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Manager: Bruusgaard, Kiøsterud & Co., Drammen
Built by New Engineering & Shipbuilding Works, Shanghai in 1918.
Captain: Erling Nielsen
In Admiralty service
According to Page 1 above, Hero was on her way from Port Swettenham to Bangkok when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940. As can be seen, she had been in this service for a long time and continued in a similar service. Her 1941 voyages start on Page 3, while the rest are shown on Page 4, which also has a few 1942 voyages. It'll be noticed, on the latter document, that she spent a long time in Bombay, where she had arrived from Colombo on March 1-1942. Departure is given as May 20, when she proceeded to Aden.
Hero departed Beirut at 09:00 on July 5-1942 (Page 5) with 2 tons of general cargo for Port Said and sailed in convoy escorted by 3 warships ("Nortraships flåte" says she was in ballast). At about 06:00 on the 6th she was hit by 2 torpedoes from U-375 (Könenkamp), position 32 23N 34 35E. The first torpedo struck in the forward hold, the other in the after part of the ship 30 seconds later. She was practically blown to pieces and sank within 40 to 50 seconds. Only the 14 who had been on deck managed to save themselves by jumping overboard. About half an hour later those who were in the water and on a raft were picked up by an escort vessel where the injured received first aid.
Captain Nielsen had been unconscious when he was taken on board and in spite of efforts to revive him for 2 hours he could not be saved. They were all taken to a hospital in Jaffa where the captain was pronounced dead. He was given a military funeral on July 7 at the military cemetery in Ramleh outside Jaffa, in the presence of 1st Mate Fredriksen, 1st Engineer Olsen and 3rd Engineer Abrahamsen, as well as the Norwegian Consul in Haifa, William McCallum, and Hallbjørg's Captain Gulbrandsen and 2nd mate, who had travelled from Haifa to take part in the funeral.
The British Gunner Pottinger had a bad cut on his thigh and ended up having his leg amputated. Gunner Greighton had injured his back. The remaining 4 Europeans could leave the hospital that same evening, while the 6 Chinese survivors, who suffered from burns, cuts and bruises remained.
Maritime hearings were held in New York on Jan. 8-1943 with the 1st mate and 3rd engineer appearing.
Hero was refloated in March of 1944, assumed broken up.
Back to Hero on the "Ships starting with H" page.
Norway had also lost a ship by this name to WW I, built 1907, 1106 gt - sunk by the German U-71, 100 miles west/southwest of Lindesnes on Dec. 18-1916 while on a voyage from Fredrikstad for London with a cargo of timber.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Krigsseileren", Issue No. 2 for 1975, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume I (Norwegian Maritime Museum) and misc. (ref. My sources).