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M/T B. P. Newton
This picture is said to have been taken in Methil in Apr.-1941, following the escape from Sweden (external link).
Uboat.net also has a picture of this ship (also external).
Owner: Skibs-A/S Navalis
Built by Kockums Mekaniska Verkstads A/B, Malmö, Sweden in 1940.
Captain: Elias R. Blindheim (at the time of breakout from Gothenburg in 1942 - here's a crew list).
Please compare the above voyages with the record below, and with A. Hague's Voyage Record.
See also Arnold Hague's Voyage Record
B. P. Newton was one of the well known "Kvarstad" ships that attempted to break out from Sweden on March 31/April 1-1942 following a long court case there. Only 2 out of a total of 10 ships involved managed to reach their destination, B. P. Newton being one of them (Operation Performance, Sir George Binney). Please continue to my page Kvarstad Ships & Men for background facts and a lot of details on the breakout and all ships involved, with a crew list for each ship as well as info on their fate. Here's the the crew list for B. P. Newton. She arrived Leith on Apr. 3, remaining there for a month (see Page 1).
The external website that I've linked to below says she was scheduled for station 56 of Convoy OS 29 in May-1942 (left Liverpool May 22), but instead transferred to Convoy ON 97*, which originated in Liverpool on May 22 and arrived Halifax on June 5. B. P. Newton, however, was bound for New York on that occasion, and arrived there on June 7, having started out from Oban on May 23 (Page 1). Brant County, Brimanger, Cetus, Gallia, Norfjell and Nortind are also listed in ON 97, as is the Panamanian Norvik (Norwegian managers). With a cargo of petrol, B. P. Newton headed to the U.K. again on July 19 with Convoy HX 199 from Halifax. Via Belfast Lough, she arrived Avonmouth on Aug. 1, and with Carmelfjell, Gallia, Idefjord, Lista, Norfalk and Norfjell, she later joined the westbound Convoy ON 121*, which originated in Liverpool on Aug. 12 and dispersed on the 27th. B. P. Newton arrived New York on Aug. 28, having sailed from Milford Haven on the 11th. Her subsequent movements are shown on the archive document, with some convoy info in the table above.
Rick Pitz, a visitor to my website, has informed me via this Guestbook message that she served as Commodore Vessel for Convoy HK 106 which left Bolivar Roads on Sept. 25-1942 and arrived Kew West, Florida on the 29th (the Norwegian Thorhild and Sommerstad also took part; ref. link provided within the table above). From Key West, she proceeded to New York that same day, joining Convoy HX 211 on Oct. 8, arriving Liverpool Oct. 24. As will be seen when following the link to my page about this convoy, it encountered a gale and several ships lost touch. B. P. Newton headed back to New York about a week later, joining Convoy ON 143*, together with Haakon Hauan, Ivaran, Laurits Swenson and Montevideo. This convoy left Liverpool on Nov. 1 and arrived New York on the 16th. Having made a voyage to Aruba and back to New York (see Page 2 - convoy info in the table above), she was scheduled for Convoy HX 220 to the U.K. on Dec. 21, but instead joined the next convoy on Dec. 29, HX 221, for which Abraham Lincoln served as Commodore Vessel - see also the Commodore's narrative. B. P. Newton had a cargo of gasoline for Avonmouth, station 122, and arrived that destination, via Belfast Lough, on Jan. 14/15-1943.
For her return voyage to the U.S. she joined Convoy ON 162, which originated in Liverpool on Jan. 23-1943 and arrived New York Febr. 11. A week later, we find her in Convoy HX 227*, departing New York on Febr. 18, arriving Liverpool March 6 - B. P. Newton stopped at Belfast Lough on March 5, before proceeding to Avonmouth, where she arrived March 7 (Page 2). Named among the ships in this convoy (in addition to the escorting Acanthus and Eglantine - see HX convoy escorts) are Belinda, Ferncourt, Haakon Hauan, Kaldfonn, Mosli, Norholm, Pan Aruba, Polartank (in collison - returned), Skaraas, Stiklestad, Strinda and Thorshov.
When returning to New York in Convoy ON 173* she's said to have been involved in a collision with the Norwegian Skaraas on March 23-1943 - no further details are available on this. Emma Bakke, Dageid, Ferncourt, Frontenac, Haakon Hauan, Idefjord, Mosli, Pan Aruba, Stiklestad, Strinda and Thorshov are also listed in this convoy, which originated in Liverpool March 13 and arrived Halifax March 29; B. P. Newton arrived New York on March 31, later continuing to Baltimore and Philadelphia, then back to New York (Page 2). On Apr. 24 we find her, with a cargo of aviation gas, in station 102 of Convoy HX 236; destination is given as Avonmouth, where she arrived on May 11. Along with Herbrand, Meline, Norholm, Spinanger and Trondheim, she subsequently went in the other direction with Convoy ON 186*, which originated in Liverpool on May 24 and arrived New York June 7. A few days later, she proceeded to Curacao, then on to Trinidad (convoy info in the table above).
Gunners for a while were Gunnar Jakobsen and Arne Albrigsten, who had previously escaped from Norway with Hornfjell (follow the link for details).
B. P. Newton (on charter to British Tanker Co. Ltd.) was torpedoed by U-510 (Eick) on July 8-1943. At the time she was in Convoy TJ 1 (external link) from Trinidad for Bahia with a cargo of 14 700 tons aviation fuel as well as 500 barrels of lub. oil for East London and Beira, having departed Trinidad on July 3 (see Page 2). She had station No. 42 in the convoy which consisted of 20 ships, escorted by the American destroyer USS Somers (DD 381), 4 American and a Brazilian escort vessel. Commodore was in D/S Edvard Grieg; Fernglen and Litiopa are also listed.
The torpedo hit at 01:25 convoy time, on the port side aft between No. 3 and 4 tanks, sending burning petrol all over the after part and the bridge and setting her ablaze from bridge to stern. According to a statement made by someone on board Edward Grieg, B. P. Newton was burning so brightly that it was possible to read normal print on the deck of the other Norwegian ship, half a n. mile away.
All the engineers died in the engine room before they could stop the engine, all 4 lifeboats and rafts were burning; many people jumped overboard too early or on the wrong side and died in the flames. Those who were amidships sought refuge forward where the fire had not yet reached, while the captain and the gunnery officer Gilbert Smith stayed on the bridge for about 40 minutes to see if anything could be done, but they too eventually had to leave, having managed to extinguish the flames in the starboard midships boat, but it was badly damaged by fire and full of water. 4 men jumped from the forecastle and swam to the lifeboat, which rowed away from the ship and also fished another 12 men from the water, all with varying degrees of burns. Mechanic Trygve Ambrosiusen had especially severe burns and they gave him first aid in the boat with the resources they had available to them.
At about 04:00 (convoy time) all 18 were picked up by the American PC 495, where the mechanic was taken care of by that ship's doctor. PC 495 already had another 7 of B. P. Newton's crew on board, 3 of whom had been picked up by one of the lifeboats from the American Eldena, which had been sunk by the same U-boat. (U-510 also damaged the Latvian Everagra - ref. external link re. Convoy TJ 1 at the end of this page). PC 495 searched for the missing 22 crew members until 14:00, but none were found. The mechanic had died of his burns that same day at 13:01 and was buried at sea, bringing the total number to 23.
On July 11, the 24 survivors were transferred to USS Somers where they were taken care of by the ship's doctor. They were all landed at Pernambuco in the afternoon of July 17. Gunner Willy Svarva, Cook Asbjørn Kaale and Mess Boy Henry Chapman were immediately taken to the Knox Field Hospital and were still there at the time of the maritime hearings, which were held in Pernambuco on July 22-1943 with Captain Anderson, 2nd Mate Gunnar Svendsen (on the bridge at the time of the explosion, jumped overboard), Able Seaman Fridtjof Johansen and Able Seaman/Gunner Øistein Gåsland appearing. Able Seaman Johansen had been at the wheel at the time of the explosion, and had managed to lower himself to the storm bridge with the help of a rope, then went to the head of the ship where he found some pieces of wood that he tied together and with them he jumped overboard. He says he was in the water until 04:00 at which time he was picked up by PC 495. Able Seaman/Gunner Gåsland was in the gun box on the top of the bridge, and slid down a rope that was hanging from the bridge to the deck below and jumped into the water.
B.P Newton sank in 05 50N 50 20W according to J. Rohwer; this corresponds with what is given in a report presented at the maritime hearings. Charles Hocking simply gives the position as "off the coast of French Guiana", saying she was on a voyage from Curaçao to Table Bay, adding that 22 died on board while 1 died of injuries soon after being picked up. Page 2 gives the time as 05:20, adding she was last reported afloat at 17:20 (not sure which time zone is used here).
Related external links:
Operations information for U-510 - This website (ubootwaffe.net) now appears to have been taken down. I'll leave the link for now in case an archive will be available at some point in the future.
Back to B. P. Newton 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 - ref My sources. The Voyage Record was received from Tony Cooper, England - His source: Public Records Office, Kew.