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Owner: Dampsk.-A/S Bananfart
Built by Kjøbenhavns Flydedok & Skibsværft A/S, Copenhagen, Denmark in 1926.
Captain: Alfred Stenersen.
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When war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940, Cadmus was on her way from Mobile to Jacksonville - see Page 1 above.
In Oct.-1940, she was scheduled for the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 80 (general cargo and lumber for Liverpool), but did not sail. Follow the link for more convoy information. It'll be noticed, when going back to the archive document referred to above, that she was in Golfito at this time.
Cadmus left Tela, Honduras on June 29-1942 with a cargo of bananas for Galveston, Texas (see Page 4) and was in the Gulf of Mexico in position 22 50N 92 15W when she was torpedoed by U-129 (Witt) on July 1. A tremendous explosion occurred on the port side of the after ship, near No. 4 hatch just forward of the poop. 2 men were killed on board, Stoker Wegge was seen dead on the after deck, and Stoker Bjørnsen was assumed to have been in a cabin which was located in the poop. The rest of the crew (20) managed to get in 2 lifeboats and away from the ship before she sank. 1st Mate Tellefsen was in severe pain and had difficulties breathing, having injured his back, as well as broken his arm at the wrist. The chief engineer had also injured his back. The 2nd mate was ordered to the port boat to replace the first mate in command (10 in each boat).
Around noon on July 6 both boats landed about 60 n. miles south of Texpan on the coast of Mexico. From there they were transported to Guiterrez Zamora, where the injured were given medical care and where they were provided with lodgings, food and clothing. According to Arendal Seamen's Association's 150th Anniversary Book by Kristen Taraldsen, Captain Stenersen had his wife on board with him when this happened - she's listed as "secretary" in the official crew list. Captain Stenersen was subsequently employed at Nortraship's New York office till 1945.
In the Norwegian magazine "Krigsseileren", Issue No.1 for 1983 there's a short article written by one of the survivors, Martinius Myklevold, who says the torpedo hit in the after deck, the detonation sending bananas and hatches high in the air. He confirms that Mrs. Stenersen was on board at the time, adding she had been like a mother to them all. There's a picture of her and Captein Stenersen taken in Mexico after they had landed, and another picture of the injured 1st mate. Myklevold says Mrs. Stenersen died in New York just a few months after this happened. He also says the U-boat came over to the lifeboat after Cadmus had sunk, and when Witt saw how frightened the Captain's wife was at the sight of the armed crewman on the deck of the boat, he assured her they would not be harmed, then apologized for not being able to supply medical aid to the 1st Mate (name given as Tønnesen here). Myklevold also mentions the fact that there were 2 intact rafts nearby, complete with water and food etc., and he suggested they row over to them to get all the supplies off them, but the others wanted to get away from the scene as quickly as possible (maybe they had all heard [propaganda] rumours of U-boat crew shooting people in lifeboats?).
There's another article written by Myklevold in Issue No. 3 for 1979, where he describes their journey from Mexico to New York. His brother Albert was cook on board. In this issue there's a picture of some of them which appears to have been taken on the back of a truck, but he doesn't remember any names, only refers to them as a stoker from Tromsø, 3 from the Cayman Islands, an Englishman, the donkeyman from Lillehammer, Steward Iversen from Bergen, the 2nd mate from Hvaler, and the carpenter from Hitra. From the beach where they landed in their lifeboats they were taken by truck to a place he remembers as Tuxpan where they stayed for a few days and were extremely well taken care of by the locals, before starting on a "peculiar" journey to New York, first by a small boat on some lakes, then by boat and car to Tampico where they spent the night before continuing by rail to San Antonio, Texas. From there by Pullman to New Orleans where they joined crew from Høegh Giant and (he thinks) Andrea Brøvig, then continued to New York by way of a special train carrying only torpedoed seamen of several different nationalities. The maritime hearings were held there on July 17-1942 with Captain Stenersen, Able Seaman Myklevold and the 1st engineer appearing.
Martinius Myklevold later served on Bruse Jarl.
Only 12 hours after Cadmus had been sunk, Witt torpedoed and sank another Norwegian ship, M/S Gundersen.
Related external links:
Back to Cadmus on the "Ships starting with C" 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 as named within the text above - ref My sources.