost their lives. I only saw those three men. They were all picked up and saved.
JØRGEN STORLIE, Third Engineer. When the ship was torpedoed I was in my room. I was off duty. I was reading a book, and I heard a big explosion. Then I took my rubber suit and went on deck. I belonged to the lifeboat midships on the starboard. First I went to the port deck and saw what happened there. I came down again midship to the lifeboat and stood by it. I did not get any orders from the Chief Engiener. I did not see the Chief Engineer at all. When I stood by the lifeboat I heard the Captain say to the Second Mate "Don't drop the lifeboat. First I will give you a chart". The he went away for a few seconds and brought a map. Then he lowered the lifeboat. I was on the same boat as Rønning and the Second Mate. The he went off an picked up those three men. I did not see anything of the Captain after we left the boat. I do not know what happened to him. I do not know what happened to the First Engineer either. I did not see him at all. When I went midships I saw the Third Mate. I heard him say "What shall we do? Shall we lower the port lifeboat?" I have no idea what happened to him, nor of any of the other men who lost their lives. I was simply in one boat with these ten men. We were sighted by a Catalina and we were piced up by the OKAPI.
DONALD PATON, A.B. When the ship was torpedoed I was in the wheel house. I was teaching Purdy to steer. When the ship was torpedoed I took the wheel straight away and he left the wheel house. I never saw Purdy again. The fist order I received was to put the helm hard to port. I had orders to steady the ship. Then I had orders to leave the wheel and go down and stop the engine. Another man came up to take the wheel. His name is Gammond. The Captain was on the bridge. I cannot say what happened to the ship's papers and the ship's log. All I know is that the Captain did have som papers there. I heard him give the Wireless Operator the position. I cannot repeat it. It was in Norwegian. I did not understand. There was a bag on the bridge. I did not see the Captain take that bag. I do not know what happned to the Log Book. I have no idea at all of what happened to the Captain. I came aft. I found the engine had been stopped. I got a life-jackets and I came up on deck and helped them to take the big launch. The other lifeboat had capsized. We had nineteen men in the launch. I was in the same boat as Olaf Haakonsen, Second Engineer. I saw in the water only the Chief Engineer. He was swimming. He was not on a raft. I saw him swimming away from the ship. We did see a man on a raft. We believe it was the Chief Engineer. He was too far away. He was waving. We made no effort to pick him up because the raft was near one of the other boats. That was the one in which Kristiansen was. Later we were joined with Olaf Haakonsens's boat and we were finally all saved. I do not know anything about the Captain. I saw him on the bridge. I saw the First Mate he came up to see that the boat was swung out. I never saw him after that. We heard the second explosion and we never saw him again. I never saw the Third Mate at all. I saw the Wireless Operator only on the bridge when he got that message from the Captain. I did not see him go into the water. I took the wheel from Purdy and I never saw him again. I did not see the First Engineer approaching the boat that was machine-gunned. All I saw was he was swimming. When the second torpedo came he jumped overboard and he was swimming. After that we saw a man on the raft. He was moving. Later on the figure seen on theraft was found dead. I cannot say how that happened.
TORBJØRN KRISTIANSEN (Re-called and examined by Capt. H. Lampe in Norwegian).
The captain did not come on the lifeboat with Kristiansen. He stood on the bridge. He was the last man. He was on the bridge just before the second torepdo struck. Then he joined the lifeboat. The Wireless Operator was still on the ship. I know the Captain had a canvas bag whcih was weighted down with lead. I saw the Captain drop the bag with the ships papers overboard. They were the secret papers. I saw the Captain having with him a brief case. The Captain dropped his brief case from the bridge to the Chief Officer and the Chief Officer passed it over to me asking to take care of it. I put that bag underneath the thwart in the forepart of the lifeboat. When I came up on the boat after swimming I was so exhausted that I did not at the time think anything about the papers. I forgot all about the bag of papers. The next day I thought about these papers and I found the Second Officer's papers but not the Captain's papers. The lifeboat was full of water and some of the light things that were in it may have floated out of her. I never saw the bag any more. I saw the captain drop a canvas bag with the secret papers into the sea. That bag did not go into the boat. After that the Captain dropped his brief case to the First Officer who gave it to me to take off. When the Captain went on board the submarine he had no papers at all with him. There was no chance that he took those papers on board the submarine. I am quite sure that the secret papers were not taken on board the submarine. I saw somebody on the raft flashing a light but I do not know who it was.
When we were on the whaler (H.B.M.S. "OKAPI") approximately one hour after I was picked up they found a raft with a dead body on it, the dead body being that of the Chief Engineer and there was also a small bag near it which contained his personal belongings.