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Owner: A/S Dampskib Lysefjord
Built by Stavanger Støberi & Dokk, Stavanger in 1915.
Captain: Arne Olsen
As will be seen when going to Page 1 above, Lysefjord was in New York when Norway was invaded by the Germans on Apr. 9-1940. Her 1941 voyages also started on this document. It'll be noticed, that she spent quite a long time in New Orleans, where she had arrived on Dec. 30-1940 - departure is given as Febr. 8-1941 when she proceeded to Tela. (She had also spent a month in New Orleans in the summer of 1940).
She's listed in Convoy KN 102, departing Key West on May 21-1942, arriving Hampton Roads on the 26th; Lysefjord, however, arrived Port Everglades on May 22, according to Page 3 of the archive documents - ref. external link provided below for more info on this convoy; the Norwegian Albert L. Ellsworth, Katy, Marathon, Montevideo, Norheim, Norsol and Somerville are also included.
Related external link:
Lysefjord had departed Tampa, Florida on March 31-1943 for Puerto Barrios via Tela, Honduras with 900 tons lumber, asphalt and machinery, but did not make it to her destination. She was torpedoed, port side near No. 3 hatch by U-155 (Piening) on Apr. 1, position 23 09N 83 24W. At the time of attack she was making 9 knots, sailing on a course 225° true, and was not zig-zagging. The weather was partly cloudy with a choppy sea, wind easterly force 4. Visibility was good, no moonlight, and no other ships were in sight. There were 3 lookouts; 1 on the forecastle head, 1 on the bridge and 1 gunner was on duty aft. According to a survivors' report* she was struck at 21:48 CWT, the torpedo blowing a hole 6' in diameter, immediately followed by an explosion, shaking loose the wooden rails on the bridge. She sank very quickly by the stern and was gone within a minute, the boilers exploding as she did so. No SOS had been sent.
The starboard lifeboat capsized as the ship sank so that all those who were already in it ended up in the water and were pulled under by the suction (the ship had initially been abandoned without direct orders from the captain). 8 of them, including the captain and 1st engineer, managed to get onto 2 rafts which they tied together. 2 of the crew were able to board another lifeboat and after having picked up 9 from the water it was ordered to head for Cuba to summon help. This boat, which had the 1st mate on board, reached Bahia Honda Light, Cuba after about 14 hours, Apr. 2.
In the meantime, the rest of the survivors had rightened and bailed the capsized boat and transferred to it. They were rescued in the morning of Apr. 3 by the American S/S Howard in 23 12N 83 05W and landed in Tampa, Florida the following afternoon. The captain was instructed by Nortraship to travel to New York where he arrived on Apr. 7, while the other 7 went to New Orleans.
The inquiry was held in New York on Apr. 8-1943 with the captain appearing.
Related external links:
Back to Lysefjord 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 II, and misc. - (ref. My sources). A few details have been added from a summary of survivors' statements in a memorandum dated Apr. 21-1943, signed USNR Lt. J. C. Dea, received from Tony Cooper, England.