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Whale Factory Lancing
Owner: Hvalfangerselskapet Globus A/S
Built by C. Connell & Co. Ltd., Glasgow in 1898 as Knight Errant, Greenshields Cowie & Co., Liverpool. Sold in 1914 and renamed Rio Tiete. Sold again in 1915, renamed Omsk. Renamed Calanda in 1921, sold in 1922, renamed Flackwell, then sold and converted to whale oil factory Lancing in 1925. Note that the last external website that I've linked to above has a more detailed history.
Captain: J. H. Bjerkholt, later captain of N. T. Nielsen Alonso (?)
Related item on this website:
Her voyages are listed on this original image received from the National Archives of Norway.
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.
When Norway was invaded on Apr. 9-1940 Lancing was in Rio de Janeiro where she, due to the situation in the world, had been since the completion of the 1939/1940 whaling season. Upon hearing the news of the invasion of Norway some of the crew paid off while the rest came with her to Trinidad, arriving on May 20 (she had been taken over by Nortraship by then and was ordered to an allied port like the rest of the Norwegian ships in various parts of the world). After a few days she was ordered to Willemstad, Curacao where whale oil was discharged, before she proceeded to Halifax to replenish the whale factories Ole Wegger, Thorshammer, Pelagos and Solglimt. According to the archive document, Lancing did not leave Curacao until Aug. 1, so she had stayed there for a long time. When checking the voyage records for these 4 ships, we find that they were all indeed in Halifax at this time.
Towards the end of that year she again had sailing orders for Curacao to pick up bunkers for the whaling fleet; the archive document gives arrival Curacao from New York, Dec. 25 (having previously spent over a month in New York). However, on her way south to the Antarctic she was suddenly ordered to the nearest South American port, not knowing until later what the reason for this change of plans was. The majority of the whaling fleet had, meanwhile, been captured by Pinguin so Lancing narrowly escaped the same fate, see my text at Norwegian Victims of Pinguin. According to "Nortraships flåte" Lancing had departed Curacao on Dec. 30 with the intention of supplying Ole Wegger and adds that following the capture of the whaling fleet there was great concern for Lancing until she finally arrived Rio de Janeiro on Febr. 7-1941*. When asked why it had taken them 38 days to get there from Curacao, the captain explained that Lancing had reached position 50S 10W on Jan. 26 when Nortraship in New York had instructed them to proceed to the nearest South American port. Not quite believing in the validity of this signal the captain asked to have it repeated in private code and as soon as this was received he continued to Rio.
Another item to note in Rasmussen's account is that he's convinced Lancing was in Convoy SC 42. Several Norwegian ships were in this convoy but he says Lancing is not listed, and he thinks this is due to the fact that the officers had demanded a lifeboat drill just before departure as the boats had never been on the water before. All the equipment proved to be in order, but Lancing was delayed and joined the formation at the very last minute. His description of what later occurred does indeed fit with the incidents that took place during the passage of this convoy in Aug./Sept.-1941, and I have since found information that proves him right. Lancing, with a cargo of whale oil, is listed in station 102 of Convoy SC 42, which left Sydney, C.B. on Aug. 30. Please follow the link for details on the battle and the names of ships sunk, the Norwegian Stargard being among them.
We subsequently find her in station 44 of the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 23, which left Liverpool on Oct. 4 and arrived Halifax on the 19th. Lancing, however, was bound for Curacao, where she arrived on Oct. 29, having detached from the convoy on the 14th, according to A. Hague. This convoy will be added to an individual page in my Convoys section, but in the meantime, the ships sailing in it, some of which were Norwegian, are named in the section listing ships in all ON convoys.
Lancing had arrived Curacao from Kingston, Jamaica on March 24-1942 - again, see the archive document. She left Curacao again on March 28 with 8900 tons fuel oil for New York, but on Apr. 7 she was torpedoed off Cape Hatteras by U-552 (Topp), position 35 08N 75 22W (F. Rasmussen says they had been ordered to go by Norfolk to join a convoy for New York). The torpedo hit on the starboard side amidships, blowing away both lifeboats on that side so they all had to run to the port side boats. 1 man was killed in the engine room, the remaining 49 went in 4 lifeboats and stayed near the ship until it sank about an hour and a half later.
After about 5 hours in the lifeboats they were picked up by a Canadian patrol boat and by the American tanker Pan Rhode Island* that same morning and taken to Norfolk where they spent the night at a naval base, before being sent by Greyhound bus to New York. Hearings were held there on Apr. 16-1942 with the captain, the 3rd mate, Able Seaman Sørensen (helmsman), Able Seaman Johnsen, and Able Seaman Olsen appearing. The latter 2 had both been on lookout duty.
Stavern Memorial commemorations - It'll be noticed that in addition to Stoker Hansen there's a Marthinius Marthinsen commemorated at this memorial for seamen in Stavern, Norway. He may have died in a previous incident(?), or he might, in fact, be identical to Stoker Hansen, whose middle name was Marthinius (their birthdates are different, but this might be an error on the site).
Lancing - Pictures and facts from a website on shipwreck diving, with underwater pictures of the wreck. There's also a picture of *Ordinary Seaman Ragnvald Smevik, and a note about the ship's pet dog, Tursa, who when Lancing was torpedoed brought 4 of her 5 puppies to the lifeboat, but failed to return with the fifth.
Hyperwar - Linked to Robert Cressman's book, events of 1942.
Back to Lancing on the "Ships starting with L" page.
Melsom & Melsom later had another Lancing, built in Glasgow in 1950. The Clydebuilt Ships website has more details on this ship.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "The World's Merchant Fleets", R. W. Jordan, article in "Krigsseileren" No. 3 for 1995, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Norwegian Maritime Museum, Volume I, and misc. others for cross checking info.