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To Garonne on the "Ships starting with G" page.
Captain: Fridtjof Thorsen.
From Dec.-1943 until Nov.-1944 Garonne had a female radio operator, namely the Canadian Betty (Lake) Ottersen, who later served on T/T Kirkenes. My page about Mosdale has a list of several other Canadian girls serving as R.O.'s on Norwegian ships. See also YL Radio, an external website about the Canadian female RO's on Norwegian ships.
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 (it'll be noticed that some of the external listings are incomplete).
Errors may exist, and some voyages are missing.
In Febr.-1940, Garonne is listed, together with Temeraire and Bruse Jarl, in the Gibraltar-U.K. Convoy HG 18F - note that she's also mentioned several times in the Commodore's narrative on that page. Later that month, she can be found going in the other direction with Convoy OB 98. Her destination is given as Constanza and she had station 73 of the convoy, which on Febr. 27 joined up with an OA convoy of the same number to form the Gibraltar bound Convoy OG 20F (arrived Gibraltar on March 4). According to A. Hague, Garonne arrived Constanza on March 12, and on March 28, we find her in station 74 of Convoy HG 24 from Gibraltar; her destination is given as Manchester on that occasion, and it looks like she was the only Norwegian ship. According to Page 1 of the archive documents, she arrived Stanlow on Apr. 7. With Polarsol, she subsequently joined Convoy OB 133, which left Liverpool on Apr. 20 and joined up with the OA convoy of the same number on Apr. 22 to form Convoy OG 27F, arriving Gibraltar Apr. 28. In addition to Garonne and Polarsol, the Norwegian John Knudsen and Leikanger are also listed in the OG convoy (they had come from OA 133). Having made voyages to Port Said and Haifa, Garonne returned to Gibraltar in order to join Convoy HG 31 back to the U.K. on May 23. She was bound for Swansea, cargo of benzine, station 32, arriving her destination on June 2. Later that month she's listed, with Bjørkhaug, Polarsol, Ruth I, South America and Vav, in Convoy OB 167, which originated in Liverpool on June 13 and dispersed on the 17th, Garonne arriving Aruba June 30. Direct links to the OB convoys mentioned here have been provided within the Voyage Record above - the OG convoys will be added to my Convoys section in due course, but for now, please see the page listing ships in all OG convoys.
From Aruba, she proceeded to Bermua on July 1 (Page 1) and is now mentioned in the Advance Sailing Telegram for the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 57 on July 10, with a note saying "To be sent to Halifax to await orders". As can be seen in the Voyage Record above, A. Hague says she made this voyage from Bermuda to Halifax independently. She later headed back to the U.K. again on Aug. 4 in Convoy HX 63, bound for Clyde with a cargo of gasoline. Judging from her Voyage Record (and the archive document), she spent quite a long time at Clyde later on, from arriving there from Ardrossan on Aug. 28 to departing again for Swansea on Nov. 9, where she also stayed for over a month (reason not known). She's subsequently listed, along with Brasil, Hjalmar Wessel, Leikanger and Primero, in Convoy OB 263, which originated in Liverpool on Dec. 23 and dispersed on the 27th (link in the table above), Garonne arriving Aruba Jan. 14-1941, proceeding to Bermuda the next day.
She was scheduled for Convoy BHX 104 from Bermuda on Jan. 21-1941, but instead joined the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 106 on Jan. 28 (it'll be noticed when going back to Page 1, that she had not arrived Bermuda from Aruba until Jan. 23). Her destination is given as Loch Ewe, where she arrived Febr. 17, continuing to Methil Roads that same day (cargo of gasoline). She left Methil Roads again for Isle of Grain on Febr. 22, but the next day, she ran aground at the inlet to the Thames (A. Hague has her in Convoy FS 418 on this date - ref. link in Voyage Record; incomplete listing). The destroyer Woolston stayed nearby, but due to the danger of German air attack she was also given aircraft protection the next morning while a tug was working to get her refloated, and she continued up the Thames on Febr. 25; according to the archive document, she arrived Sheerness that day (see also Page 2). The following month, she's listed as bound for Curacao in Convoy OB 299, which originated in Liverpool on March 19 and dispersed on the 25th, Garonne arriving Curacao Apr. 10 (having sailed from Loch Ewe March 21). Emma Bakke, Morgenen and Sveve are also named in this convoy, while Einar Jarl and Taurus were scheduled but did not sail (again, see the link provided in the table above).
Having spent 2 weeks in Curacao, Garonne proceeded to Halifax, and with a cargo of gasoline, she joined Convoy HX 125A on May 6, taking station 63. A cruising order/Commodore's notes are also available for this convoy. She arrived Liverpool on May 23, Stanlow the next day, and a week later, she joined convoy OB 329, leaving Liverpool on May 31. Belpareil, Bjerka, Bruse Jarl, Christian Krogh (sunk - follow link for details), Finnanger, O. A. Knudsen, Sirehei (returned) and Veni are also listed (link in Voyage Record). Garonne's destination on that occasion is given as New York, and she arrived there on June 17, the convoy having been dispersed on June 5. She was scheduled to return to the U.K. in Convoy HX 137 from Halifax on July 6, but instead joined the next convoy on July 11, HX 138, bound for Milford Haven and Southampton (again, see Page 2). She later made another voyage to Curacao, having sailed in Convoy OS 3 (link in table above ). A. Hague has also included Havsten and Vardefjell in this convoy, which originated in Liverpool on Aug. 13 and arrived Freetown Sept. 1; Garonne, however, had detached from the convoy on Aug. 18, and arrived Curacao on the 31st.
On Sept. 16, we find her in station 62 of Convoy HX 150 from Halifax, along with the Norwegian Fenris, Solfonn, Havkong, Heina, Thorshavet, Topdalsfjord, Varanger (returned) and Braganza. A. Hague has also added Boreas (joining from St. John's). The following month, Garonne went in the other direction with the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 26, departing Liverpool on Oct. 14. Her destination is given as Halifax, where she arrived Oct. 31, the convoy having been dispersed Oct. 29. She headed back to the U.K. already on Nov. 3 in Convoy HX 158 and her last Trans-Atlantic convoy voyage that year was made in the westbound Convoy ON 44*, which originated in Liverpool on Dec. 7 and dispersed Dec. 15, Garonne arriving Galveston on Jan. 3-1942 - her voyages in this period are shown on Page 3. Anna Knudsen, Belinda, Montevideo and Toledo are also listed in ON 44, as is the Panamanian Norvik (Norwegian managers and, therefore, included on this website under the N's), wile Montbretia and Rose are named among the escorts - see ON convoy escorts.
Garonne headed back across the Atlantic on Febr. 1-1942 in Convoy HX 173 from Halifax, returning later that month with Convoy ON 71*, which had started out in Liverpool on Febr. 26 and dispersed March 8 and also had Athos, Fagerfjell, Fjordaas, Gallia, Høegh Giant, John Bakke, Malmanger, Skaraas, Solfonn and Velma, as well as the Panamanian Norvik in its ranks. Garonne's destination is given as Baytown; according to the archive document mentioned above, she arrived Galveston on March 22. While in Convoy HX 185, she collided with (or was run into by) the British Manchester Divison on Apr. 19. Garonne had a cargo of aviation fuel and the other ship is said to have been loaded with TNT, so the results could have been disasterous, but the point of impact was in the bow on both ships. The British ship had to proceed to New Foundland while Garonne continued to Swansea where she underwent repairs for 7 weeks. While there, she also received armament as well as 6 gunners and a gunnery officer to man it, and cabins were built for them on the boatdeck.
She's now listed as bound for New York in Convoy ON 107*, which originated in Liverpool on June 26-1942 and dispersed July 9, Garonne arriving her destination the next day. Other Norwegian ships were Fernmoor, Glittre, Havkong, Rio Novo, Polartank and Samuel Bakke. Her subsequent voyages are shown on Page 3, with convoy info for some of them in the Voyage Record above; see also Page 4. She did not go back to the U.K. again until Sept. 6, when she can be found in station 94 of Convoy HX 206 from Halifax, returning to New York later that month with Convoy ON 133* (originated in Liverpool Sept. 25, arrived New York Oct. 11). She had again been in the company of many other Norwegian ships, namely Anna Knudsen, Athos, Bello, Brimanger, Emma Bakke, Grey County, Kosmos II, Minerva, Molda, Noreg, Nueva Granada, Petter II (returned), Polarsol, Polartank, Sandanger, Skandinavia, Thorshavet, Thorshov and the Panamanian Norbris (Norwegian managers). New Years Eve was celebrated in Convoy HX 221, which left New York on Dec. 29 and arrived Liverpool on Jan. 14-1943; the Commodore's narrative is also available; he was in the Norwegian Abraham Lincoln. Garonne, cargo of diesel oil, station 92, stopped at Loch Ewe on Jan. 13, continuing to Scapa Flow the next day.
She returned to New York at the beginning of the following month with Convoy ON 164, arriving New York Febr. 19-1943, and was scheduled to go back to the U.K. on Febr. 28 with Convoy HX 228 (in which Brant County was sunk - follow the links for much more info), but did not sail. Instead, she headed to Oran from New York on March 4 - see her Voyage Record above, as well as Page 4 of the archive docs.
Shortly after midnight on March 23-1943, she was hit by a torpedo from aircraft and damaged while in Convoy KMF 11* (according to "Nortraships flåte"), just outside Oran while waiting for orders to go in; the British troop transport Windsor Castle was sunk in this attack - ref. external link at the end of this page. (Note that according to Page 4, Garonne arrived Oran on March 22). At the time, Garonne had P 38 aircraft on her decks in addition to a cargo of diesel and fuel oil from New York - as mentioned above, she had left New York on March 4. According to an article in issue No. 1 for 1996 of the Norwegian Magazine "Krigsseileren", written by Chief Engineer Eldrup Gustavsen (who had joined Garonne from Fernwood at the end of 1941), the attack took place at 01:00, and she was hit in the middle of the after side tank, causing her to list to starboard. 2nd Mate at the time was Axel Øhre, who together with the chief engineer initiated "gravity trimming" of cargo into empty tanks, and she slowly started to straighten up again. The crew, who had been ordered to the lifeboats, now went back on board. 1st Mate at that time was Per Thronsen, the steward's name was Jensen.
They were later told by shore authorities that the torpedo had come from an Italian aircraft ("Nortraships flåte" says it was German, which is probably more correct?). The result was a 45 ft long opening in her side, with her deck torn open and 2 of her aircraft destroyed, while another 2 received less serious damages. Temporary repairs were made to the ship on the spot, before she was moved to an anchorage nearby where her cargo was transferred to other tankers and barges. On April 6, she went back to Oran for docking and further repairs, then on July 30, she departed Oran for Gibraltar (Convoy MKS 19Y - scroll down to the third table on that page) in order to join a convoy back to New York** where permanent repairs were undertaken.
After repairs were completed, Garonne joined Convoy HX 271* from New York to the U.K. on Dec.15-1943. Leiv Eiriksson and Tigre are also listed.
With Elisabeth Bakke (Commodore Vessel), Heranger, Høyanger, Ivaran, Laurits Swenson and Norholm, she went back across the Atlantic again at the beginning of 1944 in Convoy ON 219*, which originated in Liverpool on Jan. 8 and arrived New York Jan. 27. At the end of March, she's listed in Convoy HX 285 from New York, bound for Clyde, where she arrived Apr. 11, proceeding to Bowling, with arrived there Apr. 13, according to Page 4. She subsequently joined the westbound Convoy ON 234*, originating in Liverpool Apr. 26, arriving New York May 12. Abraham Lincoln, Estrella, Fagerfjell, Fernmoor, Geisha, Kaldfonn, Leiv Eiriksson, Lista, Molda, Petter, Romulus, Samuel Bakke, Skiensfjord, Solfonn, Strinda and Vinland are also listed, as is the Panamanian Norlys.
From the U.S., she now went back to Oran (convoy info in Voyage Record), and in June-1944, she's listed in Convoy KMS 54*, voyage from Oran to Port Said, where she arrived July 3, having left Oran on June 24. On Sept. 9, she made a voyage from Malta to Port Said, having joined Convoy KMS 61*, and the following month, we find her in Convoy MKS 64*, voyage Alexandria to Gibraltar, before again heading back to the U.S. on Oct. 22 - see also Page 5. Anatina, Gallia and President de Vogue are also named in KMS 54 (but note that their voyage information might not be the same), while Norelg is mentioned in MKS 64.
According to the chief engineer, they were en route from Halifax to the U.K. on VE Day, May 8, having departed Halifax on May 5, but again, this appears to be a memory lapse (the story was written down around 1992, so it would be understandable if he remembered some of the dates wrong - he died in 1995). As can be seen in her Voyage Record above, as well as on Page 6 of the archive documents, she was at Hampton Roads on VE Day, having arrived there from Oran on May 5. On May 9, she proceeded to New York and Boston, then on to Halifax, and from there she joined Convoy SC 176* for the U.K. on May 16, together with Chr. Th. Boe, Dageid, Elg, Glarona, Ima, Rena and Vinga. She later returned to the U.S. for docking in Baltimore, then picked up a cargo in Bermuda before heading to Naples, then to Port Said, and was in the Suez Canal when Japan capitulated. She now made some voyages from Abadan to various ports in The Indian Ocean as well as to New Zealand, and her last voyage for Nortraship was to Cochin, where she was officially returned to owners. Another voyage was made from Abadan to Madras and Calcutta, where she took on board five Norwegian female missionaries who had been trapped in China since before the war and had suffered greatly until they had eventually managed to escape to Calcutta. Finally, on Apr. 10-1946 Garonne arrived Copenhagen, then proceeded to Sandefjord, Norway.
Sold in 1952 to African Enterprises Ltd., Monrovia, Liberia (managed from New York), and renamed African Hope. Sold in 1954 to Societe de Transports Internacionaux, Monaco, and renamed Fontvieille. Extensively damaged by fire and explosion on July 3-1954, while undergoing repairs at Bremerhaven, four workers were killed. Found to be beyond economical repair and sold for £53,000 to Eisen & Metall KG Lehr & Co. for breaking up at Bremerhaven.
Astrup Fearnley - the Fearnley company today.
Back to Garonne on the "Ships starting with G" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Krigsseileren", Issue No. 1 and 2 for 1996, E-mails from R. W. Jordan and misc. (ref. My sources).