Posted by Fred Addis email@example.com
on Nov. 16-2000 - Transferred from old forum.
I am trying to discover the names of 8 Canadian women who served as radio operators on Norwegian ships in WWII. Canada did not allow women to serve on our ships and these determined women served on Norwegian vessels.
I have the names of four but nothing more. They are:
FERN BLODGETT - joined s.s.MOSDALE in 1941 under Capt. Gerner Sunde. She made 78 wartime crossing of the Atlantic. Married Capt. Sunde and settled in Farsund where she died in 1991.
MAUDE STEANE - joined s.s.VIGGO HANSTEEN in 104MAY44 and was killed by enemy gunfire while aboard in Naples, Italy 14AUG44.
ALICE HOUSE & IDE MacLean - joined s.s.KAPTEIN WORSOE, tanker in San Franscisco in 1944.
Anyone who knows about these women, the ships they served in or any other details should contact me at the address above. Many thanks. FRED ADDIS
In Reply to: Women Radio Operators on Norwegian Ships WW II posted by Fred Addis on Nov. 16.
Yepp, it seems like we forget that there were also women in the Norwegian Merchant Marines, we talk about the brave men, but don't hear much about the women who were equally brave. I hope someone will see your query and be able to help you. I also recommend the web site "Norway during WW II" at [www.nuav.net
] There's a widely read Forum there, and I've recommended it to others with great results. Meanwhile, here's what I've been able to find: The M/S Mosdale was a fruit carrier owned by Martin Mosvold, Farsund - built in 1939. She's mentioned in a couple of my books, and so are are Fern and Gerner Sunde. In fact, there are 3 or 4 pictures of them, and also a picture of the Mosdale in a British port. If you like I could scan and mail those to you. One is of King Haakon VII talking to Gerner when he visited Cardiff in the summer of '43 after the Mosdale's 51st Atlantic crossing in 3 years (he often visited the ships) to personally thank them all for their contribution. He's particularly impressed with the speed with which they load and unload their cargo. There's also one of Fern and the king. The text beside that picture says that the Mosdale crossed the Atlantic 96 times, usually without a convoy. Then I found a picture of Fern with some other sailors on deck. The Mosdale was in Liverpool during the blitz of May-1941, but escaped unharmed. 5 Norwegian sailors were killed at that time (but not from the Mosdale).
Fern Blodgett was 23 when she came on board in the summer of 1941. She was very anxious to contribute to the war effort, went to Radio Officer's school and was taken on immediately after she had finished. She was not the first female Radio Officer in our fleet, but the first and only one during the war, though many women sailed during the war. She performed her duties to satisfaction, but was never able to conquer her seasickness. She married Gerner in 1942 and both served on board all through the war. I'm afraid I'm not able to help at all with the other two ladies/ships, but the web site mentioned above is read by a lot of Norwegians every day, so someone there might recognize the names. I'll keeo these names in mind and if I come across them I'll let you know.
Good luck! Siri