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Manager: Bruusgaard, Kiøsterud & Co., Drammen
Built by New Engineering & Shipbuilding Works, Shanghai in 1920.
Captain: Johan Sørlie
In Admiralty service.
Torpedoed starboard side foredeck about 30 miles east of Tobruk by U-617 (Brandi) on Febr. 5-1943, when in convoy from Alexandria for Benghazi with war materials (Convoy AW 22 - external link, incomplete listing), having departed Alexandria on Febr. 3, according to Page 4. She immediately caught on fire and sank by the bow within 3 minutes in position 32 11N 24 46E. The captain believed they had been hit by 2 torpedoes (D/S Corona was hit at the same time). The port boat had been destroyed, but a starboard lifeboat was successfully launched. However, it capsized due to the suction as the ship sank, and those who had been in it clung to debris and rafts that had floated free, until they were picked up by escort vessels (ML's). 4 crew members who were holding on to debris some distance away from the rafts were picked up first as they were in danger of being caught up in the burning oil on the water.
The captain (who had been asleep when the torpedo hit), the 1st, 2nd and 3rd mate as well as the 3rd engineer, 8 Chinese crew and 2 gunners were picked up by one vessel, while the 1st engineer, 2nd engineer, 23 Chinese and 4 gunners were rescued by another. The vessel that had picked up the captain went straight to Tobruk where they arrived that afternoon and were taken to Navy House. They were sent to Alexandria by train that evening, arriving there in the morning of Febr. 7. 2nd Mate Johannes Eide was admitted to a hospital with burns, having initially been given first aid while in Tobruk.
Meanwhile, the other vessel with the remaining survivors from Henrik had been ordered to stay on the scene and did not arrive Tobruk until the morning of Febr. 6. 1 of the casualties, Lam Wing had also been picked up by this vessel and was buried in Tobruk. The survivors were taken to a camp where they stayed until the following evening, then travelled by train to Alexandria with arrival in the morning of Febr. 9, where 4 Chinese crew were admitted to a hospital with minor injuries. 2 Chinese had died, out of a complement of 7 Norwegian officers, 33 Chinese crew and 6 gunners. The Chinese steward was believed to have gone down with the ship.
The hearings were held in Alexandria on Febr. 16-1943 with the captain, the 1st and 2nd mates and the 1st engineer appearing.
(Charles Hocking simply gives the position as "about 800 miles west of Madeira").
U-617 had also sunk the Norwegian Harboe Jensen the month before.
Back to Henrik on the "Ships starting with H" page.
Other ships by this name: This company also lost a ship by the name Henrik to WW I, built 1920, 3928 gt - torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat off Ushant on july 3-1917. Haugesund also had a ship by this name after the war, originally Elsa Zelck (Otto Zelck, Rostock), built 1922, 1291 gt. When purchased by D/S A/S Magnhild (M. Clausen), Haugesund in Jan.-1947 she was named Switerland (Leith), renamed Henrik. Struck a mine and sank near Falsterbro on May 25-1949 when on a voyage Warnemünde-Drammen in ballast. 4 died. (Charles Hocking gives this ship 1301 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).