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Owner: A/S D/S Neptun.
Built by Furness Shipbuilding Co., Haverton Hill, Tees in 1923. According to the external page that I've linked to above, she was completed in May that year as Atherton for H. Harrison Shipping Ltd., London. Sold to A/S D/S Altair (Henrik Østervold), Bergen in 1935 and renamed Altair. Owned from 1937 by A/S D/S Neptun (same managers).
Captain: Johannes Pedersen Nesholt. Later served on Selvik
Related item on this website:
Her voyages are shown on this original document from the Norwegian National Archives.
Please compare the above voyages with Arnold Hague's Voyage Record below.
Follow the convoy links provided for more information on them.
Altair is listed as sailing in Convoy OA 80 in Jan.-1940. This convoy left Southend on Jan. 27 and joined up with Convoy OB 80 from Liverpool on Jan. 31, the combined convoy forming the Gibraltar bound Convoy OG 16. According to A. Hague's record above, she arrived Fayal on Febr. 15, having been detached from the OG convoy around Febr. 2. Ref. external links provided in the table above (Altair 's destination is given as San Domingo). See also my own page naming ships in all OG convoys.
From the archive document, we learn that she was in London when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940. Later that month, she's listed in Convoy OG 27, a combination of Convoy OA 135 (in which Altair had started out) and Convoy OB 135 (from Liverpool Apr. 24). OA 135 had left Southend on Apr. 24 and joined the OB convoy on the 26th, the combined convoy then forming OG 27, which arrived Gibraltar on May 3. Altair, however, was bound for Halifax on that occasion, so left the convoy to proceed to her destination, via Fayal on May 6. The archive document gives her arrival Halifax as May 18 and it looks like she proceeded to Digby, N.S. 2 days later, then returned to Halifax.
Altair was shelled, torpedoed and sunk on June 18-1940 by a U-32 (Jenisch) west of Ireland, 49 39N 11 15W. The ship was unarmed and sailed alone, having left Halifax on June 5*, on a voyage from Digby, N.S. for Kings Lynn via Weymouth for orders with a cargo of 728 standards of lumber, 231 of which were on deck. It appears one torpedo had previously missed, at which time Altair adapted a zig-zag course, then about 25 minutes later U-32 surfaced behind the ship and opened fire. The crew took to the boats and the firing eventually stopped, but half an hour later a torpedo hit Altair amidships, causing her to list heavily to starboard (another source says to port) and the aft mast went overboard.
Shortly afterwards, the same U-boat shelled and sank the two nearby Spanish trawlers Sálvora and Faro de Ons from Vigo. The 20 surviving fishermen from these vessels were taken aboard the 2 Norwegian lifeboats. They were all picked up that same night by the Spanish trawler Iparreko Izarra and were later transferred to the Spanish trawler Piedi which landed them at Pasajes in the evening of June 21. According to a visitor to my website, Juan Carlos Salgado, who provided me with the names of these trawlers, Iparreko Izarra also found a lifeboat from the British Balmoralwood, sunk by U-47 on the 14th, having become a straggler from Convoy HX 47 - follow the link for details (see also Italia).
"Lloyd's War Losses", Vol. I states that Altair was sunk by gunfire from a British warship on June 21, in 49 36N 11 22W. According to this source, Faro de Ons had a crew of 13, "5 lost, 1 died", and Sálvora had a crew of 12, all survived. Uboat.net (external link) says the wreck of Altair was scuttled by HMS Prunella (X 02) on June 20 in the position given above.
The maritime hearings were held in Bilbao on July 1-1940 with the 1st Engineer, the captain, the 1st mate, Able Seaman J. Stien, and O. Haagensen appearing.
Crew List - No Casualties:
Norwegian, unless otherwise noted
Back to Altair on the "Ships starting with A" page.
Other ships named Altair: There were 2 other ships by this name, one American and the other Dutch - external link, Norwegian text - (seized by the Germans while building), and Italy had a torpedo boat by the name Altair, which struck a mine and sank on Oct. 20-1941 with great loss of life (near Gulf of Athens). Norway had also had a steamer named Altair in WW I, built 1884, 1674 gt - torpedoed and sunk 8 miles northeast by north of Newquay, Cornwall by the German UC-64 on Oct. 18-1917.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Norwegian Maritime Museum, Volume I, and misc - ref My sources.