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Manager: Halle & Peterson, Oslo
Built in in Sunderland in 1930.
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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 not shown.
Her 1940 voyages and some of her 1941 voyages are shown on Page 1 of the archive documents - Page 2 has more 1941 voyages. It'll be noticed that she spent quite a long time in Boston, where she had arrived from Portland, Maine on Dec. 8-1941. Departure is given as Jan. 21-1942, when she proceeded to New York, then on to Port Arthur and Halifax, where she also spent a month.
She's now listed in Convoy HX 181 from Halifax to the U.K. in March-1942. Acanthus, Eglantine and Potentilla are named among the escorts. Marathon arrived Bowling on Apr. 2, proceeding to Ardrossan the next day. A little over a week later she joined Convoy OS 25, voyaging in ballast from Clyde to Baytown in station 55. The Norwegian Arthur W. Sewall, Elin K and Sandanger are also listed in this convoy, which originated in Liverpool on Apr. 12 and had Freetown as its final destination, so Marathon parted company to proceed to her destination in Texas, where she arrived on May 7. More information on this convoy is available via the external link provided in the Voyage Record. Her subsequent movements are shown on Page 2, while convoy info can be found in the table above. She returned to the U.K. again in Convoy HX 194 from Halifax in June (Torvanger was sunk - follow the link for details), and at the beginning of July we find her, together with Heranger, Laurits Swenson, Montevideo, Norheim, Skiensfjord, Stiklestad and Thorshov, in the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 109*, which originated in Liverpool on July 3 and arrived Halifax on the 18th; Marathon, however, was bound for New York, where she arrived on July 17, having sailed from Clyde July 3, according to Page 3. On Aug. 23 that year she can be found in the Halifax-U.K. Convoy HX 204, later returning across the Atlantic with Convoy ON 130*, which also had Acasta, Don, James Hawson, Lago and Mathilda in its ranks (originated in Liverpool Sept. 12, arrived New York Sept. 30). Having made voyages to Curacao and Trinidad, she returned to New York, joining Convoy HX 218 from there on Dec. 5, bound for Manchester, station 53.
Marathon was in Convoy JW 53 consisting of 26 merchant ships which left Loch Ewe on Febr. 15-1943. Another 3 ships, making up Convoy JW 53B, followed the next day. An aircraft spotted them on the 23rd and they prepared for a U-boat attack that afternoon, but due to the bad weather with snow and wind nothing happened. Two aircraft arrived the following day, attempting an attack on one of the escorting destroyers, but missed. Later, U-boat warnings were received, the escorting destroyers dropped a number of depth charges and fired their guns, though Marathon's crew could not see what they were firing at. This continued until midnight, when it started snowing heavily again, which gave the convoy a calm night.
The next day, Febr. 25, a group of Ju 88's came in, dropped several bombs, but no ships were hit, though the bombs fell close. Later that same day a lone He 111 attacked, but again the bombs missed. Depth charges from the escorts were heard all through the night, the convoy had now reached position 73 50N 03 01E.
The following day, from very early in the morning of Febr. 26, another aircraft shadowed the convoy; the crew of Marathon prepared for attack, all gunners ate their meals by their guns. Several planes were heard above the clouds around noon, one suddenly ducked down, but was met by Marathon's guns and those of nearby ships, and was hit before it had dropped its bombs. The other aircraft, still above the cloud cover, dropped their bombs wildly all over the convoy, no ships were hit. The gunners stayed on their posts until dark. Depth charges were again heard all through the night. Position reached was 77 10N 36 50E.
By midnight on Febr. 27 the convoy was about 30 n. miles north of Murmansk, and Marathon and six other ships that had orders to go to ports in the White Sea continued south along the coast, escorted by Russian warships. A German aircraft showed up but was chased off by the Russians. The group of ships was attacked by two Ju 88's the next day, while in a single line behind three large icebreakers, surrounded by ice on all sides, with no possibility of turning either way. Two bombs were dropped near the Russian icebreaker Krassin, but did no harm. The other aircraft headed straight for Marathon, but the British gunners chased it off, and the rest of the voyage was without incident.
On March 2 the unloading of cargo started at Molotovsk; there were 3 air raids while there, but no bombs were dropped. Marathon left Molotovsk for Murmansk on March 21, with the help of an icebreaker, arriving Murmansk on March 23 to wait for a westbound convoy. While there the city had 3 to 4 air raids every day, and the British Maritime authorities in Murmansk decided to move the tankers away from the port, so Marathon left for Molotovsk on April 11 together with a Panamanian tanker, arriving there on the 13th, and as it turned out was unable to leave until May 7 when the ice broke. She could then finally continue to Archangel to wait for a convoy there, but not until Nov. 19 was the order to sail received. See also Page 3 and Page 4.
Marathon returned from Russia in Convoy RA 54B*, which left Archangel on Nov. 26-1943. She had spent close to a year in the White Sea. The reason for the long delay was the suspension of the Arctic convoys, at first due to the fact that the escort units were needed for the Atlantic convoys, and later because the lighter period of the year, combined with the threat from the German battleship Tirpitz and other German units in the North of Norway, made the crossings too dangerous to attempt. Convoy RA 54B, consisting of 10 merchant ships arrived safely at Loch Ewe on Dec. 9 without having been attacked. Follow the link for the names of other ships in this convoy.
Marathon now joined the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 220, originating in Liverpool on Jan. 15-1944, arriving New York Febr. 4. (Ships sailing in this convoy are named on this page, Leiv Eiriksson, Nyhorn and Washington Express are included). Marathon later proceeded to Baltimore, where she stayed for over a month, before continuing to Philadelphia, then on to Hampton Roads.
German bombers posed a more serious threat to allied shipping in the Mediterranean than the U-boats at the beginning of 1944. About 100 modern bombers were stationed in the South of France, their primary goal being the large UGS convoys from U.S.A., carrying supplies to the allied forces in Italy. Marathon was in Convoy UGS 37 with a cargo of aviation fuel, and also had military vehicles on deck for Italy. "Nortraships flåte" says the convoy consisted of 60 merchant ships, with 13 American and 2 British escort vessels, as well as the British anti aircraft cruiser Delhi, while Arnold Hague's "The Allied Convoy System" states it had 73 ships, and had originated in Hampton Roads on March 24-1944 (available via the external link provided in the table above). The Norwegian Brajara, Far, Thorshavn and Tore Jarl are also listed in this convoy, but they had not been present from the U.S.
Late at night on April 11, about 4 n. miles north of Cape Bengut (Algeria) the convoy was attacked by aircraft, coming over them in two waves, the first with about 10 planes, the second with 25. Several bombs were dropped but no ships were hit, 3 aircraft were shot down, and only one managed to send a torpedo into the escorting American destroyer Holder (DE 401). According to Arnold Hague the American ships Meyer London (sunk, no casualties) and Thomas G. Masaryk were later torpedoed by U-407 on Apr. 16. Jürgen Rohwer states that the latter was damaged and towed to Alexandria, but was declared a total loss. The convoy arrived Port Said on Apr. 19; Marathon had arrived Augusta on Apr. 15, according to Page 4. See also Kronprinsessen and Fernbrook.
Later that month, Marathon is said to have made a voyage from Augusta to Algiers with Convoy MKS 47* (originated in Port Said on Apr. 19-1944 - Facto and Frontenac are also listed, but not from Port Said). Marathon arrived Algiers on Apr. 29, having sailed from Augusta on the 24th. Early the following month, she made a voyage from Algiers to Augusta with Convoy KMS 49*, which left Gibraltar on May 6 (Facto and Hjalmar Wessel are also included in this convoy). Marathon sailed from Algiers on May 8 and arrived Augusta on the 12th, continuing to Taranto that same day. On May 30 that same year she was on a voyage from Algiers to Italy with a cargo of aviation fuel in one of two parallel convoys of close to 150 ships (according to "Nortraships flåte"). She had departed Algiers that same day and was in convoy KMS 51*, about 278°, 6 n. miles off Cape Bengut when several aircraft attacked, but again she escaped unharmed (arrived Augusta June 3). The British Nordeflinge was hit and sunk with the loss of 12 men. BBC radio announced the next day that 30 to 40 German aircraft had attacked the convoy. The Norwegian Askeladden, Facto, Norbryn, President de Vogue and Star are also listed. According to "Nortraships flåte", Liss also took part, but note that she's not included in Convoy KMS 51, but in the previous convoy, KMS 50* - follow the link to Liss.
Marathon's subsequent voyages are shown on Page 4, with convoy info for some of them in the table above.
Marathon is listed among the ships in Convoy HX 311, leaving New York on Sept. 28-1944 and arriving Liverpool on Oct. 14 - her destination is given as Clyde for orders. According to "Nortraships flåte" by J. R. Hegland, she later joined Convoy JW 62 which departed Loch Ewe for Russia on Nov. 29-1944. Hegland says she was the only Norwegian merchant ship in this convoy, but the Commodore was Norwegian (E. Ullring on board the British D/S Fort Boise) and so were several of the escort vessels, namely the corvettes Tunsberg Castle and Eglantine and the escort trawlers Tromsø, Karmøy and Jeløy. (By this time the Tirpitz had been sunk, making the Arctic runs less threatening, and this convoy reached Kola safely on Dec. 7). There seems to be some confusion here. Bob Ruegg/Arnold Hague's "Convoys to Russia" lists no Norwegian ship in JW 62, except for the escorts Tunsberg Castle and Eglantine (the 3 trawlers are not mentioned among the escorts). However, Marathon can be found in the previous Convoy JW 61, leaving Loch Ewe on Oct. 20 and in which the Norwegian M/T Noreg acted as one of the escort oilers. No Norwegian escorts are listed for this convoy, which arrived the Kola Inlet on Oct. 28. Fort Boise was indeed the Commodore Vessel for JW 62, but this ship did not take part in JW 61. Commodore Vessel for the latter was the British Fort Crevecoeur. It looks like Hegland has gotten some of the facts and convoys mixed up here.
Ruegg / Hague agree with Hegland that Marathon returned to the U.K. with Convoy RA 62, leaving the Kola Inlet on Dec. 10 with 29 ships, arriving Loch Ewe on Dec. 19. Hegland says the Norwegian E. Ullring was again the Commodore, though he doesn't mention on which ship. Ruegg / Hague name Fort Crevecoeur as Commodore Ship again. This convoy also had Tunsberg Castle and Eglantine among the escorts, but Tunsberg Castle struck a mine and sank on Dec. 12. On the same day, nine torpedo bombers attacked, with the loss of 2 aircraft, but no ships were lost. A report by Marathon's gunnery officer O. Nygård states that this attack took place in 71 17N 18 52E, about 60 n. miles north of Fugløy light. In this report Nygård mentions Gunners Kåre Rygg and Reidar Kristoffersen, Able Seamen Lars Vaage, Arne Arnessen and Harry Albrigtsen, and cook Karsten Tønnevold on duty by the guns, and indicates they may have shot down an aircraft.
The day before the above air attack the destroyer Cassandra had been torpedoed and damaged by U 365 and had to return to Murmansk for emergency repairs. This U-boat was sunk on Dec. 13 by 813 Squadron from the escort carrier Campania.
Marathon now joined the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 274, which left Southend on Dec. 23-1944 and arrived New York on Jan. 8-1945; Marathon joined from Greenock. (Ships sailing in this convoy are named on this page - Høyanger, Kristianiafjord, Kronprinsessen, Laurits Swenson, Molda, Samuel Bakke [Commodore Vessel], Solør, Sophocles and Velma are also listed).
The rest of Marathon's voyages (to Apr.-1946) are shown on Page 5, with convoy info for some of them in the table above.
More details on the other Norwegian ships mentioned on this page can be found with the help of the alphabet index below, or go to the Master Ship Index.
(S. Inselseth, who later went on to become the captain of one of my mother's ships [see M/S Mogen], served on Marathon as a gunner from July-1944 until Oct.-1945. This means he must have made some Murmansk voyages with her).
Back to Marathon on the "Ships starting with M" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Convoys to Russia", Bob Ruegg/Arnold Hague, and misc. others for cross checking details.