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Manager: Olav Østensjø, Haugesund
Delivered in Oct.-1883 from C. S. Swan & Hunter Ltd., Newcastle as Tyneside to Gustav Reich, Newcastle. 852 gt, 529 net, 1275 tdwt, 214.4' x 30.8 x 13.7', Compound 120 nhp (C. S. Swan & Hunter). Owner became James Knott that same year, renamed Welsh Prince. Sold in 1892 to C. Gerolimich, Trieste, renamed Quarnero. Sold in 1898 to A/S D/S Rebekka, Trondheim, managed by A. W. Selmer and renamed Rebekka. Named Jern when owned by Thv. Halvorsen, Bergen in the period 1913-1936, then sold to Olav Østensjø, Haugesund, no name change. See also the external page above, which gives slightly different history details.
Captain: G. Gabrielsen (also served on Mosna).
This was the 1st Norwegian ship to be sunk by a U-boat after WW II started (the second was D/S Takstaas). Jern was on her way to Northfleet from Namdalen, Norway with a cargo of wood pulp on Sept. 28-1939 when she was stopped by U-32 (Büchel) 65 n. miles west of Skudenes. The crew of 14 (15?) were given 15 minutes to get in the lifeboats, before their ship was sunk by scuttling charges. They were picked up by the Swedish D/S Caledonia not long afterwards, then transferred the next day to the Norwegian torpedo boat Lyn and taken to Kristiansand.
Jan-Olof, Sweden has sent me a copy of an old newspaper clipping, containing an interview with the captain of Jern. Position is given as 58 35N 02 50E, about 85 n. miles west of Jærens Rev. The U-boat had just examined the papers of Caledonia before coming over to Jern. The crew was at first transferred to the U-boat, but 5 men had to return to Jern to help place explosives on board. She sank immediately (at about 15:40). The Norwegians were taken towards shore on board the U-boat before being transferred to Caledonia, then to the torpedo boat the following morning. The captain says they were extremely well treated on the U-boat, whose commander deeply regretted having to sink the ship. Captain Gabrielsen adds that it was impossible to get across the North Sea without a convoy, because there was a "tight belt of U-boats" that also cooperated with German aircraft. They had seen a German aircraft near land, only 4 miles from the coast.
(The very first Norwegian victim of the war was M/S Ronda, which had struck a mine on Sept 13-1939).
Related external links:
Back to Jern on the "Ships starting with J" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Våre gamle skip" by Leif M. Bjørkelund, "Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two", Jürgen Rohwer and misc., including some of the pre war details found on this external site.