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Manager: A/S J. Ludwig Mowinckels Rederi, Bergen
Delivered from A/B Götaverken, Gothenburg (483) in Dec.-1934 as Grena to A/S J. Ludwig Mowinckels Rederi, Bergen. 455.5' x 59.2' x 35.9', 8 cyl. 4 TEV DM (Götaverken), 4300 bhp.
Captain: Alfred Aardahl
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.
Errors may exist, and some voyages are missing.
As will be seen when going to Page 1 of the archive documents, Grena was on her way from Portland, Vic. to Fremantle when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940 (or, it's possible she proceeded to Fremantle at the news, it being the closest allied port? - see Nortraship).
In Oct.-1940, she's listed as sailing in the Freetown-U.K. Convoy SL 51. She arrived Avonmouth on Nov. 10, having departed Freetown Oct. 12. Primero, South Africa and Thorshavet are also named in this convoy. The following month, we find her, together with Bur, Evanger and Nea, in Convoy OB 262, which originated in Liverpool on Dec. 20 and dispersed on the 23rd, Grena arriving Aruba on Jan. 5-1941. Direct links to A. Hague's listing for both these convoys have been provided within the Voyage Record.
From Aruba, she proceeded to Bermuda, and with benzine for Avonmouth, she headed back across the ocean on Jan. 21-1941 in Convoy BHX 104, having previously been cancelled from the Bermuda portion of HX 103. She arrived Avonmouth on Febr. 14, and later that month, she joined Convoy OB 291, which originated in Liverpool on Febr. 27 and dispersed March 3 and also included Caledonia, Hardanger, Hilda Knudsen, Laurits Swenson, Skaraas (bombed and damaged) and Storaas (also damaged), as well as the the Panamanian Norvik (Norwegian managers). Grena's destination is given as Port Arthur, and she arrived there, via Galveston and Beaumont, on March 31, according to Page 1. She subsequently headed back to the U.K. on Apr. 16 with Convoy HX 121 from Halifax, in which Caledonia was sunk - follow link for details. Cruising order/Commodore's notes are also available for this convoy. She's now listed, along with Lise, Orwell, Salamis and Sama, in Convoy OB 323, departing Liverpool on May 17, dispersed May 25, Grena arriving Aruba on June 7. From there, she later proceeded to Bermuda in order to join the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 134 on June 18, bound for Mersey with kerosene. See also the Commodore's narrative of passage. Grena arrived Liverpool on July 9, Stanlow on July 11 - see Page 2.
Just a few days later, she joined Convoy OB 348, departing Liverpool on July 17, arriving Halifax on the 31st (Grena's arrival is given as Aug. 1). Audun (to Iceland), Storaas and Tautra are also listed. On Aug. 10, Grena can be found in Convoy HX 144 from Halifax, along with the Norwegian Polartank, Orwell, Hallanger, Eidanger, Havprins, Suderøy, Evanger, Norse King, Vinland and Sommerstad. A. Hague has also included Ranja in this convoy. Grena had station 73, sailing between Suderøy and Eidanger. She arrived Stanlow on Aug. 31, Manchester on Sept. 7, remaining there for over a month (Page 2). She headed back across the Atlantic in the westbound Convoy ON 28* on Oct. 20 and arrived New York on Nov. 6, the convoy having been dispersed Nov. 3. She had again been in the company of several other Norwegian ships, namely Beth, Brant County, Laurits Swenson, Morgenen, Polartank and Ringstad. On Nov. 15, we find her in Convoy HX 160 from Halifax - Montbretia is named among the escorts. Grena rounded off that year with a voyage to Curacao, where she arrived on Jan. 7-1942, having started out from Loch Ewe in Convoy ON 48* on Dec. 20 (the convoy had been dispersed on Dec. 31). Athos, Buenos Aires, Chr. Th. Boe, Havkong, Havprins, Heranger, Høegh Scout, Kollskegg, Nueva Andalucia, Solfonn, Solstad (returned) and Sveve are also listed.
Skipping now to the end of Nov.-1943, when she made a voyage from Oran (Nov. 30) to Port Said (Dec. 9) in Convoy KMS 33*. Lago, Ledaal, Loke, Norden, Norelg and Skotaas are also listed in this convoy which left Gibraltar on Nov. 29, but note that they have different voyage information. (For info, this convoy had originally started out in the U.K. on Nov. 16 as the combined Convoy OS 59/KMS 33 and split up on the 28th, the OS convoy continuing to Freetown, while the KMS portion arrived Gibraltar on Nov. 29 - ships not bound for Gibraltar would then proceed to their respective destinations, still in KMS 33; some ships, like Grena, joined along the way).
In Jan.-1944, she's listed in Convoy MKS 38*, voyage Port Said to Malta, where she arrived Jan. 26 (Germa, Norbryn and Norelg are also named, but again with different voyage information), and at the beginning of the following month, she made a voyage from Malta to Port Said with Convoy KMS 39* - see also Page 4. Other Norwegian ships in KMS 39 were Far, Ingertre, Loke, Selvik, Slemmestad and Star.
Grena had left Aden alone on March 17-1944 for Abadan in ballast. At 13:04 ship's time on March 21 she was in position 20 48N 59 38E, about 30 n. miles off land(?) when struck on the port side by 3 torpedoes in the course of less than 10 seconds from the Japanese submarine I-26 (Kusaka). Page 4 of the archive documents gives the time as 09:09 GMT. The 1st torpedo hit in the after section of the engine room (in boiler room), resulting in the entire poop being lifted from the water, with flames, steam, smoke and oil rising high in the air. The 2nd struck in No. 1 port wing tank, causing the after section to break down and sink. The 3rd, which had struck in No. 2 port wing tank (numbering from aft) broke the ship off around No. 4 center tank. She listed heavily to port about 60° and was expected to capsize immediately. The captain, who had been in his cabin at the time ran to the bridge and ordered the radio operator to send an SOS but the transmitters had been rendered completely inoperative.
Lachlan Lang (head of the gunners), who was on deck on the aft port side when the 1st torpedo hit right next to him says in a report that the first explosion was followed immediately afterwards by a 2nd, and adds that another 2(?) torpedoes subsequently hit the ship. As the after part of the ship had sunk below the surface, all those who had been in that area, including Gunner Lang ended up in the water, then swam away. Both port lifeboats had been destroyed and with the heavy list it was impossible for the others to launch the starboard boats so they had to jump overboard. The entire after part of the ship now broke off, then the foreship levelled up slightly and the motor lifeboat fell into the water. Some of the survivors were able to get into this boat and started to pick up others from the oil covered, shark infested water as well as from rafts that had broken loose and were floating around among the debris. While this was taking place the sub surfaced and fired 2 shells towards the remainder of the ship, but the shells landed in the water among the survivors instead, though nobody appears to have been hurt. Later on the starboard stern lifeboat was found capsized and after the majority of the crew had been picked up they were able to right and bail this boat.
As the foreship levelled it had been their intention to go back on board in order to release the remaining forward starboard raft and also to get the lifeboat transmitter from the wheelhouse so that they could send out distress calls, but there was no time to do so. As they pulled away Grena's list to port increased until she capsized completely in about half an hour. The sub then submerged and they did not see it again.
3 men were found to be missing. The gun platform had collapsed in the first explosion and the British Gunner Donald Ball and Cook Martinsen, who had both last been seen in hammocks underneath the after gun deck were believed to have been killed at that time. The British Oiler Geoffrey Lewis had been in the boiler room and was also believed to have been killed in the first explosion. 7 men were injured, some with serious burns, namely 3rd Engineer Peder Pedersen, Mechanic (Motorman) Anton Jørgensen, the Australian Francis Topham, the Canadian Saloon Boy Tom Daniels and Able Seaman Eilif Dahl, while Mechanic Paul Jensen and the Canadian Mess Boy Robert Haldane had cuts and lacerations.
At 17:00 the motorboat took the other lifeboat and the raft in tow, heading towards the Arabian Coast. However, after about half an hour the motor stopped working so it was decided to release the raft and set sail for land independently in order to obtain medical assistance for the injured men as quickly as possible. They had been divided between the 2 boats and were taken care of the best they could under the circumstances.
During the evening the loom of the Masira Island beacon was seen but as the wind increased from the south it was impossible to reach the island against the wind and seas. At dawn on March 22 they could vaguely discern the coast and they continued north along the coast in the hopes of reaching a populated area. That afternoon the lifeboat sighted an Arabian dhow lying at anchor. This was hailed and with the help of sign language the fisherman agreed to guide them to a settlement where medical assistance would be available. During the previous night the boats had drifted out of sight of each other but were reunited again that afternoon. When the wind died down at dusk they decided to anchor for the night, then at 3 in the morning, March 23, when the wind had freshened again they continued sailing north under the guidance of the fishing boat, though with 1 person less among them - Mechanic Jørgensen having passed away in the course of the night.
In the motorboat, continuous attempts had been made to get the motor started again, and at 08:00 that morning they finally got it to function whereupon the lifeboat was again taken in tow. At 16:00 that afternoon they arrived at the British RAF base near Ras el Hadj where the remaining injured men were immediately taken to the camp hospital for medical treatment. Mechanic Jørgensen was buried at the base after sunset with all his uninjured shipmates present. The 6 injured men, 3 of whom were in critical condition, were ordered by the camp doctor to be transferred to the British General Hospital at Karachi and were picked up by 2 aircraft the following morning, March 24, but the 3 could not be saved.
The remainder of the crew embarked HMIS Investigator which left for a convoy port in the inlet to the Persion Gulf that same afternoon, with arrival on the 26th. On the 29th they were transferred to the Dutch Noesaniwi which was carrying explosives according to Lachlan Lang. (This message in my Guestbook says Noesaniwi was the ex Wuppertal - Hamburg America Line, built 1936, seized in 1940 by Holland and renamed Noesaniwi, transferred to Rotterdam Lloyd in 1946). This ship landed them in Suez on Apr. 14, and the hearings were held there on Apr. 19 with the captain, the 1st and 2nd mates and the 1st engineer appearing. The seamen had been placed in the Merchant Navy Club, the officers in the Bel Air hotel, and the DEMS gunners stayed in a camp while waiting to join another Norwegian ship.
Grena was the last Norwegian ship to be lost in the Indian Ocean during WW II.
Related external links:
Back to Grena on the "Ships starting with G" page.
Other ships by this name: A/S J. Ludwig Mowinckels Rederi, Bergen had previously had another Grena, delivered in Dec.-1912, built in Sunderland, 6371 gt. Sold in 1934 and renamed Orone, managed by Johan Gran, Bergen. Sold to Japan in 1937, renamed Nichian Maru. Torpedoed and sunk in Sept.-1944 by American sub Spadefish (see this external page, scroll down to Sept. 8). In Apr.-1950 another Grena was delivered to the company, built in Amsterdam, 10 426 gt. Sold in Jan.-1956 to Belgium and renamed Purfina Suisse. Sold to France in 1963, renamed Escale Dieu. Renamed Arsinoe in 1965. Ran aground on Aug. 30-1965 when on a voyage Singapore-Shanghai, broke in 2 and sank. The company received another Grena in Jan.-1958, 13 065 gt. Sold to Italy in 1967 and renamed Sofia d'Amico. Broken up around 1975 or early '76. In Dec.-1974 another Grena was delivered, 24 997 gt., built in Japan. Sold to Hong Kong in 1984, sold again in Dec.-1988, managed by Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Skipsrederi A/S, Bergen, renamed Hato Arrow in 1991. Had various owners and managers until 2001 when she was renamed Hato for owners in Nassau. A more recent Grena (tanker) was delivered to Grena A/S, Bergen in Dec.-2003, built in Japan, 80 691 gt.
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. - (ref. My sources).