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Manager: Erling J. Torstensen, Arendal
Built at Hedrik Ido Ambacht, Holland 1916. Previous names: Froland until 1919, Troldheimen until 1920.
Delivered in 1916 as Froland to Vest-Norge Dampskibsselskap A/S, Kristiansand. Sold in 1919 to Taormina Dampskibsselskap A/S (Eivind Eriksen), Oslo, renamed Troldheimen. Renamed Gimle in 1920. The owning company changed its name to Gimle D/S A/S in 1931. Taken over by Hakedal Dampskibsselskap in 1934, then sold in June that same year to Skibsaktieselskabet Froland (Erling J. Torstensen), Arendal. In Aug.-1934 she arrived Tranøy with a heavy list due to the fact that her deck cargo had shifted after departure Tromsø on a voyage from Archangel via Tromsø for bunkers. Assisted by the salvage vessel Sterkodder, then taken to Lødingen.
Gimle was one of several Norwegian ships affected by the Spanish civil war when she was captured by Spanish naval vessels and forced to go to Ceuta on June 6-1938, while on a voyage from Newport, Wales to Oran with coal, and kept there until June 28. Overhauled and repaired at Pusnes Støperi & mek. Verksted A/S, Tromøy in Sept.-1938.
Captain: Nils Dahl Nielsen (who was also captain when she was taken to Ceuta).
Departed West Hartlepool at 08:00 in the morning of Dec. 3-1939 with a cargo of coke nuts for Gothenburg. Torpedoed (near No. 3 hatch) and sunk by U-31 (Habekost) on Dec. 4 (half an hour after midnight) in 57 15N 01 50E. She listed heavily to starboard, all the lights went out, the starboard lifeboat was gone, but the crew was able to get away in the port boat. The captain jumped overboard and was fished up by the boat, which also found another 2 men in the water, and a little later the motorboat was found with 1 man on board, as well as the raft with yet another man. 3 were missing and could not be found in the dark.
The motorboat was damaged so 13 assembled in the lifeboat, while taking the raft in tow, having placed 3 men on it after the lifeboat had been found to be too heavy with all 16 in it. Several of them had not had the time to get properly dressed, so they were practically naked in the boat and had to sit barefoot in the ice cold water which collected in the bottom. By the time they were rescued they had developed large sores, and were very swollen. Due to stormy weather with heavy seas the tow kept breaking so the 3 on the raft were moved to the lifeboat in the afternoon of the 5th, while the raft was let go and they dropped a sea anchor. The next morning the weather had improved and they set sail for the English coast. At least 14 vessels had passed them but to their despair they were never seen, in spite of their signalling, until on Dec. 7 when they were rescued by D/S Rudolf and taken to Arendal, Norway. (Note: Another source says D/S Janna picked up the survivors from Gimle).
According to the maritime declaration (hearings held in Arendal on Dec. 12) the donkeyman Alf Mathisen had been on duty in the engine room where the torpedo hit, and was thought to have been killed at that time. 1st Engineer Ingolf Andreassen had helped launch the lifeboat, but Gimle listed so heavily as she sank he must have been unable to get to the railing and into the boat. The 3rd casualty, Deckboy Olaf Haugneland was on duty on the bridge with the 2nd mate (who survived), and had been seen running aft. He was thought to have disappeared along with the deck cargo which went overboard when she listed. He also had a bandaged hand which would have made it difficult for him to slide down on a rope, so he may have tried to reach the raft. The others looked for the 3 missing men all night, but all they could find was the engineer's cap. (Info from an article by Yngvar Berthelsen, included in Aust-Agder Museum Årbok. This article also mentions an amazing incident that took place in Sept.-1998 when a bottled letter dated Oct. 9-1935 was found by the Belgian fishing vessel Oosthinder in the North Sea. It was signed by 2 men, and the daughter of one of them has since confirmed that her father was indeed on board Gimle in 1935).
Related external links:
Back to Gimle on the "Ships starting with G" page.
Other ships by this name: Norway (V. Torkildsen) had also lost a steamship by this name to WW I, built 1904, 1131 gt - torpedoed and sunk by UB 35 southeast of Scarborough on Nov. 4-1917. A visitor to my website, using the source "Shipwreck Index of the British Isles" says she lies 4 miles off Scarborough in 54 24 30N 00 24 31W and has been positively identified by divers. Also, Norway had another Gimle, ex Strassburg, built 1873, 437 gt. This vessel was lost in 1916, having the name Hjørdis at the time and belonged to D/S Nordnæs (Johan Rudolf Troye), Bergen. She had been renamed Gimle after she was purchased to Norway by Alf Monsen, Tønsberg back in 1896, became Hjørdis in 1907.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Skip og menn", Birger Dannevig, "Våre gamle skip", Leif M. Bjørkelund & E. H. Kongshavn, and sources mentioned in the text above.