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M/T Charles Racine
Owner: Skibs-A/S Snefonn
Launched on June 4-1937 by Odense Staalskibsværft (A. P. Møller) Odense, Denmark (Yard No. 68) as Charles Racine for Sig. Bergesen d. y., Stavanger. Completed Aug. 6 and registered in the ownership of Skibsaktieselskapet Snefonn (Sig. Bergesen d. y. & Co.), Stavanger.
Captain: Arthur Svendsen
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 war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940, Charles Racine was on her way from Leghorn to Trinidad - see Page 1 of the archive documents. From Trinidad, she made a voyage to Las Piedras and Maracaibo, before proceeding to Bermuda, and with a cargo of crude oil, she joined the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 44 on May 19, together with Polarsol and Europe (Halifax portion left on May 20). She arrived Liverpool on June 3, Stanlow the next day. With Lise and Spinanger, she subsequently joined Convoy OB 168, which left Liverpool on June 15 and joined up with Convoy OA 168 from Southend 2 days later, the combined convoy forming the Gibraltar bound Convoy OG 34F, which arrived there on June 24. Charles Racine, however, arrived Kingston, Jamaica independently on July 4, having been detached from the convoy around June 22, according to A. Hague (her destination was originally Caripito). A direct link to A. Hague's listing for the OB convoy has been provided within the Voyage Record above; see also the 2nd link, where more Norwegian ships are named. The OG convoys will be added to my Convoys section, but for now the ships sailing in them are named on the page listing ships in all OG convoys. A. Hague has also included Avance I (put back) and Nea (in addition to Lise and Spinanger from the OB convoy).
From Kingston, she later made a voyage to Curacao, then proceeded to Bermuda and on Aug. 3-1940 we find her in the Bermuda portion of the Advance Sailing Telegram for Convoy HX 63 (though as can be seen when following the link, she's not included on the convoy form for BHX 63). However, there's a note on the document saying "To proceed to Halifax to await orders". In fact, from Page 1 we learn that she did indeed sail to Halifax from Bermuda on Aug. 4, and did not leave again until Nov. 11, when she joined Convoy HX 86 (fuel oil for Clyde, station 42), though according to the Commodore's notes, she was sent into St. John's on Nov. 13 due to an outbreak of diphtheria on board - it'll be noticed that St. John's is not mentioned on the archive document, which says she put back to Halifax on Nov. 16. On Nov. 17 she's listed in Convoy HX 89 from Halifax, arriving Liverpool on Dec. 1. At the end of that month she shows up, together with Cetus, Danio and Thode Fagelund, in Convoy OB 267, leaving Liverpool on Dec. 30, dispersed Jan. 2-1941, Charles Racine arriving Halifax independently on Jan. 11, having served as the Commodore Vessel - again, see the external link provided in the table above.According to A. Hague she returned to the U.K. with a cargo of fuel oil in Convoy HX 110, which left Halifax on Febr. 19-1941 and arrived Liverpool on March 11. As will be seen when going to my own page about this convoy, the Bermuda portion only is currently available there, but A. Hague's listing for the main convoy will be added - see ships in all HX convoys. Other Norwegian ships were Brasil, Cetus, Drammensfjord, Ferncourt, Leiv Eiriksson, Skiensfjord, Stigstad and Torvanger, some of which joined with the Bermuda portion. The following month she's listed as bound for Curacao in Convoy OB 310, departing Liverpool on Apr. 13, dispersed on the 18th, Charles Racine arriving Curacao independently on May 4. John Bakke, Solfonn, Taborfjell and Tigre are also listed in this convoy. From Curacao, she proceeded to Bermuda a few days later, then headed back to the U.K. on May 18 with the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 128. Her destination is given as Avonmouth, and she arrived there, via Belfast Lough, on June 8. She now joined Convoy OB 335 in order to travel to New York. This convoy originated in Liverpool on June 16; Charles Racine started out from Milford Haven on June 15 and arrived New York independently on June 28, having detached from the convoy on the 25th (according to A. Hague). Abraham Lincoln, Boreas, Hada County, Leiv Eiriksson, Ranja, Skaraas (collided, returned), Skiensfjord and Thorshavet are also listed.
She subsequently remained in New York for several weeks (Page 1), before proceeding to Halifax on Aug. 12, then headed back to the U.K. again on Aug. 16 with Convoy HX 145 (Vice Commodore in Troubadour). Kos IX and Kos VIII are named among the escorts for this convoy; see my page about the Kos whaler catchers. Via Belfast Lough and Barry Roads, Charles Racine arrived Avonmouth on Sept. 5, according to Page 2. Later that month, she returned across the Atlantic in Convoy ON 17, and arrived New York on Oct. 5, the convoy having been dispersed Sept. 29. Having made a voyage to Baytown, she proceeded to Halifax and on Nov. 3, we find her in the Halifax-U.K. Convoy HX 158. The Norwegian Chr. Th. Boe, Garonne, Kristianiafjord, Strinda, Thorshavn, Thorsholm, Thorshov and Toledo are also listed. Charles Racine arrived Liverpool on Nov. 18, Stanlow the following night.
According to A. Hague, she now joined the westbound Convoy ON 40, which left Liverpool on Nov. 25-1941, but she was involved in a collision on Nov. 26 with the British Laplace in the same convoy, and returned to port (Clyde). She subsequently joined Convoy ON 46, originating in Liverpool on Dec. 13, but again returned to port (reason not given - again, see also Page 2), then finally got away with Convoy ON 50 on Christmas Eve, bound for New Orleans, where she arrived on Jan. 13-1942, the convoy having dispersed on the 3rd. All these convoys will be added to individual pages in my Convoys section in due course, along with further details on each. In the meantime, the ships sailing in them (and escorts) are named in the section listing ships in all ON convoys. They all had several other Norwegian ships, namely Arthur W. Sewall, Egda, Evita, Fernmoor, Finnanger (returned), Rio Novo, Slemdal, Storanger, Tai Shan and Velox in ON 40, Hamlet, Idefjord, Kristianiafjord and Solstad (returned) in ON 46, and Fagerfjell, Fernwood, Fjordheim (returned), Høegh Giant, Innerøy, Sama, Skandinavia, Strinda and Taborfjell in ON 50.About a week later, she proceeded to Halifax in order to join Convoy HX 173 back to the U.K. on Febr. 1-1942, and this turned out to be her last Trans-Atlantic crossing.
Charles Racine had arrived U.K. with Convoy HX 173 on Febr. 14-1942. She left Clyde on the 23rd of that month, joining Convoy OS 20, bound for Baytown, Texas in ballast in station 76. Again, see the link provided in the table above; Havkong, Høegh Scout, Jenny and Sandar are also listed, while Ingerto was scheduled, but did not sail.
Charles Racine left the convoy on March 1 on orders from the Commodore (in City of Kimberley) and continued alone, following Admiralty routings. At 23:10 ship's time on March 9, when northeast of Anguilla (23 10N 60 28W), she was torpedoed by the Italian submarine Giuseppe Finzi (Giudice). The torpedo hit on the port side, forward of the engine room; water gushed in and the engines stopped. Shortly thereafter another torpedo struck, also on the port side. The radio operator sent out an SOS with their position. After the crew had gotten safely away in 4 lifeboats they observed 2 more torpedoes hitting the ship, this time on the starboard side, and later in the night they heard another 2 explosions followed by flames.
3 of the boats holding 34 men stayed together but the 4th could not be seen in the dark. They remained in the vicinity until daylight, but when the captain rowed back to the ship that morning to look for the 4th boat it was nowhere to be seen, so sail was set for Puerto Rico. They were picked up in the morning of March 12 (in 21 29N 62 57W) by USS Moffet which searched for the other lifeboat all day, before heading for San Juan, Puerto Rico where the survivors were landed on the 13th. On March 22, they travelled to New York, with arrival on the 27th. The following day they received the news that the 7 in the missing lifeboat (incl. the 1st mate) had been picked up by an Argentinian steamer en route to Trinidad and landed there.
The hearings were held in New York on Apr. 13-1942 with the captain, the 3rd mate (on duty on the bridge at the time of attack), the 2nd engineer, and Able Seaman Eriksen (helmsman) appearing. According to the captain's report presented at the hearings the attack took place in 23 33N 60 10W. J. Rohwer gives the position as 23 10N 60 28W, and date as March 10 at 01:24, German time. Page 2 of the archive documents gives the date as March 10, at 03:16.
Related external link:
Back to Charles Racine 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), Sig. Bergesen d. y. fleet list, and misc. others as named within the text above for cross checking info. - ref My sources. The memorandum was received from Eric Wiberg.