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M/S Rigel
Det Bergenske Dampskibsselskab, Bergen

(Norwegian Homefleet WW II)

Back to Rigel on the "Homefleet Ships starting with R" page.

Source: Historical Department, MAN B&W Diesel, Copenhagen, who also sent me this picture from her launching
(size and quality have been reduced to save space).

Rigel with troops on board. Received from Erling Skjold, Norway.

Received from, and painted by Jan Goedhart, Holland, who served on Norwegian ships for 15 years.
(He posted some messages in Norwegian to my Ship Forum, one here, and another thread starting here).

Tonnage: 3828 gt, 6850 tdwt
Dimensions: 367.5' x 51.5' x 22.6'
Machinery: 2 x 6 cyl. B&W diesel engines, 2076 ihp, 11 knots.

Delivered in Aug.-1924 from Burmeister & Wains Maskin og Skibsbyggeri, Copenhagen, Denmark (326) as Rigel to Det Bergenske Dampskibsselskab, Bergen. In general tramping, then on T/C to misc. companies from 1925. Operated on Den norske Syd-Amerika Linje service from 1938, which was owned by Det Bergenske Dampkibsselskab, A/S J. Ludwig Mowinckels Rederi, and Fred. Olsen & Co.

 WW II: 

There's a Rigel listed in the U.K.-Norway Convoy ON 6 at the end of Dec.-1939, but there's some disagreement as to whether this was the Finnish or the Norwegian ships by this name. In Jan.-1940 she joined Convoy HN 9A from Norway to the U.K., and early in March, A. Hague has included her in the U.K.-Norway Convoy ON 17A.

Requisitioned as transport for the German forces in Norway on Aug. 16-1940, at first with a Norwegian crew and under the Norwegian flag, but had a German crew from Nov. 2-1944 (German flag). Torpedoed, bombed and sunk by aircraft from carrier HMS Implacable near Tjøtta, Helgeland, Norway on Nov. 27-1944 when on a southbound voyage, having departed Bodø on Nov. 26 with German soldiers as well as prisoners of war who had embarked in 3 different ports in Nordland where the Germans had camps. Only 415 survived, 2721 had been on board, incl 2248 Russian and Yugoslavian prisoners of war in her holds. These numbers vary greatly according to source; Lauritz Pettersen, "Hjemmeflåten - Mellom venn og fiende" says 2838 were on board, 2248 of whom were Russian prisoners, 103 other prisoners (8 of whom were Norwegian, the rest German, mainly deserters from the Finland front), 29 crew, 3 pilots and 455 soldiers. 1 of the pilots and 1 female crew member were Norwegian. He states that 267 were rescued, 2571 died. 1 of the Norwegian prisoners survived and was able to get away with the help of the locals on shore, whereas the rest of the Norwegians perished. I believe the ship was in a convoy bound for Trondheim, and the prisoners were to be taken to German camps from there. Understandably, full panic ensued on the overcrowded ship when she was set on fire. The captain managed to beach her at Rosøya, where locals aided in the rescue operations. D/S Korsnes was also in the convoy and was very badly damaged in the attack, 6 died.

Rigel's bow was visible in the area for years. In the summer of 1969 remains of the casualties were removed and buried at the war cemetery at Tjøtta. A few years later the wreck was broken up "in situ" by Høvding Skipsopphugging.

Related external links:
Stavern Memorial commemoration - Only the Norwegian pilot Edvin Nikolai Mørch Dagsvik is commemorated. This website says Rigel had 5 direct hits in the holds where the prisoners were kept.

D/S Rigel

Rigel - From a Norwegian site for divers. Details on her sinking, and location of the wreck. This website says the convoy was 410 and that V-6308 and NT-04 were escorts.

Wikipedia article

Back to Rigel on the "Homefleet Ships starting with R" page.

(Misc. sources, incl. "Bergenske, byen og selskapet", Dag Bakka Jr.).

Other ships by this name: There was also a Finnish Rigel (steamship), built 1937, 1495 gt - struck a mine and sank in the Finland Gulf on Oct. 28-1944. Also, Norway had lost a D/S Rigel to WW I, sunk by a German U-boat off the west cost of Spain in 1917, voyage Newport-Lisbon, cargo of coal. Originally built as Soutra in Glasgow for Hjalmar Røed & Co. in 1906, 2740 gt - renamed Ramstad for Lauritz Kloster, Stavanger in 1915, remeasured that year, 2761 gt, Rigel for Bugge & Olsens Rederi, Larvik in 1916. Sweden lost a ship by this name in a collision in 1953, this external page has some more details (in Swedish). Here is some information on another post war Swedish Rigel, originally Danish Ragnhild.

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