|Site Map | Search Warsailors.com |Merchant Fleet Main Page | Warsailors.com Home|
Owner: Skibs-A/S Lise.
Built by William Doxford & Sons Ltd., Sunderland in 1931.
Captain: Sigmund Frette.
Related items on this website:
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.
Errors may exist, and some voyages are missing.
Lise is listed in Convoy HGF 32 from Gibraltar to the U.K. in May-1940, bound for Swansea with crude oil, station 23. She arrived her destination on June 6, and later that month I have her in Convoy OB 169, voyage Swansea to Abadan via Cape in ballast (convoy originated in Liverpool June 17, dispersed on the 22nd). Note that Arnold Hague does not include Lise in OB 169 (external link), but instead has her in the previous convoy, OB 168 (also external), which originated in Liverpool on June 15 and joined up with Convoy OA 168 on the 17th, the combined convoy forming the Gibraltar bound convoy OG 34F (see my page naming ships in all OG convoys). A. Hague has the Norwegian Liss, with destination Abadan, in Convoy OB 169. My document for this convoy is very blurry, but to me it looks more like Lise than Liss - however, when looking at the information on Page 1 of the archive documents, we see that Lise arrived Trinidad on July 3 (having left Milford Haven on June 16); Abadan is not mentioned. I now have the voyage record for Liss for the same time period, which says that she left Swansea (for Abadan) on June 16 and arrived St. Vincent (C.V.) on the 29th, departing again that same day for Table Bay, where she arrived on July 15; arrival Abadan is not given, but the reference to Table Bay leads me to believe that the ship in Convoy OB 169 was indeed Liss, and that Lise had been in the previous convoy (Charles Racine and Spinanger are also listed in OB 168).
Lise headed back to the U.K. on July 26 with the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 61, bound for Swansea with fuel oil and diesel oil, arriving Swansea on Aug. 12.
Skipping now to the spring of 1941, when she's listed in station 82 of Convoy SL 71, which left Freetown on Apr. 8 and arrived Liverpool on May 4; Lise, however, was again bound for Swansea, where she arrived that same day, cargo of crude oil. Follow the link provided within the Voyage Record for more convoy info - Dagfred, Gudvin, Lisbeth, Ravnefjell and Thorshov are also named. Together with Grena, Orwell, Salamis and Sama, Lise subsequently joined Convoy OB 323, which originated in Liverpool on May 17 and dispersed on the 25th, Lise arriving Aruba on June 8, having started out from Milford Haven on May 16 (again, see Page 1). From Aruba, she proceeded to Bermua the next day, joining the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 134 on June 18, bound for Swansea with diesel oil. The Commodore's narrative is also available for this convoy. She arrived Swansea, via Belfast Lough, on July 12, and later that month she's listed, along with Benwood, Gallia, Gard, Thode Fagelund, Tore Jarl and Vav, in Convoy OB 349, which originated in Liverpool on July 21 and dispersed on Aug. 1. Her destination is given as Curacao on that occasion, and she arrived there on Aug. 11, again having started out from Milford Haven. Her voyages in this period are shown on Page 2. With a cargo of fuel oil, she headed back to the U.K. again on Sept. 10 in Convoy HX 149 from Halifax, arriving Ardrossan Sept. 25/26. She subsequently returned across the Atlantic with the westbound Convoy ON 22*, which originated in Liverpool on Oct. 2 and dispersed on the 15th, Lise arriving New York on Oct. 19, having joined from Clyde. Eglantine is named among the escorts - see ON convoy escorts (but I'm not sure if she had come under the Norwegian flag yet at that time?). Lise now remained in New York for over a month, before proceeding to Curacao on Nov. 23, then on to Halifax in order to join Convoy HX 165 on Dec. 15.
We now find her in the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 54*, which left Liverpool on Jan. 6-1942 and dispersed on the 17th, Lise arriving Aruba on Jan. 29, again having joined from Clyde (Page 2). On March 27, she joined Convoy HX 182 from Halifax, and this turned out to be her last North Atlantic crossing. It'll be noticed, when following the link to my page about this convoy, that Acanthus, Eglantine, Kos XX, Potentilla and Rose are named among the escorts.
In Apr. 22-1942, Lise can be found in station 12 of Convoy OS 26, which originated in Liverpool on Apr. 22. More convoy information is available via the external link provided in the Voyage Record, Thorhild is also named. Lise was on a voyage from Southampton and Belfast Lough to Curacao in ballast, having departed Southampton on Apr. 19, Belfast Lough on Apr. 23- again, see Page 2. She remained in the convoy for a while, but had parted company (A. Hague gives date as May 9) and was sailing alone when she was shelled, torpedoed and set on fire by U-69 (Gräf ) on May 12, 13 53N 68 20W (95 n. miles north of Bonaire, according to the captain's report).
Officer on watch at the time was 2nd Mate Larsen, while Able Seaman Silden was at the wheel, Ordinary Seaman Wendt was keeping a lookout on top of the wheel house, and Mechanic Kvalestad was by the aft gun. The lookout sighted the U-boat on the surface only a cable off the ship on the port quarter, on the same course as Lise, and reported this to the 2nd mate who ordered the wheel hard to starboard, while at the same time sounding the alarm. The lookout was immediately sent down to the captain to call him, but before he had gotten down the bridge ladder, the U-boat commenced firing. The attack appeared to be concentrated on the after part, shells exploding all over; the port lifeboat was destroyed, the ammunition room set on fire. Now, as per the captain's report, another(?) U-boat came up on the port side of the ship and started firing on the midships section and the bridge. Machine guns were also used, but the gunfire caused the worst havock.
12 were killed near the gunners' platform during the intense shelling, as many of those who were not on duty were asleep on the after deck (the captain's report states that the attack took place at 3 in the morning, J. Rowher gives the time as 09:03, German time). The captain, who came to the bridge as soon as he was called, asked for the radio operator, but nobody knew where he was. His attempt to obtain telephone connection with the gun platform aft failed, and seeing the destruction he stopped the engine and signalled with the steam whistle for the crew to abandon ship, waited a while, then gave the signal again, hoping that the attacker would cease the firing upon hearing that the ship was to be abandoned, but the firing continued unabated. On the midships boatdeck were now the 1st mate, the 2nd mate, the 2 men on watch and Able Seaman Henriksen who had come from the aft of the ship. They tried to launch the motorboat on the port side but had to give it up due to the heavy firing on that side, so the captain gave orders to launch the small dinghy on the starboard side instead. The motorboat was hit shortly thereafter and the petrol tanks in it set on fire. At that moment, seeing the U-boat less than a cable off on the port beam, the captain cocked the double Hotchkiss gun on the port bridge wing and fired at the unwelcome intruder, which stopped firing while this was going on, but soon started up again when the captain stopped.
Captain Frette then threw the box with the confidential documents overboard before heading to the boat deck, only to find no lifeboats left on the ship. The 2 port boats were destroyed, the starboard boat was away from its davits, the dinghy was drifting away as its painter had carried away. None of the crew could be seen anywhere except the 2nd mate who was still on the boat deck where he had lowered the dinghy. The 2 of them jumped overboard and were later picked up by the dinghy. The starboard boat was seen some distance away but they could not make out how many were in it. The shooting continued for quite a while, and when there was a brief break they started pulling back towards the ship which was on fire in several places, especially the after section, at that time laying low in the water. Suddenly, a torpedo hit Lise amidships on the port side, whereupon she slowly went down, stern first, an estimated 1 1/2 hour after the attack had started.
In addition to the captain and the 2nd mate, the 1st mate, Ordinary Seaman Wendt, Able Seaman Henriksen (wounded) and Ordinary Seaman Larsen were in the dinghy. At daybreak they found a raft with the 3rd mate (wounded), the steward, the 2nd engineer, Mechanic Syvertsen, Able Seaman Silden, the radio operator and the Chinese electrician (wounded), making their total number 13. The latter 7 had sheltered from the gunfire as best they could, then had attempted to launch some rafts, succeeding in getting the painting raft out just as the torpedo struck. The raft had capsized, but they hung on and managed to push it away from the ship. After Lise had gone down they had found the other rafts and had been able to climb onto one of them. The radio operator had tried to send out a distress call, but had found the equipment destroyed by the gun fire.
The 13 remained in the area for some time, then all 7 from the raft were transferred to the dinghy, whereupon they headed towards land, but after a while, realizing the dinghy was too heavily laden, it was decided to have a draw for a place in it, with the "losers" having to stay on the raft, except for the wounded men who remained in the dinghy. They returned to the raft again, and after the men had been distributed, the two vessels parted company, with the 8 in the dinghy setting sail for land so that they could get a search party sent out. Land was sighted on May 13, and that evening they were picked up by Femern, on hire to the Dutch Navy, but with a crew of mostly Norwegians, which landed them at Curacao. All 8 were taken to a hospital for treatment.
A B-17 and ships were subsequently sent out to look for the remaining 5 on the raft, but they were not located until May 31 by an aircraft which directed the Dutch ship S/S Socrates to their aid. They were also taken to Curacao on June 3.
For the first few days after the dinghy had left them they drifted with a sea anchor while awaiting assistance. On the 3rd day they thought help had arrived when an aircraft came in low above them, but in spite of their waving with clothes fastened to the oars and otherwise doing everything they could to attract attention, the aircraft kept flying. After having been drifting for 4 days, they realized help was not coming so they started preparing for a long stay. They had a fair amount of bread and water, but implemented a strict rationing, just in case. A mast was made with oars tied together, using strips of canvas for sail. The course was set out with the help of the sun and the stars, as they had no compass or maps. 2 men kept watch at all times. On the 7th day they spotted a tanker steering straight for them, but it was zig-zagging and soon passed the raft without it being seen. The tanker was so close at one point that those on the raft could actually see the people on board.
Most of the time the weather was in their favour but a couple of times things looked bleak for them, with heavy winds and seas washing over them, so that they had to tie themselves as well as their water kegs down, so important for their survival. Fortunately, the raft contained wool sweaters, and these proved really useful, in that there were 2 for each man, and they wore one as a sweater, the other as "pants", so even though they were wet most of the time they were able to stay fairly warm. Threads were pulled out from pieces of canvas, then twirled together to make a fishing line, while a hook was made out of the handle of a bread tank. The first fish they caught was a small shark which they cooked and ate, joking that they'd better eat the shark before they themselves were eaten by same. They were not at all impressed with the flavour, but they later caught other kinds of fish that tasted much better than the shark had done. One time they caught a fish that was so big that all of them were needed to kill it. For cooking they fried oil in a can, holding another can containing the food above it. They also caught a large turtle, keeping it as "prisoner" as spare provisions for a while before they ate it. The raft was continuously chased by sharks, and one time a shark bit into their steering oar, but they managed to pull free of it.
Finally, in the afternoon of May 31, after having spent 20 days on the raft, they saw an aircraft far away. It suddenly altered course and came straight towards them, then circled a few times while attempting to throw something down to them, but it fell in the water and they were unable to retrieve it. After a few minutes it flew off again, but they knew then that they had been spotted so they treated themselves to a "party" with an extra water ration. 2 hours later a ship was seen coming their way, and they were taken aboard Socrates, which was en route to Curacao. The aircraft had dropped a message to this ship, notifying them of the raft, whose occupants had then sailed a distance of 700 n. miles. As mentioned, they were landed in Curacao on June 3-1942.
As it turned out (but not known to the others at the time) the starboard lifeboat had also been successfully launched and had 8 men in it, all of whom had been aft when the attack occurred, some alseep in their cabins, others on deck. They had seen many of their shipmates killed and mutilated. When those 8 saw no other survivors at daybreak they headed for land, reaching Carrizal in Columbia on May 15. They subsequently travelled by ship, then by car to Guribia where they stayed for a few days, before being picked up by a plane and taken to Barranquilla, staying there for 8 days (there was a Norwegian colony of people there who assisted them in every way). They left Barranquilla on May 26 on the Norwegian Washington Express and were landed in New York on June 2 (this fits in with Washington Express' Voyage Record for this period).
The maritime inquiry was held in Willemstad on May 20-1942 with the captain, the 3rd mate, the 2nd engineer, Able Seaman Silden, Ordinary Seaman Wendt, Able Seaman Henriksen and the steward appearing. At that time they had heard the news that those in the starboard boat had been found, but the 5 on the raft were still missing. The attack was so intense that it was believed that up to 3 U-boats had taken part.
Among the 12 casualties were the British Charles Alexander Jones, aged 16, from Liverpool, England, Neil McEwan from Glasgow, Scotland, born 29-7-23, Leslie Harland from Sheffield, England, born 4-5-25.
This list was sent to me by the brother in law of Charles Alexander Jones (ref. messages in my Guestbook). It has since been compared to what can be found in "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig" and adjusted accordingly.
* = the 5 who were on the raft.
This external page has more info on Karl E. Syvertsen's war service - he also describes the loss of Lise in great detail (scroll down for English version).
Steward Norheim and Ordinary Seaman Wendt joined M/T Thorsholm. Electrician Thiam remained in hospital for a while. The remaining 10 in Curacao got passage for New Orleans with the Dutch passenger ship Crijnssen, leaving Curaçao on June 7. They were Captain Frette, 3d Mate Hildemar Nilsen, 2nd engineer Sverre Gustavsen, Able Seaman Jens Henriksen and Able Seaman Sverre Silden as well as the 5 from the raft.
In the straits of Yucatan on June 11 (June 10, 18:35 ship's time) they again survived being torpedoed (U-504). 8 of Lise's crew ended up in a lifeboat with several others, 1 was among the survivors in a gig, while Ordinary Seaman Fredrik Larsen was in another boat. The gig, the boat holding 8 from Lise (incl. the captain) and another boat from the Dutch ship were picked up that afternoon by the American steamer Lebore, while Ordinary Seaman Larsen's lifeboat landed on a beach on Yucatan. He turned up in New York much later on.
The story is still not over. Lebore was on a voyage to Panama. On June 14 she too was torpedoed (U-172), and for the 3rd time captain Frette and the other 8 who had been picked up by Lebore had to abandon ship and find a place in a lifeboat. They were scattered over 3 different boats, but on the 16th they were all together again on board the American gunboat (PG-50) Erie, which landed them in Panama on the 17th. About a week later the captain was able to get transportation from Balboa to Miami on a plane, and arrived New York on June 25-1942. The 8 who had remained in Panama got passage with Panama Express. Radio Operator Anker Sivertsen signed on this ship as radio operator, while the other 7 came along as passengers and were landed in San Pedro, then travelled to New York with arrival July 7 (they were the 1st mate, the 2nd mate, the 3rd mate, the 2nd engineer, Mechanic Syvertsen, Able Seaman Henriksen and Able Seaman Silden).
Meanwhile, the aforementioned Ordinary Seaman Fredrik Larsen, whose lifeboat had landed at Yucatan, had eventually been able to get in contact with people and after a stay in Mexico he, and the others from that lifeboat came to New Orleans, then to New York on July 6.
1st Mate Haugar Lyngås later experienced a 4th torpedoing soon after he had joined M/T Katy in the spring of 1945. Katy was torpedoed on Apr. 23 that year.
External websites related to the text on this page:
Jan Visser has some information on
Back to Lise on the "Ships starting with L" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Norwegian Maritime Museum, Volume I, and misc. others for cross checking info.