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Owner: Skibs-A/S Ferm
Built by Götaverken A/B, Gothenburg in 1933.
Captain: Bernt A. Thorbjørnsen
Her voyages are listed on this original image from the National Archives of Norway.
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, Ferm was on her way from Corpus Christi to Le Havre, via Halifax - see the archive document. She's listed in Convoy HX 35, which left Halifax on Apr. 14 and also included other Norwegian ships, as will be seen when following the link. She had a cargo of crude oil, sailing in station 83 of the convoy, and arrived her destination Le Havre on Apr. 29. Together with Hilda Knudsen, she joined Convoy 56 XS the following month. This convoy left Verdon on May 8; according to the archive document, Ferm arrived Gibraltar on May 13/14, the convoy having been dispersed (available via the external link provided within the table above).
The following month, she's said to have lost a crew member to an accident - see the external link below.
In Nov.-1940, we find her in Convoy SL 56 from Freetown, sailing in station 43, cargo of fuel oil. The Norwegian Bruse Jarl, Sandar and Sirehei are also listed in this convoy, which was bound for the U.K. (links above), but Ferm stopped at Gibraltar on Dec. 4, having left Freetown on Nov. 21. On Dec. 7, she proceeded to Curacao, arriving there on Dec. 23, heading back to Gibraltar that same day.
Related external link:
At the beginning of 1941, Ferm had made an independent voyage from Gibraltar to New York, with arrival Jan. 30. On Febr. 17, she proceeded to Halifax in order to join a convoy for the U.K. She arrived Halifax on Febr. 22 and was scheduled for Convoy HX 111 the next day, but instead joined Convoy HX 112, which departed Halifax on March 1. Ferm carried a cargo of close to 9000 tons fuel oil for Avonmouth.
At about 23:15 on March 16, she was torpedoed by U-99 (Kretschmer), position 60 42N 13 10W. She was struck in the foreship, the explosion setting her on fire and causing her to list to port while she started to sink by the bow. All 35 on board survived and abandoned ship in 3 boats, to be picked up shortly afterwards by the British escort vessel K 80 (I believe this was the corvette HMS Bluebell). The commander of this vessel asked the captain if there was any chance of going back on board, but when Captain Thorbjørnsen asked his officers and crew if they would be willing to do so, they all declined, considering it too risky, because the corvette could not remain alongside to wait for them and take them off should anything go wrong. Besides, they had had to set the lifeboats adrift when they were rescued, so would have no means of escape if an attempt at saving the ship should prove too dangerous or in case the weather should worsen. The commander then suggested reporting the case to the Admiralty in order to get a tug to examine the ship, to which the captain agreed.
J. Rohwer indicates that Ferm was sunk in this attack, but "Nortraships flåte" states that an attempt was made to save her the next morning as she was still afloat. Also, Roger W. Jordan's "The world's Merchant Fleets 1939" says she was taken in tow, but sank on March 21 in 61 30N 09 30W. The archive document also gives the sinking date as March 21.
The maritime hearings were held in Greenock on March 24-1941 with the captain, the 1st and 2nd mates, the 1st engineer, the assistant, Ordinary Seaman Vartdal (helmsman), the pump man and the boatswain appearing. When the torpedo struck the 2nd mate was on duty on the bridge, while Assistant Torsvik and Mechanic Tonning were on watch in the engine room. The 1st mate was off duty.
It appears that some of Ferm's crew members had been asked to go on board another torpedoed ship, the French Franche Comte (sailing under MoWT, in other words, British flag) to help bring her to port. Pump man Erling Jansen stated at the maritime hearings that Able Seaman Arnulf Andersen went on board, adding that most of the English and Scottish able seamen and firemen had also been asked, and the English did go. This is a bit strange, because I don't see any firemen in the crew list (Ferm was a tanker), nor do I see any names that look English or Scottish.
Other ships lost in this convoy in addition to Ferm and the Norwegian M/T Beduin were the British Venetia (maize - no casualties), the Swedish Korshamn (general - 26 died), the Canadian J.B. White (steel and paper - 2 died), all sunk by U-99. U-99 also torpedoed and damaged the British Franche Comte, while the British Erodona was damaged by U-110. The remainder of the convoy arrived Liverpool on March 20-1941. The external links provided at the end of this page have more on these attacks.
U-99 was scuttled on March 17 after HMS Walker (one of the escorts for Convoy HX 112), commanded by MacIntyre, had sent a series of depth charges towards her, approximate position 61N 12W, 3 died. 40 survivors were picked up by Walker. Kretschmer spent the rest of the war as a prisoner in Canada.
U-99 | Otto Kretschmer
The Sinking of HMS Patroclus and HMS Laurentic by Chris Paddock, telling the story of the sinking of these two ships by Otto Kretschmer and U-99. A section of Tom Purnell's website (he writes extensively about Convoy HX 72).
Back to Ferm on the "Ships starting with F" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "The allied Convoy System", Arnold Hauge, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume I (Norwegian Maritime Museum) and misc. others as named within above text for cross checking details - ref. My sources.