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D/S Janna - Page 2
Report of an interview with Captain Thorbjørn Bøttger.
(Received from Roger Griffiths - His source: Public Records Office, Kew).

To Janna - page 1 (w/ crew list).

"19th July, 1940

We were bound from Halifax for Falmouth carrying a cargo of 3,100 tons of pulp wood. Our hull was black, superstructure grey and the funnel grey with black top. We were unarmed, but we had a wireless on board. We were flying the Norwegian ensign at the time of the attack. We had no confidential books, and the consigns were left in the locker and went down with the ship. The number of the crew including myself was 25. There were no casualties. The ship was not degaussed.

We left Halifax on the 29th June at 10 a.m. and were supposed to join the convoy, but due to a very thick fog we could not find it. We listened in to the wireless hoping that perhaps we should get some instructions from the Commodore but nothing came through. We opened the envelope containing the secret instructions and went from one position to another.

We proceeded without incident until July 11th, and when in position 50° 34'N 12° 10'W, at 0530 B.S.T., without any warning there was a heavy explosion on the port side by the bridge just ahead of the boiler room. There was a fresh breese blowing at the time, and about a gale sea. Visibility was very good; a little cloudy but the sun was shining. We were travelling at 8 1/2 knots, but not zig-zagging.

An unknown plane had been seen overhead immediately prior to the explosion. It had circled round and gone away.

I was in my room at the time, and I was almost blown out of it. It blew away half the bridge, filled up the cabin and smashed the lower bridge. There was no flame, but there was a peculiar smell, and a large column of water shot up to a height of about 50 to 60 ft. The ship listed to port immediately. I managed to get clear of my room and ordered all boats to be lowered. As we were lowering the boats a British plane came and circled round overhead making signals to us. However, we were so busy we were unable to take any notice.

Within 10 minutes after being torpedoed the vessel sank by the fo'csle head, and the last sight I caught of her was the Norwegian flag flying.

We were well provided with food; plenty of meat and bread, and a good supply of water. One of our lifeboats was a motor vessel and had a ? of gasoline unfortunately, the print in the rest of the sentence is so vague that I cannot desipher, but judging from a legible word here and there, I believe it simply says that the motor boat towed the other boat for a certain number of hours in order to stay together, then it goes on to say, and occasionally so as to save petrol, she hoisted her sail and towed us. We had hoped that the British plane would report us, and that someone would pick us up. However, no one came and we set course for Ireland. When we were a good distance from the scene of action a plane arrived and we could see her circling round the wreckage floating on the water, but I don't think she saw us.

The weather was very rough, and we were not able to sleep because we were so wet.

On the afternoon of the 13th July we saw an Estonian vessel, the "Kai", travelling towards England. We headed for her, and when we got near we hailed her and asked to be picked up. She turned round and nearly cut her log line, then she stopped her engines. We thought she wanted to take us aboard on the lea side so we went right round, but she started up and went away. We kept shouting and we know she saw us, but she continued on her journey. The weather was very bad at the time. I have since reported the matter to the Naval Authorities at Milford Haven.

We continued to head for Fastnet and when we were close to land, having travelled about 110 miles we saw an English vessel. She looked like a cargo vessel. She picked us up and I found that she was the "Looe" (other sources say Love).

She eventually landed us at Milford Haven on the afternoon of July 14th."

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