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Manager: Fred. Olsen & Co., Oslo for Norges Statsbaner, Oslo, (Norwegian State Railways) for carrying coal for the railways.
Built at Nylands mek. Verksted, Oslo in 1933.
Captain was Ole Torolf Brekke (who had previously been 2nd mate, later 1st mate on Bruse I, until sold in 1933 - mentioned at "Other ships by this name" at the end of this page).
Her voyages are listed on this original document received from the National Archives of Norway.
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. Where the "Convoy" column is left blank, it means that convoy is not known.
A. Hague has included Bruse in Convoy HN 8 from Norway to the U.K. in Jan.-1940. He says she returned to Norway early the following month with Convoy ON 10, and at the end of that month she's listed in the original Advance Sailing Telegram for Convoy HN 15 from Norway, bound for Sunderland in ballast (according to A. Hague, she had initially started out in the previous convoy, HN 14, but returned to port). A. Hague subsequently has her returning to Norway in the middle of March with Convoy ON 19, then later that month we find her in Convoy HN 22, again bound for Sunderland in ballast. Judging from the information found on the archive document, it looks like the intention was to return to Norway; she left Sunderland for Oslo on Apr. 6, but must have returned to port (due to the German invasion, which took place on Apr. 9).
In May-1940 Arnold Hague has included her, with destination Portsmouth only, in Convoy OA 150, departing Southend on May 18. Other Norwegian ships in this convoy were Bjerka, Ferncourt, Hadrian and Kaia Knudsen, all bound further afield (this convoy joined up with Convoy OB 150 on May 20, the combined convoy forming Convoy OG 30*, but Bruse was not present at that time - A. Hague gives her arrival Portsmouth as May 19). It'll be noticed, when going back to the archive document, that she later spent quite a long time in Liverpool, before making a voyage to Lisbon, having joined Convoy OB 181, together with Rolf Jarl. This convoy left Liverpool on July 10 and joined up with Convoy OA 181 on the 12th, the combined convoy forming the Gibraltar bound Convoy OG 37*, which arrived Gibraltar on July 17; Bruse, however, arrived Lisbon on July 16, remaining there for 2 weeks. With a cargo of pit props for Blyth, she headed back to the U.K. on Aug. 11 with Convoy HG 41 from Gibraltar, arriving her destination on Aug. 28, according to the archive document. The Commodore's narrative of passage is also available for this convoy.
The following month, A. Hague has her in Convoy OA 214, which left Methil on Sept. 14 and dispersed on the 17th, Bruse arriving Clyde that same day (the archive document indicates that another voyage to Lisbon had been planned). Benwood (Vice Commodore) and Harpefjell are also listed in this convoy. Later that month, we find Bruse in Convoy OB 220, which originated in Liverpool on Sept. 27, and this time she was bound further afield. The convoy was dispersed on Oct. 1, Bruse arriving Sydney, C.B. independently on Oct. 11. Bjerka, Svein Jarl and Torfinn Jarl are also named - see the external links provided within the table above for more info on all the OA and OB convoys mentioned on this page.
Having made a voyage to Nelson, N.B., Bruse returned to Sydney, C.B. in order to join a convoy back to the U.K. - this voyage proved to be her last, as will be seen below.
Bruse was on her way to Ipswich with a cargo of 773 standards of lumber in Convoy SC 11 when she was torpedoed on the starboard side forward of the boiler room by U-100 (Schepke) on November 23-1940, position 55 14N 12 20W*. This convoy, which had departed Sydney, C. B. on Nov. 9, had several Norwegian ships, including Salonica, which was also sunk by U-100. Commodore was Vice Admiral F. M. Austin in D/S Llandilo in column 5.
The weather had been bad all along, and in the dark and rainy night of the 22nd, when the convoy was to change course 18° to port in a westerly gale increasing to a full storm and heavy seas, many ships lost their stations, necessitating navigation lights to be lit in order to avoid collisions. Several ships lagged behind. The lights flashed all over the place until the early morning hours of the 23rd, resulting in U-100 spotting the convoy and sinking several ships in the disorganized formation, Bruse being one of them. The after mast and the funnel went overboard, the mast crushing the port lifeboat (where 5 men had assembled) and the motorboat as it fell, and shortly thereafter the afterpart of Bruse broke off and sank, taking the lifeboats and 17 men with it.
The captain and 4 others had been on the bridge when the torpedo struck. The captain ran into the radio station to try to get in communication with the escort, but the radio was useless so they sent up 3 rockets, and later signalled by torch to report their situation. The Canadian destroyer Skeena came to, but it was impossible to attempt a rescue under the violent weather conditions, so while awaiting daylight the survivors gathered by a raft which was secured on top of the deck cargo. In the morning, after having struggled with it for 2 hours, they eventually managed to get the raft on the water, and Skeena was able to pick them up. A 6th survivor, Able Seaman Johan Løkvik (from the afterpart) was already on the destroyer. He had been pulled under twice by the suction, but had been able to get to the surface where he had come across the waterfilled starboard lifeboat, in which he had found an SOS lamp that he used to attract the destroyer's attention. He had seen several other men in the water, and the destroyer searched for them but none were found.
The survivors were landed in Gourock on Nov. 25. Convoy SC 11 arrived Liverpool the next day, having lost 8 ships in all. In addition to the 2 Norwegian ones they were the British Bradfyne (Norse King rescued 4 survivors from one of Bradfyne's lifeboats on Nov. 25 and landed them at Belfast), Justitia, Leise Maersk, and the Dutch Bussum and Ootmarsum, all sunk by U-100. Additionally, the British Alma Dawson struck a British mine on Nov. 24 (no casualties - survivors were picked up by the Norwegian Spurt). My page about Convoy SC 11 has more details - see also the external link at the end of this page.
A few days later, an aircraft reported that the forepart of Bruse was still afloat with the cargo intact, and she was subsequently towed to shore by the tugs Seaman and Thames, arriving Clyde on Nov. 30. She was beached at Ardmaleish Point, Kames Bay where her deck cargo was discharged.
The maritime hearings were held in Glasgow on Dec. 2-1940 with Captain Brekke, the 2nd mate, Able Seaman Semmerud (helmsman), and Able Seaman Løkvik appearing.
The remainder of Bruse's cargo was later discharged at Troon, where she had arrived in Jan.-1941. Having been found to be beyond repair she was delivered for breaking up in June that year.
Captain O. T. Brekke later helped build up Nortraship's organization in London, and also served in the Home Guard. After the war, he went on to command Bruse III in 1946, thereby serving with Fred. Olsen for over 42 years. He died in 1990.
For info, U-100 had also been responsible for the attack on Simla earlier that year - follow the link for more info. U-100 was sunk the following spring - ref. external links at the end of this page.
Related external links:
Back to Bruse on the "Ships starting with B" page.
Other ships by this name: This was Fred. Olsen's 2nd steamship by the name Bruse, the 1st one was built in Christiania in 1911, sold in 1933 to Airiston Laiva O/Y, Helsinki and renamed Vienti. A picture and more details are available on this external page. The company later had another steamer by this name, with the following 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), "The Allied Convoy System", Arnold Hague, "Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two", Jürgen Rohwer, and misc. others for cross checking info. - ref My sources.