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M/T Italia
Updated Nov. 13-2011

To Italia on the "Ships starting with I" page.

Crew List

A picture is available on this external page (click in it to make it larger).

Owner: The Texas Company (Norway) A/S, Oslo (this company was controlled by The Texas Co., US, and its ships managed by Haakon Chr. Mathiesen, Oslo).
9900 gt, 14 250 tdwt.
Machinery: Two 8 cyl. 2T single acting DM (MAN, Augsburg), 5100 bhp.

Delivered in July-1939 from Deutsche Werft A/G, Hamburg, Germany.

Captain: Johan Karsten Hallén

Her voyages are listed on this original document received from the National Archives of Norway.

Please compare the above voyages with Arnold Hague's Voyage Record below.

Voyage Record
From Sept.-1939 to June-1940:

(Received from Don Kindell - His source: The late Arnold Hague's database).

Follow the convoy links provided for more information on each.

Departure From To Arrival Convoy Remarks
1939 Sept. 11 Downs Ymuiden Sept. 14 Independent
Sept. 25 Ymuiden Port Arthur Oct. 11 Independent
Oct. 13 Port Arthur Montevideo Nov. 5 Independent
Nov. 8 Montevideo Santos Nov. 11 Independent
Nov. 13 Santos New York City Dec. 11 Independent
Dec. 14 New York City Halifax Independent
Dec. 19 Halifax Avonmouth Dec. 30 HXF 13
1940 Jan. 5 Avonmouth Milford Haven Jan. 6 Independent
Jan. 8 Milford Haven OB 68 For NYC.
With OA 68, formed OG 14F, Jan. 10.
Convoy available at OB 68
(external link)
Jan. 10 Formed at sea OG 14F For NYC.
Detached Jan. 11.
Convoy will be added.
See ships in OG convoys
Jan. 11 Detached from OG 14F New York City Jan. 20 Independent
Jan. 25 New York City Port Arthur Independent
Febr. 5 Port Arthur Halifax Independent
Febr. 12 Halifax Southampton Febr. 24 HXF 20
March 5 Southampton OA 104 Dispersed March 9.
Convoy available at OA 104
(external link - incomplete)
March 9 Dispersed from OA 104 Port Arthur Independent
March 26 Port Arthur Halifax Independent
Apr. 6 Halifax Avonmouth Apr. 21 HX 33
Apr. 24 Avonmouth Milford Haven Apr. 26 Independent
Apr. 29 Milford Haven OB 138 For Port Arthur, Texas.
With OA 138, formed OG 28F, May 1.
Convoy available at OB 138
(external link)
May 1 Formed at sea OG 28F For Port Arthur.
Detached May 2.
Convoy will be added.
See ships in OG convoys
May 2 Detached from OG 28F Port Arthur May 19 Independent
May 21 Port Arthur Bermuda May 27 Independent
May 31 Bermuda BHX 47 See link to HX 47
June 8 Bermuda portion joined main convoy HX 47 Sunk - See "Final Fate" below

 Some Convoy Voyages: 
For information on voyages made prior to and in between those mentioned here, please see Hague's Voyage Record above. Follow the convoy links provided for more details; several Norwegian ships took part in some of them. See also the archive document.

Italia was in the Halifax-U.K. Convoy HXF 13 in Dec.-1939. She was bound for Avonmouth, where she arrived on Dec. 30.

In Jan.-1940, she's listed in Convoy OB 68, which originated in Liverpool on Jan. 7 and joined up with OA 68 from Southend on Jan. 10, the combined convoy forming the Gibraltar convoy OG 14*. Italia, however, was bound for New York and detached for her destination on Jan. 11, arriving Jan. 20. She returned to the U.K. on Febr. 12 with Convoy HXF 20 from Halifax, arriving Southampton Febr. 24.

The following month, she's listed in Convoy OA 104, which left Southend on March 5 and dispersed on the 8th, Italia arriving Port Arthur at an unknown date. On Apr. 6, we find her, with a cargo of gasoline, in station 32 of the Halifax-U.K. Convoy HX 33. She arrived Avonmouth Apr. 21, subsequently joining Convoy OB 138, which originated in Liverpool on Apr. 28 (the Norwegian Vilja is also listed). This convoy joined up with the OA convoy of the same number to form Convoy OG 28*, which was Gibraltar bound, but her destination was again Port Arthur, where she arrived on May 19, having detached from the convoy on May 2. As will be seen in the next paragraph, her voyage back to the U.K. proved to be her last.

* The OG convoys will be added to individual pages in my Convoys section in due course - in the meantime, the ships sailing in them are named on the page listing ships in all OG convoys. As can be seen, Italia is mentioned in OG 14 and OG 28. Links to the OB and OA convoys mentioned here have been provided within the Voyage Record above.

 Final Fate - 1940: 

Italia left Port Arthur again on May 21-1940 with a cargo of 13 000 tons petrol (aviation fuel?) and some general cargo, and arrived Bermuda on May 27 to wait for a convoy. She left again on May 31 with Convoy BHX 47, the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 47. She was initially bound for Milford Haven, but was later informed by the escort that there had been a change of destination and she was to proceed to Manchester.

According to an excerpt of Italia's log the ships that were going to the west coast were detatched from the convoy south of Ireland in the afternoon of June 14, and headed towards St. Georges Channel with only one escort. Shortly afterwards, word came that a straggler had been torpedoed (this was probably Balmoralwood - see the external link at the end of this page) and the escort departed to assist, so it looks like the ships had no escort when U-38 (Liebe) attacked. Italia was hit in the early hours of June 15 (23:50, June 14 ship's time) by a torpedo from this U-boat, position 50 37N 08 44W, off the west coast of England. She was struck between tank No. 10 and the engine room, immediately setting the after part on fire, with the flames spreading forward and across the water at a tremendous speed. 8 men jumped overboard; the electrician managed to get out through the porthole of his cabin and swam for life to get away from the flames.

Amidships, boats were partially lowered, and lifebelts thrown out to those who were in the water. The officers amidships waited as long as they could in the hope that more people from the after part would be able to come foreward, but had to abandon ship in the already lowered boats when the seas started to wash over the main after deck; the captain, the 3rd mate, the helmsman and lookout (Able Seaman Olaf Eikland) in the port boat and the 1st mate, steward and radio operator in the starboard motorboat. A 3 hours search for survivors found the 9 men who had jumped overboard, but 19 were gone, including almost the entire engine crew. Some had survived the initial attack, but had died in the flames after having jumped overboard.

A few hours later a French trawler was seen, and some of the men who had no clothes on boarded, but when it turned out the trawler's crew had no clothes to give up, it was decided to go back to the lifboats and wait for a British warship that was seen steering their way. When they left the trawler they spotted a lifeboat with all the survivors from Erik Boye, which had been torpedoed shortly after Italia. They took this boat in tow, then steered towards the British HMS Fowey which picked up the 16 survivors from Italia as well as Erik Boye's survivors (this ship had no casualties). They were landed in Plymouth on June 16 and were later accommodated at the Royal Sailors' Rest in Devonport.

J. Rohwer and some other sources say this ship, as well as the Canadian Erik Boye were torpedoed and sunk while in Convoy HX 48. This is incorrect (HX 48 would not have reached that area on that date; it arrived Liverpool on June 20). Rohwer also disagrees slightly with the tonnage I've entered above, saying Italia was 9973 gt, as does Charles Hocking, who gives the position for her sinking as "about 60 miles west of the Scilly Isles". Roger Jordan says Italia sank in position 50 41N 08 52W. The position given in my own text above is from an excerpt from Italia's logbook.

Captain Hallén later commanded M/T Britannia (he died in 1997, age 94).

Erik Boye (formerly a Danish ship) is listed at the website of the Naval Museum of Manitoba, see the external link below.

For info, U-38 was also responsible for the loss of Cometa and Rinda - follow the links for dates and more info.

Crew List:
Olaf Eikland's other ships are shown on this external page.
Able Seaman Juell later joined Skandinavia.

Karsten Hallén
1st Mate
Olaf Andersen
2nd Mate
Nils Løvold
3rd Mate
Sigurd Aanonsen
Radio Operator
Tor Mønnes
Able Seaman
Olaf Eikland
Able Seaman
Thorvald Henriksen
Able Seaman
Rolf Juell
Ordinary Seaman
Sidney Markussen
Deck Boy
Odd Holm
Reidar Steffensen
Olaf Larsen
Pump Man
Jan Nauman
Kaare Andersen
Olaf Gundersen
Egil Andersen

Andreas Møller

Georg Olsen

Able Seaman
Karl Nilsen

Ordinary Seaman
Jan Beyer

Ordinary Seaman
Conrad Schermele

Deck Boy
Knut Diebitsch

1st Engineer
Henry Alstad

2nd Engineer
Georg Salvesen

3rd Engineer
Lorentz Lauritzen

4th Engineer
Martin Boger

Olav Karlsen

Erling Beckstrøm

Wilhelm Wilhelmsen

Lars Ugland

Halvor Aabakk

Engine Boy
Frank Magnussen

Engine Boy
Tor Aune

Galley Boy
Knut Olsen

Mess Boy
Gerhard Fuchs

Related external links:
Stavern Memorial commemorations - The 17 Norwegians named above are commemorated at this memorial for seamen in Stavern, Norway. Unfortunately, the list also includes several other seamen who died on other ships, where the word Italia (Italy) appears in the text. However, it should be easy enough to find Italia's casualties among them by comparing the names to those in the above crew list.

U-38 | Heinrich Liebe

Canadian WW II Merchant ship losses - Naval Museum of Manitoba.

See also:
The attack on Erik Boye and the attack on Balmoralwood.

Back to Italia on the "Ships starting with I" page.

The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "The World's Merchant Fleets 1939", R. W. Jordan, "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "The Allied Convoy System", Arnold Hague, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Norwegian Maritime Museum, Volume I, and misc. (ref. My sources).


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