|Site Map | Search Warsailors.com |Merchant Fleet Main Page | Warsailors.com Home|
Owner: O. Grolle Olsen & I. Hysing Olsens Rederi A/S
Built by Ropner & Sons Ltd., Stockton-on-Tees in 1917. Previous name: Sedbergh until 1920.
Captain: Reidar Nielsen.
A visitor to my website, George Monk, has told me that the following men received ungazetted awards for unknown services, approved in 1941, possibly for the recovery of survivors (his source: Seedies List of awards to the British Merchant Navy, which also includes awards to Allied merchant seamen):
Captain Hans Angell Olsen - Commendation (this may mean that Captain Reidar Nielsen had joined the ship later?).
Related item on this website:
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.
Errors may exist, and some voyages are missing.
Bur shows up briefly in Convoy OB 96 towards the end of Febr.-1940, but was only bound for Barry (in ballast from Liverpool Febr. 21). Early in March she's said to have been in the Gibraltar convoy OG 21F, a combination of Convoys OB 103 (in which Bur is said to have started out, together with Bruse Jarl, Einar Jarl and Temeraire) and OA 103, which joined up to form the OG convoy on March 5, both having departed the U.K. on March 3. Bur's destination is given as Tunis, station 66 - ref. external link further down on this page. However, she must have cancelled or returned to port, because she also shows up among the ships in Convoy OG 21 a few days later. This was a combination of Convoys OA 105 from Southend (in which the Norwegian Nea took part) and OB 105 from Liverpool, which joined up and formed OG 21 at sea on March 11. Bur had started out in the OB convoy, and her destination is again given as Tunis. According to A. Hague, she arrived La Goulette independently on March 20, Istanbul on Apr. 4. (OG21F will also be added to my Convoys section; in the meantime, the ships sailing in it are named at ships in all OG convoys).
Her subsequent voyages are shown on Page 1 of the archive documents. She returned to the U.K. again with Convoy HGF 28, departing Gibraltar on Apr. 26, arriving Liverpool on May 5. She was 1 of 5 Norwegian ships in that convoy, the others being Sevilla, Kosmos II, Stalheim and Einar Jarl. It looks like Bur's final destination was Manchester, where she arrived May 7, according to the archive document. On May 28, she's listed in Convoy OB 157, voyage Liverpool-Mirimichi in ballast (link in Voyage Record). Mike Holdoway, the webmaster of the website about the OB convoys, has sent me the following from the Commodore's notes:
From Halifax, she subsequently headed back to the U.K. in Convoy HX 52 on June 21. She had a cargo of pit props, sailing in station 82, and according to the original convoy document she was bound for Portland on that occasion. From the archive document, we learn that she arrived Liverpool on July 8, Manchester the next day, remaining there for several weeks. The following month, we find her in Convoy OB 202, together with Alaska, Brask, Einvik, Mosli and Veni. This convoy, which is available via the link provided in the table above, originated in Liverpool on Aug. 22 and dispersed on the 26th, Bur arriving Wabana independently on Sept. 3 (3 ships were torpedoed - ref. external link further down on this page). The next day, she proceeded to Sydney, C.B. in order to join the Sydney portion of Convoy HX 72, in which Simla and several others were sunk (follow the links for more details). The convoy, which had originated in Halifax on Sept. 9, was dispersed on Sept. 21, and Bur stopped at Clyde on Sept. 25, before continuing to Newport, with arrival Sept. 28, remaining there for a month - again, see Page 1.
She now appears in Convoy OB 237, which originated in Liverpool on Oct. 31-1940 and dispersed on Nov. 2, Bur arriving Wabana independently on Nov. 11. Hardanger, Sama and Senta are also listed in this convoy. 2 days later, Bur proceeded to Sydney, C.B. in order to join the Sydney portion of Convoy HX 89. She was bound for Birkenhead (Liverpool) in station 82, and arrived her destination on Dec. 2. Later that month she's listed, with destination Pepel, in Convoy OB 262, which left Liverpool on Dec. 20 and also included the Norwegian Evanger, Grena and Nea (again, ref. link in the table above). Fido and Leikanger were also scheduled, but did not sail. There's no mention of Pepel in Bur's Voyage Record, but she arrived Freetown independently on Jan. 11-1941, the convoy having dispersed on Dec. 23-1940 (Pepel is a suburb of Freetown).
With a cargo of iron ore, she later joined Convoy SL 63 (left Freetown Jan. 20-1941, link in table above - Havsten and Soløy are also named). Mike Holdoway has sent me the following snippet from the Commodore's notes with regard to Bur in this convoy:
She did return to Freetown (see Page 1), then left again on Jan. 30-1941 for Ardrossan in Convoy SLS 64, which encountered Admiral Hipper on Febr. 12; follow the link for more details - see also M/S Borgestad. "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland states that Bur and Varangberg had ended up so far behind by Febr. 12 they barely had contact with the convoy, and that Bur arrived safely at San Miguel on Febr. 18 (archive document gives arrival as Febr. 15). A visitor to my site says she was attacked by a raider* on Febr. 12 and that she arrived Ponta Delgado on Febr. 15 for repairs to machinery, then departed again on the 23rd and joined Convoy SL 65 off the Azores that same day, but was sent back to join the slow convoy SLS 65 from Bathurst instead. He adds that she departed Bathurst on March 6 escorted by HMS Philante to join Convoy SLS 65. Bombed and damaged in position 52 12N 05 52W on March 10. Beached at Goodwick Sands, Fishwood. Left Fleetwood on March 20, after being salvaged (according to the archive document, she arrived Cardiff on March 22). Ref. external links provided within the table above for more on these convoys; the Norwegian Belinda, Belita, Fernlane, Morgenen, Polartank and Senta are also included in SL 65, which had originated in Freetown on Febr. 10. Senta is said to have joined from SLS 65, which had left Freetown on Febr. 9 and joined up with SL 65 on Febr. 13. As will be seen, A. Hague has not included Bur in this convoy.
It's possible further repairs were done in the U.K. as well? She appears to have spent quite a long time at Barry, where she had arrived from Cardiff on Apr. 2 (Page 1). Departure is given as June 5, when she proceeded to Milford Haven and is subsequently listed, together with Chr. Th. Boe, Morgenen, Nova, Petter, President de Vogue, Stigstad and Vardefjell, in Convoy OB 334, which originated Liverpool on June 11 and arrived Halifax on the 25th. Bur, however, was bound for Sydney, C.B., where she arrived that same day, having sailed from Milford Haven June 10 - see Page 2. Having made voyages to Quebec and Montreal, she returned to Sydney, C.B. in order to join the Sydney portion of Convoy HX 139 on July 17, bound for London with a cargo of steel and lumber in station 15 - the Commodore's report is also available. She lost touch with the convoy in fog on July 20 and stopped at Reykjavik on the 28th, later proceeding to the U.K. from there with Convoy HX 140, which had started out in Halifax on July 22. She arrived Loch Ewe on Aug. 6. About a month later, she's listed in the westbound Convoy ON 14, which originated in Liverpool on Sept. 7 - see also the Commodore's narrative. Bur joined from Clyde and arrived Sydney, C.B. independently on Sept. 23, the convoy having been dispersed, and she continued to Quebec the next day, then on to Montreal, where she arrived on Oct. 1.
A. Hague has her returning to the U.K. in the slow Convoy SC 50*, which departed Sydney, C.B. on Oct. 17-1941 and also included the Norwegian Atlantic, Fjordaas, Geisha, Lysaker V, Marianne and Rio Novo. Bur had a cargo of steel and lumber, sailing in station 24; Page 2 indicates her final destination was London and it looks like she was docked. In Dec.-1941 she joined Convoy OS 14, voyage from Oban to Nuevitas, Cuba in ballast, but she returned to Oban, subsequently joining the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 49*, which originated in Liverpool on Dec. 21 and dispered on Jan. 5-1942, Bur arriving Nuevitas independently on Jan. 15. Blink, Ravnefjell, Titanian and Veni are also listed in ON 49. For more on the OS convoy, see the link in the table above; A. Hague has also listed Chr. Th. Boe (returned) and Thorsholm in this convoy, while another section of the same site also lists Spinanger and L. A. Christensen. Estrella and Sveve are also mentioned, but did not sail.
Having made voyages to Manzanillo and Santiago (Page 2), Bur headed to Halifax in order to join the slow Convoy SC 70 on Febr. 16-1942, bound for Liverpool with sugar, arriving there on March 7, returning across the Atlantic the following month with Convoy ON 86*. This convoy, which left Liverpool on Apr. 14, also had Bonde, Drammensfjord, Harpefjell, Maud, Norhauk, Sneland I and Trolla within its ranks, while Acanthus, Eglantine, Potentilla and Rose are named among the escorts - see ON convoy escorts. Bur's destination is given as San Pedro de Macoris, but there's no mention in her Voyage Record of her arriving there. According to Page 3, she arrived Boston on May 1, proceeding to Providence on May 4. From there, she later sailed to Sydney, C.B. in order to join Convoy SC 85 on May 29, cargo of lumber and steel for London. She subsequently had a long stay at Tyne, and her last Trans-Atlantic voyage was made in the westbound Convoy ON 116*, which originated in Liverpool on July 25 and dispersed on Aug. 12, Bur arriving New York the next day. Bollsta, Cetus, Ledaal, Snar and Vanja are also listed, as is the Panamanian Norvik, which is included under the N's of this website because she had Norwegian managers.
Bur had departed New Haven (Connecticut) in the morning of Aug. 28-1942 with a cargo of steel and lumber for Immingham (via Halifax, she was scheduled for Convoy SC 98). She had a coastal pilot on board (E. J. Hazard) and sailed according to his instructions, but her compasses proved to be unreliable with great deviations. About an hour and a half after having passed Cornfield Lightship, at about 16:00, she received orders from the Coast Guard to not coninue east of Cape Race due to gun fire(?), and had to turn around to await further orders, having been told it would only be about 45 minutes before the passage would be ready. They were told by the pilot to "go the usual way around the buoy on starboard side", and he assured them there was plenty of water (about 300') except at the rock where the buoy itself was located, and that the large whirls of current they could see ahead were not caused by shallow water, so they maneuvered according to his instructions, with Ordinary Seaman Ragnar Grotle at the wheel.
At about 16:25, when around half a nautical mile from the buoy, she struck an underwater rock. The current was very strong and she listed to port. Attempts at getting off failed and the engine was stopped. At this time the tide was falling so there was a danger of the ship capsizing or sliding off. No. 1 and No. 4 tanks started to fill immediately, while No. 2 tank and hold as well as the forepeak filled a little more slowly. The pilot asked that the motorboat be launched, wanting to disembark as the situation was quite critical. The lifeboats were lowered and held ready, and the Coast Guard was also on stand-by with a motorboat. The crew was told to pack their most essential belongings and be ready to leave the ship, and at about 18:45, 20 men disembarked into one of the Coast Guard's motorboats. The 1st mate, 3rd mate, all 3 engineers, the donkeyman, Able Seamen Johansen and Lindkvist, Ordinary Seamen Hansen and Jacobsen and Steward Assersen volunteered to remain on board to keep the pumps going. The pilot also disembarked, as did the captain in order to notify Nortraship, New York of the situation.
Meanwhile, pumping was done continuously from No. 2 tank and the engine room, and at 20:30 the ship straightened somewhat. The water kept rising in No. 2 and 4 holds, so all watertight doors to the engine room and boiler room were closed. At about 21:00, when the tide turned, Bur swung herself around and ended up with her bow pointing eastwards, while listing to starboard with her foredeck under water. About an hour later they noticed she was about to slide off the ground. The 1st mate immediately gave orders to get the engine ready and keep the steam up. The Coast Guard asked if they should not abandon her as she was now obviously sinking, but they all chose to stay on board. Shortly thereafter the captain and the radio operator returned to the ship, her engine was restarted and the Coast Guard was asked to lead the way to the nearest beach. By that time her foreship was under water above the main deck and her poop was high, so she was very difficult to maneuver, made even more difficult by the unreliable compasses.
The captain sent a message by telegraph for a tug to be summoned from New London, and this was received by the Coast Guard station. Those on board worked feverishly to keep her going, while the water continued to rise in the engine room and boiler room, but the 1st mate, 3rd engineer and donkeyman fired her up with the help of buckets and with coal from the tweendeck, while the radio operator and able seamen helped supply the coal and the 1st and 2nd engineers were in the engine room. Eventually, at 23:40 the water had risen so high that her engine stopped. They had been in continuous contact with the Coast Guard who was now requested to assist with towing the ship, but they couldn't. Bur sank deeper and deeper, though it appeared as if her deck cargo helped keep her afloat.
At 00:30 on Aug. 29 a tug and one of the Navy's boats arrived and towing commenced. Shortly afterwards one of Merrit Chapman & B. Scott's tugs came to and relieved the others. An hour later the starboard lifeboat left the ship with 8 men, because the water had now risen above the deck amidships. The captain, 1st mate and 2 seamen remained on board. At 02:00 she hit the ground and was stuck in the mud, sinking by the stern. By 11:00 all efforts to save her were given up and the remaining men left the ship in 2 lifeboats, after having rescued some of the ship's instruments and the guns. Position at that time was about 1 n. mile from Seaflower Reef. The lifeboats and equipment were left with New London Coast Guard.
The maritime hearings were held in New York on Sept. 4-1942 with the captain, the 1st mate and the 2nd engineer appearing. When questioned, they all blamed the pilot for Bur's fate.
Crew List - No Casualties:
The 3rd mate had previously served on Eikhaug.
Ordinary Seaman Thorbjørn Hansen later served on Bralanta and Toledo (see also this external page).
Back to Bur 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), E-mails from Tony Cooper, England, and misc. others for cross checking info. - ref My sources.