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Owner: A/S Ocean
Built in Oslo in 1930.
Captain: Arne Andreassen.
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 Norway was invaded on Apr. 9-1940 Dagfred was en route to Trondheim, Norway with a cargo of wheat from Buenos Aires, everyone on board really looking forward to coming home. Instead they had to go to Dakar, which was their closest allied port (ref. my page Nortraship describing initial instructions given to Norwegian ships), and many difficult years would pass before they could see their homeland again.
They arrived Dakar in the afternoon of Apr. 14 to await orders, which were a long time in coming, but finally, 3 weeks later, they were told to go to Falmouth for further orders, with a stop at St. Vincent on the Cape Verde islands for bunkers. However, the French authorities at Dakar would not allow this, nor would they give them bunkers from Dakar, though promised they could get some from a tanker which was expected to come in a week later. This was done, and on May 15 Dagfred departed for Casablanca to join a convoy* to Brest. The following day, after a Gibraltar convoy had also joined them, the escorting aircraft spotted a U-boat behind them, whereupon 2 French destroyers dropped some depth charges. This was their first indication of what was to come in the years to follow.
They left the convoy off Brest to continue alone to Falmouth, arriving there on May 28, received their orders then headed for Liverpool on May 31 to unload the wheat, and was supsequently docked. The crew was finally allowed to go ashore; this had been denied them at Dakar, so they had not left the ship at all since they were in Buenos Aires on March 29. Many of them paid off in Liverpool, wanting to go home to Norway and take part in the fighting against the intruders.
See also Page 1 of the archive documents.
One day the entire crew went on a sit down strike. New rules with regard to their wages etc. were difficult to understand and accept (again, see my page "Nortraship"), and many a Norwegian captain had to deal with similar problems in those early days. Captain Andreassen reported the strike to the General Consul and was told to deny them shore leave and food, but the captain refused to follow this order. The dilemma was eventually solved by more diplomatic methods, and before long all was again normal on board so that they on June 17 could depart in convoy for New York (Convoy OB 169 - Danio, Hallanger, Liss and Thelma are also listed). The convoy was dispersed in the middle of the Atlantic and they continued to New York alone, arriving there on July 4. While there, Nortraship placed her on charter to the Ministry of War Transport, but when the captain reported this news to the crew every one of them paid off, not wanting to sail to the U.K. This meant that new officers and crew had to be found, though she went to Baltimore on July 13, arriving there on the 14th to load a cargo of raw iron for Liverpool (again, see also Page 1). By July 20 she was ready to go, degaussing and other necessary equipment having meanwhile been installed, but still no crew. (She was scheduled for Convoy HX 61, as well as HX 62, HX 63 and HX 64, but cancelled from all of them).
Finally, on Sept. 12 the captain had managed to scrape together enough of a crew that they could depart. The 3rd mate, steward and engineer's assistant had agreed to stay on; no radio operator could be found but the captain himself had the necessary training and papers to take care of that job. The 3rd mate was promoted to 1st, while a former whale catcher became the new 3rd mate. A couple of the new engine crew left a lot to be desired, but Captain Andreassen had no choice but to announce that they were ready to go, even though it was Friday the 13th.
Their compass also turned out to leave a lot to be desired, affected by a steel plate that had been installed for protection in front of the bridge as well as by the degaussing cable. Not only that, they encountered a tornado on the coast, and the cargo on the 'tween deck shifted to starboard, so they had to wait until the weather improved before they could continue, with some minor damages. They arrived Halifax on Sept. 18, the cargo was rearranged, but they missed the first convoy (probably HX 75) because the engine had to be repaired, though got away on Sept. 26 in Convoy HX 76, encountering a terrible storm after having passed Rockall, necessitating slow speed and utmost attention to avoid collisions. Dagfred had gotten as far as the Bristol Channel when both her engines suddenly stopped in the morning of Oct. 11, meaning she had no electrical power to the steering and the degaussing cable. It took several nerve racking hours in the mine infested area to get them started again, and they arrived Newport Mon. late that evening, though a couple of hours before arrival the engines had stopped again and they had to be towed in. During the 6 weeks she was at Newport they experienced air attacks just about every night. It didn't take more than a week to unload her cargo, but another 5 weeks to get the necessary armament installed; a 4" gun aft, a "bomb thrower" and 2 machine guns aft, 2 machine guns on the bridge.
She left Newport on Nov. 16, arriving Milford Haven the next day to join a convoy for Durban, South Africa, leaving on the 19th in a small convoy of 4 vessels which was supposed to meet up with a larger convoy off Liverpool the following evening, but when they got to the meeting place no convoy* was to be seen so the Commodore told them to anchor up. The next morning (Nov. 21) they went into Liverpool to join a later convoy, and while there, they had several opportunities to put their newly installed guns to use. Also, a small coastal vessel ran into her, causing some damages that they had to repair. On Nov. 24 they departed in convoy (OB 249 - direct link provided in Voyage Record above), only to be run into by a trawler late the following night. It hit her in the starboard side, near No. 2 hatch, but since it caused only a minor leakage she continued her voyage, though lost the convoy in a heavy storm the next day, being unable to keep up with the speed as she had very little ballast. They also developed a leak in No. 1 and 2 tanks. She never did catch up with the convoy again, and the day before they were to pass Dakar they heard on the radio that 2 U-boats had been sunk in her intended course west of Dakar. The following night they spotted what they believed to be a U-boat and proceeded at full speed, all the while expecting a torpedo in their side, but if it had indeed been a U-boat they managed to get away from it.
On Dec. 23 they stopped at Cape Town for further voyage instructions, then left for Durban that same day, arriving Dec. 27. The intention was to load sugar there, but first she had to go into dry dock to repair damages. However, on finding out that it would take 16 days to get her repaired she was taken out of the dock again to wait for a better opportunity. (The captain does not sound very proud of his crew's behaviour during their long stay in Durban. He had wanted some maintenance work done on the ship while waiting, but the crew preferred drinking and fighting and it got so bad that he had to start having some of them arrested for 2 weeks, and this course of action improved the behaviour of the others somewhat). 2 weeks later she went into the same dry dock, and the sugar was never loaded.
Related external links:
Instead she was sent to Lourenco Marques (Portugese East Africa) to load a cargo of ore on Febr. 22-1941. She arrived on the 23rd and started loading ore for the U.K., departing for Cape Town on March 2 for further voyage instructions, arriving there on the 6th. At this time they had no 2nd engineer; he had been left behind at a hospital in Durban with a bout of malaria, but the captain hoped he could join them again in Cape Town, but upon arrival he was not there. This man had, by the way, fallen in love with and married a young girl (less than 16) while in Durban, saying "we probably won't survive this war anyway, we might as well enjoy it while we can". I suspect this may have been the attitude of many a seaman in those days. Finally, 10 days later the malaria patient arrived and they could depart for Freetown on March 16 in order to join a convoy there, arriving March 29. 3 of the crew ran away while there, and 3 new ones joined. The latter had escaped in a lifeboat from one of the Norwegian ships that were interned in Dakar, I'm not sure which one as there were several Norwegian ships interned in Dakar, and many seamen were able to escape from them at various times - see my page Interned Ships.
Dagfred now left Freetown in convoy SL 71 on Apr. 8 - ref. external link in the table above; A. Hague has also included Gudvin, Lisbeth, Lise, Ravnefjell and Thorshov (according to the external website that I've linked to below, Dagfred had been cancelled from the previous SL 70). She arrived Oban on May 3, departing again in convoy on May 5 for Methil (Convoy WN 123 - link in table above), joined another convoy from there on May 8 (Convoy FS 484), arriving Immingham safely the next day, though the convoy had been attacked several times by German aircraft, but no ships were lost. 26 of her crew were replaced while at Immingham, and after her cargo had been unloaded she proceeded in ballast for Newcastle, arriving May 19, loaded coke, and departed on June 2 with destination Havana, Cuba, stopping at Loch Ewe on June 4, with the promise of a quiet night, because there had been no air attacks there as yet. However, they were woken up that night by the sound of an aircraft and shortly thereafter 3 bombs were dropped about 200 meters off her starboard side, with powerful explosions. The attack lasted for about an hour and a half with all the ships in the harbour taking part in the defence, and no ship was hit though several bombs were dropped. They were all quite proud of themselves for having held the aircraft at bay, until all the captains received a letter the next day from the British naval commander, who was upset that they had wasted so much valuable ammunition - they should have waited until the aircraft came closer before firing. The aircraft came back that day, again no ship was hit, but 2 aircraft were shot down, and this time the commander's letter sounded a bit more enthusiastic and positive. According to the German controlled Oslo radio a 15 000 gt vessel had been sunk that day at Loch Ewe (not true of course).
Dagfred departed Loch Ewe for Havana in Convoy OB 332 - the captain gives her departure Loch Ewe as June 16 (compare w/Page 1); this convoy originated in Liverpool on June 8, and also included the Norwegian Kristianiafjord. Having reached the Newfoundland banks Dagfred lost the convoy in heavy fog. She consequently continued alone to Havana, with arrival on June 29. Here, the same old problems with drinking and fighting occurred, some crew members were even left behind. I suspect this was a common problem, tense nerves had to be calmed somehow and alcohol was the means chosen towards that end. After having unloaded her cargo she departed for Sagua la Grande on July 5 for a cargo of sugar, arriving the following day. Those who had been left behind in Havana were sent on to join them under police escort. Half a cargo was loaded at Sagua, departure July 9 for Puerto Padre with arrival on the 10th and she had completed loading cargo by the 16th at which time she continued to Halifax for convoy, arriving on July 23, subsequently departing in convoy for the U.K. on the 27th. According to the captain this convoy was attacked by several U-boats about 100 miles northeast of Cape Race, but no ships were sunk. On the other hand 2 U-boats were sunk (checking with Uboat.net [external link] I find no U-boats lost in July, and the ones sunk in early Aug.-1941 don't quite fit the picture). The convoy she was in was Convoy HX 141 (but I don't believe it was attacked). Beth, Cypria, Haakon Hauan, Hada County, Havkong, Leiv Eiriksson, Lista, Malmanger, Norefjord, Segundo, Storanger, Topdalsfjord and Vinga are also listed. Dagfred arrived Greenock on Aug. 10 and unloaded her cargo of sugar, before departing on Sept. 2 for Cuba. She's listed in station 62 of Convoy OS 5, originating in Liverpool on Sept. 2. Dagfred sailed from Clyde that day - again, see the external link to more convoy information in the table above; Kos IX and Kos VII are also named.
She left the convoy (OS 5) south of Sable Island, continuing alone to Guantanamo with arrival Sept. 18, but was ordered to Jucaro (in the south of Cuba), so left the following day with arrival Jucaro on the 21st. Her sand ballast was unloaded (about 1500 tons), an operation which took 11 days, then a cargo of sugar was loaded. The day before departure the cook and the galleyboy ran away, leaving Steward Svendsen to take care of the cooking and feeding of 40 men by himself. They departed Jucaro on Oct. 16 destined for Norfolk, VA for bunkers, arriving Oct. 22. A new cook and galleyboy were also found there. On Oct. 24 they headed to Halifax to join another convoy, arriving there late on Oct. 27 in a heavy storm. When the pilot came on board it was obvious that he had more than sniffed at the bottle, so they waited until the next morning before going in, enabling the pilot to clear his head in the meantime. By the time they anchored up the convoy had already sailed, but she was able to catch up with it the next day. This was Convoy HX 157, which departed Halifax on Oct. 28 - this convoy is not yet available among the HX convoys listed in my Convoys section, but will be added; see ships in all HX convoys. Egda, Fernmoor and Tankexpress are also listed. Dagfred arrived Liverpool on Nov. 15, where the cargo was unloaded before she was docked. She was now taken over by the Admiralty and fitted out as transport.
She departed Liverpool on Dec. 5 for Penarth, having stopped by Holyhead for convoy that same day, with departure Dec. 7 (Convoy BB 109 - link in table above), arriving Penarth on the 9th where ammunition and all manner of war stores were loaded. However, while in Liverpool they had gotten a new deck crew who within a week had proven to be so impossible to deal with that the officers refused to head out to sea with them. They were able to borrow a truck from the British Navy at Penarth and sent 9 of them under police escort to Cardiff where they were promptly arrested. The captain later found out they had been sentenced to between 4 and 9 months. Meanwhile, Captain Andreassen was given soldiers from the British Army to take care of the necessary work, especially for around the clock fire watches. They later got new crew from Cardiff. Dagfred's 3rd mate had taken ill and had to be hospitalized the day before they were meant to leave. They were able to get a replacement through the Norwegian consulate in Cardiff, strongly recommended by the consul (it later became obvious that he was mentally ill and had to be kept under continuous watch).
Dagfred had finished loading cargo on Dec. 20; 2800 tons ammunition, as well as uniforms, guns and vehicles of various kinds. She arrived Milford Haven the next day and on the 22nd she departed for Basra, first in a coastal convoy(?), then joined the larger convoy north of Ireland (she's listed, along with Estrella, Fernbank and Hallanger, in Convoy OS 15, which originated in Liverpool on Dec. 23 - see the external link provided in the Voyage Record. It'll be noticed that Dageid is also included, but this appears to be an error - follow the link for an explanation). According to the captain's report the convoy consisted of 60 ships, and they were attacked several times by U-boats but no ships were lost. He adds that they were south of Freetown after 25 days (in fact, the convoy arrived Freetown Jan. 12, and as far as I know, this convoy was not attacked) and were told to continue alone at maximum speed, arriving Cape Town on Jan. 26-1942. Her voyages in this period are shown on Page 2.
Related external link:
About 800 bags of mail were unloaded at Cape Town and bunkers taken in. Minor engine repairs were also seen to. While there, the 2nd engineer and a British gunner ran away (they had 3 British and 3 Norwegian gunners on board). A new 2nd engineer was found; he had just come in from a torpedoed ship, and on Jan. 29 they departed Cape Town, with arrival Basra on Febr. 19 where her cargo was unloaded. On March 1 she headed to Abadan for bunkers, then departed the next day for Bombay, arriving on the 8th with the intention of loading general cargo for the U.K., but instead ended up waiting for orders there for 14 days, before being instructed to sail to Calcutta on March 21 to pick up a cargo for Australia, and was also ordered to stop at Colombo for further routing instructions, arriving the latter on March 25, received the instructions and sailed that same afternoon, arriving the pilot station outside Calcutta in the evening of March 30 (see also Page 2). No pilot was to be seen so she anchored up for the night, as far in as possible to avoid U-boats. The next morning the pilotboat came out and took them to a better anchorage, and at the same time they were told to await further orders from Calcutta. On Apr. 4 the pilot came on board with instructions from British Naval Control in Calcutta to proceed to Madras as quickly as possible due to the proximity of the Japanese. (A total of 9 ships were sent away that same day; British, American, Dutch and 2 Norwegian).
Shortly before 9 in the morning of Apr. 6, when about 15 n. miles off Sacramento Light she was shelled by two Japanese cruisers and sunk in 16 15N 82 09E (60 miles east of Masulipatam according to Charles Hocking). The warships had signalled for them to abandon ship immediately, so the men were in 3 lifeboats about 200 meters behind Dagfred when the first shots were fired and a little over 10 minutes later they could see she was about to sink. (The captain says that while Dagfred was being shelled, her flag fell down to half mast). All 40 survived, 30 of whom were Norwegian, in spite of being shot at from 20 meters above by 2 of the 3 aircraft that appeared, wounding 4 men in 3rd Mate Ranheimsæter's boat, namely 3rd Engineer Andersen who got a bullet through his right foot, Mechanic Ingar Mæland who got a bullet through his left thigh, Able Seaman King who lost 2 fingers on his right hand, and Able Seaman Nilsen who was wounded in the right shoulder. (The Norwegian D/S Hermod was also sunk that day, as was M/T Elsa).
About half an hour after their ship had gone down they could hear more gun fire south of them, leading them to realize that another ship had been attacked. They kept a close eye southward and suddenly both cruisers appeared on the horizon, approaching at great speed. At that moment they were convinced they would be taken prisoners, but the warships continued on their way north.
The captain's boat and one of the other boats (31 people) had a good breeze, enabling them to sail towards land at a good pace, and around 3 o'clock that afternoon they approached a sandy beach. It was difficult to find a good landing spot due to the large breakers, but they were finally able to get into Surasaniyanam where they were met by about 50 natives speaking a language they could not understand, but with the help of sign language they were informed that they were friendly and would take them to their village. The captain sent the 2nd mate and some other crew members to look for the 3rd mate's boat, fearing that he had injured men on board, but when they returned after having searched for 2 hours they still had not seen any of the others. An hour's walk through the swamps took them to the village consisting of clay houses with straw roofs. They found a person who understood English so that they could explain what had happened to them, whereupon they were fed rice and curry, then settled down in the schoolhouse for the night. At 4 in the morning the captain was awakened by the district's policeman and had to go out and explain why they were there. He also found out they were 60 miles from the nearest phone.
A couple of hours later he was called to the chieftain of the tribe and again had to explain why they were there, with the policeman as interpreter. The 3rd mate's boat with a total of 9 men, including the 4 injured men, had by then landed at a place called Chirrayanam. As the day started to dawn the entire village was on its feet to study these strange, white creatures who had been washed up on their beaches. No women were seen, but they found out later they had been locked up, though could be seen now and again peeping out at them.
With the policeman as guide they started a long, hot walk through swamps, rivers and jungle. After having walked for about 5 hours, two busses arrived to take them to Analapuram, East Godavari district, Madras Presidency, arriving there an hour later. The 9 from the other lifeboat had already arrived there that morning and the wounded had been taken to some sort of a hospital. Since there were no hotels, the others spent the night on a concrete floor at the police station, after having been given a chance to wash up and eat a good meal. The next morning, Apr. 8 the captain was taken to a distinguished looking gentleman whom he guessed was the mayor, a very friendly chap who told him this was the first time in history that shipwrecked men had come to Analapuram. He spoke good English, and offered every assistance possible. As they abandoned the ship the captain had been able to take some money with him, along with the ship's papers, meaning they could buy some food and necessary clothes, as well as pay their way for further transportation. That evening all 40 of them arrived Rajumundry on 3 busses, having passed through several villages on the way. The injured men were taken to hospital again while the other crew members were placed at Travellers Bungalow.
The next morning, the captain was able to reach the Norwegian consul, Thorleif Ahlsand in Bombay and it was decided that they should all go there. Mechanic Mæland from Hetland in Rogaland (near Stavanger) was too ill to travel and was left behind at the Rajumundry hospital; he later died there. 2nd mate Bull-Melsom also remained behind, while the other 38 travelled to Bombay by train in the evening of Apr. 9. On the train they met some Dutch seamen who had departed Calcutta at the same time as Dagfred. They told them that 11 large ships had been sunk the same morning as Dagfred had been sunk. They arrived Bombay in the afternoon of the 11th and were assisted by the Norwegian consul and Captain Davidsen from Nortraship.
The captain, the 1st engineer and the 1st mate were sent to New York on M/S Sønnavind, arriving Apr. 20-1942 (this does not match up with Sønnavind's voyages for this period - follow the link for details).
Captain Andreassen later took command of M/T Vanja.
Back to Dagfred on the "Ships starting with D" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "The Allied Convoy System", Arnold Hague, "19 Oslo-skips historie under verdenskrigen, fra April 1940 til krigens slutt i 1945" ("The Story of 19 Oslo ships during the World War, from April 1940 until the End of the War in 1945") Harald Nicolaisen - based on the ship's logs and diaries, as well as the captain's report, and "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume I (Norwegian Maritime Museum) - ref. My sources.