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Manager: Christen Smith, Oslo.
Delivered in Febr.-1928 from Sir W. G. Armstrong Whitworth & Co. Ltd., Newcastle upon Tyne (1027) as Belmoira to Rederiet Belmoira A/S (Christen Smith & Co.), Oslo. 329.6' x 49.2' x 21.2', 4 cyl. 2T single acting Sulzer DM (Armstrong), 387 nhp. Owned from Oct.-1935 by Skibs-A/S, Belships Co. Ltd. (Christen Smith), Oslo.
Captain: Morten Mortensen (he tells his story on this external page - Norwegian text).
This original document from the National Archives of Norway has information on some of her voyages prior to being sunk.
According to the Memorial for Seamen in Stavern, Norway (link below), Belmoira lost a crew member in the spring of 1940. Cook Hans Bertin Severhagen is said to have died on board following an illness, May 9-1940. From the archive document, we learn that Belmoira was on her way from Capetown to Dakar on that date.
Related external link:
Belmoira left Dakar alone* on June 18-1940 in ballast for Southampton (archive doc gives Avonmouth), thereby escaping internment, a fate the other 26 Norwegian ships in North and West Africa at the time of the fall of France had to endure. However, she was torpedoed by U-26** (Scheringer) in the early morning of June 30 (approx. 48 15N 10 30W, about 250 miles southwest of Lands End according to the captain's report). She was hit amidships on the starboard side between No. 2 and 3 hatch, causing an enormous explosion. Belmoira had no armament at the time. She had a complement of 25 and, since a dark object assumed to be a U-boat had been seen on the horizon earlier, they had been instructed to hold themselves in readiness for all eventualities. After the explosion they took to the lifeboats, though 4 had to jump overboard and were later picked up by one of the boats. The captain, who was on the bridge, had run down to his cabin after he had given the orders for the lifeboats to be launched, picked up his briefcase with the ship's papers, then went back on deck and towards aft where he was practically able to step straight into the lifeboat because the ship had already submerged quite a bit. About 5 minutes after she had been hit she broke in two and sank very quickly, with the two parts knocking against each other as she went down.
The U-boat came up to ask the usual questions of the men in the captain's boat, then submerged and the survivors set sail, heading northeast. That afternoon they were offered help by the British D/S Sheridan, but as that ship was en route to Brazil they chose to continue in the lifeboats (Sheridan is listed in Convoy OB 175, which had left Liverpool on June 27 and dispersed on the 30th - external link. She arrived Santos on Aug. 4). The Sheridan notified two Spanish trawlers nearby, which picked them up late that same afternoon (captain says at 19:30) and landed them at La Coruña, Spain on July 2. A visitor to my website, Juan Carlos Salgado tells me the names of the trawlers were Miguel Veiga and Weyler No 2 (the captain says Weyler No. 1 from Bouzas), and says they were asked by Sheridan at 21:00 hrs on June 30 to pick up crew of Belmoira. They picked up 25 "castaways" 300 miles off La Coruña and landed them there on July 2, as mentioned. He has also provided me with a list of the survivors' names, which can be found below. One of the lifeboats had been taken aboard Weyler, while some of the contents of the other had been taken aboard the other trawler, which subsequently took the boat in tow, but during the first night the towline broke and it was lost. The rescued boat and the contents saved from the other were later handed over to the Norwegian Consul.
The maritime hearings were held in Lisbon on July 25-1940 with Captain Mortensen, the chief engineer, the 2nd engineer, the 2nd mate, and Able Seaman Strømme appearing.
The list was originally sent to me by Juan Carlos Salgado, author and researcher of WW2 incidents related to Spain. The list has since been compared to the crew list found in "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", and the spelling adjusted where necessary.
Related external links
Back to Belmoira on the "Ships starting with B" 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. as named within above text - ref My sources.