Boats escaping from Norway - WW II

starting with B

 Shetland Bus Main Page 
 Explanation of Fishery Numbers 

M/B Bjørg (H 59 B) 
Left Brandasund on Aug. 4-1941 carrying 8 people, and arrived Peterhead, Scotland (just outside Aberdeen) on the 7th, having encountred heavy weather on the crossing.

On board were:
Åstin Katla and Jon Østerbø - the others are unknown.

M/K Blia (H 197 S) (lost) 
Built 1929? Owned by A/S Jan Lerøy, Bergen? 29 gt?

The fishing cutter Blia had made a successful crossing with evacuees to Lerwick, having departed Glesvær on March 15-1941 with 20 people on board, and arrived Lerwick on the 17th. This voyage was organized by the "Årstad-Brun group" and Blia's owners. On board on that occasion were:

Even Fagerlid (Captain), Kjell Birkelund, Aksel Reidar Eikemo, Adolf Frantzen, Petter B. Gabrielsen, Torbjørn G. Gulbrandsen, Carsten Anker Johnsen, Kåre Kalsås, Arne Lerøy, Ingvald Lerøy, Thorvald Lien, Anders Merkesdal, Odd Ivar Munkner, Nils Nipen, Kåre Nævdal, Asbjørn Ones, Olaf Rye Sjursen, John Slåtten. (Names found in the book "Englandsfarten").

Picture received from Bjørn Milde, whose brother-in-law Alfred Lerøy's brother Ingvald Lerøy perished with Blia.
(Source: Alfred Lerøy).

From her base in Scalloway she travelled back to Norway in Nov. of that same year in order to pick up Bernhard Håvardsholm of the Linge group who offered to take along evacuees. Departed Øklandsvågen on Nov. 11-1941 with a total of 42 on board, including 6 crew (some of the evacuees had been involved in "illegal" activities and were wanted by the Germans). Another 40 had to be left behind due to lack of space, but they were later taken to Lerwick by M/S Haugland I on Nov. 27. Blia sank due to bad weather during the crossing.

Magne Haugseng, a visitor to my website has sent me the names of those who lost their lives when Blia sank; they can be found on my Survivors / Fatalities page. He also included the following info (source: Public Record Office, Kew, London - File HS2/139 Operation Arquebus and Albatross; August 1941 – December 1943):

Telegram from Lerwick to Special Operations Executive (SOE) London received 9 November 1941 at 2140 hrs: Blia sailed afternoon 9th November for Arquebus pickup. (Date conflicts with what I've given above). Blia's passengers and crew posted as missing by Norwegian Ministry of Defence 18 December 1941 on the request of Major Nagell. Blia left Norway with at least 35 passengers, 32 were named.

Telegram from Lerwick 20 January 1942: Blia was damaged salving motor vessel Fred for Norwegian Consul (Lerwick) October 10/41. Was slipped and repaired Oct 20 by Malakoffs” Was passed as seaworthy by S.L.3 and kaptein Lerøy - the Blia skipper. (Malakoff’s was a Lerwick Company). The Norwegians complained at the time of the sinking of the ”unseaworthyness of the Shetland fleet.” The file notes that the Lerøy brothers worked on the repairs and that they were confident that she was ok by the time she sailed. The file stresses that she may have been ok as a fishing boat, but she was not safe for crossing the North Sea, she was too light. Blia was definitely caught by the hurricane of Nov 11 – 14th 1941. She was loaded with at least 42 people at the time. One of the passengers returning to Britain was SOE agent Bernhard Haavardsholm, the Arquebus organiser. He was a schoolteacher from Sande. The file points out that he left a wife and four small daughters under the age of nine. (The file notes were written at the time of the accident).

Related External link:
The Shetland Bus - This page lists those who died in this service, including some of those from Blia. See also my own Memorial page, as well as this external site.

M/B Blåegg (M 47 U) 
Departed Ulstein on Apr. 25-1941.

This vessel had been used previously in March that same year, but due to engine problems it had to be towed back to shore by a fishing vessel. The passengers who were on board at that time got passage on a larger vessel, namely Havtor, which crossed the ocean that same day with the fugitives. For a while afterwards, Blåegg was simply used to carry escapees from Ålesund to larger vessels in the area, but after a while this became so well known that the owner and crew were in danger and had to leave themselves on the date given above.

On board were:
Haakon Andreasen Ulstein, Johan Sverre Ulstein, Sigmund Knutsen Ulstein - all fishermen.

M/B Bob (H 31 BO) 
Departed Vikafjord, Bømlo on July 20-1941 and arrived Lissmouth, Scotland on the 23rd.

These were on board:
Jens Grutle, Nils Bernhard Vika and 1 more by the name of Hope.

M/B Borghild (H 82 F) 
Departed Landro in Fjell on Sept. 4-1941 with 36 people, arriving Lerwick on the the 6th.

These were on board:
Skipper Magnus Landro, Henry Andersen, Olaf Berg Antonen, Anders Bauge, Rolf Bjørnestad, Anfinn Danielsen, Thomas Eide, Knut Johan Fosse, Marthinius Fosse, Reidar Henriksen, Anton Hope, Helge Johanson, Anton Martin Johnsen, Finn Johnsen, Hans Norman Jørgensen, Johan Klinge, Norman Kårtvedt, Endre Nilsen Landro, Gunvald Landro, Johannes Landro, Sigmund Larson, Robert Mangerøy, Reidar Emil Mikkelsen, Thorleif Mjåtvedt, Alf Mykkeltvedt, Magnus Reigstad, Konrad Solsvik, Leif Solsvik, Norman Solsvik, Odvar Johnsen Steene, Arthur Takvam, Inger Thorkildsen (the only female among them), Ingolf Toft, Nils Rasmussen and Paul Karlsen Vindenes.

D/S Borgund 
Departed Ålesund on May 1-1940. See D/S Borgund for more information on this ship.

M/K Brattholm I (M 172 HØ) 
Built 1937.
50 gt

Received from Frithjof Remøy, who says the picture was taken in outer Seydisfjord in 1942.

Brattholm I had 3 owners, 1 of whom, Skipper Alfred Remøy came along on the voyage to Iceland early in the morning of Nov. 13-1940 (the other 2 owners were the brothers Petter and Arthur Sævik, who did not know about the escape). On board were also John, Johan, Julius and Fritjof, all with the last name Remøy (Fritjof's own story about him and his family is included in Warsailor Stories - the first one on that page), as well as Leonard Larsen and Klaus Sævik, the youngest 18 and the oldest 23, all from the small island of Remøy near Ålesund. On the evening of Nov. 18 they were met by a British patrolboat which escorted them the rest of the way into Reykjavik. Brattholm I was taken over by the Norwegian authorities and like the other vessels on Iceland she was put into service for British Sea Transport.

She was stationed at Seydisfjord on the east coast, where the British had a base. They also had a base at Budareyri in Borgarfjord, where there was also a base for Northrop 1-motor seaplanes of the Norwegian 330 Squadron. Brattholm's main job was to transport various supplies between Seydisfjord and Budareyri to the British forces, as did Gå-På and Eldøy for a while (the full story on these vessels can be found under Utvær). With the extreme weather conditions in this area in the winter this could be quite a demanding service for such small ships. They also had to bring people and supplies to the patrol posts, some of which could be very difficult to reach, like the one at Dalatangi. Additionally, Brattholm I supplied the fortress at Seydisfjord when it was snowed in and unreachable by other means. A lifeboat was used as a landing craft for this purpose.

Brattholm's last assignment on Iceland was to bring ashore building materials and equipment for the radar station the Americans were going to build at Dalatangi. Together with 2 other Norwegian vessels, Bergholm and Sandøy she was then requisitioned by the Norwegian authorities for service in the North Sea from Shetland. She arrived Reykjavik at the end of Sept. where Johan signed on Jan Mayen (he later served on M/T Brajara). John Remøy signed on Jøkul (another fishing vessel on Iceland); he later went to Radio School in London and was on board M/T Dalfonn at the end of the war. Brattholm, Bergholm and Sandøy I proceeded to Shetland, where the socalled "Shetland Gang" took over the vessels, while their crews were sent to England. Fritjof Remøy signed on M/S Ingria in England, and after she was torpedoed he later sailed on several other ships, all listed on my page "Warsailor Stories". The rest joined the navy; Julius Remøy was on board Glaisdale during the invasion of Normandie, as was Leonard Larsen. Klaus Sævik served on a submarine for a while, later on the minesweeper Karmøy (operating off the coast of Finnmark). Alfred Remøy returned to Shetland and worked as navigator on Vigra, captained by "Shetlands-Larsen" himself (see the index page for more details and links). All 7 survived the war. Sandøy I was lost on her first trip to Norway for the "Shetland Gang", while Bergholm was sunk by German aircraft on her way back to Iceland on her 3rd trip.

Brattholm I departed Shetland on her first and last trip for the "Shetland Gang" on March 24-1943 for the north of Norway, but had to be scuttled after having been attacked by a German torpedoboat near Rebbenes in Karlsøy on March 30. At the time she had a crew of 12, 1 was killed (Per Blindheim), 2 were injured and later died in a hospital as a result of their wounds as well as torture by the Gestapo (Sigurd Eskeland and Erik Reichelt, the latter being the son of Captain Gerhard Reichelt of Annavore), 8 were taken prisoners, interrogated, tortured and later shot (Bjørn Norman Bolstad, Gabriel Salvesen (who had initially escaped from Norway on board Viola), Magnus Johan Kvalvik, Sverre Odd Kvernhellen [skipper], Harald Peter Ratvik, Frithjof M. Haugland, Sjur Ludvigsen Trovaag, Alfred A. Vik), while Jan Baalsrud escaped to Sweden. The story of his escape is absolutely incredible.

The book "We Die Alone" by the British David Howarth (officer at the naval base in Shetland during the war), published in 1954 was based on this escape. There was also a movie made in 1957, based on the book, the first Norwegian film to be nominated for an Oscar. Just recently, another book was published, written by Tore Haug and Astrid Karlsen. According to some of those who aided Jan Baalsrud in 1943 this book describes the events more accurately than the first. The title of the book is "Defiant Courage - Norway's longest WW II Escape". David Howarth also wrote a book entitled "The Shetland Bus". (All the books mentioned here are easy to find on the Internet). Jan Baalsrud died on Dec. 30-1987 ('88?).

Related External link:
The Shetland Bus - This page lists those who died in this service, including those from Brattholm I. See also my own Shetland Bus Memorial page.

M/B Breisund (M 33 A) 
Departed Ålesund on May 26-1940, lost near land off Haroldswick, Shetland on the 28th, but passengers were saved. This was the second attempt at escape.

On board were:
Henrik Fjærhaug, Odd Hansen, Johannes Johnsen, Alf Knutsen, Birger Trøen and Olav Aarsæther. 5 British soldiers were also on board. They had lost contact with their units during the retreat in Gudbrandsdalen. They had managed to get to Romsdal, then across the mountains to Valldal and on to Ålesund.

M/B Brødrene (F 20 T) 
42 feet.

Departed Lofotodden on Apr. 15-1942 for Iceland with 6 people on board, arriving Stødvarfjord 5 days later, then continued in a convoy to Reykjavik. They had quite a nerve racking moment when they were half way to their destination; some German aircraft started circling not far away.

The following made this voyage:
Anton Arild, Åge Hansen, Johannes Johansen, Arne Kristoffersen, Kristoffer Kristofferesen and John Pedersen (the oldest was 29 years old).

This Guestbook message has some information re the fate of this ship.

M/B Buestein (SF 52 A) 
Departed Bulandet, Askvoll on Nov. 20-1941 with 10 people, 2 of whom belonged to the "Shetland Gang", by whom this voyage was organized. Their own boat had been lost earlier on and they came to Bulanded in company of a 3rd man (Kai Liset) where they were assisted and given this boat for the voyage. Buestein arrived Lerwick on the 22nd after having encountered heavy weather.

These made the crossing:
Skipper (and part owner of the boat) Konrad Kjempenes and his wife Astrid, a fellow named Gjertsen (from the Scalloway branch) and his girlfriend Borghild, Dagfinn Hugøy, Kai Liset (also from the Scalloway branch), Dagmar Nikøy and Hildur Nikøy and 2 more(?). One of them appears to have been Oddvin Liseth, who is mentioned on my page about the sinking of D/S Skottland.

M/B Bøfjord (SF 21 H) 
Departed Askvoll on June 8-1941 with 12 people and arrived Lerwick on the 10th. The boat had been purchased by the so-called "Årstad-Brun" group whose member Jacob Njøten organized this voyage on behalf of the group. Bøfjord was lost in Buckie harbour.

These people came along:
Skipper Georg Viken, Erling Anonby, Håkon Olav Austrheim, Gerhard Bergsvik, Karl Bergsvik, Olav Bergsvik, Einar Knutsen, Gustav Merkesdal, Arne Siira, Birger Siira, Petter Siira, and Trygve Woxen.

M/B Bøvåg (M 146 G) 
"Englandsfarten" gives fishery number as M 164 G

Bøvåg anchored outside Kvamsgarden at Valderøy, Norway. Picture was received from Arne Vadseth, who owns this painting, and whose father, Ragnvald Vadseth, was part owner of the vessel, together with Alfred Storheim, Valderøy.

Painted by Harald Blindheim.

Departed Ålesund on March 30-1941 and arrived Lerwick on Apr. 2.

On board were:
Bjarne Olsen Blomvik, Knut Bjørnerem, Fredrik Eitzen, Jørgen Jacob Eitzen, Alf Bang Grundtvig, Andreas Johan Nordstrand, Karl Nordstrand, Martinus Andreas Nordstrand, Per Johan Nordstrand, Severin Johannes Pedersen, Arne Samuel Sæther, and Johan Gert von Tangen.

(My Norwegian Guestbook has a message from the son of Ragnvald Vadseth, who was part owner of the vessel - Karl Nordstrand is still around. See also this Guestbook message).

  A B C D E F G H I J K L  
  M N O P R S T U V W Other Statistics  

Norwegian Merchant Fleet Main Page