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Owner: Skibs-A/S Havsten
Built by Barclay, Curle & Co., Glasgow in 1930.
Captain: Gjert Sofus Olsen.
In Admiralty service.
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.
Errors may exist, and some voyages are missing.
As will be seen when going to Page 1 of the archive documents, Havsten was on her way from Curacao to Cape Town when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940.
With a cargo of crude oil for Brest, she's listed in the Bermuda portion of the Halifax-U.K. Convoy HX 51 on June 16-1940 - however, she returned to Bermuda and did not join the main convoy across the Atlantic. It now looks like she remained in Bermuda for quite a long time; departure is given as July 24, when she proceeded to Aruba. She also appears to have spent quite a long time in Bombay at the end of that year. She had arrived there from Abadan on Oct. 12 and did not leave again until Dec. 1.
At the beginning of 1941, we find her in station 53 of Convoy SL 63, which left Freetown on Jan. 20 and arrived Liverpool on Febr. 9 (Bur and Soløy are also listed); Havsten arrived Swansea on the 11th, remaining there for a month, before proceeding to Clyde, joining Convoy OB 298, which originated in Liverpool on March 16 and dispersed on the 20th, Havsten arriving Aruba on Apr. 6. Belinda, Evanger, Malmanger and Strinda are also named in this convoy. Direct links to both these convoys have been provided within the table above. With a cargo of fuel oil for Manchester, Havsten returned to the U.K. in Convoy HX 126 from Halifax on May 10, in which M/T John P. Pedersen and others were sunk, follow the links for much more information; several reports are available (Havsten had initially been scheduled for an earlier convoy, HX 122 which left Halifax on Apr. 20, but she did not sail. It'll be noticed, when going back to Page 1, that she had arrived Halifax from Aruba on Apr. 18; the reason for the long stay there is not known). Havsten arrived her destination on May 29.
She's now listed in Convoy OB 331, leaving Liverpool on June 8, dispersed on the 19th; Havsten arriving Aruba on June 29, continuing to Las Piedras that same day, with arrival June 30. Again, ref. external link within the Voyage Record - Barbro, Elg, Hardanger, Hellen, Ida Knudsen, Solfonn, Torfinn Jarl, Troubadour and Vivi also took part. On July 11, we find her in the Halifax-U.K. Convoy HX 138, bound for Milford Haven and Southampton, returning across the Atlantic the following month with Convoy ON 8; her destination is given as New York, where she arrived on Sept. 2, the convoy having been dispersed on Aug. 25 (Havsten had joined this convoy from Oban, where she had arrived from Milford Haven with Convoy OS 3 on Aug. 15, according to A. Hague - this was a Freetown bound convoy, which had started out from Liverpool on Aug. 13, arrived Freetown on Sept. 1 and also included Garonne and Vardefjell). Havsten's voyages in this period are shown on Page 2.
On March 25-1942, she rescued 34(?) survivors from the British Thursobank, which had been sunk by U-373 off Cape Hatteras three days earlier - ref. external link below for more details. Havsten arrived Halifax with them on March 28. According to a personal story found in "Krigsseileren" No. 4 for 1998, written by Havsten's 2nd Mate Karl Niva, the Indian crew (I believe this should be Chinese) from Thursobank were arrested for mutiny on arrival Halifax, having placed the 4 British officers in the front of the lifeboat, throwing the oars away and refusing to share the food and warm clothing in the boat with them. (This posting to my Ship Forum has the names of Thursobank's casualties - see also the other postings in the thread, starting with this query by the granddaughter of Thursobank's captain). Havsten was on a voyage alone from Curacao with a cargo of diesel oil for the convoy escort vessels in Iceland at the time. She was subsequently scheduled for Convoy SC 77 from Halifax on March 30, but instead joined Convoy SC 79 on Apr. 11; according to A. Hague, she arrived Reykjavik on Apr. 24. On May 15, she left Iceland for the U.K. as Commodore Vessel for Convoy RU 23; her destination is given as Oban, where she arrived May 20.
She departed Oban again on May 23, joining Convoy OS 29, which originated in Liverpool on May 22 and arrived Freetown on June 11. Havsten, however, was bound for Trinidad, where she arrived on June 14, having parted company with the convoy on June 4. Arosa, Fernbank, G. C. Brøvig, Hallanger, James Hawson, Meline and Tanafjord are also named; again follow the link provided in the Voyage Record for further convoy details.
Related external links:
Havsten (on charter to British Tankers) had left Trinidad again on June 24-1942 (Page 2), arriving Freetown July 8, departing again in ballast on the 24th of that month in order to head back to Trinidad, but never made it to her destination. At 20:15 on Aug. 3, she was torpedoed by U-160 (Lassen), position 10 25N 56 00W*. At the time of attack she was on a course 268° true, sailing at a speed of 11 knots, zig-zagging, in hazy weather with a smooth sea, moderate east wind and poor visibility; no other ships were in sight. 3 lookouts were stationed, 2 of whom were on the bridge, 1 on the aft gun platform. The track of the torpedo was seen about 40 yards away, but before avoiding action could be taken, it hit in the engine room aft, starboard side, killing the 2nd engineer. Masses of steam came gushing out of the engine room, the engines had immediately stopped, her steering gear was put out of order, fires broke out fore and aft in the bunkerage, and she started to sink by the stern.
The starboard lifeboat had been destroyed, but the port boat, the motorboat (starboard) and the midships gig were launched. The motorboat, which had been launched by the captain, the 3rd mate and 2 others went aft to pick up 2 men there who had initially been trapped, but when it came back to pick up the others who were still on board, the captain and the radio operator could not be found and were believed to have been killed in the shelling taking place about 15 minutes after the torpedo attack - the 2 had remained on board to wait for replies to distress signals; the U-boat had surfaced and from 45° off the starboard bow, from a distance of 500 yards, had fired 20 rounds at the ship; about 5 hit, destroying the radio and bridge - however, Captain Gjert Olsen and Radio Operator Jack Holt had, in fact, been taken prisoners by the U-boat. The captain was at Marlag und Milag Nord for a while, but eventually came back to Norway. The radio operator also ended up at Marlag und Milag Nord. (According to U-160's KTB, the radio operator was born in England and had served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force - went to sea in Apr.-1941 - this KTB gives the time of attack as 01:59 on Aug. 4, German time, and also mentions a second torpedo fired at 02:05 German time, which missed, so the boat then started shelling the ship. The 2 prisoners were taken aboard around 04:35).
The boats set a course for Trinidad and were picked up about 26 hours later by the Argentinian tanker Juncal, which left them outside the harbour of Pernambuco in the evening of Aug. 12**. They subsequently continued into the harbour in the lifeboats.
Havsten had not been seen to sink, but when last seen she was in a sinking condition and in flames. What was not known at that time was that she had kept afloat for a few days until the Italian submarine Enrico Tazzoli (Fecia di Cossato) encountered the wreck and sent her to the bottom with 2 torpedoes in the morning of Aug. 6, position 11 18N 54 45W. According to this Guestbook message, there was also a cat on board, which was rescued by Tazzoli's crew.
The hearings were held in Pernambuco, Brazil on Aug. 23-1942, with the 1st mate, the 3rd mate, Able Seaman/Gunner Madsen, Able Seaman Pettersen (lookout on bridge), and Mechanic (Motorman) Angelsen appearing. Madsen had just come on gun duty and was thrown from the gun platform down to the poop deck, where he was buried by the seas that washed over it, but managed to climb up to the boatdeck where he joined the others in the aft lifeboat. Mechanic Angelsen had been able to get out through the messroom skylight, assisted by shipmates, then went in the gig together with the 1st mate.
For info, U-160 also sank the Norwegian Thorshavet later that year - follow the link for details.
Related external links:
Back to Havsten on the "Ships starting with H" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Krigsseileren", Issue No. 4, 1998 (Knut Niva's story), "The World's Merchant Fleets 1939", Roger. W. Jordan, "Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two", Jürgen Rohwer, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume I (Norwegian Maritime Museum), U-160's KTB received from Roland Berr, Germany, a memorandum dated Washington Sept. 8-1942, which is a summary of statements by survivors, received from Tony Cooper, England, and misc. (ref. My sources).