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M/S Laurits Swenson
To Laurits Swenson on the "Ships starting with L" page.
From May-1942, till July-1942 Helene Karoline J. Fischer Dale served as a stewardess on this ship. She later went on to become the first Norwegian female radio officer in our fleet. She had previously served as stewardess on Bayard from March-1940 till Dec. that year, and on the same ship from Febr.-1941 till March-1942, before joining Laurits Swenson in the same capacity in May-1942, as mentioned. The following month she started school at Little Norway, Toronto to become a radio operator, and fresh out of school she joined Fred. Olsen's Baalbek as 2nd radio operator in June-1943 (till Sept.-1943), before signing on Alf Lindeberg in Oct.-1943 where she stayed till Dec.-1945. Just 2 days after signing off Alf Lindeberg she joined M/S Fernplant, this time as 1st radio operator, remaining with this ship until March-1946. She was later awarded Krigsmedaljen and Haakon VII Frihetsmedalje - see my Norwegian War Medals page. Many women sailed with the Norwegian fleet during the war; mostly as stewardesses or saloon girls. Norwegian ships also had several female Canadian radio operators; a list of their names can be found at the end of my page about Mosdale. (My mother was also a radio operator, though not during the war. Her ships are named at Åse's Ships).
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 on each.
According to Page 1 of the archive documents, Laurits Swenson left Los Angeles on Apr. 8-1940 with the intention of sailing to Oslo, Norway, but the country was invaded the next day, and she was diverted to Liverpool, so she returned to Los Angeles, later proceeding to Bermuda. From there, she joined the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 43 on May 15 in order to make the voyage to Liverpool, arriving there on May 30, cargo of grain and fruit (the Norwegian Ida Bakke, Vivi and Sildra also sailed in this convoy). With Erviken and Leiesten she's later listed in Convoy OB 164, which left Liverpool on June 9 and dispersed on the 12th, Laurits Swenson arriving Cristobal on June 25. She now made some voyages on the west coast of the U.S. and Canada, then in Sept.-1940 she's mentioned in the escort's report for Convoy HX 71, departing Halifax on Sept. 5 (convoy will be updated* to include ships from Halifax), and the following month we find her, together with Brant County, Grado, Petter, Ruth I and Samuel Bakke, in Convoy OB 226 (station 62), which left Liverpool on Oct. 9 and dispersed on the 12th, Laurits Swenson arriving Hampton Roads on Oct. 24. Direct links to the OB convoys mentioned here have been provided within the Voyage Record.
In Jan.-1941, she can be found in the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 102, bound for Liverpool with a general cargo, and the following month she joined Convoy OB 291, which departed Liverpool on Febr. 27 and dispersed March 3 (link in table above). Caledonia, Grena, Hardanger, Hilda Knudsen, Skaraas and Storaas (bombed and damaged - follow the links for details) are also included, as is the Panamania Norvik (Norwegian managers and included under the N's on this website). No destination is given for Laurits Swenson, but when going back to Page 1 of the archive documents, we learn that she arrived Cristobal on March 20. She headed back to the U.K. at the end of May with the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 130. She was again bound for Liverpool with a general cargo, sailing in station 63 of the convoy. A cruising order/Commodore's notes are also available for this convoy. Together with Belinda, Sama and Samuel Bakke, she subsequently joined Convoy OB 344, departing Liverpool on July 7, dispersed July 16, Laurits Swenson arriving Cristobal on the 24th, then proceeded to Los Angeles and Vancouver - her voyages in this period are shown on Page 2.
She headed back across the Atlantic on Sept. 22 that year in Convoy HX 151 from Halifax, along with the Norwegian Dagrun, Sama, San Andres, Meline, Morgenen, Belinda, Thorshøvdi, Sophocles, Tigre, Hardanger, Leiv Eiriksson. Laurits Swenson arrived Liverpool on Oct. 6, and later that month, she joined the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 28*, as did the Norwegian Polartank, Brant County and other Norwegian ships (departure Liverpool Oct. 20, dispersed Nov. 3). When the convoy was located by U-boats on Oct. 29 the Admiralty redirected it and ordered the fastest ships (including the 3 Norwegian ones mentioned) to proceed independently. (The American Salinas was torpedoed and damaged by U-106 on Oct. 30). Laurits Swenson arrived Cristobal on Nov. 9, continuing to Vancouver the next day, with arrival Nov. 23.
Arnold Hague has also included her in Convoy HX 170 from Halifax to Liverpool on Jan. 13-1942 (see also Page 2). The following month she's listed as bound for New York in Convoy ON 69*, which left Liverpool Febr. 20 and dispersed March 6, Laurits Swenson arriving New York on March 8. She headed back to the U.K. again on March 27 with Convoy HX 182 from Halifax; Acanthus, Eglantine, Kos XX, Potentilla and Rose are named among the escorts. At the beginning of May she joined the westbound Convoy ON 91*, general cargo for New York, where she arrived on May 16, the convoy having been dispersed the day before (departed Liverpool May 1). In June she joined Convoy HX 193 from Halifax, then early in July she's listed in the westbound Convoy ON 109*, departing Liverpool July 3, arriving Halifax July 18(?) - Laurits Swenson, however, was bound for New York, with arrival there July 16. She sailed back to the U.K. the following month in Convoy HX 202, general cargo for Mersey - see also Page 3.
For her return voyage she joined Convoy ON 127 on Sept. 4, station 41. Having witnessed several ships being sunk, it was decided to leave the convoy on Sept. 11 after the 5th attack, and she subsequently made it safely to Halifax on her own. (See also the external link at the end of this page, as well as Hindanger, Sveve, Daghild, Marit II and Fjordaas, 2 of which were sunk, the others damaged). The following month she's listed in Convoy HX 210, departing New York City on Oct. 1. Cargo is given as "valuables and explosives" and she sailed in station 33 of the convoy, bound for Liverpool. The Norwegian Montevideo served as Commodore Vessel. Laurits Swenson later returned to New York with Convoy ON 143* (departure Liverpool Nov. 1), and her last Trans-Atlantic voyage that year was made in Convoy HX 218 from New York, again bound for Liverpool, and again with explosives in her cargo, station 43. She arrived Liverpool on Dec. 21.
She returned to the U.S. early in Jan.-1943 with Convoy ON 159, acting as the Commodore's ship in station 61 - the Commodore's narrative is also available for this convoy; he finds her "a most excellent Commodore's ship, the Captain and officers being most efficient and helpful in every way, but I would suggest that another 2,000 tons of sand ballast would make her a perfect leader of a convoy". She also served as Commodore Vessel for Convoy HX 226, departing New York on Febr. 8. She had a general cargo for Swansea, where she arrived, via Belfast Lough, on Febr. 25. In March she served as Commodore Vessel for the westbound Convoy ON 172* (convoy left Liverpool March 9, arrived New York March 27 - it looks like Laurits Swenson joined from Belfast Lough, see Page 3), and the following month she was Commodore Vessel for Convoy HX 234; the Commodore again had some good words for the ship and her crew, saying "The most efficient ship yet encountered and eminently suitable for Commodore's ship. The Master is a very fine type and his officers and crew keen and capable". See also the Commodore's report. Laurits Swenson now went back to the U.S. in May with Convoy ON 183* (departure Liverpool May 10 - Laurits Swenson, serving as Commodore Vessel, sailed from Clyde that day - arrival New York May 25), and in June we find her in Convoy HX 243 from New York, departing June 7, arriving Liverpool on the 21st, general cargo, station 114.
In July she's listed as bound for New York in Convoy ON 192* (from Liverpool July 9, to New York July 23), again serving as Commodore Vessel, and she was chosen as Commodore Vessel again for her return voyage with Convoy HX 251 the following month (Commodore was Sir R.A.R. Plunket-Ernle-Erle-Drax, who considers her to be "Admirable. Clean, efficient, most comfortable. Captain Rød is a fine seaman and a good navigator". Her cargo is given as general and explosives, destination Liverpool in station 81. Acanthus, Potentilla and Rose are named among the escorts - see HX convoy escorts. In Sept.-1943 she's listed in the westbound Convoy ON 200* (from Liverpool Sept. 2, to New York Sept. 18), and according to A. Hague she subsequently joined Convoy HX 260*, which left New York on Oct. 5 and arrived Liverpool on the 20th. She later served as Commodore Vessel for Convoy ON 209* to New York (from Liverpool Oct. 31, to New York Nov. 17), also acting as Commodore Vessel for the returning Convoy HX 269*, while the Vice Commodore was in Emma Bakke (convoy left New York Dec. 2, arrived Liverpool Dec. 16 - Laurits Swenson stopped at Glasgow that day; see Page 4).
In Jan.-1944 she joined the westbound Convoy ON 219* (from Liverpool Jan. 8, to New York Jan. 27 - she joined from Clyde. Commodore was in Elisabeth Bakke), heading back to the U.K. on Febr. 12 with Convoy HX 279, general cargo for Liverpool (Vice Commodore was Emma Bakke's captain). In March she shows up in the westbound Convoy ON 228*, departing Liverpool March 15, arriving New York Apr. 1, again serving as the Commodore's ship. She went back to the U.K. later that month with Convoy HX 288, for which R.G. Clayton acted as Commodore in Laurits Swenson, while Emma Bakke's captain was Vice Commodore. On May 19 she joined the westbound Convoy ON 237*, arriving New York June 3 (remaining there for over a month - Page 4). This time, her captain served as the Vice Commodore, while the Commodore was in Brimanger.
In the summer of 1944 the Germans started using the V 1 bombs (ref. external links at the end of this page), and the first Norwegian report of such a bomb came from Laurits Swenson, which had arrived London on July 31, having sailed from New York on July 11 with Convoy HX 299, yet again acting as Commodore Vessel (Commodore J. K. Brook), with the Norwegian Høyanger as Vice Commodore's ship. Ships in port were in danger day and night from these bombs, as they could, of course, not defend themselves against them with their own armament. My father also experienced the V 1, and later the V 2, while going to Radio Officer's school in London. See his interesting and, at times, quite amusing account in one of his letters (Letter No. 4). Laurits Swenson departed London on Aug. 11, later joining convoy ON 249* in order to go back to New York, where she arrived Sept. 2, having started out from Loch Ewe Aug. 18 (Vice Commodore in Norma).
She's listed as returning to the U.K. with Convoy HX 309 on Sept. 16 (serving as Vice Commodore), bound for Glasgow with general cargo, arriving Oct. 2. We now find her in the westbound Convoy ON 259*, which originated in Liverpool on Oct. 12, but Laurits Swenson sailed from Clyde Oct. 11 and arrived New York Oct. 29. Her captain had again served as Vice Commodore, while the Commodore was in Villanger. Laurits Swenson subsequently spent a month in New York, before joining Convoy HX 323 on Nov. 29 (Vice Commodore), bound for Liverpool with general cargo; Commodore was in Samuel Bakke. Christmas that year was celebrated while in the westbound Convoy ON 274*, which arrived New York on Jan. 8-1945, having departed Liverpool Dec. 24 (the Commodore was again in Samuel Bakke). See also Page 4.
Laurits Swenson, general cargo for London, again acted as Commodore Vessel for Convoy HX 337 in Febr.-1945 (having been cancelled from the previous convoy, HX 336, for which John Bakke served as Commodore Vessel). She returned across the Atlantic in March with Convoy ON 291* (from Southend March 17, to New York Apr. 6), then served as Commodore Vessel for Convoy HX 351* (Commodore Sir R.A.R. Plunket-Ernle-Erle-Drax), which left New York on Apr. 18 and arrived Liverpool on May. 3. At the end of May we find her in the last ON convoy of the war, namely ON 305* (Commodore in Samuel Bakke). Laurits Swenson arrived Baltimore on June 9, having been detached from the convoy on May 30, according to A. Hague.
Sold in 1963. Arrived Hong Kong on Sept. 5-1963 to be broken up.
Related external links:
Fi-103/V-1 "Buzz Bomb" - Detailed description and several pictures.
Lesser known facts of WW II - scroll down on the page.
For info, the Australian War Memorial has several photos of V 1 and V 2 bombs - they can can be found through the collection search page of the site. One picture has the caption: A sectional drawing of a German V-1 Flying bomb, another has the caption: A sectionalised drawing showing the component parts of a German V-2 rocket (also designated A-4), and a third has the caption: Belgium. 1944-12. The first picture of the German V2 Flying Bomb which fell in Belgium.
Back to Laurits Swenson on the "Ships starting with L" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, Fred. Olsen & Co. fleet list, and misc. others for cross checking info as named within the text. The majority of the information on Helene Fischer Dale was received from Olive Roeckner, who herself served as radio operator on Norwegian ships (she in turn received the information from Berit Pittman, Canada). A book has been written about her experiences - see my text under Narvik.