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Norwegian Victims of Pinguin

Capture of the Whaling Fleet, Jan. 14-1941

The capture of the Norwegian whaling fleet was the largest single capture the German raiders accomplished, and it all took place without bloodshed. Three whale factories and 11 whale catchers in all were taken. The majority of the details of this event can be found under the first ship listed below, Ole Wegger.

Listed in chronological order

Ole Wegger | Pol Whalers | Torlyn | Solglimt | Pelagos | Star Whalers & Summing Up

Those who got away

Ole Wegger

Call Sign: LDGM

Click on the link in the box above for details on Ole Wegger's pre war history. Some of her voyages prior to capture are listed on this original document received from the National Archives of Norway.

Follow this link to Crew List.

Related item on this website:
A Guestbook message from the son of someone who was on board Ole Wegger when she was captured, Valter Kristiansen (still around in Apr.-2009, but has since passed away, age 94 - see this guestbook message).

Captain Kristian Evensen. 3 Norwegian whale factories and their fleet of whale catchers were in place on the Antarctic herding grounds in Jan.-1941. The factories were Thorshammer, Pelagos and Ole Wegger, all having arrived in Nov. the previous year. Solglimt departed New York in Dec. with extra supplies for the whaling fleet and also brought guns that were to be installed on the factories, though nobody really expected that there would be a need for them in their present location. Captain Ernst Felix Krüder on Pinguin, which had left her operations in The Indian Ocean in the fall of 1940 and headed for the Antarctic, arriving there in mid Dec. had listened in on the radio conversations between the factories and whalers since Dec. 23, and this enabled him to plan the details and timing of his attack very carefully. By Jan. 1-1941 Krüder had heard enough of the conversations between the Norwegian ships to be able to establish the following (info found in "Nortraships flåte", Vol. I):

The Bouvet area (between 50°E and 20°W) had two groups of Norwegian ships, Ole Wegger with 7 catchers and Pelagos with an equal number (Star whalers). The conversations had told him that both groups were moving west. They complained about bad results and bad weather, but then they had encountered whales between 0° and 5°W. Krüder had no problems hearing them, sound was clear and reached 850 n. miles, and he also knew that the fleet felt totally safe because they showed no sign of restraint in their conversations with eachother, but conveyed their information freely. He could also keep track of their positions at all time. He decided that he had to come in from behind them so as not to be seen by the whale catchers, which were usually located ahead of the factories. Due to the frequent radio contact between the Norwegian ships Krüder did not consider it likely that he could attack one group without the other being notified, nor could he attack the catchers individually since there were so many of them, but he nevertheless hoped to take the second group following a successful attack on the first. He was also able to establish that the transport mentioned in the conversations must be a tanker carrying bunkers and picking up whale oil (Solglimt), and considered it best to attack while this ship was alongside the factory. Since both groups were busy catching in the same position in the Bouvet area, and since he did not need to give a report to the German authorities in January, he decided to shadow the Pelagos group, which was the nearest, then wait until he knew when the transport would meet the factory.

From Jan. 2 the weather worsened, with fog and snow causing bad visibility. On Jan. 6 Thorshammer was mentioned for the first time in the conversations and Krüder estimated her to be about 600 n. miles further west. Based on this information Krüder established that Pelagos was at 0°, Ole Wegger at 5°W and Thorshammer at 10-20°W. He thought the captain of Solglimt was either a man named Andersen or Bjerkholt. He had also learned that this ship was to supply Thorshammer, then Ole Wegger, which had her tanks full of whale oil and plenty of fuel oil, some of which she was to part with. Pelagos was further east, with very little fuel left and was to be the last to be supplied from the transport. Based on this situation he intended to attack Ole Wegger when Solglimt had arrived with whale oil from Thorshammer, before turning his attention to Pelagos. That same night Pinguin withdrew and took up a position about 100 n. miles north of Ole Wegger. In the course of the night he heard that Solglimt had arrived Thorshammer. On the afternoon of Jan. 7 a snowstorm occurred, lasting all of next day.

Krüder also heard other conversations in English and assumed that the British expeditions Svend Foyn and Southern Empress, plus at least one more Norwegian vessel were in the western Wedell area with Thorshammer, but he still concentrated his attention on the Norwegian conversations. When the weather improved on Jan. 12, he found out that Solglimt was passing the most westerly of Ole Wegger's whale catchers and was only 30 n. miles from the factory. At the same time he realized that Solglimt was armed, and therefore he decided to not attack until the 2 ships were moored alongside eachother; that way they wouldn't be able to maneuver and the use of Solglimt's guns would be prevented by the presence of the factory. He listened to the conversations between Solglimt and Ole Wegger all day and finally at 20:00 that evening he heard what he was waiting for; Solglimt was to come alongside Ole Wegger at 04:00. This was his signal, and Krüder set his course westward while still carefully plotting the positions of the Norwegian ships, with the intention of initially approaching from the north, coming in on the opposite side of the catchers so as not to alarm them and thereby jeopordizing his element of surprise. He estimated speed and distance so that Pinguin could not be observed from the factories before darkness fell.

As it started to turn dark on the evening of Jan. 13 he altered his course for the last time and increased his speed, then at 23:20 the lights from the factories and the contours of some of the catchers were clearly visible from his port bow. At that very moment a heavy snow set in, and Pinguin could approach completely unseen, until he at 24:15 (Jan. 14) had reached the Norwegian ships, position 57 45S 02 30W. At 24:20 his floodlights illuminated the ships, and signals were given several times to not use wireless or phones. Prize crews were placed on board, and at 24:45 they signalled that the ships were in their hands, while at the same time Pol VIII, IX, X and Torlyn were taken without difficulties (see also Pol VII further down on this page).

 Voyage to Europe and some conflicting info: 

The various sources have differing information on the subsequent course of events. "Skip og menn" by Birger Dannevig and "Nortraships flåte" state Pelagos and Solglimt were sent from the herding grounds on Jan. 25, with prize crews on board and the Norwegians as prisoners. Pelagos arrived Bordeaux on March 11 and Solglimt on March 16. Admiral Scheer's prize Duquesa (see note under Storstad) took on board 95 Norwegians who were landed at Bordeaux on March 20. 10 of the whale catchers were manned with 4 Germans and 10 Norwegians and also sent north, 8 or 9 of them reached Bordeaux between March 16 and 20. Both sources also say that Ole Wegger was laid up near Kerguelen for a while, but was also sent to France later on - see also A. Hague's Voyage Record on my page about Ole Wegger. Star XIX and Star XXIV were scuttled by the Germans after having been intercepted by British naval forces in the Bay of Biscay on March 28-1941 (please note - this date appears to be in error - see next paragraph). The Norwegians on board were the first to be able to give the British complete details on what had happened on the herding grounds.

"German raiders of WW II" by August Karl Muggenthaler states that Krüder and the whaling fleet joined Nordmark and Duquesa between Febr. 15 and 18 to be provisioned. Duquesa subsequently had to be sunk on the 18th because she had no fuel. Ole Wegger and 10 catchers were dispatched in groups to France, with the intent of fuelling again in the North Atlantic where they were to meet with Thor and Spichern, which was in fact the Norwegian Krossfonn, captured by Widder on June 26-1940 (follow link for more details). After Spichern had provisioned the 10 catchers she was released to go to France with them; arrival date is given as "by March 20, where they were then employed as submarine chasers" (this refers to the whale catchers). This book adds that the 2 Star whalers were intercepted by H. M. sloop Scarborough on March 13 (compare to March 28 in the above paragraph), and adds that the 11th catcher, namely Pol IX, which had been renamed Adjutant and was commanded by Adjutant Hemmer was to be used as a scout and was sent on ahead along with the supply ship Alstertor (ex Norwegian Rose) to the Indian Ocean where Krüder planned to meet them later. With regard to the Star whale catchers it appears this book has the correct date. I've seen a transcript of a document sent from London to Roosevelt, dated March 14-1941, announcing (among other news) that Scarborough intercepted 2 Norwegian whalers sent as prize by German raider in South Atlantic, 350 miles of Cape Finisterre, March 13, adding that both whalers scuttled themselves. 1 German officer, 7 ratings and 22 Norwegians were picked up. Additionally, a report presented at the maritime hearings for the sinking of Star XIX also gives the date as March 13 - scroll down to the text for the Star whale catchers further down on this page.

The following is part of a message posted by Roger W. Jordan on my Ship Forum:
After capture by Pinguin and being sent to Bordeaux, Ole Wegger was taken over by the German navy and used as a base ship. On 22 August 1944 she was scuttled as a blockship in the River Seine at Rouen-Sahurs.

From Jan Visser. (I've also seen a similar picture with a caption indicating that it was taken as she arrives Bordeaux with the German prize crew on board).

Another picture of Ole Wegger - From Narve Sørensen
Other pictures are available on this external page

POST WAR: Ole Wegger was raised and docked in England, condemnded and sold to Sweden for scrap. Roger Jordan says: She was raised in August 1945 and it was intended to tow her to Plymouth. She left Rouen on 21 August 1945 but she ran aground while on route. She was refloated and towed back to Rouen for inspection. Later, Ole Wegger was towed to Falmouth, where she was found to be beyond economical repair. She was sold to a Swedish shipbreaking company and towed to Gothenburg in May 1946 and broken up during 1947. (Again, see also A. Hague's Voyage Record on my page about Ole Wegger, link below).

Pol Whale Catchers

Click on the above link for information on the Pol whalers that were not present on the herding grounds at the time of Pinguin's arrival.
Follow this link to crew lists.

The following 3 catchers were captured by Pinguin:

Pol VIII- Built 1936, Sent to France. Became UJ 1711, and later NS 06 (auxiliary minesweeper). Returned 1945. Further history is available on my page about the Pol whale catchers.

Pol IX - Built 1937, 354 gt. Renamed Adjutant and was used as mine layer for the German raiders in the South Atlantic and The Indian Ocean. Scuttled by Komet after engine trouble on July 1-1941 off Chatham Islands.

Related external link:
Picture of Adjutant - (Linked to the website Arsenal of Dictatorship, which also has a section about the German raiders).

Pol X - Built 1937, 354 gt. Sent to France. Became UJ 171. Returned in 1945.

Pol VII however, escaped. She was alongside Ole Wegger when a dark shadow was seen gliding up near the bow of the factory, then floodlights were suddenly turned on and guns pointed towards the people on Solglimt and Ole Wegger. Pol VII escaped capture by quitely and very slowly maneuvering away from the whale factory. When a very welcome snow shower came she left the area at full speed, heading west towards Thorshammer with the intent of warning of the situation.

Poll VII was later hired by Royal Navy from Nov.17-1942 to July 7-1943 for use as a minesweeper. Built 1936, 338 gt

POST WAR: Sold in 1964 by Elling Aarseth & Co, Norway, to Brødrene Anda, Stavanger, for breaking up.

To my page about Pol whale catchers
Info on other Pol whale catchers that are not listed on this page.


Torlyn was renamed UJ 1112 (ii), later UJ 1218 (ii). (Star XXIII became UJ 1112 (iii) ).

Not much can be found on this ship, click on the link for info on owners, tonnage etc.
Follow this link to crew list.


Whale factory (A/S Odd, Sandefjord).

Click on the link to Solglimt above to go to that ship on the Ships starting with S page.

Her voyages prior to being captured are listed on this original document received from the National Archives of Norway.

Call Sign: LDMD.

Follow this link to crew list.

Received from Narve Sørensen.

Here are some more pictures of Solglimt - see also this page (external links).

Captain Norman Andersen. Departed New York in December* with supplies for the whaling fleet, and had, among other things four 4 inch guns that were to be installed on the whale factories. They hardly expected to need them in the Antarctic, but they might come in handy when they headed north after the whaling season was over. After her capture, Solglimt departed for Bordeax on Jan. 25 with a German prize crew on board under the command of Bach, reaching the Gironde inlet on March 16. (The Norwegian crew was sent home). See text under Ole Wegger above for more details.

* Note that according to the archive document, she had left New York for Curacao on Nov. 11-1940.

Solglimt was renamed Sonderburg, later scuttled by the Germans as blockship at Cherbourg. Total loss. Jan Olof, Sweden has found some info in "The Bomber Command War Diaries" by Middlebrook & Everitt saying that Solglimt was bombed in Cherbourg harbour by 12 Bostons of 107 Squadron on Sept. 15-1942. She was set on fire and gutted (no Bostons were lost). She must have been rendered useless by this bombing attack, and therefore sunk as blockship(?). One of my sources says she was sunk in June-1944 in connection with the Normandie invasion.

POST WAR: The wreck was demolished with explosives in Jan.-1947.

Related external link:
History of the ship - A section of The Great Ocean Liners.


Call Sign: LCAQ.

Click on the link to Pelagos in the box above for details on her pre war history.
Follow this link to crew list. Her voyages prior to capture are listed on this original image received from the National Archives of Norway.

Source: Roger W. Jordan collection (sent to me for inclusion on this website).

Source: Bjørn Milde's postcard collection.

Pelagos off Narvik in 1941. Received from Erling Skjold, Norway.

Captain Fritz B. Gøthesen. After the capture of Ole Wegger, Solglimt and the whale catchers early in the morning of Jan. 14-1941 Ole Wegger's radio, now manned by Germans, continued to call on the whale catchers but soon realized they must have gotten away and would warn Thorshammer. Due to a defect in one of her engines, Pinguin couldn't go in pursuit, and instead concentrated on Pelagos for her next victim. At 04:04 that same morning Pinguin left the already captured fleet, heading straight north since she was being closely watched by the Norwegians, then later altered course towards the last estimated position of Pelagos. By 08:00 the engine had been repaired and Pinguin proceeded at full speed. Several times during the day regular conversations between Pelagos and her catchers were overheard.

The distance to Pelagos proved to be greater than Krüder had initially estimated so he knew he couldn't reach the factory until later that night, and hoped that Pelagos wouldn't get suspicious in the meantime; she tried to contact Ole Wegger several times between 18:00 and 20:00 without getting a response. At 22:09 Krüder observed the lights from one of Pelagos' catchers. Pinguin passed her at a distance of 3-4 n. miles, but it appeared as though she had not been seen. At 22:55 more lights were seen ahead, where Pelagos was busily working with several of her catchers nearby. When Pinguin was 200 meters from the factory her boats with prize crews were launched and orders to not use the radio or phones were signalled. Position was 58 21S 02 56E. (Roger W. Jordan gives position as 59S 00 30W). At the same time a whale catcher was on its way in, was promptly captured and used to transport prize crews to the other catchers.

Krüder gave his colleague Küster the command of Pelagos, further details as per text under the heading "Voyage to Europe" under Ole Wegger above.

An interesting little snippet in Book 1 of "Handelsflåten i krig" (Atle Thowsen, his source Tønnesen 1970) says the Norwegians on Pelagos were able to drop a bottle into the sea while en route to Bordeaux containing a handwritten note with the text: "To all alied ships! Please report imidiath to British naval Control. Floating factory S/S Ole Wegger and four catchers, and Floating factory S/S Solglimt was captured by germany raider on Jan. 14th the factory ships lying side by side. The Floating factory S/S Pelagos and seven catchers was captured the following night without any chance for escape. We are now bound for a germany port with prisoners on board. The cargo are 10700 tons whaleoil. Floating factory S/S Pelagos at sea, Febr. 17th 1941". The bottle was picked up 2-3 months later by some fishermen near Pernambuco.

 Conflicting info on final fate: 

There's conflicting information with regard to the further services and fate of this ship. In a message on my Ship Forum Roger W. Jordan (author of "The World's Merchant Fleets") says "In 'Ships Available to the Enemy in Northern Waters' published by the Ministry of Economic Warfare in August 1945, and which shows vessel movements and locations as reported by agents, aircraft sightings, warship sightings, etc., Pelagos is shown as being at Narvik on 15 May 1943, 20 July 1944 and in June 1945. A White Star Line source (Pelagos was previously the liner Athenic belonging to that line) states that Pelagos was a depot oiler for 'the 24th Submarine Flotilla based in Norway'. In 'The White Star Line, An Illustrated History 1868-1934', in the entry for the career history of Athenic, it is shown as 'sunk at Kirkenes during naval experiments' (Oct. 24-1944)".

Norwegian posters disagree with these British sources, one poster saying that Pelagos was never in service or sunk in Kirkenes. Other posters say her whaling equipment was dismantled at Howaldtswerke Kiel in (May?) 1941 (still stored there at the end of 1945, partly used for re-equipping Empire Venture, ex Wikinger) and that she was allocated to KMW Drontheim (navy shipyard in Trondheim) as a stationary tanker for supply tasks in the Narvik area. (Her whaloil had been discharged and the remaining Norwegians sent to the camp Sandbostel, Apr. 17-1941). She was still in Narvik on May 9-1945 and still under German control. Departed Narvik for Tønsberg with Norwegian crew on June 27-1945. Axel Kuehn says there is absolutely no evidence that she was sunk in Kirkenes Oct. 24-1944 and adds that Roger Jordan's intelligence reports stating that Pelagos is shown as being in Narvik in May-1943, July-1944 and in June of 1945 actually support the assumption that she might not have left Narvik in the period 1941-1945. The last movement during the war in Norway which Axel has found from KTB's is a passing of Kristiansand in Oct.-1941.

Erling Skjold has a plausible explanation for the "sunk in Kirkenes" theory. He says that a small motorboat (tonnage and size not given in the German documents) named Pelagos owned by Hvalfangerselskapet Pelagos, Tönsberg (Bruun & von der Lippe) was seized by Seetransportchef Norwegen (in Anspruch / Ina). He adds, "the fate of this vessel is in a list from Seetransportchef Norwegen from 4.11.44 listing vessels serving at Seetransportstelle Kirkenes lost 15.-30.10.44. Here is the "Ina" vessel "Walschleppboot Pelagos" stated as lost in Kirkenes area between 15.-30.10.44." So, a Pelagos was lost in the Kirkenes area, but not the whale factory. (Erling's source: Archiv from Seetransportchef Norwegen - Abwicklungsstab. Another theory is also presented in this forum thread, which starts here.

I found a snippet on the website of Østfold Hvalfangerklubb which might prove that this whale factory was definitely not sunk. The text is in Norwegian and can be found on this page (external link - scroll down on the page). The heading is "Pelagos' siste reise" (Last voyage of Pelagos) and the text states that Hvalfangerselskapet "Pelagos" A/S announced before Easter of 1962 that the Pelagos expeditions would no longer continue. It adds that from the 1928/29 season the factory had taken part in 28 seasons in all (with the exception of a few years break during the war).

Additionally, see also the details on the image received from the National Archives of Norway, which shows some 1945 voyages.

Related external link:
1 who died - Pelagos
- Cause not mentioned, other than the fact that some Norwegians died in a prison camp in France - However, this appears to be incorrect (though I've seen information that some of the men were sent to a camp in France on arrival Bordeaux, while some stayed on board their ships for a while before being sent to the camp in Germany). This man, Thorstein Johansen, is listed as "baker". The book "Våre falne", which lists Norwegian WW II casualties, states he died on the train on Apr. 18-1941, near Saumur, while being transportet to a German camp. Buried at Sorther - see also my crew list for Pelagos.

Back to Pelagos on P-page

Star Whalers

Click on link above for more details, including some info on those that were not present on the herding grounds on Jan. 14-1941.

Follow this link to crew lists.

The following Star whale catchers were captured:

Star XIV - Delivered July-1929 from Nylands Verksted, Oslo as Star XIV to Hvalfanger-AS Rosshavet, Sandefjord, 247 gt. Became Kriegsmarine's UJ 1107 (ii), then UJ 1215 (ii).

Star XIX - built 1930, 249 gt. - scuttled by the Germans on March 13-1941 when intercepted by HMS Scarborough in 44 50N 22W while en route to France. Some Norwegian sources say March 28, but this appears to be an error. I've seen a transcript of a document sent from London to Roosevelt on March 14-1941, announcing (among other news) that Scarborough intercepted 2 Norwegian whalers sent as prize by German raider in South Atlantic, 350 miles of Cape Finisterre, March 13, adding that both whalers scuttled themselves. 1 German officer, 7 ratings and 22 Norwegians were picked up. See also my text under "Voyage to Europe" under Ole Wegger further up on this page.

The maritime hearings were held in London on Apr. 7-1941 with 1st Mate Henry Haugen, 1st Engineer Henry Iversen and Able Seaman Nilsen appearing (ref. crew list). According to a report presented at the hearings, written by the first mate, they received bunkers and supplies from Ole Wegger on Febr. 1 in approximate position 66S 23E, and again on Febr. 18 in approximately 27S 20W. That same date they were alongside a British cargo vessel *, and at that time a new prize crew was placed on board. On March 6, in approx. 27N 43W they received bunkers from an unknown tanker **, then continued their voyage. In the morning of March 13 (approx. 45N 23W) Star XIX was close to an English convoy. An English cruiser spotted them and ordered them to stop. Realizing they could not get away, the German commander ordered the ship to stop and told everyone to take to the lifeboats, whereupon a bomb was placed in the engine room, another hanging down from the bridge a little below the water line, and about 10 minutes after the boats had gotten clear of the ship, the bombs exploded and she sank in a very short time. After about half an hour they were all taken aboard the cruiser and taken to Liverpool. (This report says that the captain had been ordered on board Solglimt on Jan 22).

*This would have been Duquesa, which was also under German control, and fits in with what is found in "German raiders of WW II" by August Karl Muggenthaler which states that Krüder on Pinguin and the whaling fleet joined Nordmark and Duquesa between Febr. 15 and 18 to be provisioned. Muggenthaler adds that Duquesa subsequently had to be sunk on the 18th because she had no fuel.

** This may in fact have been the captured Norwegian Krossfonn, by that time renamed Spichern under German control. According to Muggenthaler, the Norwegian whale catchers were provisioned from Spichern.

Also captured were:

Star XX - built 1930, 249 gt. - Became UJ 1107 (iii), then UJ 1215, then UJ 1217 (ii). Returned 1945.

Star XXI - built 1935, 298 gt. - Became UJ 1216, lost by enemy action at Vik on Aug. 26-1942.

Star XXII - built 1936, 303 gt. - Became Auxiliary Anti Submarine vessel UJ 1217, torpedoed and sunk by Russian submarine M-107 (Kofanov) at Syltefjord on Sept. 11-1943, 70 38N 30 26E. (another source says in collision and sank in the Gulf of Finland on March 14-1943).

Star XXIII - built 1936, 357 gt. - Became Auxiliary Anti Submarine vessel UJ 1218, then UJ 1112 (iii). Returned 1945.

Star XXIV - built 1937, 361 gt. - Scuttled at the same time as Star XIX, and for the same reason.

The maritime hearings for the latter were held in London at the same time as for Star XIX, with 1st Mate Arne Jørgensen, 1st Engineer Emil Gjertsen and Able Seaman Anton Pedersen appearing (ref. crew list at link above). A report was presented which on the whole corresponds to 1st Mate Henry Haugen's report (of Star XIX). 1st Mate Jørgensen adds that Star XXIV's captain had also been ordered on board Solglimt on Jan. 22.

Post war info is available at the link below.

 Summing up: 

The whale catchers captured that day were: Pol VIII, Pol IX, Pol X, Star XIV, Star XIX, Star XX, Star XXI, Star XXII, Star XXIII, Star XXIV and Torlyn. Out of the 3 factories captured (Ole Wegger, Solglimt and Pelagos) only Pelagos was returned to Norway after the war(?), and about 4 of the whalers. Through these operations Nortraship was short of a total of 574 Norwegian crew; they were sent home to Norway in May-1941 on board the German D/S Donau after a 2-3 weeks stay at a camp in Germany, probably Marlag und Milag Nord.


 Those who escaped capture: 

There's a vivid personal account of this incident (and several of the other incidents mentioned in my ship lists) in the book "Tusen norske ship" by Lise Lindbæk. The book was translated to English under the title "Norway's New Saga of the Sea" - see my page Books for tips on how to find a copy. It's mainly based on Lise Lindbæk's interviews with Norwegian seamen during the war, and published in New York in Nov. 1943. Some of the chapters are based on articles in various magazines/newspapers. In the chapter covering the capture of the whaling fleet there's a detailed account of what happened that day as told by one of the men present. Some of the details below comes from that book:

Globe VIII was also on the herding grounds that day, and narrowly escaped capture. The two whale factories Ole Wegger and Solglimt, and the whalers Pol VIII, IX, X and Torlyn had just been taken and Globe VIII was on her way to the factory with 2 whales early that morning when Skipper Kjellstrøm got suspicious at hearing an order coming over the radio from Ole Wegger, asking one of the Pol catchers, Globe VIII and Thorarinn (about 30 n. miles away) to come in and deliver their whales, then wait for further orders. Not only did this voice sound unfamiliar and had an unusual accent, but Kjellstrøm also knew for a fact that one of the ships had already notified the factory that it had no whales. When he came close enough to see Ole Wegger and Solglimt in his binoculars he also saw that another, armed vessel was with them. Thorarinn was already on her way in f. o. so Kjellstrøm quickly radioed to Ole Wegger that he was hunting a blue whale, withdrew a little and hid behind an iceberg, then announced he had the whale. Shortly afterwards he reported that a wire had gotten entangled in the propellor and he needed help, which was the perfect excuse to call on Thorarinn without arousing her or the raider's suspicions. When Thorarinn came to assist, Kjellstrøm was able to explain what he had seen and heard, and together they headed west as fast as they could to warn the factory Thorshammer of the danger, arriving that evening. (Pol VII was also able to slip away to proceed at full speed in the same direction.

Source: Narve Sørensen.
Here's another picture/Thorshammer - See also this list of other Thor Dahl ships (both links are external).

On Thorshammer (Captain Einar Torp) the news was received in shocked disbelief. All the whale meat she had alongside was dumped, while the rest, which they were working on, was left where it was, and she headed south, while notifying 5 of her 7 catchers that had not yet come in, using a special emergency radio code. The next thing they had to do was see to the lifeboats, which had been swung in and were full of various items, but were now cleaned out, checked and swung out ready for use in case they were needed. All use of private radios was prohibited, only the receiver in the radio room was left on. They were worried about Pelagos which was calling for Solglimt saying she was on her way over for fuel oil, but there was nothing they could do to warn her. Pelagos was located about 100 miles east of Ole Wegger, which in turn was 180 miles east of Thorshammer. If the latter were to warn Pelagos, the enemy ship would not only know they were aware of the raider, but would also be able to plot their position. By then several more of Thorshammers's catchers had joined up, only 2 were still out. She continued at full speed until the ice prevented her from heading further south, and then set course for South Georgia where they arrived 5 days later, though 3 days before, she had sent one of the catchers ahead, arriving on the morning of the 19th with a written notice to the magistrate to warn of the situation on the herding grounds, and from there the news could be passed on to the Falklands.

Thorshammer arrived Grytviken on Jan. 20. 2 hours later, 1 of the 2 missing catchers arrived, then a couple of days later the last one showed up. The entire Thorshammer expedition had made it, plus 3 of Ole Wegger's ships (Pol VII also arrived Grytviken - see text under Pol Whalers further up on this page).

*The Thorshammer expedition was later resumed, this time with the help of the British Queen of Bermuda. On Apr.(?) 11 Thorshammer went to New Orleans to unload. After a voyage to the Peru grounds in the fall of 1941 no more(?) whale catching took place as a result of Japan entering the war, and Thorshammer was placed in regular service until 1945.

* I believe some of the statements may have gotten a bit mixed up here; please compare the details in the above paragraph with the info found on this document received from the National Archives of Norway. Also, it looks like she went to the whaling grounds in the fall of 1942 as well (Peru?). See also this document, showing her 1943 and some 1944 voyages. My page about Thorshammer has information on the rest of her voyages.

Related external link:
Queen of Bermuda
- The Norwegian whaling fleet is mentioned in Part Five.

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The information on this page was compiled with the help of various sources, including "Skip og men", Birger Dannevig, "Nortraships flåte" Vol. 1, J. R. Hegland, "Handelsflåten i Krig" (The Merchant Fleet at War) Book 1, Atle Thowsen, "Tusen norske skip", Lise Lindbæk, "German Raiders of World War II", August Karl Muggenthaler. Some of the facts and post war info on the whale catchers are from E-mails from Roger W. Jordan (also, post war info on the other vessels), author of "World's Merchant Fleet", some data on whalers came from "List of Norwegian War and Merchant Ships to which Signal Letters have been allotted" Handelsdepartementet 1947 (The Norwegian Dept. of Commerce) - all these books are listed in My sources.