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.

27. september 1940
Atlanterhavet, ca. 350 miles vest av Hebriderne
Torpedert [av tysk ubåt]
Manchester - Montreal
1 [1]
  • Referat

    8. oktober 1940
    Konsul Johan Vogt senior


    Then appeared the vessel's master who produced the following report about the torpedoing, written according to memory and signed by himself:-


    The master referred in all respects to this extract. Until the 25th, in the evening, they had been steering zig-zag course according to the Commodore's orders. And all the instructions which we had received before hand were carefully followed. The officers had been made acquainted with these instructions. Without warning, and without having seen anything of the torpedo, the vessel was torpedoed at 8 o'clock in the morning. The master stated that everything on board was in order. He stated that the officer on watch was the 3rd officer Lars Johannessen who had just relieved the chief officer. He further stated that all the lifesaving equipment was in good order and that it had been surveyed at Helsingborg in the month of February. They had 1 lifeboat with motor, 1 lifeboat without motor, and 2 rafts on board. The captain saw the ship sink in about 10 minutes after the torpedo had struck the ship's side. The log book, the tonnage certificate and the certificate of nationality went down with the ship. The greater part of the account books were saved. The master did not think that the vessel had eny speed when some of the men jumped into the water after the explosion occurred. Everything was done to save all of them, but Gunnar Mjønes could not swim and he had probably not inflated his lifesaving jacket. Each man had been given a lifesaving jacket, but not every one had put it on. The captain stated that each man had in addition a cork belt.- A fresh breeze was blowing with some sea.


    ... as the 1st witness appeared:- 3rd Officer Lars Johannessen ...

    The witness, who was the officer on watch when the casualty occurred, had just taken over the watch at about 8 o'clock. Helmsman Kaare Børresen was at the wheel, otherwise no one else on the bridge when the casualty occurred at about 8.10. The assessors pointed out that there ought to have been look-out man on the bridge. Neither was there any look-out man on the forecastle. He stated that everytning was in order on board and that all liefsaving equipment was in good condition.- The witness stated that the vessel's course was N. 54o W. true when the casualty occurred, and that the same course had been kept during the last 12 hours. He could not give the exact position of the vessel. He ran to the port lifeboat when the first torpedo hit the ship. When the boat had been lowered down the men had cut the painter aft as they did not know that the torpedo had parted the forward painter, and when the witness lowered himself down the boat drifted towards aft and they could not get the boat back to the ship's side. The witness subsequently got into the starboard lifeboat. He had a lifebelt on. When some of the men jumped into the sea, the witness saw Mjønes, who lost his life, a distance away. They threw a line to him and the boat was backed up towards him in order to come to his assistance, but the vessel sank before they reached Mjønes and he went down in the vortex. The witness did not think the vessel had any speed at that moment. It was said that the man who lost his life could not swim, neither had he inflated the lifesaving jacket.


    ... as the 2nd witness appeared:- Kaare Børresen ...

    The man came to the wheel at 8 o'clock. When the witness came on watch they were steering N. 15o W. and at 5.05 o'clock he was told by the officer to steer N. 22o W. according to the compass. He was steering a straight course. The witness did not see anything of the torpedo before it hit the vessel. He had a full view forward. The witness ran down in order to get into the port boat. He went into this together with some others of the crew. When No. 2 torpedo came, the port lifeboat was considerably damaged, after which they managed to crawl on to a raft and were later taken from same into the starboard lifeboat. The witness did not see anything of Mjønes. He was 4 days in the starboard lifeboat before they landed in Ireland. He stated that that lifeboat was fully equipped with water, food and oilskins. They had taken with them some food from the raft, but this was found to be superfluous.

    The witness stated that there was no look-out man on the forecastle during the day, only at night. He further stated that usually only the officer on watch and the helmsman were on the bridge. Otherwise, he made statement in conformity with the previous witnesses.


    ... as the 3rd witness appeared:- Karl Gulliksen ...

    The witness had come on watch at 8 o'clock adn was standing on the after deck by the No. 4 hold. When the torpedo struck the vessel he ran down into the cabins aft and warned those who were lying there. He then went up on the boat deck on the port side, but did not get into the lifeboat there as it had already been lowered down and drifted towards aft. He tried to get out the starboard gig, but did not succeed in this on account of the heavy list to port. He then lowered himself down into the water directly after the No. 2 torpedo had struck the vessel. He had 2 lifebelts on. The witness saw Mjønes in the water. He knew that he could not swim, but thought he could manage to keep afloat.


    ... as the 4th witness appeared:- Chief Engineer Erling Knutsen ...

    The witness was on watch in the engine room when the casualty occurred. He stated that the engine room bulkheads held and that no water came into the engine room when the torpedo hit the vessel. He stated that the engine was immediately stopped, and everything was in order there before the casualty occurred.

    Besides the witness, there were a motorman and a greaser in the engine room. They all ran up to the port lifeboat. The witness managed to crawl into it. But when the No. 2 torpedo struck the vessel that boat was destroyed. Thereafter he got up on a raft, after which he was picked up by the starboard lifeboat. He stated that all the men had lifesaving jackets on and that everything on board was in the best order.

    The crew from the s.s. "Vestvard" stayed at hotel a Clifton for about 2-3 nights before they subsequently went on to Dublin. Thereafter to Liverpool via Holy Head.


    as the 5th witness appeared:- Asbjørn Nilsen ...

    The witness, who was A.B. Seaman on board, was sitting in the mess room eating when the casualty occurred. He then ran out and jumped over board togehter with Mjønes, who is missing. He stated that Mjønes, who was not much of a swimmer, drifted towards aft. They threw a line to him and tried to row up to him, but he was caught in the vortex when the ship went down. All the men on board had lifebelts on.

    All the lifesaving equipment on board was in the best order.

    Both of the assessors rendered very good assistance during the hearing.

    The captain's extract was thereafter read out to all the witnesses, all of whom declared themselves in agreement with what had been written therein and had nothing to remark as to its contents.