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To Ferncourt on the "Ships starting with F" page.
Owner: Skibs-A/S Marine
Built by Deutsche Werft, Betrieb Reiherstiegwerft, Hamburg in 1938.
Captain: Syvert Birkenes. He died in March-1967, served at sea for almost 50 years, through 2 world wars, starting at age 16 with the schooner Helene in 1899. Later, in 1912, as captain of the company's Tolosa (sunk during WW I). Other ships included: Frogner, Papelera, Oria, Galicia, Biscaia, Nordfjeld, Nordkyn, Esther Elina, Eda, Navarra, Glittre, Garonne, Aragon, and others. He joined Ferncourt when she was new in 1938, remaining on board all through the war. (His misc. documents were donated to the State Archives in Kristiansand, Norway in 1993). Info received from the captain's grandson, Håkon Birkenes, along with the picture below.
Related item on this website:
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.
Ferncourt, bound for Dunkirk, was in the Halifax-U.K. Convoy HXF 13 in Dec.-1939. The Norwegian Italia is also listed.
In Febr./March-1940 she's listed in Convoy HX 23, again with destination Dunkirk. She's also named in Convoy HX 36 from Halifax on Apr. 18. Page 1 of the archive documents gives her voyage information as Aruba for France (as can be seen, she was on her way from Aruba to Halifax when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9); she arrived Boulogne on May 6, proceeding to Dunkirk the next day. Together with Bjerka, Bruse, Hadrian and Kaia Knudsen, A. Hague now has her in Convoy OA 150G, which originated at Southend on May 18 (the archive document shows that she had sailed from Dunkirk on May 16), joined up with Convoy OB 150G on the 20th, the combined convoy forming the Gibraltar bound Convoy OG 30. Ferncourt, however, was bound for Trinidad, so left this convoy to proceed to her destination, where she arrived on June 3, continuing to Curacao the following day. A direct link to A. Hague's listing for Convoy OA 150G has been provided in the table above. See also my page naming ships in all OG convoys (OG 30 will later be added to its own individual page). It'll be noticed that she spent quite a long time in Trinidad later that summer - from July 13 to Aug. 19, when she sailed to Aruba, from there to Bermuda and on to Halifax, where she arrived on Sept. 2, remaining there for a long time as well. Departure is given as Nov. 10, when she joined Convoy HX 86, fuel oil for Clyde, station 22, arriving Nov. 26.
In Jan.-1941, she's listed as bound for Curacao in Convoy OB 274, originating in Liverpool on Jan. 14, dispersed on the 19th, Ferncourt arriving Curacao independently on Febr. 2, having joined from Clyde (also available via external link in Voyage Record - Harpefjell, Leiv Eiriksson, Sommerstad, Stigstad and Torfinn Jarl are also included). From Curacao, she sailed to Bermuda a few days later, joining Convoy BHX 110 on Febr. 17 (the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 110*), cargo of fuel oil for Clyde, where she arrived March 10. "Nortraships flåte" mentions an episode taking place on March 15, when Ferncourt had a narrow escape. 2 mines had been discovered in the Clyde, and after the area was believed to have been made safe again permission was given for a tug to tow Ferncourt into Cart (river). When a mine detonated very close by, the tug was damaged enough that it had to be beached. Later that month we find her, with Brant County, Kongsgaard, Ranja, Taurus and Torborg, in Convoy OB 301, which originated in Liverpool on March 23 and dispersed on the 27th, Ferncourt arriving New York independently on Apr. 7 (she had again joined the convoy from Clyde - see Page 1). Having stayed in New York for over a month, she made a voyage to Aruba in May, then proceeded to Halifax in order to join Convoy HX 131 back to the U.K. on June 6, bound for Avonmouth with diesel oil in station 82 of the convoy (arrived Avonmouth June 26).
On July 7-1941, she was hit by 4 bombs, port side of deck, and by an aircraft torpedo while in convoy off Milford Haven near South Bishop. This was Convoy OB 343, which had left Liverpool on July 6 - Ferncourt had sailed from Milford Haven that day, and according to the archive document, she was bound for New York. Arosa, Evviva, Fanefjeld, Grado, Henrik Ibsen, Idefjord, Måkefjell, Nesttun, Slemdal, Spurt, Star, Suderholm and Taborfjell are also listed in this convoy - ref. link in Voyage Record. The torpedo also hit on the port side, resulting in a gaping hole below the waterline. 2 were killed (not Norwegian - see * below), 1 injured. Everyone except the captain, the 1st mate (or chief engineer?) and an able seaman went in the lifeboats. Ferncourt didn't sink, and as the captain didn't want to give up his ship he got 11 volunteers to reboard. The tug Schelde was called upon to tow her to Milford Haven, later to Swansea (July 20), where she was kept for repairs for 10 months. The captain later received the following from Winston S. Churchill:
He was also awarded "Krigsmedaljen" (War Medal) in 1942 and "St. Olav's-medaljen med ekegren" (St. Olav's Medal with Oak Leaf) in 1944. In 1988 he was awarded "Haakon VII Frihetsmedalje" posthumously. My War Medals page has more information and pictures. Also, judging from a letter from Nortraship to Captain Birkenes, dated Dec.-1941, it looks like the captain has recommended 5 of his crew for decorations.
Having been repaired, Ferncourt made a voyage to Curacao. She's listed in the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 103*, which originated in Liverpool on June 12-1942 and also included the Norwegian Frontenac, Garnes (from Halifax), Idefjord, Kaia Knudsen, Kong Haakon VII (Commodore Vessel), Lista, Maud, Mirlo, Noreg, Scebeli, Sommerstad, Thorshøvdi, Tijuca and Troubadour, as well as the Panamanian Norvinn (Norwegian managers). Ferncourt arrived Curacao, via New York and Key West, on July 21 (see Page 2 and Voyage Record). On Aug. 30, she can be found among the ships in Convoy HX 205 from Halifax, fuel oil for Loch Ewe, with arrival Sept. 10. Acanthus, Eglantine, Montbretia and Potentilla are named among the escorts. Ferncourt returned across the Atlantic with Convoy ON 131* (departure Liverpool Sept. 18, arrival New York on Oct. 4 - Ferncourt joined from Loch Ewe). She had again been in the company of a number of other Norwegian ships, namely Abraham Lincoln (Commodore Vessel), Biscaya (from Halifax), Brasil, Helgøy, Høegh Scout, Katy, Thorshøvdi and Vardefjell. Later on, Ferncourt is said to have been used in the Torch operations which commenced in Nov.-1942 - see her Voyage Record above. Athos has a list of Norwegian sips taking part in these operations.
Arnold Hague has her in Convoy HX 227*, which left New York on Febr. 18-1943 and arrived Liverpool on March 6 - Ferncourt stopped at Belfast Lough March 5. The Norwegian B. P. Newton, Belinda, Haakon Hauan, Kaldfonn, Mosli, Norholm, Pan Aruba, Polartank (returned), Skaraas, Stiklestad, Strinda and Thorshov are also listed, while Acanthus and Eglantine are named among the escorts (see HX convoy escorts). She subsequently returned to New York in Convoy ON 173*, which originated in Liverpool on March 13, with B. P. Newton, Dageid, Emma Bakke, Frontenac, Haakon Hauan, Idefjord, Mosli, Pan Aruba, Skaraas, Stiklestad, Strinda and Thorshov among its ranks. Ferncourt had joined from Milford Haven and arrived New York on March 31. She was scheduled to head back to the U.K. in Convoy HX 236 from New York on Apr. 24, but did not sail - according to A. Hague, she ran aground and arrived New York (from Baltimore) leaking on Apr. 26. She's mentioned in the Commodore's list of ships in HX 237 in May (but not in the Advance Sailing Telegram), but I can't be sure she actually joined, and returned? (Sandanger and Brand were sunk - follow the links for details). It also looks like she was scheduled for Convoy HX 244 on June 15. Again, she's not mentioned in the Advance Sailing Telegram for that convoy, but is crossed out from station 37 on the A 1 form. She finally got away with the next convoy on June 23, HX 245, bound for Clyde with petroleum products, station 32, arriving Clyde on July 6. As will be seen when following the link, some of the ships in HX 245 were detached to form a faster portion, and Ferncourt acted as Vice Commodore ship for this portion, her station was 33.
Together with Anna Knudsen, Buenos Aires, Emma Bakke, Ivaran, Laurits Swenson (Commodore Vessel), Norholm, Petter, Reinholt, San Andres, Skaraas (returned), Tai Shan, Topdalsfjord, Vest, Villanger and the Panamanian Norvinn, she now joined Convoy ON 192* in order to return to New York (originated in Liverpool on July 9, arrived New York on the 22nd), and on July 30 she was ready to return to Clyde with Convoy HX 250, arriving Clyde on on Aug. 12. Later that month, we find her in the westbound Convoy ON 198*, which originated in Liverpool on Aug. 21, arrived New York on Sept. 4, and also included Katy, Norsktank, Nueva Granada, Petter, Skiensfjord, Vanja and Vinga. A few days later, she took station 53 of Convoy HX 256, for which Topdalsfjord was the Commodore Vessel and Brimanger the Vice Commodore's ship. Again, Ferncourt was detached from the convoy with other ships, forming a fast section - follow link for details. Her voyages in this period are shown on Page 3. With Abraham Lincoln (Vice Commodore), Fernwood, Kaldfonn, Orwell, Skotaas and Spinanger, she headed back across the Atlantic with Convoy ON 205* (departure Liverpool Oct. 5, arrival New York Oct. 23). A. Hague subsequently has her in Convoy HX 267*, which left New York on Nov. 19 and included Molda and San Andres. Christmas that year was celebrated while in the westbound Convoy ON 216*, which departed Liverpool on Dec. 16 and arrived New York on Jan. 3-1944. Other Norwegian ships were Fagerfjell (put back), Fernwood, Molda and Skiensfjord.
Ferncourt was scheduled to return to the U.K. in Convoy HX 276 from New York on Jan. 21-1944, but instead joined HX 277 on Jan. 28, then headed back in the other direction again with Convoy ON 225*, which originated in Liverpool on Febr. 22 and arrived New York on March 8. Abraham Lincoln (Commodore Vessel), Bralanta, Haakon Hauan, Lista, Marit II, Montevideo, Skiensfjord and Thorsholm are also listed, as is the Panamanin Norlys. (The corvette Buttercup, which later came under the Norwegian flag after the loss of Tunsberg Castle, is named among the escorts - see ON convoy escorts). A few days later, Ferncourt joined Convoy HX 283, arriving Liverpool on March 29, and the following month she was one of several Norwegian ships represented in the westbound Convoy ON 231*. The others were: Østhav, Haakon Hauan, Spinanger, Vav, Solstad, Idefjord, President de Vogue, Heranger, Bernhard, Kong Haakon VII, Thorsholm, Skaraas, Høyanger and Nordanger. This convoy departed Liverpool on Apr. 7 and arrived New York on the 24th, and already on the 27th we find her in Convoy HX 289 from New York. She arrived Liverpool on May 15, and just 4 days later she's listed, together with Brimanger (Commodore Vessel), Emma Bakke, Glarona, Herbrand, Laurits Swenson (Vice Commodore), Maud, Mosli, Norefjord, Noreg, Norma, Pan Scandia, Skaraas and Velma, in the westbound Convoy ON 237*, departing Liverpool on May 19, arriving New York June 3 - Ferncourt arrived Baltimore June 5, remaining there for over a month before proceeding to Philadelphia; again, see Page 3.
On July 17-1944 Ferncourt joined the large Convoy HX 300 from New York. She arrived Liverpool on Aug. 2, and on Aug. 6 she shows up in the westbound Convoy ON 248(F)*, which arrived New York on the 20th (for info, there was also a slower ON convoy with this number, leaving Liverpool Aug. 10). As usual, other Norwegian ships took part, namely Idefjord, John Bakke, Norsktank, Polarsol and Solfonn. Ferncourt's voyages at this time are shown on Page 4. 5 days later, she was ready to head back to the U.K. with Convoy HX 305, bound for Purfleet (Abraham Lincoln served as Commodore Vessel), subsequently returning with Convoy ON 256*, along with Abraham Lincoln (again serving as Commodore Vessel), Egerø, Fagerfjell, Katy, Montevideo, Norsktank, Olaf Bergh, Sørvard and Thorsholm. ON 256 left Liverpool Sept. 28; Ferncourt arrived New York Oct. 13 and 2 days later, she joined Convoy HX 314; destination is again given as Purfleet (Emma Bakke was Commodore Vessel). At the beginning of the following month she appears, with Brasil, Egerø, Kronprinsessen, Lista, Nueva Granada, Solfonn, Stiklestad and Thorsholm, in the westbound Convoy ON 264*, which left Liverpool on Nov. 4 and arrived New York on the 21st. She headed back to the U.K. again already on Nov. 24 in Convoy HX 322, and rounded off that year in the westbound Convoy ON 272*, originating at Southend on Dec. 14, arriving New York on Jan. 1-1945. Egerø again took part, as did Norsktank and Strix.
She was scheduled for the New York-U.K. Convoy HX 330 on Jan. 3-1945, but instead joined the next convoy on Jan. 8, HX 331 (Commodore in Montevideo). Ferncourt's destination is given as Stanlow, where she arrived on Jan. 26 (Page 4), heading in the other direction again on Febr. 1 in Convoy ON 282*, which arrived New York on the 19th. Brimanger, Egerø, Fjordaas, Frontenac, Kaldfonn and Topdalsfjord (Commodore Vessel) are also listed in this convoy. We now find her, along with California Express, Fagerfjell, Fjordaas, Gefion (returned), Ivaran, Kaldfonn and Tungsha (Commodore Vessel), in Convoy HX 340*, departing New York on Febr. 23, arriving Liverpool on March 10. A week later, she's listed in the westbound Convoy ON 291*, with Fagerfjell and Laurits Swenson (left Liverpool on March 18, arrived New York on Apr. 6; Ferncourt arrived Baltimore that day, remaining there for several weeks). Her last Trans-Atlantic convoy voyage was made with Convoy HX 358*, departing New York on May 23. Fosna, Gefion and Tungsha are also listed. Her subsequent voyages are shown on Page 4 and Page 5 (to Apr.-1946).
Sold in 1954 to Ramon Mari-Pino, Panama, renamed Amilcar. Sold in 1957 to Daisy Tankers Corporation Inc., Panama (manager Ramon Mari-Pino, Lisbon) and renamed Daisy (Panamanian flag). Sold to Spanish breakers for breaking up at Castellon, where she arrived on June 20-1964.
Back to Ferncourt on the "Ships starting with F" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, E-mail from R. W. Jordan and misc. (ref. My sources).