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WW1: Norwegian steamer HERCULES
Posted by: david asprey (IP Logged)
Date: February 06, 2018 03:08PM

"On October 9th [1916] the Alsatian intercepted the Norwegian steamer Hercules, from New York to Archangel, with a cargo of oil, copper, railway materials, etc. The master stated that, if he were unable to pass Vardo Island by October 15th, he was permitted to discharge his cargo in Norway. Apparently this was what he intended to do, as he was heading for Norway, and said he could not reach Vardo by the date given. The Admiral, who had his flag in the Alsatian, had information that it was undesirable to let more copper go to Norway, and as he did not feel confidence in the master of the Hercules, the ship was sent to Lerwick with an armed guard. She was manned entirely by Chinese, with Norwegian officers."

Two questions:

1. Which Hercules? There were two sizeable Norwegian cargo ships of that name in 1916:
a) 3789grt, built 1903, at the time recently purchased by Willy Gilbert, Bergen from Lauritz Kloster, Stavanger. In 1917 she was sold to Norge Mexico Gulf Linjen, Tonsberg and went through a sequence of other Norwegian owners before demolition in 1933. Also found: built for 32,250; sold 1905 85,000; sold 9/1916 260,000.
b) 1295grt, built 1909, owned by Det Bergenske D/S, Bergen. This one was taken over by the British Government and registered to The Shipping Controller at London on 26/2/1917 (Off No 115961), under the management of W. Coupland & Co, London. She was torpedoed by submarine UB-21 off Whitby on 30 Dec 1917.
I think that (a) is more likely as the other one seems to have operated in British waters as a collier.

2 Anyone know more about this, including the story of 'too much copper to Norway'? Was that because it was "leaking" to Germany by that route? What happened after she was taken to Lerwick?

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  WW1: Norwegian steamer HERCULES david asprey 02/06/2018 03:08PM

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