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M/T Koll
Updated Nov. 29-2011

To Koll on the "Ships starting with K" page.

Crew List

Picture received from Bjørn Pedersen, Norway.

Another picture is available on this external page (click in it to make it larger). has a picture of the burning Koll (external link).

Manager: Odd Berg, Oslo.
10 044 gt, 5891 net, 15 080 tdwt
Signal Letters: NDRI

Built by Deutsche Werft AG, Betrieb Finkenwärder, Hamburg, Germany in 1930.

Captain: Einar Knudsen.

Her voyages are listed on these original images from the Norwegian National Archives:
Page 1 | Page 2

 Some Convoy Voyages: 

It'll be noticed, when going to Page 2 of the archive documents, that she appears to have spent quite along time in Baltimore in the fall of 1941. She had arrived there from Aruba on Sept. 3 and departure is given as Nov. 29, when she proceeded to Corpus Christi. From there, she later headed to Sydney, C.B. and is subsequently listed in the slow Convoy SC 63 to the U.K. on Jan. 3-1942. She arrived Bowling on Jan. 19, the convoy having been dispersed on the 13th. According to the external website that I've linked to below, she was schedueld for station 86 of Convoy OS 18 at the end of that month, but did not sail. She instead joined the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 62, which left Liverpool on Febr. 1 and dispersed on the 15th, Koll arriving Galveston on March 2 (she had joined from Clyde). This convoy will be added to an individual page in my Convoys section; in the meantime, the ships sailing in it are named in the section listing ships in all ON convoys. Astrell, Leikanger, Maud, Snar (returned) and Sommerstad are also listed. From Galveston, Koll proceeded to Baytown on March 25, then back to Galveston 3 days later - see Page 2.

Related external link:
OS and OS/KMS Convoys - As can be seen, Koll is mentioned in Convoy OS 18.

 Final Fate - 1942: 

Torpedoed in the port side aft, possibly in No 9 or 10 tank by U-571 (Möhlmann) east of Cape Hatteras on April 6-1942, when en route from Galveston to Halifax to join a convoy, having left Galveston on March 29 with 96 067 barrels of high grade diesel oil distributed in 22 tanks. (Note that she's listed as scheduled for the slow Convoy SC 79, which left Halifax on Apr. 11). The engine room was immediately an inferno of flames. 2 men were killed; 1st Engineer Guldbrandsen in his cabin and Mechanic (Motorman) Kjøne in the engine room, while Electrician Bergum, who was also in the engine room received some burns. 2nd Engineer Holt, who was in his cabin got his hands badly burnt. The aft port lifeboat was destroyed, the remaining 3 lifeboats were launched, with the captain and 11 men in the motorboat (some picked up from the water), the 1st mate and 7(?) men in No. 2 boat, and the 2nd mate in No. 4 boat with 9 men. The boats rowed away from the ship which had started to sink by the stern and was standing straight up and down.

The U-boat came alongside to ask the usual questions about nationality, cargo, destination etc., handed the men in one of the boats some tinned crackers ("Nortraships flåte" says "threw a box of crackers" into the boat), whereupon Koll was shelled. She exploded and sank, resulting in burning gasoline spreading across the water with a tremendous development of smoke and heat. One of the men, a British gunner who was on a raft, took his clothes off when the flames approached and managed to swim away, and when the flames died out after about half an hour, one of the lifeboats was able to come close enough to pick him up.

Finding no more survivors, the motorboat (captain's) subsequently took the other 2 boats in tow, heading in a west/northwesterly direction towards land for 2 days, but when the weather worsened the motorboat lost the other 2 boats. The motorboat was spotted by the Portugese D/S Cunene on Apr. 11, and this ship searched for a while for the others but to no avail. The survivors in the captain's boat were landed in Lisbon on the 25th. Maritime hearings were held there on May 7-1942 with the captain, the radio operator, the pumpman and the electrician appearing. Some of them believed that they had seen 2 U-boats side by side about 350 meters away, and that they had been torpedoed twice.

Misc. bits of info from various sources (some conflicting):
J. Rohwer gives the position 34 39N 68 25W, "Nortraships flåte" gives 35 01N 68 48W, while "The World's Merchant Fleets 1939" gives 35N 68 24W, and says 3 died, 33 survived. Charles Hocking ("Dictionary of Disasters at Sea during the Age of Steam - including sailing ships and ships of war lost in Action 1824-1962") says she was on a voyage from Baytown to Halifax with 13000 tons of gas oil, and gives the position of her demise as 400 miles northwest of the Bermudas. Note that Page 2 of the archive documents says she had left Baytown for Galveston on March 28, arriving Galveston that same day.

A sinking report, based on subsequent interviews with survivors, states she was on course 39° true, speed 10 knots, not zig-zagging at any time, 3 lookouts; 1 on each wing of bridge and 1 of the gun crew aft. The weather was fine, no sea, daylight with excellent visibility, no ships in sight. Time of attack is given as 10:30 EWT. This report says she was torpedoed twice, the explosion of the first torpedo at the engine room having carried away the main steam lines. Struck almost simultaneously by a second torpedo, estimated to be at the pump room foreward of the engine room. A sharp list to port developed, and she sank by the stern with the bow above water. Both torpedoes had started fires which were extinguished as the ship sank in 2-3 minutes with the bow pointing directly up. Final sinking accomplished by shell fire at 10:45 EWT (35N 68 24W). 4 or 5 shots were fired into the port side from 300-400 yards range. The sub circled and fired 4 or 5 more into the starboard side after which the bow disappeared. First shells were explosive and second group were incendiaries. The submarine did not surface until 5 minutes after torpedoing, no defensive fire was possible as gun mount (3" rifle aft) was so damaged by torpedo explosion that the gun was unusable. Confidential papers were thrown over the side in a weighted tin box.

The report adds that the crew abandoned ship in 3 lifeboats, and after the sinking the sub pullled alongside each lifeboat, asking for the name and nationality of the ship, inquired as to their food situation, then gave one of the boats tinned biscuits. The survivors were distributed in the 3 boats with 10 men in each, the boats becoming separated after two days. One of these boats contacted a lifeboat with survivors from Kollskegg (another ship from the same company - follow the link for info on her loss). They were rescued by the Portugese Lobito at 07:30 on Apr. 16 (37 30N 70 30W) and landed at Lewes, Del. at 19:05 on Apr. 17. One crew member had died from exposure. 9 survivors from another boat were rescued by the Swiss St. Cergue at 04:30 on Apr. 15 in 34 39N 68 25W, and landed in New York on Apr. 17. A list of manifest of Aliens employed on the vessel as members of crew, received from a visitor to my site Jos Odijk, gives the names of 10 survivors picked up by this ship; they have been denoted * in the crew list below.

Description of attacker is given as follows in this report:
"Identified as of Italian Argonanta class (correct is: Argonaut class), 150-200 feet long, light grey and paint appeared fresh or new. One 3" or 4" gun forward of conning tower about 10' overall, one 15 foot small yardarm with cable running fore and aft, speed 12-15 knots. A shield having a red background with vertical stripes surmounted by a fluted crest painted red and white. It appeared to be an Italian Coat of Arms. Crew of sub said to be very young, captain about 30 years of age. Opinion differed regarding nationality of crew, officers were German, some said crew was French, others said Italian".

Another document, also based on interviews of survivors, says that Koll also had 6 Marlin machine guns and 1 Lewis machine gun on the deck, in addition to the 3" gun on the stern already mentioned. The memorandum adds that after shelling the ship, the sub approached the lifeboats. It had 6-7 crew on the deck, and in English with what was believed to be an Italian accent they asked the occupants of one of the boats the name of their ship (this pertains to those who were rescued by St. Cergue). The sub crew was also seen to carry on a converstaion with the occupants of the captain's boat, later giving them the buiscuits - picked up by Lobito, according to this memorandum, but again, my info is that the survivors in the captain's boat were picked up by Cunene on Apr. 11. The memorandum says: "The SS Lobito reports that she has picked up the lifeboat containing the master of the Koll and 8 men and is proceeding to Philadelphia, leaving one lifeboat unaccounted for" (this is dated Apr. 17-1942). The document adds: The survivors report that on April 7, 1942, after they had become separated from the other two lifeboats, they came in contact with a lifeboat from the M.V. Kollskegg at about 11:00. They lost sight of this lifeboat at 17:00 or 18:00 the same day. This lifeboat was on a northerly course and appeared to the survivors of the Koll to be an unusually seaworthy appearing boat".

Yet another document (Intelligence Report, Office of Naval Intelligence, Navy department, signed by Lieutenant T.P. Talbot, U.S.N.R.) states, in part:
".....It is of interest to note that almost without exception the survivors stated that the first question asked them by the officer on the submarine was could any of them speak French. Further that of the 8 to 10 submarine crew members seen on deck three or four were described as being of non-Germanic type and believed by those survivors whose experience would indicate their judgment might be sound to be Frenchmen. However, none of these individuals entered into the conversation so that their language or accent might be determined. The officers and other members of the crew were all stated to be German. The interviewing officer spoke both English and Norwegian in an unmistakeably German accent. Survivors expressed the desire that the coastal air patrol be extended further seaward so that its patrol migh spot the survivors of vessels sunk in quarters other than the usual coastal sea lanes".

Note that
U-boat Archive (external link) has quite a bit of details involving Norwegian ships, including Koll. She's mentioned in Eastern Sea Frontier, enemy action diary for Apr.-1942, and it's necessary to scroll down, or use "find" in your browser - Koll is mentioned more than once on that page. Position given for St. Cergue's rescue of the men in the 2nd mate's boat is given as 34 39N 68 25W at 07:25 on Apr. 15. Koll is mentioned again under Apr. 17, saying that 10 survivors were landed at New York by St. Cergue, 9 more and 1 dead person landed at Lewes, Delaware by Lobito, adding "survivors landed here are hospitalized at Norwegian Hospital in Brooklyn" and "The survivors landed in New York contacted a seaworthy lifeboat with 6 occupants in good condition from the Norwegian Kollskegg April 7 at about 1100 L.A.T.". At the time it was believed Koll had been torpedoed by an Italian sub of the Argonaut class. She's mentioned again under Apr. 20, at which time, according to this, 14 were still unaccounted for.

 2nd Mate, Karsten Idzal's Story: 
Lise Lindbæk conducted an interview with some of the survivors from Koll while some of them shared a room at The Norwegian Hospital in Brooklyn following their ordeal. She included their story in her book "Tusen norske skip", a summary follows:

The torpedo hit aft on the port side at 10:30 in the morning (this happened to be Easter Monday). When the U-boat came up to ask the name of their ship they actually thought the U-boat was Italian. Idzal describes the shelling, saying tank No. 1 was hit, and a violent explosion followed, whereupon Koll sank around 11 -11:15. They proceeded to search for 3 missing men, and found a Canadian in the water, but the 25 year old mechanic Johannes Kjøne from Kristiansund and the 45 year old 1st Engineer Einar Gulbrandsen from Arendal were never found. The Canadian had intitially been on a raft, but when it drifted straight into the flames he had to jump off. The 2 boats were towed all night by the captain's boat but due to a strong wind the next day, the boats were let go and they lost sight of the motorboat after 3 hours. A lifeboat from Kollskegg was sighted that day, but because of the heavy seas and the strong wind and rain they couldn't get close enough to carry on a proper conversation with those who were in it, and they soon lost sight of them.

The following day Koll's 2 boats were separated. The weather was bad, the sea washed in over them from all directions, so they constantly had to bail and it was biting cold. On the 11th they noticed they were in the Gulf Stream again and decided to head south to get into warmer temperatures, and though they had a terrible storm that night they were able to keep the boat free of water. On Apr. 14 the weather improved and they could set sail, after having shed their oilskins and dried their clothes in the sun. Most of them had badly inflamed feet. They washed them with seawater and rubbed oil into them, but they ached terribly. The next day at 4 in the morning a light was spotted in the horizon so they sent up rockets, and to their great relief they had been seen. It turned out to be the Swiss St. Cergue, which came directly towards them and took them on board. All 8 in the hospital spoke of the Swiss ship with great enthusiasm. For one thing, being on a fully illuminated ship in war time was a pleasant experience in itself, and they received the best of care on board, before being landed in New York on Apr. 17.

Lise Lindbæk lists the names of the 8 in the hospital in Brooklyn. In addition to the 2nd mate they were:

Mechanic Joaquin Anido (Spanish), Repairman Per Ellefsen, Able Seaman Henrik Palm (Swedish), Oiler Johan Pedersen, 3rd Engineer Magnus Olsen, Able Seaman Andreas Olsen and Oiler Martin Øvretvedt (who had escaped from Norway 6 months before). The Swedish Able Seaman Willy Larson and a British gunner, John Coyle did not need hospital treatment. While this interview was taking place, they still didn't know the fate of their shipmates in the other 2 boats, but Lise Lindbæk says that half an hour later, they received the happy news from Nortraship that the 1st mate and the others in his boat had also reached land. A week later she visited the hospital again to speak with 1st Mate Arne Tvedt. The steward in Arne Tvedt's boat, Sigurd Askeland from Bergen had died on Apr. 14. After 10 days in the lifeboat they had been picked up by a Portugese cargo vessel en route to the U.S.A. Koll's 2nd Engineer had been badly burnt during the torpedoing and had suffered greatly in the boat, but received the best of care on the Portugese ship. They had been landed in Delaware, where the injured man was taken to a hospital and recovered nicely ("Nortraships flåte" says 9 men were landed in Philadelphia).

While visiting that day she learned that Captain Einar Knudsen and the rest of his men had also been rescued.

 Brief Excerpt of interview with 1st Mate, Arne Tvedt: 
Conducted at the Coast Guard Station at Lewes, Delaware. From Fourth Naval District, District Intelligence Officer, Philadelphia, to Commandant, Fourth Naval District, dated Apr. 18-1942, signed W. T. Smith.

The 1st mate repeats all the info as stated in the various reports above, and adds that while the sub was on the surface for the time of shelling Koll a camera was mounted on tripods on deck and motion pictures were taken of the entire episode, before the sub disappeared from the surface in an uncertain direction at a speed estimated at approximately 12 to 16(? hard to decipher) knots. Again, the survivors in the 1st mate's boat were picked up by the Portuguese Lobito.

Crew List:
* = said to have been picked up by St. Cergue on Apr. 15-1942.

Einar Knudsen
1st Mate
Arne Tvedt
(Haugesund - 41)
2nd Mate
Karsten Idzal*
Radio Operator
Karl Juliussen
Hatty (Harry?) Stefansen
(Bø i Vesterålen - 31)
Gunnar Sandaker
Able Seaman
Henrik Palm*
Able Seaman
Willy Larson*
Able Seaman
Andreas Olsen*
Able Seaman/Gunner
Olaf Mathiassen
Ordinary Seaman
Martinius Koksvik
Ordinary Seaman
Hans Olsen
Ordinary Seaman
Joaquin Anido*
Ordinary Seaman
Eric d'Aperng (d'Apering?)
(Ontario - 24)
Ordinary Seaman
Odd Løkting (Løkling?)
(Elverum - 20)
Ordinary Seaman
Torbjørn Bergene
(Sandefjord - 22)
2nd Engineer
Kåre Holt
(taken to Beebe Hospital - 31)
3rd Engineer
Magnus Olsen*
Theodor Bergum
Per Ellefsen*
Sverre Helland
(Stavanger - 26)
Karl Torbergsen
(Tjeldnes - 40)
Einar Gulliksen
(Tønsberg - 24)
Stener R. Johansen
Markus Ottesen
Johan Pedersen*
Martin Øvretvedt*
Rangvald Stueland
Karl Hansen
James Denny
John Coyle*

1st Engineer
Einar Guldbrandsen

Johannes Kjøne

Sigurd Askeland
(died in lifeboat)

Related external links:
Stavern Memorial Commemorations - 6 appear to be commemorated, but 2 are listed twice, namely Einar Gulbransen and Johannes Tjøne (also listed as Johannes Kjønø), so 4 casualties are actually named. There's also a mate/radio operator by the name of Sivert Andreas H. Handegård commemorated here. Checking with "Våre falne", which lists Norwegians who died in WW II, I find that he's said to have died on June 16-1947 from injuries sufferend when on board Koll at the time of her loss. He is, however, not included in the crew list for this ship, unless he's idential to Able Seaman Andreas Olsen? (he had previously served on Blink).

Operations information for U-571

U-571 | Helmut Möhlmann

St. Cergue - This website has several pictures and the history of this Swiss ship. Click on the English flag for her history, which also mentions the rescue of survivors from Koll, as well as several other rescues.

Back to Koll on the "Ships starting with K" page.

The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Tusen norske skip", Lise Lindbæk, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Norwegian Maritime Museum, Volume I, and misc. others as mentioned in the above text. - ref. My sources. Statements by survivors (dated Apr. 27-1942 and signed U.S.N.R. Lieutenant H. A. Burch) was received from Tony Cooper, England. Also, a "Memorandum for District Intelligence Officer 3ND", based on interview of survivors of Koll, dated Apr. 17-1942 and signed Lieut. Comdr. C. C. Vickrey, U.S.N.R., Intelligence Report, also based on interview of survivors of Koll, dated Apr. 16-1942, interview with 1st Mate Arne Tvedt, from Fourth Naval District, District Intelligence Officer, Philadelphia, to Commandant, Fourth Naval District, dated Apr. 18-1942 (the latter 3 received from Eric Wiberg).


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