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Owner: A/S Inger
Built by Short Brothers Ltd., Sunderland in 1905. Previous name: Alexandra until 1924.
Captain: Sverre Stoutland (from Jan.-1940).
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 (it'll be noticed that some of the external listings are incomplete).
Errors may exist, and some voyages are missing.
Ingerfire is listed among the ships in Convoy HN 9A from Norway to the U.K. at the end of Jan.-1940. It'll be noticed, when following the link, that according to the escorting HMS Inglefield's opinion, she was among 4 ships (all Norwegian) that should be debarred from joining future convoys. The reason given for Ingerfire was that she was too slow and could not keep her station, even when the speed was reduced to 6 knots. She's said to have arrived Glasgow on Febr. 9.
From the U.K., she proceeded to the U.S. the following month, and from Page 1 of the archive documents, we learn that she was on her way from Norfolk to Oslo, Norway when the country was invaded by the Germans on Apr. 9-1940. One of my sources says she arrived Tromsø, Norway from the U.S. on Apr. 10-1940; this stop at Tromsø is not mentioned on the archive document, which says she arrived Stornoway on Apr. 22 (besides, I doubt she could have made the voyage to Norway in 9 days?). There is, however, mention of Trømsø around May/June that year, though arrival/departure is not given. She's said to have been inward bound (to northern Norway) from Svalbard(?) with a cargo of coal on June 8, but was ordered to change course and go to Thorshavn, where she arrived safely; see my page about D/S Finmarken for background history. According to the archive document, she later proceeded to Reykjavik, where she arrived June 22. From Iceland, she headed to Montreal on July 9, with arrival July 22; according to A. Hague, this voyage was made independently.
Having made a voyage to Chatham, N.B. the following month, she proceeded to Sydney, C.B. and on Aug. 25, we find her in the slow Convoy SC 2, in which the Norwegian Gro was sunk (among others - follow the links for details). Ingerfire had a cargo of pit props for Garston, where she arrived Sept. 14. At the end of Oct.-1940, she's listed in Convoy OB 236, which departed Liverpool Oct. 29 and dispersed Nov. 2, Ingerfire arriving Sydney, C.B. on Nov. 11 - ref. link within the table above; Boreas, Olaf Fostenes (Commodore Vessel) and Tore Jarl are also listed. With a cargo of pulp for Grangemouth, Ingerfire was scheduled to return to the U.K. 2 days later with Convoy SC 12, but did not sail - according to Page 1, she instead made voyages to Chatham, N.B. and Campbellton in this period, before returning to Sydney, C.B on Dec. 10. She had been scheduled for Convoy SC 15 from there on Dec. 8, but having proceeded to Halifax, she eventually got away with Convoy SC 17 on Dec. 23. Her destination is now given as London, cargo of steel and lumber.
In March-1941, she's listed as bound for Halifax in Convoy OB 296, which originated in Liverpool on March 10 and dispersed on the 15th, Ingerfire arriving Halifax on the 29th (she had started out from Oban on March 11). Lysaker V and Novasli are also listed (link in Voyage Record). Ingerfire now remained in Halifax for a long time. With a cargo of grain, she was scheduled to return with the slow Halifax-U.K. Convoy SC 29 on Apr. 19, but did not sail, and was also cancelled from Convoy SC 31 (from Halifax May 9), but is listed in SC 32 on May 19, bound for Sharpness, where she arrived on June 11. Together with Corvus, Erica, Gezina and Sandanger, she subsequently appears in Convoy OB 340, originating in Liverpool on June 27, dispersed July 13, Ingerfire arriving Montreal on July 19. Her voyages in this period are shown on Page 2.
On Aug. 10 we find her, together with Brisk, Henrik Ibsen, Nesttun, Novasli, Selvik, Spurt and Suderholm, in Convoy SC 40* from Sydney, C.B. Ingerfire had a cargo of steel and lumber, sailing in station 83. The following month, she joined Convoy OG 75, which departed Milford Haven on Sept. 26 and arrived Gibraltar Oct. 13 (Ingerfire had sailed from Liverpool on Sept. 27). This convoy will be added to my Convoys section, but for now, the ships sailing in it are named on the page listing ships in all OG convoys. As will be seen, the Norwegian Benwood is also included. With a cargo of iron ore, Ingerfire headed back to the U.K. on Nov. 1 in Convoy SL 91(G) from Gibraltar, and arrived Oban on the 19th. She later made a voyage to Tampa, having joined the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 51*, whic originated in Liverpool on Dec. 27 and dispersed Jan. 11-1942, Ingerfire arriving Tampa on Jan. 25 (she had started out from Loch Ewe on Dec. 28).
From Tampa, she proceeded to Halifax on Febr. 10, arriving Febr. 20, and with a cargo of phosphates for Glasgow, she was scheduled for Convoy SC 71 on Febr. 22, but did not sail. She was also cancelled from SC 72 and SC 73, but finally got away with Convoy SC 75 on March 18. Her destination is now given as Leith, where she arrived, via Loch Ewe, on Apr. 5 - again, see Page 2 (it'll also be noticed that she subsequently spent several weeks at Tyne). In June, she's listed in the westbound Convoy ON 102*, which originated in Liverpool on June 9; Ingerfire left Loch Ewe that day and arrived Halifax on June 24, proceeding to Sydney, C.B. on July 7 in order to join Convoy SC 91 back to the U.K. on July 10, cargo of steel and pulp. She arrived her destination Southampton on July 28, and the following month, we find her in station 92 of the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 122, in which Trolla was sunk (follow the link for more info. The Commodore's report is also available). Acanthus, Monbretia, Potentilla and Eglantine are named among the escorts. According to Page 3, Ingerfire sailed from Milford Haven on Aug. 14 and was bound for Montreal, where she arrived, via Halifax, Sydney, C.B. and St. Lawrence, on Sept. 9.
According to A. Hague, she went back in the other direction in Convoy SC 103*, which originated in New York on Sept. 26 and arrived Liverpool on Oct. 14; the Norwegian Ada, Boreas, Carmelfjell, Jan, Norfalk, Pan Aruba, Rio Branco, Rolf Jarl, Solhavn, Solitaire, Solstad and Vinland are also named. Ingerfire had a cargo of steel and pulp, and joined this convoy from Sydney, C.B. (left Sept. 30), taking station 12. Page 3 gives her destination as Manchester, where she arrived on Oct. 21, remaining there until Dec. 7.
She was later used as ammunition and supply ship in the Torch operations, which had commenced in Nov.-1942 (my page about Athos has a list of other Norwegian ships taking part in these operations). Ingerfire had sailed to Gibraltar in Jan.-1943, see convoy info in the table above. In March that year, I have her in Convoy MKS 9, voyage from Bougie to Barrow, where she arrived March 19.
Ingerfire left Barrow again in ballast for Halifax on March 28-1943 and the next day she joined up with Convoy ONS 2 which had departed Liverpool the day before (will be added to my Convoys section; in the meantime, please see ships in all ONS convoys). However, by the morning of Apr. 6 (at about 01:00 GCT) she had lost touch with the convoy in the stormy weather and proceeded on a straggler's course. By Apr. 11 the weather had improved, but she was still alone at about 20:25 GMT when, according to the captain's report, 2 torpedoes struck within just seconds of each other, both hitting the foreship on the port side, between No. 1 and 2 hatch. The torpedoes had been fired by U-613* (Köppe) in 51 29N 42 59W. At the time of attack she was on a course 216° true, sailing at a speed of 8 1/2 knots (not zig-zagging), in clear weather with slightly choppy seas, wind east/southeast force 2-3, no moonlight and limited visibility. There were 5 lookouts; 3 on the bridge, 1 on the monkey island and 1 aft of amidships. The U-boat was not seen, but the wake of the torpedo had been seen just prior to the attack about 100 yards distant slightly aft of the port beam.
The 2 lifeboats on the port side were blown away by the explosion, but both starboard boats were successfully launched before a 3rd torpedo hit amidships (also port side), possibly in the engine room or in the forward part of No. 3 hold. This caused one of the boats to capsize, while the other was hit by a raft and filled with water. The decks were awash within 1 minute and the ship sank plunging bow first on an even keel in about 2 minutes.
As soon as they got the raft free from the lifeboat, both boats were tied to it and those who were closest to it were placed on the raft, while others bailed the lifeboat before picking up the men who were floating on debris in the water. When no more survivors could be found they rowed across to another raft and transferred all the equipment from it, then returned to the first raft and the capsized boat, which was righted and bailed. After all the equipment from the raft had been transferred to the lifeboat, the men were distributed in the 2 boats, with the 2nd mate and 14 men in one, the captain and 12 men in the other. Sail was set, the captain's boat towing the other, heading in a west/southwesterly direction.
The next day, Apr.12 (about 12 hours after the sinking), a U-boat approached from a southerly direction and came alongside the lifeboats 5 ft away (this was U-84, commanded by Horst Uphoff - again, see the link to the thread on my forum mentioned above). They were asked whether they had been torpedoed, the name of their ship etc., while a photographer was "busily engaged in taking countless pictures" of the men in the lifeboats. In addition to the photographer and the commander, 2 crew members were also on deck, manning the AA guns. The commander, the only one who spoke to the survivors (in excellent English), was short and stocky, about 28-30 years old and of a light complexion. The boat was described by the survivors as being of the "517 ton class designated by ONI-220, with certain modifications which were: definitely curved stem, no net cutter, no bulge in deck for forward gun platform, antenna wires extending from bow to stern, suspended from elbow arms halfway up conning tower, rim of conning tower curved fore and aft instead of flat". Captain Stoutland said there was a "catwalk with railing around the conning tower on the same level as the after gun platform; the after gun platform was attached to the conning tower and on the same level as its floors was supported by steel grill work rather than solid sides as denoted by ONI-220".
All the survivors agreed that the hull was newly painted a light grey, solid color with no scratches. Some survivors stated that the conning tower was painted a darker shade of grey than the hull, with the deck even a darker shade than the conning tower. A British gunner was quite certain that the forward gun was a 4", while the gun on the after platform was identified as approximately a 20 mm gun. On the starboard side of the conning tower an axe was painted in yellow, about 4' in length at an approximate angle of 45°. No masts or periscopes were visible. The boat subsequently took off in a northerly direction at about 10 knots.
About half an hour later the Canadian destroyer HMCS St Croix (I 81) approached and made ready to take them on board, but upon hearing about the above U-boat the destroyer took off to look for it. Several depth charges were dropped, but it was not believed a contact was made. At 14:30 GMT the destroyer returned together with the Canadian corvette Camrose (K 154) and the survivors were picked up; those in the 2nd mate's boat by the former and those in the captain's boat by the latter. Both were escorts from Convoy ONS 2 (see ONS convoy escorts), and the survivors later learnt they had been picked up 20 miles ahead of the convoy. It's possible the U-boat had taken off because it had seen the destroyer approaching.
Trimmer Hans Thorkildsen, who had been in the captain's boat, had injured his back and also had a broken ankle. He was in great pain so a doctor was sent on board to take care of him. They were landed in St. John's on Apr. 15, where the trimmer and Jr. Ordinary Seaman James Waterstreet were admitted to a hospital, the latter having a badly injured wrist. The 1st radio operator and the 1st and 2nd mates had also received some injuries, but less serious.
The maritime hearings were held in St. John's on Apr. 19-1943 with the captain, the 1st mate, the 2nd engineer (on duty in the engine room at the time of attack - he had been on board since Sept.-1926) and Able Seaman Ingebrigtsen (helmsman) appearing. The latter had just joined the ship 3 weeks previously.
Related external links:
Back to Ingerfire on the "Ships starting with I" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume I (Norwegian Maritime Museum), "The Allied Convoy System", Arnold Hague, "Hitler's U-boat War", Clay Blair, and misc. as named within text above - (ref. My sources). Description of the 2nd U-boat is from a memorandum based on statements by survivors, dated May 7-1943 and signed by U.S.N.R. Lieutenant J. C. Dea - received from Tony Cooper, England.