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D/S Fusa
Det Midthordlandske Dampskibsselskab A/S, Bergen

(Norwegian Homefleet WW II)

Back to Fusa on the "Homefleet Ships starting with F" page.

Survivors & Casualty List

Picture taken in 1940 - Received from a visitor to my website, Christian Koenig.

 Pre War History: 

Delivered in 1875 from Motale Mek. Werkstad, Lindholmen, Gothenburg as Elfdrottningen to Chr. Arvidson, Gothenburg. Iron hull, 99,8’ x 19’ x 8,8’, 127 gt, 2cyl Compound (Motala). Sold in 1880 to Ångfartygs-AB Särö (F.B.Walquist), Gothenburg and renamed Särö. Sold in 1889 to C. G. A. Klingspor, Räbeck near Vänern, Sweden, renamed Kinnekulle. Sold in 1897 to Hankø Nye Dampskibsselskab, Fredrikstad and renamed Hankø, in regularly scheduled service in Østfold county. A 2cyl Compound (9) was installed at Glommens Mek. Verksted in 1904. Company went bankrupt in 1906 and the ship was taken over by D/S A/S Hankø (N. Schulz, Fredrikstad), same service until end of season. Sold in Oct-1906 to Haugesund Dampskibsselskab, Haugesund and renamed Haugesund, service Bergen-Haugesund-Røvær-Føynå-Vedavågen-Åkrehamn-Utsira-Skudeneshavn-Stavanger. Rebuilt and modernized in 1909 at Rosenberg Mek. Verksted, Stavanger, 111,8’, 172 gt. Placed for a short while in the Bergen-Leirvik-Haugesund-Kopervik-Stavanger route in 1912, which corresponded with the nighttime train from Oslo to Bergen. Sold in Dec.-1915 to Det Midthordlandske Dampskibsselskab, Os and renamed Fuse, registered for 275 passengers at this time, service Bergen-Os-Samnanger, Bergen-Sævareid-Os and Bergen-Reksteren-Tysnes-Sævareid-Os. Renamed Fusa in 1925.

 WW II: 

Captain Strønen. Attacked and sunk by about 15 British aircraft in Korsfjord, south of Korsnes, off Bergen Jan. 8-1945 on a voyage Bergen-Samnager. An old book, "Norsk presse under Hakekorset" (The Norwegian Press under the Swastika), Vol. II, 1946 by Gunnleik Jensson, which is a collection of newspaper articles from the war years, has a couple of articles on Fusa's sinking. As the newspapers were under German control, they are full of propaganda and anti-British (and anti-"bolsjevic") sentiment, so the account of this sinking is rather one-sided. At the time the first article appeared in he Oslo newspaper "Aftenposten" on Jan. 10 the assumption was that 8-10 people had lost their lives, mostly passengers (some names are listed). Fusa's cargo consisted mainly of food supplies and mail. On Jan. 16 there's another article based on an interview with the captain at a hospital in Bergen, in which he says the aircraft viciously attacked with machine guns and bombs in 3 waves. After the survivors had departed in lifeboats, the officers and some of the crew stayed on board in an effort to beach the ship (the incident happend not far from land), and they did succeed in getting her going towards land, but had to jump overboard as she started to sink deeper and deeper. On the 11th another short note says that 7 people (2 crew, 5 passengers) had died, 4 of whom went down with the ship.

Here's a picture of Fusa sinking:

Received from T. Eriksen, Norway.

Trygg was also sunk in this attack. A visitor to my site, Halvor Sperbund tells me the first ship to be attacked was V 5116 Unitas (not listed on this site as she was a Kriegsmarine vessel, under 51 Vorposten Flottille and used for piloting U-boats en route to and from Bergen), then Trygg, then Fusa. He proposes the possibility that the aircraft pilots may have thought they were being fired upon by Fusa (which in fact was unarmed) when the German coastal fort nearby opened fire on them. The aircraft flew very low, and the pilots assumed that all the vessels were in a convoy (as per the pilot reports).

More on Unitas - also from H. Sperbund who says she may have been a converted whale catcher, about 250-300 tons. She also had towing equipment and probably underwater communication gear. She would meet and pilot the U-boats either near Marstein south of Bergen, or near Fedjeosen north of Bergen. He adds that the reason she was at Korsfjord (together with the tug Hjeltenfjord) on the day of attack appears to have been the fact that she was waiting for a damaged vessel arriving from Marstein (at the Korsfjord outlet) in order to take it to Bergen.

 More Details on the Attack: 

From another visitor to my website, H. O. Henanger I've received an article he himself has written about Fusa's sinking, based on various official sources. He says Fusa departed Bergen in her regularly scheduled service to Sævareid on Jan. 8-1945 at 12:30 local time. She had 31 passengers and 11 crew and a cargo consisting of fertilizer, flour, bales of straw, empty milk buckets from the local dairy and general supplies for the community, as well as mail. As they were approaching Nordstrøno, their next scheduled stop, about 15 A/C's came in for an attack, 4 of which separated from the others to attack the German V 5116, which opened fire. Fusa's captain was at the helm when a bullet cut one of his fingers and went through the wheel. In the subsequent maritime declaration he stated that all three attacks came in from the starboard side, with the first attack taking place at 14:45 and the second attack being the heaviest. He was not able to judge what nationality they were, but some of the passengers had told him they had seen a white circle around a star on the aircraft. When the last attack was over, several passengers were dead and some wounded including 4 crew, 1 of whom later died in hospital. Fusa was damaged by several hits above and below the waterline, with 2 large holes in the starboard bow hull. Lifeboats and rafts were also damaged by several hits. An effort to beach the ship failed and she hit the bottom 50-60 meters off land. Lifeboats were lowered, with 1st Mate Stein Hagevik being in charge of the port lifeboat, but when he found it to be leaking he and 4 passenger went back on board Fusa to find something to use for bailing the boat, but by the time they got back the boat had departed, so he and a passenger had to build a raft out of some lumber taken from the cargo.

Approximately 20 minutes after the attack had started Fusa slipped off the ground and sank by the bow, capsizing to starboard. Hagevik and the passenger were rescued from their raft about half an hour later by a fishing cutter. Several survivors had seen the restaurant keeper Mrs. Zahl on deck, but she went down to her cabin to rescue some documents and money and was never seen again. The majority of the survivors landed at Korsnes where they were assisted by the Germans on the fort there, before being sent on to Bergen for medical treatment. Fusa is today resting at a depth of 25-33 meters and is a popular spot for divers.

Info from H. O. Henanger, who has used various, official sources.
(The list of survivors is incomplete, Fusa had 31 passengers and 11 crew).

Nils Strønen
1st Mate
Stein Martin Andersen Hagevik
Chief Engineer
Kristen Bentzen
Able Seaman
Bjarne Hauge
Able Seaman
Magnus Sandvik
Hans Wold
Gunvor Zahl
daughter of
Hilma (below)

Gurine Austbø
(Captain's sister)

Bjarne Kristoffer Brendøy

Johanna Madsen

Wilhelmine (Mimmi) Osten
(killed on board)

Henrik Henriksen Søfteland

Fridtjof Urdal
(died in hospital next day)

Hilma Marie Zahl
managed restaurant,
went down with the ship.

B. K. Brendøy was 26 years old, lived at Baldersheim, married and had 2 children. His 3rd child, a daughter, was born 5 days after Fusa's sinking.

H. H. Søfteland was a member of the Milorg unit in Os. On Sept. 26-1944 a RAF Wellington with Canadian crew made a forced landing in Os. Local inhabitants hid them and were able to send a message to the local resistance forces (Milorg), which in turn notified the headquarters in London via Redwing transmitter in Bergen. The Canadion crew was later smuggled to Britain with the Norwegian sub chaser Vigra, operating from Scalloway. The Germans realized the underground movement was well organized and increased their counter intelligence. When they came across a rather careless SIS operation they arrested, not only the agent but the entire neighbourhood. This put them on the trail of Milorg, and a wave of resulting arrests forced a number of Milorg members to go under cover, most of them for the rest of the war. Søfteland had been under cover in Strandvik since Nov. and was on board Fusa carrying false identification papers, in order to contact other Milorg connections to get supplies for himself and about 20 Milorg boys hiding in the area. These supplies had been hidden among the cargo with the help of Fusa's crew.

Magnus Sandvik had previously sailed as deckboy on D/S Hosanger when she was torpedoed off Shetland on Jan. 27-1940 (follow the link for more details). He and 3 others had managed to reach a raft. His shipmates froze to death while Sandvik was rescued after about 15 hours by a British destroyer. When Fusa was attacked he and Hans Wold took cover among some bales of hay and furniture on Fusa's deck. Sandvik was wounded in his shoulders and back by several shells. He later sailed as captain on Hardanger Sunnhordlanske Dampskibsselskap's ferries for years.

External links related to the text on this page:
Stavern Memorial commemorations - This website also says that 7 died. 2 crewmembers are commemorated at this memorial for seamen in Stavern, Norway, namely Stoker Fridtjof Urdal and Restaurant Girl Hilma Marie Zahl.

Picture of Fusa - On a website for divers. This website says the 15 aircraft were from the 144th, 404th and 455th Strike Wing squadron and adds that the 4 aircraft that separated from the others sank the tug Trygg near Strøneskorpo.

Back to Fusa on the "Homefleet Ships starting with F" page.

(Misc. sources incl those mentioned in the text above, and "Våre gamle skip", Leif M. Bjørkelund & E. H. Kongshavn, as well as details received from T. Eriksen, Norway - his sources: "Fjordabåten" by Dag Bakka Jr. 1994, "Bergenske Fjordabåter", Dag Bakka Jr. for Bergens Tidende 1974 and an article about Haugesund Damp by Dag Bakka Jr. in "Skipet" 2.89).

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