|Site Map | Search Warsailors.com |Merchant Fleet Main Page | Warsailors.com Home|
D/S Dagny I
Manager: Jacob Kjøde A/S, Bergen
Built in Kinderdijk, The Netherlands in 1916.
Captain: Olaf Torkelsen
In the coal trade to Svalbard. Bombed by German aircraft on Aug. 9-1941, east of The Faroe Islands while attempting to get from Svalbard to Kirkwall. She had 74 people on board, 56 of whom were passengers who had flocked on board at Advent Bay before she departed on July 31, seeing an opportunity for passage to the U.K. From Bellsund the next day she was escorted by the Polish destroyer Garland, then by the time she reached Thorshavn on Aug. 8 the armed trawler Wastwater had taken over as escort (from Aug. 3?). She resumed the voyage the following day, Aug. 9, but was hit by 2 bombs, 1 in the engine room and 1 on the after deck. 2 engineers and the donkeyman on duty in the engine room were killed. "Nortraships flåte" has an extensive description of the scenes following the attack (the book's author, Jon Rustung Hegland was himself on board Dagny I at the time). The starboard boat was readied and quite a few people were in it when something went wrong with the launching so that everyone fell into the water, while the port boat was successfully lowered and filled to the rim with people. Some had to be left on board as there was no more room in the boat, but they were picked up a little over an hour later.
The bombing had taken the lives of 4 crew and two passengers, several were injured. Survivors were picked up by Wastwater* and landed in Thorshavn that afternoon, where 7 men were admitted to a hospital, among them the steward and the 1st mate who had been seriously injured. (They remained there when a British destroyer took the other 61 survivors to Scotland on Aug. 11). An attempt was made by men from the escorting Leicester City to extinguish the raging fire and save the ship, but the first attempt had to be abandoned. That evening the boilers exploded, and the fire subsided enough that another attempt could be made. By midnight the fire was under control and she was taken in tow towards land in order to be beached, but the next morning she capsized and sank. (Jan-Olof, Sweden has told me that "Lloyd's War Losses, Vol I British, Allied and Neutral Merchant Vessels Sunk or Destroyed by War Causes, 1989 reprint" gives the position as 61 40N 6 10W, cargo of coal and general).
Some background history:
When the British forces departed, Tamber, who had formally been appointed Military Governor of Svalbard (which gave him the authority to requisition the ships on Svalbard) stayed behind in order to see to it that all the regular radio traffic would continue as if nothing had happened, so that the Germans in Norway would not get suspiscious. While waiting for the British forces to return from their raid on the coast of Finnmark Tamber formally "seized" more coal ships as they arrived, D/S Munin on Aug. 4, then D/S Nandi and on Aug. 9 D/S Ingerto as well as some small vessels (seal catchers Agnes, Polaris, and Strømsnes). Their cargoes were discharged, and telegrams sent to Norway saying they had departed, but they of course stayed where they were. Finally, on Aug. 25 (the group on Svalbard had gotten quite nervous by then) the British forces returned, carrying with them an expedition corps, with the orders that Svalbard was to be evacuated, the coal mines destroyed and the supplies of coal burnt. Tamber was ordered to take the coal ships and their cargoes to Reykjavik, and departed Svalbard with 65 passengers and with cruiser Aurora and an armed trawler as escorts on Aug. 26, arriving Eydisfjord, Iceland safely on Sept. 1, Tamber on board Ingerto. By then Isbjørn had also arrived Svalbard, and was in turn sent to Iceland along with the other seal catchers. By Sept. 3 the evacuation of Svalbard was complete.
The maritime hearings were held in London on Aug. 25-1941 with the captain, the 2nd mate, Jr. Ordinary Seaman Lilleskare (helmsman), Able Seaman Mjaaseth, Stoker Gustavsen and passenger Hegge Karlsen appearing.
Related external link:
Back to Dagny I on the "Ships starting with D" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Hjemmeflåten - Mellom venn og fiende", Lauritz Pettersen, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume I (Norwegian Maritime Museum) - ref. My sources.