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Owner: Rederi A/S Henneseid
Built by Pusey & Jones Co., Wilmington, Delaware in 1918. Launched as War Nurse, completed as Piqua for US Shipping Board, Wilmington until 1920, Marconier until 1929 (Lloyd Royal Belge S.A., Antwerp), Ganda until 1932 (La Maritime Gantoise S.A., Ghent). Sold in 1932 to Rederi A/S Henneseid (Thoralf Holta), Porsgrunn and renamed Helle.
Captain: Karl Jørgensen
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.
Helle is mentioned in connection with Convoy HN 10 from Norway to the U.K. in Febr.-1940, but is crossed out, which probably means she did not sail. At the end of March, shortly before the German invasion of Norway (Apr. 9), we find her in Convoy HN 22, bound for Manchester with timber. A. Hague says she was detached from the convoy on March 29 and arrived Liverpool Apr. 1 - according to Page 1 of the archive documents, she sailed from Manchester on Apr. 4.
In June-1940, A. Hague has included her in Convoy OA 171, which left Southend on June-19, joined up with OB 171 on June 21, the combined convoy forming the Gibraltar bound Convoy OG 34 (see ships in all OG convoys). No destination is given for Helle (see link provided within the table above), but when going back to the archive document, we see that she arrived Falmouth on June 21, so was not present when the 2 convoys joined up (and therefore not in the OG convoy). The document indicates she had come from Lorient and her final destination was Dublin, where she arrived July 1. The following month, Hague has her, together with the Norwegian Eastern Star, Fido, Regin, Solferino, Trolla and Vigsnes, in Convoy OA 193, departing Methil on Aug. 3, dispersed on the 7th (link in Voyage Record). Again, no voyage information is given for Helle, but this time she was bound further afield, namely St. John, N.B., according to Page 1. A. Hague gives her arrival there as Aug. 20. With a cargo of pulp wood for Barrow, she headed in the other direction again with Convoy HX 70 from Halifax on Sept. 1, arriving Barrow on Sept. 17. She later shows up in Convoy OB 227, which left Liverpool on Oct. 11 and dispersed on the 15th, Helle arriving Sydney, C.B. on Oct. 26. The Norwegian Borgland and Annavore are also listed (link in Voyage Record).
Helle headed back to the U.K. again with the Sydney, C.B. portion of Convoy HX 87, carrying pulp and steel for Manchester, where she arrived on Dec. 5. According to the Commodore's notes for this convoy, she had fallen astern in bad weather during the night of Nov. 23. He also says that she had originally belonged to the Sydney (C.B.) portion of Convoy HX 88, but got parted from that convoy in fog, and joined up with HX 87 at 10:00 on Nov. 17. HX 88 is not yet available among the HX convoys included in my Convoys section, but will be added. In the meantime, the ships sailing in it are named in the section listing ships in all HX convoys. This convoy originated in Halifax on Nov. 14; the Sydney portion left on the 15th (as did the Sydney section of HX 87). It'll be noticed, when going back to Page 1, that this is the date Helle left Sydney, C.B.
In Jan.-1941, we find her among the ships in Convoy OB 276, which originated in Liverpool on Jan. 20 and dispersed on the 25h. Vespasian is also listed. According to Page 2 of the archive docs, Helle arrived Reykjavik on Jan. 27, having started out from Clyde on the 21st. She later travelled from Iceland to Louisburg and St. John, N.B., then on to Halifax, where she arrived March 3. With a cargo of steel and pulp for London, she was scheduled for Convoy SC 25 on March 10, but instead joined Convoy SC 26 on March 20. This was to be her last voyage.
Helle was torpedoed by U-98 (Gysae) on April 3-1941, position 59 00N 24 30W*. As mentioned above, she had left Halifax on March 20 in Convoy SC 26 which had been attacked on Apr. 2, and after 6 merchant ships had gone down by the next morning, and the escorting British cruiser Worchestershire had been damaged by a torpedo, the Commodore had ordered the convoy to disperse (this according to journal excerpt - dispersal not mentioned in other sources). D/S Nea, which had also been in the convoy made it safely to Iceland, but U-boats caught up with 4 ships, which were all torpedoed and sunk.
Helle, cargo of 350 tons steel and 2600 tons wood pulp for London, was hit on the starboard side in the after part of No. 2 hatch at 21:30 GMT, Apr. 3, but stayed afloat for an hour. The captain and radio operator remained on board for 20 minutes while the crew took to the boats. After SOS had been sent the entire crew got into the port lifeboat as the starboard boat was leaking. They were rescued the next morning by the destroyer Havelock, which had been notified of her situation by the radio station at Resolution Island after Helle's distress signals had been received. The survivors were landed in Liverpool in the afternoon of Apr. 8, where the maritime hearings were held on Apr. 17, with the captain, the 1st mate, the 1st engineer, Ordinary Seaman Olsen (lookout), and Ordinary Seaman Hansen (helmsman) appearing.
The following ships were sunk before Helle was torpedoed (again, see my page about Convoy SC 26 as well as the external link below for more details):
Back to Helle on the "Ships starting with H" page.
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).