|Site Map | Search Warsailors.com |Merchant Fleet Main Page | Warsailors.com Home|
D/S Brant County
Manager: Det Bergenske Dampskibsselskab, Bergen
Operated on County Line services (Inter-Continental Transport Services, Ltd. Bergen).
Delivered in Jan.-1919 from AG Neptun, Rostock, Germany (344). She had been launched in Nov.-1915 as Mülhausen, but laid up unfinished. Work re-commenced in 1918, completed Jan-1919 as Lennep for Deutsch-Australische Dampfschiffahrts Ges., Hamburg. Handed over to Gt. Britain in Aug.-1919 (F.C. Strick & Co. Ltd./Shipping Controller). Purchased by Bergenske D/S in 1921 from J. Coull & Sons, Newcastle. In 1936 cabins for 10 passengers were installed.
"Merchant Ships of the World" by Laurence Dunn, says, among other things, the following:
The book adds that she was laid down to D.A.D.G. with the intended name Mülhausen, as mentioned, which conformed to D.A.D.G. policy, "yet she was completed as the Lennep, apparently named after a Dutch fiction writer of the 19th century. Such a choice suggests that there had been ideas of a sale to Holland". She was "built and engined by the Akt. Ges. Neptun of Rostock. Her main dimensions were length b.p. 419.9', breadth 54.1' and depth of hold 26.3'. The load draught was 24' 11". She had 2 decks and 5 hatches and was propelled by a set of triple expansion engines with cylinders of approx. 30, 48 3/4 and 80 3/4" diameter and 55" stroke. The 4 single ended boilers had a working pressure of 213 psi. The coal bunker capacity was 845 tons, with reserve space for a further 1,070 tons. Her speed, it would seem, was never shown in reference books, but her passage times suggest an average of 11/12 knots. Her d.w tonnage was 7, 937. Gross measurement was originally 4972, later 5289 and finally 5001.
As the Lennep she was surrendered to Great Britain in 1919 and managed on behalf of the Shipping Controller by F.C. Strick & Co. Ltd. In March-1921, while lying at Swansea, she was one of a batch of some 70 ex German ships offered for sale to British nationals. Bought by Coull & Sons, Newcastle, she was renamed Brant County and resold that year to become the largest ship of Bergenske D/S. Her red, white and black funnel markings were not theirs, but were linked with a venture started by Canada Steamship Lines, Ltd., Montreal who, in May-1921, announced the opening of a regular cargo liner service between the St. Lawrence and Europe; the Continental ports eventually settled on being Hamburg, Rotterdam, Antwerp and Le Havre. The new company was advertised as the Inter-Continental Transport Services Ltd. (County Line). The ships used in this line were generally renamed after Canadian counties and were chartered from Norwegian companies like Mowinckel, Westfal-Larsen, Bergenske D/S, L.W. Hansen and Olaf Orvig."
Captain in WW II: Norvald Brevik.
Please compare the above voyages with Arnold Hague's Voyage Record below.
(Received from Don Kindell - His source: The late Arnold Hague's database).
Follow the convoy links provided for more information on each.
When Norway was invaded on Apr. 9-1940, Brant County was en route from Dartmouth to New York - see Page 1 (the voyage had started out in Anwerp and her final destination was Philadelphia). In May, she can be found among the ships in the Halifax-U.K. Convoy HX 42. She had a general cargo, sailing in station 83, and her destination is given as Le Havre in the original A 1 form for this convoy, while the Advance Sailing Telegram gives destination as "Brest for orders". She arrived Brest on May 26/27, then proceeded to St. Nazaire, later taking part in "Operation Aerial", according to A. Hague (the evacuation of British and Allied troops from north west France) - ref. link provided within the Voyage Record above.
That summer she's listed in Convoy OB 182, which originated in Liverpool on July 11-1940 and also included the Norwegian Idefjord, Ila, Mexico, Nova and Stigstad. This convoy was dispersed on July 14, Brant County arriving Montreal independently on July 23, according to A. Hague (Page 1 indicates she stopped at Quebec the day before). The following month we find her, with a general cargo for Garston, in the Sydney, C.B. portion of Convoy HX 64, and in Oct.-1940 A. Hague has included her, together with Grado, Laurits Swenson, Petter, Ruth I and Samuel Bakke, in Convoy OB 226, which originated in Liverpool on Oct. 9 and dispersed on the 12th, having joined up with Convoy OA 226 the day before (Grado and Ruth I had come from the OA convoy, which also included Marita but strangely, she's not mentioned in the OB convoy - Borgland was also scheduled for OB 226, but did not sail - see link in the table above). Brant County was again bound for Montreal, where she arrived, via Port Alfred, on Oct. 26. She headed back to the U.K. on Nov. 15 with the Sydney, C.B. portion of Convoy HX 87, bound for Liverpool with general cargo. According to the Commodore's notes, she fell astern of the convoy during the night of Nov 23; she arrived Liverpool, via Greenock, on Nov. 29, subsequently spending over a month there.
At the beginning of the new year, she made a voyage from Liverpool to St. John, N.B., with arrival there on Jan. 19-1941 (Page 1). Arnold Hague says this voyage was made independently. She returned to the U.K. again in Convoy HX 108, departing Halifax on Febr. 9. Only the Bermuda portion is currently available for this convoy (will be updated), but the section for ships in all HX convoys has the names of the other ships taking part. Among them are Bianca, Bonde (returned), Emma Bakke and Leikanger. Brant County arrived Avonmouth, via Barry Roads, on Febr. 28 - her voyages in this period are shown on Page 2. She's later listed in Convoy OB 301, originating in Liverpool on March 23, dispersed March 27, Brant County arriving St. John, N.B. independently on Apr. 5 (again, ref. external link in the table above - Ferncourt, Kongsgaard, Ranja, Taurus and Torborg are also named). On Apr. 20, she joined Convoy HX 122 from Halifax, bound for Avonmouth with general cargo, station 74 - see also the cruising order and Commodore's notes. She arrived Avonmouth on May 10, and later that month, we find her in Convoy OB 327, along with Madrono, Para, Stiklestad, Strinda and Torvanger. This convoy originated in Liverpool on May 28 and dispersed on June 1, Brant County arriving Montreal independently on June 10 (OB 327 lost several ships - ref. external link further down on this page).
Having remained in Montreal for 2 weeks, she proceeded to Sydney, C.B., heading back across the Atlantic again on June 30 with the Sydney, C.B. portion of Convoy HX 136, bound for Avonmouth with general cargo and misc. war stores (trucks, aircraft, guns, shells), arriving that destination on July 24. The following month, she's listed in the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 5, originating in Liverpool on Aug. 6-1941, dispersed Aug. 14. She was again bound for Montreal, where she arrived independently on Aug. 20 and again had a long stay there (Page 2), before proceeding to Halifax on Sept. 6. She can now be found in station 87 of Convoy HX 149 from Halifax on Sept. 10. Other Norwegian ships were Daghild (station 63), Brasil (83), Thorsholm (33), Innerøy (35), Thorshov (64), Somerville (66?), Glittre (24), Lise (44), Harpefjell (86), Norvik (Panamanian flag, Norwegian managers and, therefore, included on this website, in station 84, behind Brasil), Aristophanes (43), Kollbjørg (73) and others - folow the link for more info. According to the archive document, Brant County arrived Avonmouth on Sept. 27.
She subsequently joined Convoy ON 28* in order to return to Montreal. This convoy originated in Liverpool on Oct. 20. When it was located by U-boats on Oct. 29, the Admiralty redirected it and ordered the fastest ships (including Brant County, Polartank and Laurits Swenson) to go on alone, and Brant County arrived Montreal on Nov. 5. (The American Salinas was damaged by U-106 on Oct. 30 - ref. external link further down on this page). Other Norwegian ships were Beth, Grena, Morgenen and Ringstad. Together with Astrell, Bello, Katy, Sama, Skandinavia, Beth (returned to port) and Høegh Scout, Brant County went in the other direction again with Convoy HX 162, departing Halifax Nov. 27. Via Belfast Lough and Barry Roads, she arrived Avonmouth on Dec. 13. Norvinn (Panamanian flag, Norwegian managers) was also scheduled to be in this convoy but did not sail.
At the beginning of 1942, she joined the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 54*, which also had Daghild, Fenja, Gallia, Haakon Hauan, Leiesten (returned) and Lise in its ranks. This convoy originated in Liverpool on Jan. 6 and dispersed on the 17th, Brant County arriving St. John, N.B. independently on Jan. 24 - see Page 3. She subsequently returned to the U.K. with Convoy HX 175, departing Halifax on Febr. 13. According to the archive document, she arrived Avonmouth (via Belfast Lough) on Febr. 28. In March, she joined the westbound Convoy ON 79*, which originated in Liverpool on March 23 and also included Grey County, Hallanger, James Hawson, Meline, Norefjord, Noreg, Stigstad and Trondheim. ON 79 arrived Halifax on Apr. 7; Brant County arrived St. John, N.B. on Apr. 6, heading in the other direction again in Convoy HX 186 from Halifax on Apr. 20, and arrived Swansea on May 4. She later joined Convoy ON 97*, originating in Liverpool on May 22, arriving Halifax on June 5, Brant County continuing to Sydney, C.B. that same day in an HS convoy (see Voyage Record). B. P. Newton, Brimanger, Cetus, Gallia, Norfjell and Nortind are also listed in ON 97, as is the Panamanian Norvik.
Brant County now made another voyage to Montreal, where she stayed for several weeks (Page 3), before returning to Sydney, C.B. and Halifax (convoy info in Voyage Record). On Aug. 9, she headed back to the U.K. in Convoy HX 202 from Halifax, general cargo for Belfast (station 91). She was severely reprimanded for being a "bad roamer" in this convoy, but the captain "indignantly denies that it was his ship and considers that a mistake has been made" - there's more about this in the Commodore's notes on my page about HX 202. Having stopped at Belfast Lough on Aug. 20, Brant County proceeded to Avonmouth, where she arrived Aug. 23/24. She returned across the Atlantic in Convoy ON 129*, which originated in Liverpool on Sept. 11-1942 and included the Norwegian Atlantic, Kollbjørg, Meline, N. T. Nielsen Alonso, San Andres, Vardefjell (returned), Vav and Velma (returned following collision). The final destination for this convoy was New York, where it arrived on Sept. 25, but Brant County was bound for St. John, N.B. again, arriving there, via Halifax, on Sept. 29 (ref. Voyage Record above) - see also Page 4.
She started on her return voyage on Oct. 10, joining Convoy HX 211, which had originated in New York on Oct. 8, but Brant County, bound for Avonmouth with general cargo, joined from Halifax; she arrived her destination on Oct. 23. The following month, she's listed in the westbound Convoy ON 145 and witnessed 3 British ships being torpedoed on Nov. 21 (British Renown, damaged - British Promise, damaged and Empire Sailor, sunk - all by U-518). This convoy (for which Thorhild served as the Vice Commodore's ship) originated in Liverpool on Nov. 9 and arrived New York on the 25th, but Brant County was again bound for St. John, N.B., arriving there (via Halifax) on Nov. 25. Askepot, Mosli, Ørnefjell and Skaraas also took part (see also this message in my Guestbook). Her last Trans-Atlantic voyage that year was made in Convoy HX 219, which originated in New York on Dec. 13, but Brant County joined the convoy from Halifax, general cargo and mail, bound for Holyhead (arrived Dec. 28) and Avonmouth (arrived Jan. 1-1943).
She can later be found in Convoy ON 162, originating in Liverpool on Jan. 23-1943, arriving New York on Febr. 11. Brant County, however, was again bound for St. John, N.B., where she arrived, via Halifax, on Febr. 10 (Page 4). This was to be her last westbound, North Atlantic crossing; she was sunk on her return to the U.K. the following month
Related external link:
Brant County joined the Halifax portion of the slow eastbound Convoy SC 121 on Febr. 25-1943 in order to head back to the U.K. (the Commodore Vessel Bonneville and several others were sunk - follow the links for details), but returned to Halifax, later joining Convoy HX 228 from there, taking station 135. This convoy had originated in New York on Febr. 28, Brant County sailed from Halifax on March 2, according to Page 4 (which gives her destination as Avonmouth). Both these convoys had several other Norwegian ships as well, as will be seen when following the links. See also the cruising order/Commodore's notes for HX 228, as well as misc. reports (where Brant County is mentioned several times) and an analysis of U-boat operations in 4 eastbound convoys sailing around the same time; here is the analysis for HX 228.
On March 10 an intense battle ensued between U-boats and escorts, resulting in the British destroyer Harvester being sunk by U-432, but the French corvette Aconit took revenge by sinking the boat (Harvester and Aconit had previously sunk U-444).
Meanwhile, several ships were torpedoed within the convoy. 36 men, including the captain and 8 passengers, died when Brant County was torpedoed by U-86 (Schug, see * below) in the early morning hours of March 11. She was bound for Newport with a general cargo as well as 670 tons explosives in No. 1 and No. 2 holds, and a large amount of carbide in No. 3 hold. When the torpedo detonated in the cargo of carbide, it was immediately set on fire.
Of the 5 men on the bridge, 2nd Mate Granum, Steward Hansen and Helmsman Fjelle managed to get aft and lower themselves into the port lifeboat which had been launched by the 3rd mate, 2nd engineer and the donkeyman. The other 2 on the bridge died, the radio operator when he jumped overboard and disappeared, the other, the captain, died in the flames. The 3 stokers who were on duty in the engine room were killed (Jan de Greef, Ingvald Eggum and Michael Lehane), while 3rd Engineer Hjalmar Holthe managed to get on deck, but had been unable to stop the engine.
The 23 who had succeeded in getting in the port boat watched as crew and passengers struggled to get 2 rafts launched, and when the boat had drifted about 200 meters away the flames on board their ship reached the TNT, causing a huge explosion, sending pieces of metal and other debris over the area (damaging the U-boat which was still on the surface ?).
What follows is an excerpt from the Commodore's report:
The survivors were picked up half an hour later by the British Stuart Prince, another ship in the convoy. Stoker Ferdinand Olsen was badly burnt and died shortly thereafter. The survivors were landed in Liverpool on March 16, where the maritime hearings were held on March 23-1943, with the 2nd mate, the 2nd engineer, the 3rd engineer, Able Seaman Fjelle and Able Seaman Heimstad appearing.
Related external links:
Back to Brant County on the "Ships starting with B" page.
Bergenske DS had another ship named Brant County in 1947, ex Nortraships' D/S Carl Oftedal which was taken over by Bergenske in 1946, renamed Brant County in 1947. Renamed Matang in 1954 (Halvorsen Shipping Co, Bergen), became German Hedwigshutte in 1956 (Hedwigshutte Kohlen & Kokswerke, Hamburg), Greek Saronis in 1960 (A.Lusi Ltd, London, later J.C.Carras & Sons, London, 1965). Broken up in Taiwan in 1968.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Bergenske, byen og selskapet" by Dag Bakka Jr., "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume I (Norwegian Maritime Museum) and misc. others for cross checking info. - ref My sources.