|Site Map | Search Warsailors.com |Merchant Fleet Main Page | Warsailors.com Home|
To Løvstad on the "Ships starting with L" page.
Owner: Skibs-A/S Sunde
Built by Clyde Shipbuilding, Port Glasgow (322) in 1921. Previous names: Launched as Georgios for V. G. Mantacas, Piræus, Georgios Mantacas until 1938, when sold to Norway.
According to R. W. Jordan she was managed by Andrew Weir & Co., London during the war.
Captain: Young Samuelsen (all through the war).
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 several voyages are missing.
As will be seen when going to Page 1 of the archive documents, Løvstad arrived Calcutta on Apr. 11-1940, 2 days after the Germans invaded Norway. She later made voyages to places like Singapore, Shanghai, Saigon, Colombo, Cochin etc. Her 1941 voyages also start on this document, while her 1942 and some 1943 voyages are shown on Page 2 (as will be seen, she had quite a long stay at Mombasa at the end of 1942, and another long stay in Calcutta at the beginning of 1943). Her 1943 voyages continue on Page 3, which also lists some of her 1944 voyages (it'll be noticed, throughout this record, that she often remained in port for extended periods of time).
Løvstad had departed Calcutta on March 16-1944 bound for Chittagong (India) with a cargo of coal and war materials. She sailed as No. 4 in the middle column of Convoy HC 44 (external link) consisting of 10 cargo and troop ships in 3 columns. That same day, the Vice Commodore ship, the Indian El Madina, No. 3 in the middle column (in other words, right in front of Løvstad) was torpedoed by the Japanese submarine Ro-111 (Nakamura) in position 20 54N 89 36E, broke in two and sank. From various sources I do not get the impression that Løvstad was originally assigned as rescue vessel, but according to a report written by the 3rd mate several years later the Commodore signalled "you are the rescue ship" to them before the convoy and the 4 escorting British warships continued on, leaving Løvstad alone with the sinking troop ship.
El Madina, which had more than 1000 people on board, had immediately started to sink by the stern, but the rest of her remained afloat for a while. Those on board managed to launch 3 lifeboats before she sank, while a 4th remained hanging in one of the tackles so that all those in it fell in the water from a great height. The area was full of debris and people, dead and alive - a terrible sight.
Løvstad stopped and launched the lifeboats and for 4 hours her men worked to rescue Indian and African soldiers from the debris. As soon as a boat was full, they took it back to the ship, then returned to pick up more. Lines were rigged up from bow to stern on both sides so that those who were able to reach them had something to hold on to until they could get pulled on board. The gangway was also put out. All guns on Løvstad were manned while this was going on. When done, Løvstad had 789 people on board (number varies according to source) in addition to her own complement. Among the shipwrecked men were several doctors who took care of the injured. All of Løvstad's sheets were torn up for bandages and all medicines on board were used up.
Towards the end of the rescue operation, the motor in Løvstad's lifeboat had broken down, so the 3rd mate transferred to one of El Madina's lifeboats and continued the rescue work, picking up another 25. By then it had started to turn dark and the lifeboat was quite a distance away from Løvstad. One of the escorts, which had returned to search for the sub, was asked to tow the lifeboat back to the Norwegian ship. The 25 rescued men were taken on board the escort, as was the lifeboat crew while towing. However, shortly afterwards the lifeboat was let go, and the 3rd mate and the others were left without means to get back to their ship. The commander of the escort had been ordered to patrol the area, and they ended up having to stay on board through the night. The 3rd mate, who was the only radio operator on Løvstad was none too pleased, but they were taken back to Løvstad again early the next morning, off Chittagong, while the 25 rescued men stayed on the escort. Ten crew, six gunners and 364 troops were lost from El Madina, Løvstad's men had rescued a total of 814.
When she arrived the pilot station at Chittagong where the British escorts were, a rare occurrence took place; every one of the warships greeted the little merchantman with the White Ensign, an act which was against the regular rules which said that merchant ships were to greet the warships first. Upon arrival Calcutta (see Page 3), more tributes were paid in the shape of thank you notes from the Indian government, the Ministry of War Transport and several other institutions.
1st mate was Håkon Jølle Hansen, 2nd Mate Hans E. Olsen, 3rd mate/radio operator was Syvert Vindheim (all of them stayed on board all through the war). 1st Engineer was Karsten Hansen, 2nd Engineer David Davidsen. I believe the majority of the crew were foreign (Chinese).
A book about this incident was published in 1984; entitled "814 reddet" which means "814 rescued". Written by Arvid Møller, ISBN 82-531-4166-1, in Norwegian.
For info, the Japanese sub mentioned above was sunk in June that same year by the American destroyer Taylor - see the external links at the end of this page for more details.
Løvstad continued trading between Chittagong and Calcutta through the rest of that year, as can be seen on Page 3 and Page 4 - convoy information for some of these voyages can be found in the Voyage Record above. Page 5 lists her 1945 voyages, while Page 6 has voyages to Apr.-1946, at which time she was in Shanghai.
Sold in 1950 to Skibs A/S Ranheim (manager Bjarne Raak, Trondheim), renamed Ranheim. Sold in April-1952 to Pan Norse SS Co., (Wallem & Co.), Panama. Renamed Marito in 1957. On charter to an Indonesian company in 1958-59. Laid up at Hong Kong July 8-1959. Sold for breaking up at Hong Kong in Oct.-1959. Again, see also this this external page, which has slightly different Post War details.
Related external links:
Back to Løvstad on the "Ships starting with L" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, the above mentioned book about the rescue, E-mails from R. W. Jordan and misc. (ref. My sources).