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M/S Elin K
Updated July 16-2011

To Elin K on the "Ships starting with E" page.

Crew List

Source: Roger W. Jordan collection. has another picture - external link
The Australian War Memorial also has a picture of this ship (from 1942, external links).

Owner: A/S Inger
Manager: Jacob Kjøde A/S, Bergen
5214 gt, 3025 net, 8455 tdwt
Call Sign: LFZJ

Built by Bremer Vulkan, Vegesack, Germany in 1937.

Captain: Robert Johannessen

Related item on this website:
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Her voyages are listed on these original images from the Norwegian National Archives
Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3

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

Voyage Record
From Apr.-1940 to March-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
1940 Apr. 7 Durban Lourenço Marques Apr. 8 Independent Earlier voyages, Page 1
Apr. 9 Lourenço Marques Durban Apr. 10 Independent
Apr. 20 Durban Freetown May 3 Independent
May 4 Freetown Baltimore May 18 Independent
May 25 Baltimore New York City May 26 Independent
May 31 New York City Capetown June 25 Independent
June 29 Capetown Port Elizabeth July 1 Independent
July 2 Port Elizabeth East London July 3 Independent
July 5 East London Durban July 6 Independent
July 18 Durban Baltimore Aug. 13 Independent
Aug. 22 Baltimore Galveston Aug. 28 Independent
Aug. 31 Galveston New Orleans Sept. 2 Independent
Sept. 3 New Orleans Hampton Roads Sept. 8 Independent
Sept. 10 Hampton Roads New York City Sept. 11 Independent
Sept. 14 New York City Karachi Oct. 26 Independent
Oct. 27 Karachi Bombay Oct. 29 Independent
Oct. 31 Bombay Cochin Nov. 2 Independent
Nov. 4 Cochin Colombo Nov. 5 Independent
Nov. 6 Colombo Madras Nov. 8 Independent
Nov. 10 Madras Calcutta Nov. 12 Independent
Nov. 18 Calcutta Rangoon Nov. 21 Independent
Nov. 22 Rangoon Cochin Nov. 27 Independent
Nov. 29 Cochin Bombay Dec. 3 Independent
Dec. 5 Bombay Karachi Dec. 7 Independent
Dec. 7 Karachi Colombo Dec. 12 Independent
Dec. 14 Colombo Singapore Dec. 20 Independent
Dec. 22 Singapore Miri Dec. 24 Independent
Dec. 25 Miri Los Angeles Jan. 20-1941 Independent
1941 Jan. 20 Los Angeles Balboa Jan. 31 Independent
Febr. 1 Cristobal Philadelphia Febr. 8 Independent
Febr. 9 Philadelphia New York City Febr. 15 Independent A. Hague says:
After grounding in Cape Cod Canal
Apr. 19 New York City Cristobal Apr. 28 Independent Compare w/Page 1 & Page 2
Apr. 29 Balboa Los Angeles May 8 Independent
May 9 Los Angeles Miri June 6 Independent
June 6 Miri Singapore June 9 Independent
June 9 Singapore Rangoon June 14 Independent
June 17 Rangoon Calcutta June 20 Independent
June 25 Calcutta Colombo July 2 Independent
July 3 Colombo Bombay July 7 Independent
July 13 Bombay Karachi July 16 Independent
July 16 Karachi Calcutta July 26 Independent
Aug. 8 Calcutta Singapore Aug. 14 Independent
Aug. 14 Singapore Sourabaya Aug. 18 Independent
Aug. 19 Sourabaya Batavia Aug. 22 Independent
Aug. 22 Batavia Singapore Aug. 24 Independent
Aug. 30 Singapore Miri Sept. 1 Independent
Sept. 2 Miri Vancouver Sept. 26 Independent
Oct. 16 Vancouver Crofton Oct. 16 Independent
Oct. 17 Crofton New Westminster Oct. 20 Independent
Oct. 20 New Westminster Port Alberni Oct. 22 Independent
Oct. 26 Port Alberni Port Stanley Nov. 23 Independent
Nov. 23 Port Stanley Durban Dec. 10 Independent
1942 Jan. 6 Durban Mauritius Jan. 11 Independent See also Page 2
Jan. 17 Mauritius Capetown Jan. 25 Independent
Jan. 28 Capetown Freetown Febr. 9 Independent
Febr. 21 Freetown Liverpool March 16 SL 101 Convoy available at SL 101
(external link)
Apr. 12 Liverpool OS 25 For Middle East.
Detached Apr. 29.
Convoy available at OS 25
(external link)
Apr. 29 Detached from OS 25 Capetown May 9 Independent
May 13 Capetown Mombasa May 24 Independent
May 26 Mombasa Aden June 1 Independent
June 3 Aden Suez June 8 Independent Missing movements, Page 2
July 2 Suez Aden July 6 Independent
July 7 Aden Fremantle July 28 Independent
July 28 Fremantle Adelaide Aug. 4 Independent
Aug. 10 Adelaide Melbourne Aug. 13 Independent
Aug. 16 Melbourne OC 18 Detached Aug. 18.
Convoy available at OC 18
(external link)
Aug. 18 Detached from OC 18 Auckland Aug. 24 Independent
Sept. 1 Auckland Wellington Sept. 3 Independent
Sept. 12 Wellington Timaru Sept. 13 Independent
Sept. 15 Timaru Port Chalmers Sept. 16 Independent
Sept. 20 Port Chalmers Aden Oct. 21 Independent
Oct. 21 Aden Suez Oct. 26 Independent Missing movements, Page 3
Nov. 4 Suez Aden Nov. 9 Independent
Nov. 9 Aden Colombo Nov. 17 Independent
Nov. 28 Colombo Fremantle Dec. 11 Independent
Dec. 11 Fremantle Melbourne Dec. 18 Independent
Dec. 21 Melbourne Sydney, N.S.W. Dec. 24 OC 55 Convoy available at OC 55
(external link)
1943 Jan. 13 Sydney, N.S.W. Balboa Febr. 11 Independent
Febr. 15 Cristobal New York City Febr. 24 Independent See also narrative below
March 8 New York City HX 229 Sunk - See "Final Fate" below

 Some Convoy Voyages: 
For information on voyages made in between those discussed here, please see the archive documents and Hague's Voyage Record.

As can be seen when going to Page 1 of the archive documents, Elin K was in Lourenco Marques on Apr. 9-1940, the day the Germans invaded Norway. The same document shows that she was in New York for about 2 months at the beginning of 1941, from Febr. 15 to Apr. 19, possibly for repairs? According to A. Hague, she had grounded in Cape Cod Canal; I have no further details on this.

She does not appear to have sailed in convoys very often, but she's listed in Convoy SL 101, which left Freetown on Febr. 21-1942 and arrived Liverpool on March 15. Her cargo is given as raw sugar, and she had station 112 of the convoy. Dagrun, Drammensfjord, Tabor and Tanafjord are also listed. The following month, we find her in Convoy OS 25, going in the other direction. She was again in the company of other Norwegian ships, namely Arthur W. Sewall, Marathon and Sandanger. This convoy left Liverpool on Apr. 12 and arrived Freetown on the 29th. Elin K's destination is given as Cape/Middle East, station 53, carrying stores; she arrived Cape Town on May 9, continuing to Mombasa a few days later. Both these convoys are available via the links provided in the Voyage Record above. Her voyages in this period are shown on Page 2.

In Aug.-1942, Arnold Hague has included her, along with Tiradentes, in Convoy OC 18, which left Melbourne on Aug. 15 and arrived Newcastle, N.S.W. on the 18th; Elin K, however, was bound for Auckland, where she arrived on the 24th, having been detached from the convoy Aug. 18. At the end of that year, she's listed in Convoy OC 55, departing Melbourne on Dec. 21, arriving Sydney, N.S.W. on Christmas Eve. From there, she headed to Balboa in Jan-1943, then on to New York - see Page 3.

 An Accident On Board & Final Fate: 

Elin K was en route from Sydney N.S.W. to Liverpool via Panama when Boatswain Kristian Kristiansen fell overboard and drowned on Febr. 3-1943. He had been working on a platform with Carpenter Johansen when the sea washed him overboard. 2 life buoys were immediately thrown into the water, the engine was stopped and the ship turned around to look for him. Upon reaching the spot where he was believed to have fallen in, the ship was stopped and the workboat launched, manned by the 3rd mate and 4 men, but he was nowhere to be seen. The ship circled around the area for 3 hours to no avail, then continued her voyage.

She arrived New York on Febr. 24, leaving again on March 8 in Convoy HX 229 (having been cancelled from Convoy HX 228 on Febr. 28, in which Brant County was sunk). Please follow the link for much more information; crusing orders are also available, as well as an analysis of attacks on several convoys sailing around the same time. Commodore was in Abraham Lincoln.

Her cargo consisted of 7000 tons wheat, manganese and 339 bags of mail, and she had station 101. On March 16 she was struck on the starboard side, Hold No. 4 by a torpedo from U-603 (Bertelsmann), 50 38N 34 46W* and immediately started to sink.

The entire complement of 40, incl. 6 British gunners(?) went in the lifeboats and were picked up by the escorting British corvette Pennywort shortly afterwards. The ship had gone down in 8-10 minutes. The survivors were landed at Courock on March 22, then sent to Glasgow.

In the Norwegian magazine "Krigsseileren", Issue No. 3 for 1974, 2nd Mate Hans-Henrik Smith Hansen's notes on the sinking are included, submitted by his widow (he died in 1969). Before the loss of Elin K he had survived 3 other sinkings; the first one being D/S Cubano, then M/S Teneriffa and Thode Fagelund. After Thode Fagelund had been sunk on Nov. 17-1941 (date given in this story is Dec. 1, but that must be an error) he joined Elin K in Cape Town on Jan. 28-1942. He mentions an incident which he says has never (at the time) been reported or recorded, involving the sighting of a periscope when en route to New York in March-1943 (again, I believe there's some date confusion here, it's more likely that this took place in Febr.-1943 rather than March, being as they arrived New York on Febr. 24 - see also Page 3). He says this "object" was about 2 n. miles off, 45° to the port side. He must have been on duty as he ordered full power to the engine and the 12(?) British gunners to their stations. When they got close they were ordered to fire and the "object" disappeared.

Once in New York he says they were run into by a Dutch ship, S/S Suidenkart, in the process of maneuvering out, causing a gaping hole in Elin K's side, as well as damage to the Dutch vessel. Another source says the name of the ship was S/S Zaanland - in fact, Zaanland is also listed in Convoy HX 229, and was sunk. This collision might be the reason they had been cancelled from the previous convoy, HX 228? Clicking on the link, we find that Zaanland was also cancelled from HX 228, so the collision may have taken place while going out to form this convoy. The 2nd mate says that after repairs had been undertaken they joined another convoy (HX 229), and on March 16, (in position 50 15N 34 59W* according to him) the torpedo hit. He says that due to the heavy seas many ships had lost their rafts and other rescue equipment, so all of Elin K's lifeboats were swung in and tightly secured, but they were able to get them out and manned very quickly, not even needing to lower them because the ship sank so fast that the water was already reaching them. He says that Pennywort found them within the hour, picked them up, then sailed on and rejoined the convoy around midnight. At dawn he saw 11 sinking ships all at once, with "a Norwegian floating factory like a fire spitting vulcano in the horizon" (he probably means Southern Princess, which was British, not Norwegian - again, see my pages about HX 229). He describes the scene of lifeboats, debris, people in the water and the subsequent rescues by Pennywort, with tremendous respect and admiration for the British crew in the way they conducted themselves in this situation, adding on a lighter note that while the battle was at its fiercest a 15-16 year old messboy came up to the bridge with a pot of tea and some mugs dangling in one hand, asking 'do you want a cup of tea now Sir?' as if he was at home in his mother's kitchen. Smith Hansen ends his account by saying they were landed on March 22 near an American ferry converted to a Red Cross station.

*The position given in this account is, in fact, repeated in the captain's sinking report presented at the subsequent maritime hearings. J. Rohwer gives the position as 50 38N 34 46W at 23:00, German time. The captain gives the time as 20:10. Page 3 of the archive docs says "about 20:20".

22 merchant ships went down in this 5 day battle of the two convoys HX 229 and SC 122 which has been dubbed "the biggest convoy battle of the war", one U-boat was sunk by aircraft on March 19 (U-384). Gudvor, Askepot and Polarland had started out from New York in Convoy SC 122, but only Askepot was present when the attacks started, the other 2 having lost the convoy in a storm and returned to port. Again, please see my pages about these convoys for much more information; see also the external links provided below.

For info, U-603 was also responsible for the loss of Stigstad, Glittre and Brand that year - follow the links for details (these were the only ships sunk by this U-boat).

Crew List - No casualties:
*See also crew lists for Cubano, Teneriffa and Thode Fagelund.

Robert Johannessen
1st Mate
Jan Berge
2nd Mate
Hans Henrik
3rd Mate
Karl Hansen
Radio Operator
Ben Sword
(New Zealand)
Helmuth Johansen
Thorolf Larsen
Able Seaman
Jørgen Helstrøm
Able Seaman
Torolf Holten
Able Seaman
George Muis
Able Seaman
Carl Damm
Able Seaman
Martin Eilif
Able Seaman/Gunner
Leif Engelbretsen
Ordinary Seaman
Eric Martin
Ordinary Seaman/Gunner
Harry Halvorsen
Jr. Ordinary Seaman
David Wishart
Jr. Ordinary Seaman
William Christian
Deck Boy
William Lane
1st Engineer
Henry Haraldsen
2nd Engineer
Trygve Tobiassen
3rd Engineer
Ragnar Jensen
Knut Riis
Ingebrigt Otterlei
Gunnar Børresen
Øivin Halvorsen**
Harald Sørensen
John Johannessen
Alf Larsen
Donald Sinnot
Engine Boy
Douglas Evans
John Fredriksen
Artur Thoresen
Galley Boy
Ernst Wilson
Mess Boy
William Durk
+ 6 British Gunners?

Related external links:
Stavern Memorial commemorations - According to this website **Mechanic Øivind Halvorsen died in the above incident. However, according to "Våre falne", a series of 4 books listing Norwegian WW II casualties, he was admitted to a hospital in Glasgow after Elin K was lost, later to a hospital in New York, where he died on Febr. 19-1946 (he had joined Elin K in June-1942). Boatswain Kristian Kristiansen, who died in the accident on Febr. 3-1943 is also commemorated.

More on this battle - Scroll down on the page (from USMM in WW II).

HX 229, 16-19 March | SC 122, 17 -19 March - the battle day by day, and ships sunk.

Operations information for U-603

Back to Elin K on the "Ships starting with E" 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 for cross checking info as named within above text - ref. My sources.


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