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M/T Arne Kjøde

To Arne Kjøde on the "Ships starting with A" page.

From Bjørn Milde's postcard collection.

Manager: Jacob Kjøde A/S, Sandefjord
11 019 gt

Built by Deutsche Werft AG, Betrieb Finkenwärder, Hamburg in 1938.

Captain: Bernt Ingebrektsen

Related item on this website:
Guestbook message which gives a link to the surviving officer's report. (The text says he was the only surviving officer, but this can't be right).

 Final Fate - 1939 (Norway still neutral): 

Torpedoed by U-41 (Mugler) northwest of Scotland on November 12-1939 (58 51N 08 07W) en route from Aruba to Nyborg, Denmark (both neutral at the time), via Kirkwall with a cargo of gas oil. She had left Aruba on Oct. 27. Forepart sank 59 06N 06 55W, afterpart sank 59 20N 07 12W. 5 men, including the captain died. Survivors were taken to Newcastle.

The following are commemorated at the Memorial for Seamen in Stavern, Norway (link at the end of this page):
Cook Bjarne Elverum, Able Seaman Meyer P. Indrestrand, Captain Bernt Mikal Ingebrigtsen, Boatswain Asbjørn Erling Larsen, and Steward Peder Stene.

The information in the first paragraph above was assembled from various sources. A visitor to my site says that British records (Admiralty) state she was torpedoed at 10:00 on the date given above, approx. 58 40N 07 23W, and broke in 2. The torpedo had blown oil over the mast heads. 2 boats were lowered but the starboard boat capsized in the rough seas throwing 10 men into the water, where they were picked up by the port boat. The capsized boat must have been righted again, because the captain was in charge of one with 16 crew, and the 1st mate had another with 22 crew, but it's unclear to me who was in which boat. The heavy swell was flattened by the oil. Captain Ingebrektsen, the 2nd mate and some others wanted to go back on board to get some warm clothes and a compass, but due to the broken plates and rough seas they were unable to do so.

The starboard boat set sail and was taken in tow towards land by the other boat which had a compass. They sailed and towed until 22:00 at which time the rope parted due to the heavy seas. At that moment, a light on the north side of the Hebrides could be seen. The starboard boat hove to for the night using a sea anchor, and by 04:00 the boats had lost sight of each other. (Times given are BST).

The next day (Nov. 13) the captain's boat kept sailing until the weather became so bad they had to heave to in the evening. An aircraft flew over in the night, rockets were sent up without attracting attention. By the next morning they were steering with oars, having lost the rudder. At 11:00, the boat was turned over by a big wave but 10 men were able to climb onto the keel. The captain and the steward were seen hanging on to an oar about 100 yards away but they soon disappeared. The galley boy, who had broken his leg in the explosion drowned. The others heard someone in the boat, and when they righted it they found two 15 year old boys still alive. They tried to bail it, but the air tank on the port side was cracked. They now only had 1 oar left.

At 13:00, they were sighted by an aricraft which circled them, then at 15:00 a destroyer was seen coming towards them at full speed and they were taken on board (this was HMS Isis - see report below), whereupon they went back to the tanker which was still afloat astern. A towing attempt was made, but the tow parted and the ship's back was broken.

The survivors in the 1st mate's boat were rescued by the Grimsby trawler Night Hawk in 58 45N 07 08W, and landed at Stornoway at 10:00 on Nov. 14.

I've received a report from Jan-Olof Hendig, Sweden,which indicates that at the subsequent inquiry, the 3rd mate stated that the boatswain (one of the casualties) had told him he had seen a torpedo coming towards the ship, but nobody else had seen this (again, see also this external page). A British seaman, who had spent some time in the U-boat after his own ship had been torpedoed, had been given a cigarette case with a couple of names, among them the names of 2 torpedoed British ships, as well as a name that looked like Arne Kjøde. The German legation had claimed that no German U-boat had torpedoed Arne Kjøde. The report adds "the case is under investigation".

According to a visitor to my website, whose source is "Hitler's U-boat War. The Hunters 1939-1945" by Clay Blair, U-41 had sunk a British trawler (Cresswell - ref. external link at the end of this page) shortly before Arne Kjøde was torpedoed, and rescued about half of the survivors with the intent of transferring them to another trawler. They were transferred later that day, but were still on aboard the U-boat when Arne Kjøde was attacked. The prosecutors at Nüremberg used the attack on Arne Kjøde as an example of a U-boat "atrocity", based on this eyewitness testimony. Dönitz stated that Mugler had thought the ship was a British tanker en route to England. His earlier rescue of survivors from the British trawler was entered in Dönitz's defense. For info, U-41 was sunk with all hands in Febr.-1940 (again, see link at the end of this page for more details).

A total of 55 Norwegian ships, 120 742 gt in all, were lost during the neutrality period Sept. 3-1939 / April 8-1940, 393 people died; 377 of those were crew and the rest passengers. 19 were sunk by U-boats, 8 by mines, 1 by war ship and 3 by aircraft - 16 shipwrecks were the results of an explosion due to a torpedo or mine, whereas 8 ships disappeared without a trace ("Skip og menn", Birger Dannevig).

HMS Isis - Letter of Proceedings
dated Nov. 20-1939 and signed by the Commander, name illegible
(received from Roger Griffiths, England. His source: Public Records Office, Kew).

Sir, I have the honour to report the proceedings of HMS Iris from 08:00 13th November on sailing from Plymouth until 11:00 20th November on arrival at Rosyth.

Passage to Cape Wrath
At 08:00 13th November HMS Isis with HMS Ilex in Company sailed from Plymouth for Scapa with moderate despatch.
At 01:30 14th November when off the Mull of Kintyre I detached HMS Ilex to the Clyde in accordance with Admiralty signal 1131/13.

Rescue of Survivors from Norwegian Tanker Arne Kjøde
At 12:15 14th November when between Cape Wrath and Dunnet Head I received C in C Rosyth's 1147/14 and proceeded with all despatch towards reported position of wreck of Arne Kjøde. The weather deteriorated steadily and I was forced to reduce speed by stages to 15 knots.

At 15:19 14th November sighted a swamped boat from which 12 survivors of the Arne Kjøde were rescued.

Attempted Salvage of After part of Arne Kjøde
The reported position of the Arne Kjøde was not reached until after dark and a search was commenced which resulted in the sighting of the derelict after part at 20:09. It was learned from survivors that the forward two thirds of the ship had broken off and had drifted more rapidly to leeward. It was not seen.

Messages 1526/14 and 0123/15 from C in C Rosyth and 1533/14 from Admiralty were received ordering the ship to be salvaged if possible and to be towed in by HMS Guardian. It was not practicable to do anything towards salvage until daylight so I cruised in the vicinity during the night.

At daylight 15th November having laid out oil to smooth the seas around the wreck I sent away a boarding party of 5 men under Sub Lieutenant G. H. Evans, Royal Navy. Boarding was effected by using Isis foremast Jacob's ladder as a scaling ladder which one hand climbed a trailing boats fall to secure. The weather was overcast, wind force 4 and squally, but swell and sea, although breaking and rising, were still moderate when boarding commenced.

The derelict was found to have a good 5 1/2 inch towing hawser. I took her in tow with this tailed by 2 shackles of Isis cable, so that the inboard end of this cable could subsequently be transfered to Guardian to be shackled to the outboard end of her towing wire.

By 11:00 the derelict was in tow at the full span of the derelict's wire and the cable. With the assistance of oil bags the sea boat was then rehoisted without incident. I was particularly pleased by the good Seamanship displayed by the Boarding Party and Seaboats Crew under the able leadership of Sub Lieutenant Evans.

By the time the tow was passed the wind was force 5 sea becoming rough with a steep swell. Sea and Swell continued to increase and by 13:30 the tow was growing unmanageable. At 13:51 Isis and the tow slid down opposite sides of a heavy swell and the tow parted at one third the length of Isis cable. It appeared as though the towing wire hawser had also parted some 40 fathoms from the tow simultaneously.

Shortly afterwards HMS Guardian came in sight and I closed her to report. The weather made further salvage attempts out of the question, the wind rising to gale force by dusk. In accordance with C in C Rosyth message 1545/15 the derelict was sunk by gunfire at 17:20, the opportunity being taken to exercise director and quarters firing and ammunition supply under gale conditions. Isis then proceeded towards Scapa in company with HMS Guardian. (According to's information, the forepart was scuttled by HMS Chitral).

Loss overboard of Able Seaman Stanley Bromley* D/SSX 20490
I deeply regret to report that Able Seaman Stanley Bromley was lost overboard about 21:00 on 15th November while running before a North Westerly gale off Cape Wrath. His absence was not noticed for some time but search of the ship revealed a lower guard rail whose lanyard had been parted. This was near the After Engine Room hatch, by which he was last seen. The ship had been swept by a single large sea. No cry was heard by men stationed at the After Gun or elsewhere on the Upper deck. It seems probable he was thrown down by the Sea and knocked unconscious before he was swept overboard.

Scapa and Escort duty
Arrived Scapa 08:00 16th November and fuelled.

Sailed from Scapa 04:00 17th November with HMS Kandahar in company to rendezvous with Convoy HN 2, the westabout portion of which was escorted through the Pentland Firth to Cape Wrath. On completion of this duty the two ships returned towards Scapa, Isis proceeding onwards to Rosyth arriving 16:30 18th November.

Sailed from Rosyth 22:00 18th November for Invergordon arriving 08:00 19th November to sail as escort for the British Tanker Athelking to Rosyth at 16:30 the same day.

HMS Kelly joined the escort at 21:25 being relieved at 23:00 by HMS Inglefield while still in the Moray Firth.

Arrived Rosyth 11:00 20th November.

* The able seaman mentioned in this report is commemorated at Plymouth Naval Memorial - more details can be found on this page of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website (external link)

Related external links:
Stavern Memorial commemorations

Operations information for U-41

More on U-41 - See also the attack on Cresswell.

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