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D/S Christian Michelsen
Updated June 7-2011

To Christian Michelsen on the "Ships starting with C" page.

Crew List

Source: Karl Morten Bårdsen.
I also found a picture on this external website (Lindesnes Bygdemuseum).
(Here's a Picture of John M. T. Finney - thanks to David Martin).

Manager: Nortraship
7176 gt, 4380 net, 10 521 tdwt.
Call Sign: LKPI.

Built by Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyards Inc., Baltimore, launched as John M.T. Finney on May 21-1943, delivered May 31.

This was one of 10 (11?) ships added to Nortraship's Fleet in 1943, on bareboat charter from the United States War Shipping Administration. Christian Michelsen was taken over in Baltimore on the day of delivery, May 31. See my page "Ship Statistics and Misc." under "Gains 1943" for a list of the others.

Captain: Jens Lassen Ugland

In the book "Englandsfarten" there's mention of a captain by by the name Jens Lassen Ugland, which is unusual enough that I suspected it must be the same person, and this has since been confirmed by another Jens Lassen Ugland (see his message in my Guestbook). The book gives the story of a sail boat that departed Arendal on July 14-1940 with 4 people on board, all of whom were officers in the Merchant Marine, namely Captain Jens Lassen Ugland, Engineer Olav Andersen, Captain Theodor Jensen and Captain Reidar Ytterlid. They had been given permission by the Germans to sail as far as Farsund for a little vacation, which they also did, but after a few days they took off one night and headed for England. They encountered terrible weather and ended up drifting, but were spotted by a British submarine which picked them up, but being as the sub was on a mission on the Norwegian coast the 4 went back in with them, then a ship was torpedoed near Egersund by the sub. At the end of July the 4 officers were landed in Newcastle. The officers had been aided by a resistance group in Arendal and had with them the code books for a radio station. 5 members of the resistance group were arrested after this, initially sentenced to death, but this was later changed to 10 years in the penitentiary. Several others also had to serve time in the penitentiary.

Looking around in my own website I find that D/S Grado had a Captain Theodor Jensen. Jens Ugland also served on Mosfruit and Mosdale.

Related items on this website:
Guestbook message from the grandson Lt. James F. Knowlton, one of the casualties (passenger).
Guestbook message from a relative Fredrik Lundberg, another casualty.
Guestbook message from a relative of Olav Axelsen, also a casualty.
Guestbook message from the grandson of the steward.
Guestbook message - From the granddaughter of one of the casualties, Reuben Alfred Tiley.
Another message from the great grandson of Hans K. Frydenberg (see crew list).

Her voyages are listed on this original document received from the Nationa Archives of Norway.

Please compare the above voyages with Arnold Hague's Voyage Record below.

Voyage Record
From June-1943 to Sept.-1943:

(Received from Don Kindell - His source: The late Arnold Hague's database).

Follow the convoy links provided for more information on each.

Departure From To Arrival Convoy Remarks
1943 June 13 Baltimore New York City June 16 Independent
June 23 New York City Loch Ewe July 6 HX 245 See also narrative below.
Fitted with AND
July 7 Loch Ewe Methil July 9 WN 451 Convoy available at WN 451
(external link)
July 9 Methil Southend July 11 FS 1163 Convoy available at FS 1163
(external link - incomplete listing)
See also archive document
July 28 Southend Loch Ewe July 30 A. Hague says:
Fits no known convoy pattern.
July 31 Loch Ewe New York City Aug. 13 ON 195 Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
Sept. 2 New York City Hampton Roads Sept. 3 Independent
Sept. 6 Hampton Roads (For Sicily) UGS 17 Convoy available at UGS 17
(external link)
Sunk - see "Final Fate" below


As mentioned, Christian Michelsen had been taken over in Baltimore on May 31-1943. She was scheduled to sail from New York to the U.K. in Convoy HX 244 on June 15 (Vice Commodore in Samuel Bakke), but instead joined the next convoy on June 23, HX 245, general cargo for London, station 12. Follow the links for more details - several Norwegian ships took part (see also these reports re HX 245).

She was back in New York on Aug. 13, having arrived that day with the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 195, which had originated in Liverpool on July 31 (Christian Michelsen sailed from Loch Ewe that day). This convoy will be added to an individual page in my Convoys section; in the meantime, the ships sailing in it are named at ships in all ON cnvoys. Bañaderos, Bajamar, Abraham Lincoln (Commodore Vessel), Duala, Egerø, Gallia, Vav, Velma and Washington Express are also listed. For more information on these ships, please see the alphabet index at the end of this page, or go to the Master Ship Index

 Final Fate - 1943: 

Christian Michelsen left New York again on Sept. 2-1943, bound for Bizerta via Hampton Roads for convoy, joining Convoy UGS 17, which left Hampton Roads on Sept. 6 and also included Egda, Glarona, Marie Bakke and Thorsholm (Tautra joined from Algiers later, while Vigsnes joined from Bone. UGS 17 had Port Said as its final destination - ref. link provided within the Voyage Record above). Christian Michelsen had a cargo of ammunition and other war materials.

On Sept. 26 she was torpedoed by U-410 (Fenski) and practically blown to bits, sinking in less than a minute, 37 12N 08 26E. 47 died (all named in the crew list below).

3 miraculously survived and were picked up by one of the escort vessels, then taken to a hospital in Bizerta the next morning. The survivors were Gunner Ole A. Olsen, Able Seaman Einar Melby and Ordinary Seaman Knut Egil Berg. Able Seaman Henry Erlandsen had also gotten off the ship, but was injured and trapped among debris. He died shortly after Einar Melbye had gotten him free and pulled him on to some timber. Einar Melby clung to debris for about an hour before he was picked up, while the other 2 had found a raft. Melby and Erlandsen had been on duty by the aft guns, Olsen and Berg had been asleep in their cabins when the torpedo hit.

Arnold Hague's "The Allied Convoy System" lists Christian Michelsen as American*, adding she had a cargo of 10 000 tons ammunition and oil. Charles Hocking gives the position as 30 miles east of Bona, saying she sank after an internal explosion, with 37 crew and 1 passenger killed. "Lloyd's War Losses" gives her cargo as 3000 tons of bombs, 4000 tons of ammunition, 3000 tons of oil and mail.

*The fact that A. Hague has this ship down as American, could have something to do with the fact that, though the Liberty Ships were transferred to Norway under bare-boat charters, they were re-chartered to the Americans on so-called "concurrent time-charter terms". Cargoes and routes were allocated by the American War Shipping Administration, so even though they flew a foreign flag with a foreign crew, operating under Norwegian shipping laws, they were used like units of the American merchant marine. (This info was sent to me by a visitor to my website, his source: "Liberty, The Ships That Won the War" by Peter Elphick).

My Guestbook has a message from the grandson of Lt. James F. Knowlton, who was on board Christian Michelsen when she was sunk. The poster has since told me that according to his records, after leaving New York on Sept. 2-1943, she stopped at Norfolk where his grandfather boarded (the archive document gives arrival Hampton Roads as Sept. 3). She was bound for Parma, Sicily by way of Bizerta (Sicily had been seized by the Allies weeks before). The cargo on board matches the info from Lloyd's and the names of the survivors match the names scribbled in longhand on his record. The stern was the last to go (42 seconds), suggesting the ship was hit in the bow (allowing Olsen and Berg in their sternward cabins to survive).

The maritime hearings were held in New York on Nov. 9-1943 with Einar Melby and Knut Berg appearing (Ole Olsen was still in hospital at that time). Melby and Berg had signed on M/T Mosli on Oct. 12.

Crew List:

Able Seaman/Gunner
Einar Steen Melby
Ordinary Seaman/Gunner
Knut Egil Berg
Ordinary Seaman/Gunner
Ole Alfred Olsen

Jens Lassen Ugland

1st Mate
Karl Lorange

2nd Mate
Joakim Vaagenes

3rd Mate
Knut Sandøy*

Radio Operator
Paul Fritz Nilsen

2nd Radio Operator
William Ferguson*
(British - Age 20)

3rd Radio Operator
Leslie Mortimer*
(British - Age 18)

Mikal Monsen

Martin Sletta

Able Seaman
Jens K. Hagh

Able Seaman
Toralf Robertsen

Able Seaman
Norval Fluevaag

Able Seaman
Fredrik Lundberg*

Able Seaman
Fritz Ebbe Moen

Able Seaman
Ludvig Olausen

Able Seaman
Per Solli

Able Seaman
Per Siem

Able Seaman
Norner B. Reiersen

Able Seaman
Reidar Jensen*

Able Seaman
Petter K. Pedersen

Able Seaman
Henry E. Erlandsen

1st Engineer
Oskar H. Henriksen

2nd Engineer
Olav Axelsen*

3rd Engineer
Reidar M. Sandstak

Johan B. Halvorsen

Sigurd Fløysand
(New Foundland)

Aage Brun Bentsen

Leif Georg Andersen

Kristian M. Solberg

Birger Hannaas

Trygve M. Larsen

Asbjørn Pedersen

Arvid L. Rosvold

Gunnery Officer
Hans K. Frydenberg*

Martin Kristoffersen*

Ingolf Totland

Harry Aksnes

Galley Boy
Clive Ronald Read*
(British - Age 18)

Mess Boy
Fred Burgess Moorby*
(Canadian - Age 18)

Mess Boy
Patrick O'Hara*
(Canadian - Age 19)

Mess Boy
Thomas Siggins*
(Canadian - Age 18)

Mess Boy
Stanley James Smith*
(British - Age 19)

Reuben Alfred Tiley*

Edward Frederick Turner*

William Grime*

James Baxter Law*

James F. Knowlton*

* Knut Sandøy had previously survived the attacks on Risanger and Sydhav. Also, there's a Fredrik Lundberg listed among the crew for Astrell. (See this Guestbook message from a relative. There's also a message in my Guestbook from a relative of O. Axelsen, as well as a message from the grandson of the steward, in addition to the message already mentioned from the grandson of the American passenger). See also this message. Reidar Jensen had previously survived the attack on Touraine. According to Lillesand Sjømannsforening (external page), he had also served on Triton, Eidsvold and Colombia.

Further details on the men denoted * can be found by entering each name in the relevant search field at The Commonwealth War Graves Comm. website (external link), using WW II and 1943 in the other fields to narrow down the results (look for the date 26/09/1943 in the results to find the right person). As can be seen the British men are commemorated at Tower Hill, while the Canadians are commemorated at the Halifax Memorial. I also found a Reuben Alfred Tiley, William Grime and James Baxter Law, whom I believe to be identical to the above. Edward Frederick Turner is also listed. See also the Canadian Merchant Navy War Dead Database

Related external links:
Stavern Memorial commemorations - 39 Norwegians are listed here, however, the steward is listed twice, once as Martin K. Sundøy (which was his full name), and also as Martin Kristoffersen with the same birthdate. There's also an able seaman Jens Kristian Rist Jenssen whom I believe is identical to Jens K. Hagh, they have the same birthdates (in other words, he's also listed twice).

U-410 | Horst-Arno Fenski

Liberty Ships - Unfortunately, the list no longer appears to be included at this site (unfortunate, because I have 100's of links to it from my Convoys section). If I remember correctly, that particular section was hosted by Peter Thompson, who has now moved to a different site, but I cannot find his list of Liberty Ships. I'll leave the link up for now until I can find out whether it's still available somewhere. I did find an identical page here, but as will be seen, the alphabetical links receive an error.

See also:
List of Liberty Ships - Includes info on the men for whom the ships were named (from Wikipedia).

Back to Christian Michelsen 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 for cross checking info. - ref My sources.


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