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D/S Bjørnvik
Updated Jan. 11-2013

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

Survivors and Casualties

Survivors' statements have been added to Bjørnvik - Page 2

Source: Bjørn Milde's postcard collection.

Manager: A. F. Bjørnstad, Oslo
812 gt, 386 net, 1040 tdwt.
Call Sign: LJZP.

Built by Cochrane & Sons, Ltd., Selby in 1918. Previous names: Runa, Reias, Flynarthen(?), Kildre(?). Info from a visitor to my website; his source: "Shipwreck Index of the British Isles".
According to this external page, she was delivered as HMS Kildress in Nov.-1918 to The Royal Navy, U.K. Owned from Febr.- 1920 by Robinson, Brown & Joplin, Newcastle, rebuilt and renamed Kildress. Sailed as Glynarthen from 1920 for E. Jones, Southampton. From 1924, Hannevigs Bros. Ltd., Southampton, no name change. Owner from May- 1925 was D/S Martha A/S (Hans Hannevig), Horten, renamed Elfi. From 1927, D/S Martha A/S (Chr. Hannevig Sen. & H. Hannevig), Horten, same name. From Aug.-1929, owned by A/S Elfi (K. Salvesen), Kragerø, Norway. From July-1936, Skibs A/S Birholt (Birger Ekerholdt), Oslo, renamed Reiås. From Nov.-1937 sailed as Runa for Rederi A/B Niord (Th. Ahrenberg), Gothenburg, then renamed Bjørnvik for A.F. Bjørnestads Rederi A/S (A.F. Bjørnestad), Oslo in Oct.-1938.

Captain: Einar Gunnestad, later Victor Esbensen.

Related items on this website:
Guestbook message from a relative of one of the casualties, Thomas George Davies.
Guestbook message re Able Seaman William Frederick Brooks.
Guestbook message from the nephew of Able Seaman Sverre Stahl.
Another related Guestbook message

Her voyages are listed on these original images from the Norwegian National Archives:
Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5

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

Voyage Record
From Febr.-1940 to Jan.-1942:

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

Follow the convoy links provided for more information on each (some of the listings are incomplete. Where the "Convoy" column is left blank, it means that convoy is not known).

Errors may exist, and some voyages are missing.

Departure From To Arrival Convoy Remarks
1940 Febr. 12 Norwegian Waters Methil Febr. 15 HN 11
Febr. 15 Methil Roads Blyth Febr. 16 Independent
Febr. 20 Blyth Methil Roads Independent
Febr. 23 Methil Norwegian Waters Febr. 27 ON 15
March 30 Norwegian Waters Methil Apr. 3 HN 23A
Apr. 5 Methil Tyne Apr. 6 MT 45 Convoy available at via this page
(external link)
Apr. 7 Tyne Southend Apr. 9 FS 140 See also Page 1
Convoy available at FS convoys
(external link)
May 2 Southend Spurn May 4 FN 160 For Boston, Lincs.
(Page 1 gives arrival May 5)
Convoy available at FN convoys
(external link)
May 8 Boston, Lincs. Spurn May 9 Independent
May 9 Spurn Downs May 10 FS 166 Convoy available at FS convoys
(external link)
May 10 Downs Rouen Independent
May 14 Rouen Downs May 15 Independent
May 15 Southend Blyth May 17 FN 172 Convoy available at FN convoys
(external link)
May 26 Blyth Tyne May 26
May 27 Tyne Downs May 29 FS 181 Convoy available at FS convoys
(external link)
May 29 Downs Solent May 30 Independent Again, see also Page 1
June 1 Portsmouth Downs Independent
June 2 Southend Blyth June 4 FN 186 Convoy available at FN convoys
(external link)
June 5 Tyne* Spurn June 7 FS 188 *From Blyth
(Page 1).
Convoy available at FS convoys
(external link)
June 7 Spurn Downs June 8 FS 189 Convoy available at link above
June 9 Downs Penzance June 11 Independent
June 14 Penzance Cardiff June 15 Independent Missing movements, Page 1
Sept. 27 Cardiff Clyde Sept. 30 Independent A. Hague says:
In Bristol Channel area June 15 to Sept. 26
(see also Page 1)
Oct. 7 Clyde Methil Oct. 11 WN 21S Convoy available at WN convoys
(external link)
Oct. 13 Methil Blyth Oct. 17* FS 308 *Page 1 gives arrival Oct. 13.
Convoy available at FS convoys
(external link)
Oct. 15 Blyth Southend Oct. 18 FS 310 Convoy available at link above.
Again, see also Page 1
Oct. 29 Southend Goole Oct. 31 FN 322 Convoy available at FN convoys
(external link)
Nov. 6 Goole Blyth Nov. 8 FN 328 Convoy available at link above
Nov. 13 Blyth Methil Roads Nov. 14
Nov. 17 Methil EN 27 (1) Dispersed Nov. 21.
Convoy available at EN convoys
(external link)
Arrived Milford Haven Nov. 22
(Page 2).
Nov. 24 Milford Haven Plymouth Nov. 26
Dec. 5 Plymouth Penzance Dec. 5
Dec. 8 Penzance Newport Dec. 9
Dec. 11 Newport Plymouth Dec. 14
Dec. 23 Plymouth Swansea Dec. 25
1941 Jan. 2 Swansea Dartmouth
Jan. 5 Dartmouth Poole Jan. 6
Jan. 16 Poole Portsmouth Jan. 17
Jan. 17 Portsmouth Dartmouth Jan. 18
Jan. 18 Dartmouth Falmouth Jan. 20
Jan. 23 Falmouth Barry Jan. 26
Jan. 30 Barry Falmouth Jan. 31
Febr. 3 Falmouth Dartmouth Febr. 4
Febr. 5 Dartmouth Portsmouth Febr. 6
Febr. 10 Portsmouth St. Helens Roads See also Page 2
Febr. 12 St. Helens Roads Dartmouth Febr. 13
Febr. 14 Dartmouth Cardiff Febr. 17
March 16 Cardiff Falmouth March 19
March 21 Falmouth Portsmouth March 23 (Also, Page 2).
March 27 Portsmouth Dartmouth March 28
March 29 Dartmouth Swansea March 31 A. Hague says:
Via Falmouth March 29.
See also Page 3
Apr. 5 Swansea Dartmouth Apr. 8
Apr. 9 Dartmouth Dartmouth Apr. 10 Returned w/unexploded bomb on board after bombing
(see also narrative below).
Apr. 16 Dartmouth Poole Apr. 16
Apr. 20 Poole Dartmouth Apr. 24 Also, Page 3
Apr. 24 Dartmouth Falmouth Apr. 25
Apr. 25 Falmouth Cardiff Apr. 27 A. Hague says:
Requires collision damage repair.
May 25 Cardiff Falmouth May 27 A. Hague says:
Arrived w/boiler defects.
June 11 Falmouth Dartmouth June 11
June 12 Dartmouth Southampton June 13
June 15 Southampton Dartmouth June 16
June 17 Dartmouth Barry June 19 A. Hague says:
Via Falmouth June 17.
See also Page 3
June 24 Barry Falmouth June 25
June 26 Falmouth Southampton June 28
July 1 Southampton Yarmouth Roads
July 4 Yarmouth Roads Dartmouth July 4
July 5 Dartmouth Falmouth July 5
July 6 Falmouth Barry July 7
July 15 Barry Southampton July 19 WP 5 A. Hague says:
Via Falmouth & Dartmouth
(see also Page 3).
Convoy available at WP convoys
(external link)
July 22 Solent Newport July 25 PW 7 A. Hague says:
Via Dartmouth & Falmouth
(see also Page 3 & Page 4).
Convoy available at PW convoys
(external link)
Aug. 4 Newport Swansea Aug. 6 Independent
Oct. 29 Swansea Southampton Oct. 31 WP 58 Convoy available at WP convoys
(external link)
Left Southampton Nov. 1
(Page 4).
Nov. 3 Solent Newport Nov. 6 PW 60 Convoy available at PW convoys
(external link)
Nov. 8 Newport Barry Island Nov. 10 Independent
Nov. 11 Barry Island Solent Nov. 13 WP 64 Convoy available at WP convoys
(external link)
Again, see Page 4
Nov. 18 Solent Newport Nov. 20 PW 67 Convoy available at PW convoys
(external link)
Also, Page 4
Nov. 25 Newport Falmouth Nov. 27 WP 71 Again, see Page 4.
Convoy available at WP convoys
(external link)
Nov. 29 Falmouth Solent Nov. 30 WP 73 Convoy available at link above.
Also, Page 4
Dec. 4 Southampton Falmouth Dec. 6 PW 75 Convoy available at PW convoys
(external link)
Dec. 8 Falmouth Barry Dec. 9 PW 77 Convoy available at link above
Dec. 14 Barry Solent Dec. 16 WP 81 Convoy available at WP convoys
(external link)
See also Page 4
Dec. 31 Solent Swansea Jan. 2-1942 PW 89 Convoy available at PW convoys
(external link)
1942 Jan. 9 Swansea Solent Jan. 11 WP 94 Convoy available at WP convoys
(external link)
See also Page 5
Jan. 18 Solent Newport Jan. 20 PW 98 Convoy available at PW convoys
(external link)
Jan. 26* Newport WP 103 *Page 5 gives departure Jan. 28(?).
Convoy available at WP convoys
(external link)
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; several Norwegian ships took part.

Bjørnvik (Captain Einar Gunnestad) was in Gdynia, Poland on September 1-1939 when Germany attacked Poland, and although the ship was badly damaged from the bombings of the harbour, loading was stopped and she managed to get out.

In Febr.-1940 she's listed in Convoy HN 11 from Norway to the U.K., bound for Blyth in ballast. According to A. Hague, she returned to Norway later that month with Convoy ON 15, and at the end of March we find her in Convoy HN 23A, cargo of pulp for London, where she arrived Apr. 9 (the day of the German invasion of Norway). See Page 1 of the archive documents.

Except for a voyage to Rouen that spring, she was subsequently in service around the U.K. Her 1941 voyages start on Page 2 and continue on Page 3 (it'll be noticed, that she occasionally had long stays in port).

She was damaged during an air attack while in a coastal convoy between Dartmouth and Southampton on April 9-1941 and went to Dartmouth with an unexploded bomb on board (it was later detonated in a safe place). Buesten was sunk - follow the link for details. Going back to Page 3 above, we learn that Bjørnvik had departed Dartmouth that same day, returning on the 10th (convoy not known). There's no mention of casualties, but there's an Engine Room Assistant Gunnar Knutsen commemorated at the Memorial for Seamen in Stavern, Norway (see link at the end of this page). According to this Guestbook message, this was an aerial torpedo and the seaman that died was holding the detenator (Lloyd's Weekly Casualty Reports 1942). "Våre falne", a series of 4 books naming Norwegians who died during the war, says he had served on Bjørnvik, but was killed on Apr. 10-1941 during an air raid in Dartmouth.

In his Voyage Record above, A. Hague indicates that Bjørnvik was damaged in a collision later that month. I have no further details on this, but as can be seen (Page 3), she subsequently remained in Cardiff for about a month, before proceeding to Falmouth, where she arrived with boiler defects, according to A. Hague.

Page 4 has further 1941 voyages (showing a long stay in Swansea that fall). Convoy info for some of them can be found in the table above. Her 1942 voyages start on Page 5.

 Final Fate - 1942: 

Bjørnvik (Captain Victor Esbensen) had been separated from Convoy WP 103 in bad weather shortly after having passed Hartland Pt. in the evening of Jan. 27-1942 (external link - incomplete listing). She's said to have joined the convoy that morning, and was on her way from Newport to Fowey with a cargo of patent fuel (it'll be noticed, when going to Page 5 of the archive documents, that her departure Newport is given as Jan. 28, while date of loss is given as Jan. 29). This Guestbook message also has some information.

Late in the afternoon of the 28th, about 2.8 (5?) naut. miles from Lizard Head she was suddenly attacked by German aircraft. 1st Mate Stephan Meyer, who had just been down for his meal, heard shots from the guns on the bridge and, realizing they were under attack, he ran out on the after deck in order to get to the machine gun there*, but was knocked down by the blast before he could get that far. Five bombs hit and literally pulverized her; 2 in No. 2 hatch, 2 amidships and 1 close to the starboard quarters. The 1st mate threw himself over the rail and started to swim, then caught hold of a hatch, but this was pulled under with the suction with him holding on to it (she sank by the stern in 30-40 seconds). As he came up he saw the forecastle going down.

Stoker Ragnar Skauge, who had been in his forward cabin and was knocked down by the blast but managed to get out on deck, and the British gunner (the latter on gun duty on the bridge) also jumped overboard just as the ship disappeared from underneath them, then managed to grab a lifebuouy raft which kept all 3 survivors afloat for 17 hours until the Dutch Rika (Captain Snetin) found them and took them to Falmouth. They had attempted to row towards land, but the wind and current prevented them from getting any closer.

* According to the 1st mate's statement at the subsequent maritime hearings, permanent watch was kept by the 2 machine guns on the bridge, while the aft gun (normally served by the steward) and a 4th gun on top of the wheelhouse did not have permanent watch. He further stated that the English gunner had told him they started firing a little late, being afraid the aircraft might be British, as they were quite close to an English base. Also, they had seen 2 large English aircraft earlier that day, when off Cape Cornwall. Bjørnvik also had parachute rockets which could be fired from the bridge, but this was not done in this case, presumably because there had not been enough time to do so.

The maritime hearings were held in London on Febr. 9-1942 with the 2 Norwegian survivors appearing. I've added their statements to a separate page at Bjørnvik - Page 2

Crew List:
Able Seaman Brænden had previously survived the attack on Tancred.

1st Mate
Stephan Meyer
Ragnar Skauge
Name unknown

Viktor Esbensen

2nd Mate
Harald Haraldsen

Oluf Olsen

Able Seaman
Ingar Henrik Halvorsen

Able Seaman
Hilmar Brænden

Able Seaman
John Regan*

Able Seaman
Sverre Stahl**

1st Engineer
Karl Kristiansen

2nd Engineer
Jens Beckmann

Wladyslaw Wisneiwski

August Saarkoppel

J. T. Burdall*

Ingvald Rolland

Bjarne Edvardsen

Oskar A. Lorensen

Mess Boy
Thomas Davies***

Name unknown*

Billy McGee, England has told me the men denoted * are commemorated at Tower Hill, Panel 17. Further details on them can be found by entering each name in the relevant search field on The Commonwealth War Graves Comm. website, using WW II and 1942 in the other search fields to narrow the search. Date is given as Jan. 29-1942.

** My Guestbook has a message from the nephew of Able Seaman Sverre Stahl. He's included in the crew list in "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", but there's no notation saying that he died. The book says 16 died, 3 survived, and when adding his name there is 1 too many. He is, however, mentioned as being among the casualties in a statement made at the hearings, which adds he was at the helm on the bridge at the time of attack (see Bjørnvik - Page 2). The 2nd mate was also on the bridge. 2 able seamen, the boatswain, the 2 Norwegian stokers and the donkeyman, who had all been forward, were apparently uninjured after the attack, because Stoker Skauge had met them on deck and the boatswain had asked them to assist in launching the lifeboat buoy which was lying on the port side at No. 1 hatch, but due to the smoke and flames they could not do so. Stoker Skauge did not see the others again after he had jumped overboard, and they were believed to have gone down with the suction. In the engine room was Assistant Wisneiwski, while Stoker Burdall was in the fire room. No one had been able to save themselves from the boiler room, engine room or cabins.

*** Here's a Guestbook message from a relative of the 16 year old Thomas George Davies. Billy McGee has since informed me that he was accepted by the CWGC in January 2011 after a successful application by one of his family and recent correspondence Billy himself had with the Commission. I found him on this page.

* According to this message in my Guestbook, the gunner's name was Able Seaman William Frederick Brooks, commemorated on Panel 64, Column 2, Plymouth Naval Memorial. I found him on this page at the Commonwealth War Graves Comm. website.

Related external links:
Stavern Memorial commemorations - The Norwegian text says that 10 Norwegians and 6 of other nationalities perished. 11 Norwegians are commemorated, but Sverre Stahl is not included here. However, there's an Assistant (engine room) Gunnar Knutsen listed who is not found in my casualty list. According to "Våre falne", a series of 4 books naming Norwegian WW II casualties, he had served on Bjørnvik, but was killed on Apr. 10-1941 during an air raid in Dartmouth. Note that this was about the same time as Bjørnvik was damaged during an air attack while in a coastal convoy between Dartmouth and Southampton, and went to Dartmouth with an unexploded bomb on board - ref. narrative above.

Charles M. Willie & Co. Shipping Limited used to have a page on company history stating that Bjørnvik was managed by them. The particular page that contained this piece of info now appears to have been taken down, as they are in the process of redoing the site(?).

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

A. F. Bjørnstad had another ship by this name after the war; this was the former D/S Ara, purchased by A. F. Bjørnstad in July-1948 and renamed Bjørnvik (follow the link for her further history).

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. - ref My sources.


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