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M/T Belita
Updated Dec. 31-2012

To Belita on the "Ships starting with B" page.

Crew List

The Australian War Memorial has a picture of this ship (external links).

Owner: Skibs-A/S Oiltank
Manager: Reidar Rød, Tønsberg
6323 gt, 9840 tdwt.
Call Sign: LHAP.

Built by Götaverken A/B, Gothenburg, Sweden in 1933.

Captain: Alexander Schach. Lillesand Sjømannsforening has more information about his long sea service (from 1891). He had been on board Belita since Jan.-1935 (external link, Norwegian text).

Her voyages are listed on these original images from the Norwegian National Archives:
Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3

Please compare the above voyages with Arnold Hague's Voyage Record below.

Voyage Record
From May-1940 to Dec.-1942:

(Received from Don Kindell - His source: The late Arnold Hague's database).

Follow the convoy links provided for more information on each.

Departure From To Arrival Convoy Remarks
1940 May 17 Cartagena, Col Aruba May 19 Independent Earlier voyages, Page 1
A. Hague says:
On MoWT charter May 16
May 20 Aruba Liverpool June 8 Independent (Via Las Piedras).
Missing movements, Page 1
June 27 Liverpool OB 175 A. Hague says:
For Caripito.
Dispersed June 30.
Convoy available at OB 175
(external link)
June 30 Dispersed from OB 175 Trinidad July 17 Independent
July 17 Trinidad Bermuda July 23 Independent
July 26 Bermuda Halifax July 29 Independent
Aug. 20 Halifax Belfast Lough Sept. 4 HX 67 See also narrative below
Sept. 7 Belfast Lough Avonmouth Sept. 9
Sept. 12 Avonmouth Milford Haven Sept. 13 Independent
Sept. 14 Milford Haven OB 214 For Abadan.
Dispersed Sept. 18.
Convoy available at OB 214
(external link)
Sept. 18 Dispersed from OB 214 Capetown Oct. 15 Independent
Oct. 16 Capetown Abadan Nov. 6 Independent
Nov. 7 Abadan Karachi Nov. 12 Independent
Nov. 16 Karachi Abadan Independent
Nov. 23 Abadan Singapore Dec. 10 Independent
Dec. 14 Singapore Colombo Dec. 20 Independent
Dec. 21 Colombo Abadan Dec. 30 Independent
1941 Jan. 1 Abadan Capetown Jan. 24 Independent
Jan. 26 Capetown Freetown Febr. 8 Independent
Febr. 10 Freetown Oban March 7 SL 65 Convoy available at SL 65
(external link)
March 9 Oban Methil March 11 WN 96 Convoy available at WN 96
(external link)
Missing movements, Page 1
Apr. 4 Methil Loch Ewe Apr. 7
Apr. 8 Loch Ewe OB 308 For N.Y.C.
Dispersed in 66 21N 32 10W Apr. 13.
Convoy available at OB 308
(external link)
Apr. 13 Dispersed from OB 308 New York City Apr. 26 Independent
June 2 New York City Halifax June 6 Independent
June 10 Halifax Liverpool June 28 HX 132
July 11 Liverpool OB 345 Detached approx. July 20.
Convoy available at OB 345
(external link)
Approx. July 20 Detached from OB 345 Curacao Aug. 2 Independent
Aug. 3 Curacao Trinidad Aug. 5 Independent
Aug. 9 Trinidad Puerto la Cruz Aug. 9 Independent
Aug. 10 Puerto la Cruz Curacao Aug. 11 Independent
Aug. 13 Curacao Trinidad Aug. 16 Independent
Aug. 21 Trinidad Puerto la Cruz Aug. 22 Independent
Aug. 24 Puerto la Cruz Curacao Aug. 24 Independent
Aug. 26 Curacao Trinidad Aug. 29 Independent
Sept. 4 Trinidad Puerto la Cruz Sept. 5 Independent
Sept. 5 Puerto la Cruz Aruba Sept. 7 Independent
Sept. 10 Aruba Trinidad Sept. 12 Independent
Sept. 18 Trinidad Caripito Sept. 18 Independent
Sept. 19 Caripito Trinidad Sept. 20 Independent
Sept. 22 Trinidad Caripito Sept. 23 Independent
Sept. 23 Caripito Trinidad Sept. 24 Independent
Sept. 27 Trinidad Aruba Sept. 30 Independent
Oct. 3 Aruba Cristobal Oct. 6 Independent
Oct. 7 Balboa Wellington Nov. 5 Independent
Nov. 9 Wellington Balikpapan Nov. 27 Independent See also Page 2
Nov. 28 Balikpapan Melbourne Dec. 15 Independent Again, see Page 2
Dec. 20 Melbourne Hobart Dec. 22 Independent
Dec. 25 Hobart Fremantle Jan. 2-1942 Independent
1942 Jan. 5 Fremantle Abadan Independent See Page 2 above
Jan. 31 Abadan Colombo Febr. 10 Independent
Febr. 18 Colombo Trincomalee Febr. 20 Independent
Febr. 23 Trincomalee Fremantle March 12 Independent See also narrative below.
A. Hague says:
Escorted until Febr. 24 by Nizam
March 13 Fremantle Melbourne March 22 Independent A. Hague says:
To repair bomb damage
May 10 Melbourne Abadan June 8 Independent
June 10 Abadan Diego Suarez July 3 Independent
July 7 Diego Suarez Abadan July 19 Independent
July 23 Abadan Diego Suarez Aug. 8 Independent
Aug. 15 Diego Suarez Abadan Independent
Aug. 29 Abadan Mombasa Sept. 13 Independent
Sept. 18 Mombasa Abadan Sept. 29 Independent
Sept. 30 Abadan Bandar Abbas Independent
Oct. 3 Bandar Abbas PB 4 Detached approx. Oct. 6.
Convoy available at PB 4
(external link)
Approx. Oct. 6 Detached from PB 4 Mombasa Oct. 15 Independent
Nov. 6 Mombasa Abadan Nov. 18 Independent
Nov. 20 Abadan Bandar Abbas Independent
Nov. 28 Bandar Abbas PA 12 Detached approx. Nov. 30.
Convoy available at PA 12
(external link)
Approx. Nov. 30 Detached from PA 12 Independent Sunk - See "Final Fate" below

 Misc. Voyages: 
For information on voyages made in between those mentioned here, please see the documents received from the National Archives of Norway and A. Hague's Voyage Record above. Follow the convoy links provided for more details on them; some also include the Commodore's narrative and/or reports and several Norwegian ships took part.

According to Page 1 of the archive documents, Belita was on her way from Las Palmas to Trinidad when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940. This voyage had started out in Genoa on March 24. She subsequently remained in Trinidad for over 3 weeks.

In June that year she's listed, together with Bra-Kar, Egda, Norma, Solstad, Sveve and Vestland, in Convoy OB 175, which left Liverpool June 27 and dispersed on the 30th. Her destination is given as Caripito; going back to the archive document, we learn that she arrived Trinidad on July 17, proceeding to Bermuda that same day, arriving July 23. She was scheduled for the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 61 on July 26, but is crossed out on the form with a note saying "To Halifax to await orders". She left Bermuda for Halifax that day, with arrival July 29, and appears to have been scheduled for Convoy HX 66 from there on Aug. 16, but is again crossed out on the form (the Norwegian Norne and others were sunk - follow the links for details). Belita eventually got away with the next convoy, HX 67, which left Halifax on Aug. 20-1940 and arrived Liverpool on Sept. 4; Belita stopped at Belfast Lough before proceeding to Avonmouth, where she arrived Sept. 9 (the reason for the long stay in Halifax is not known). A few days later, she's listed as bound for Abadan in Convoy OB 214, which originated in Liverpool on Sept. 15 and dispersed on the 18th. The Norwegian Leiesten and Sveve are also included. Belita arrived Abadan, via Capetown, on Nov. 6, having started out from Milford Haven on Sept. 14. Links to the OB convoys mentioned here have been provided within the Voyage Record.

In Febr.-1941, Belita is listed in Convoy SL 65, which left Freetown on Febr. 10 and arrived Liverpool on March 8; Belita stopped at Oban the day before, then continued to Rosyth and Leith (Page 1). A direct link to A. Hague's listing for this convoy can be found in the table above; as can be seen, he has also included Belinda, Bur, Fernlane, Morgenen, Polartank and Senta. The following month we find Belita, along with James Hawson, Rena and Vigrid, in Convoy OB 308, which originated in Liverpool on Apr. 6 and dispersed on the 13th, Belita arriving New York on Apr. 26. She subsequently remained there for over a month, before proceeding to Halifax on June 2 in order to join Convoy HX 132 on June 10, bound for Liverpool with fuel oil, arriving June 28. In July, she joined Convoy OB 345; departure Liverpool July 11, arrival Halifax July 26 - Belita, however, had detached for Curacao, where she arrived independently on Aug. 2. Bello, Geisha, Havprins, James Hawson, Marit, Salamis, Selvik, Solsten, Tanafjord, Vigsnes and Ørnefjell are also named in this convoy (link in table above).

The rest of Belita's 1941 voyages, and a few 1942 voyages, are shown on Page 2.

Belita departed Trincomalee (Ceylon) on Febr. 23-1942, together with D/S Woolgar, initially bound for the straits of Makassar. Belita was redirected to the Coco Islands, but it seems the order did not reach her, and due to incoming reports about the Japanese advances the captain decided to take her to Fremantle as no further instructions were forthcoming - going back to the archive document, we learn that she arrived Fremantle on March 12, leaving again for Melbourne the next day. Woolgar did not receive news of the fall of Java, and proceeded to Tjilatjap, was bombed and sunk by Japanese aircraft - follow link to Woolgar for more details. It'll be noticed in Hague's Voyage Record that he indicates Belita needed repair of bomb damages as well - I have no further details on this, and have seen no mention of it elsewhere, but as can be seen (Page 2), she did spend a long time in Melbourne, where she had arrived from Fremantle on March 22. Departure is given as May 10, when she proceeded to Abadan.

Later that year, Belita was put into service as Fleet Oiler in the Indian Ocean.

In Oct.-1942 she's listed as the only Norwegian ship in Convoy PB 4, which left Bandar Abbas on Oct. 3 and arrived Bombay Oct. 9 (link in Voyage Record); however, Belita had detached from the convoy to proceed to Mombasa, where she arrived on the 15th, spending 3 weeks there. See Page 3.

More information on all the Norwegian ships mentioned here can be found via the alphabet index at the end of this page, or go to the Master Ship Index.

 Final Fate - 1942: 

In Nov.-1942 she was in Abadan, having arrived there from Mombasa on Nov. 18. She left again on Nov. 20 with a cargo of 9000 fuel oil for Mombasa, via Clarence Strait for convoy, with arrival the latter on Nov. 22, then departed on Nov. 27 in convoy. On the 29th she was ordered to leave the convoy (A. Hague has included her in Convoy PA 12, external link), then continued according to the Admiralty's instructions until midnight, Dec. 2, at which time her position was approx. 12 15N 55 40E, and course was altered.

Early in the morning of December 3 she was torpedoed, port(?) side amidships by the Japanese submarine I-29 (Izu) in position 11 29N 55 00E. The entire deck to tank No. 14 on the starboard side blew up, and the upper bridge and all wires were destroyed. Large pieces of iron were flung high into the air and fell down on the bridge amidships. She was covered in oil, making it almost impossible to move around. No radio signal could be sent out because the radio was ruined by oil and water. She had a heavy list to port, so much so that they were afraid she would capsize as well as break in 2, so the crew took to the lifeboats as quickly as they could. All 30 had gotten in 2 lifeboats and clear of the ship before the submarine came to the surface and Belita was shelled and set on fire by about 20 shells.

About an hour and a half after the torpedo had struck both lifeboats left the scene, the motorboat towing the other until Dec. 4 when they ran out of petrol, so had to start rowing. At that time they were close to Brothers Isles, and headed to South Brothers to find fresh water, then set course for the mainland, one of the boats landing near a village by the name of Token on Dec. 9, the other near Alula that same afternoon. The locals in both places were very helpful.

In the afternoon of Dec. 11 a boat* arrived to take the men in the captain's boat to Alula, where they arrived in the evening of the 13th. On the 20th, 2 British minesweepers took them to Aden. Upon arrival there late in the afternoon of the next day they were taken care of by the Norwegian Consul. With the exception of the captain, all the officers and engineers were later sent to Bombay.

* "Nortraships flåte" says they were given passage on an Arabian dhow, but as there was no wind they chose to walk for 12 hours to reach a British military station, and were picked up from there by the British minesweepers. Perhaps this military station was at Alula where the others had landed(?)

The maritime hearings were held in Suez on Febr. 2-1943 with Captain Schach (in his cabin when the ship was torpedoed), Mechanic W. Ofsbo (on duty in the engine room), Ordinary Seaman Jones (at the wheel), and Ordinary Seaman O'Handly appearing.

Crew List:
Norwegian, unless otherwise noted

Alexander Schach
1st Mate
Øistein Mello
2nd Mate
Alf Aasprong
3rd Mate
Walter Ringshaug
Radio Operator
George Ellis Austen
Trygve Johansen
Able Seaman
Constant Seghers
Able Seaman
Sven Rasmussen
Able Seaman
Reidar Kristiansen
Able Seaman
Percey Howard Cooper
Ordinary Seaman
John Hyfferman
Ordinary Seaman
Michael O'Handly
Ordinary Seaman
Thom Walsh
Ordinary Seaman
Ronald Jones
1st Engineer
Peder Westlie
2nd Engineer
Bjørn Hofstad
3rd Engineer
John Hornes*
Otto Aslaksen
Magne Madsen
Erling Moy*
Walther Ofsbo
John Holter
Gunnar Flaagan
Henry Andersen
Nils Kongstein*
Finn Olsen
Galley Boy
Otto Olsen
Mess Boy
William C. Fowle
Mess Boy
Joseph McNally
+ 1 more(?)

*According to this external page, the 3rd enginer had previously served on Anatina. Following the loss of Belita, he served on Ima and Elise. Erling Moy had previously served on Thelma and Trajan. He later joined Noravind, Gylfe and Egda (see this external page). The steward later joined Pronto, Tarifa (see crew list for that thip), Hermion, Temeraire and Thorshavn (see this external page).

Related external links:
Japanese submarines


Back to Belita on the "Ships starting with B" page.

I have a picture of a lovely painting of a post war Belita, painted by Jan Goedhart, Holland who sailed on her. If anyone would like to have this picture, please contact me via the address provided at the end of this page.

The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume I (Norwegian Maritime Museum), and misc. others for cross checking info. - ref My sources.


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