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M/T Mexico
Updated June 16-2010

To Mexico on the "Ships starting with M" page.

Crew List

This external page has some more details on this ship, as well as a picture.

Owner: Skibs-A/S Mexico
Manager: Hans Hannevig, Horten
3017 gt, 1712 net, 4530 tdwt
Signal Letters: LIZD

Built by Nakskov Skibsværft, Nakskov, Denmark in 1920.

Captain: Godtfred Sandnes

Her voyages are listed on this original document received from the National Archives of Norway.

Please compare the above voyages with Arnold Hague's Voyage Record below.

  Voyage Record
From May-1940 to Dec.-1942:  

(Received from Don Kindell - His source: The late Arnold Hague's database).

Follow the convoy links provided for more information on each.

Departure From To Arrival Convoy Remarks
1940 May 27 Bermuda BHX 46 Earlier voyages:
See archive document
(convoy link below)
June 2 Bermuda portion joined main convoy HX 46 Straggled June 4.
June 4 Straggled from HX 45 Weymouth Bay June 13 Independent Missing movements, archive doc above
July 11 Liverpool OB 182 For Trinidad.
Dispersed July 14.
Convoy available at OB 182
(external link)
July 14 Dispersed from OB 182 New York City Aug. 2 Independent
Nov. 2 New York City Curacao Nov. 10 Independent
Nov. 12 Curacao Bermuda Nov. 20 Independent See also narrative below
Nov. 22 Bermuda Sydney, C.B. Nov. 28 Independent
Dec. 1 Sydney, C.B. Halifax Dec. 2 Independent
1941 Febr. 8 Halifax Loch Ewe Febr. 25 SC 22 See also narrative below
March 1 Loch Ewe Methil March 3 WN 92 Convoy available at WN 92
(external link)
March 3 Methil Southend March 5 FS 427 Struck mine - See "Final Fate" below.
Convoy available at FS 427
(external link - incomplete listing)

A Hague has also included Mexico in Convoy TAG 25 from Trinidad to Guantanamo in Nov.-1942 (external link), but this is obviously an error, since she had been lost the year before.

 Misc. Voyages: 
Follow the convoy links provided for further details; several Norwegian ships took part.

When war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940, Mexico was in Curacao, having arrived there from Chaparra on Apr. 6, leaving again for Kingston, Jamaica a week later - see the archive document. From Kingston, she proceeded to Bermuda on May 18, and with destination Portland and London, she's now listed among the ships in the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 46 on May 27 and arrived Portland on June 14. Together with Brant County, Idefjord, Ila, Nova and Stigstad, she later joined Convoy OB 182, departing Liverpool on July 11, dispersed on the 14th, Mexico arriving New York on Aug. 2. According to the archive document, she subsequently remained there for quite a long time; departure New York is given as Nov. 2, when she headed to Curacao, where she arrived on Nov. 10, continuing to Bermuda 2 days later, with arrival there on the 20th. She was scheduled for the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 91 on Nov. 23, but did not sail; as can be seen from the archive document, she had sailed from Bermuda to Sydney, C.B. on Nov. 22, arriving Sydney Nov. 28 (independently, according to A. Hague) and was also cancelled from the slow Sydney (C.B.)-U.K. Convoy SC 14 on Nov. 30. From Sydney, she sailed to Halifax on Dec. 1, arriving the next day, remaining there for over 2 months. She had been scheduled for Convoy SC 21 on Jan. 31-1941, but again did not sail.

 Final Fate - 1941: 

In March-1941 E-boats laid several mine fields along the east coast of the U.K., while aircraft dropped large quantities of magnetic and acoustic mines at the inlets to Mersey, the Thames, Humber and Clyde. Ship losses increased dramatically.

Mexico had finally gotten away in Convoy SC 22 from Halifax on Febr. 8-1941, destination London. Voyage information is given as from Curacao (via Halifax and Methil) to London with 3823 tons fuel oil. She had stopped at Loch Ewe on the 25th, later joining Convoy WN 92, which arrived Methil on March 3. From there, she joined Convoy FS 427 that same day in order to complete her voyage to London. Again, see the document from the Norwegian archives (and convoy links in the table above).

At about 09:05 on March 6 (51 53N 01 37E), she struck a mine near the Thames estuary. The explosion occurred under the engine room, killing all those who were on duty there, and instantly stopping the engine with the result that all the lights went out. 3rd Mate Grøn, the officer on watch, was in the wheelhouse at the time, Ordinary Seaman Mønnerød was at the wheel, while the Latvian Ordinary Seaman Plume was on lookout duty on the starboard side on the bridge. Some of the crew, among them one of the casualties, the Belgian Able Seaman Verheyden, were working on getting the mooring ropes out, supervised by Boatswain Gustavsen.

The captain, who was on the port side of the bridge, was lifted up and fell backwards, and when he got on his feet again he saw a dark cloud of smoke obscuring the entire after section of the ship. As the smoke cleared he saw that the aft deck was under water, the 2 lifeboats there were gone, with the starboard boat floating upside down in the water. A raft was seen on edge near the funnel. The ship started to go straight down very quickly, without listing.

The captain shouted towards aft for those who were there to use the raft, but both rafts were gone. The 3rd engineer and 3 crew managed to get themselves forward*, and the gig was lowered with 11 men, including the captain. They picked up 4 from the water, namely the radio operator, who had jumped overboard from amidships, and 3 others who had jumped from the after part of the ship, meaning there were 15 in the gig. The 1st mate, the 1st engineer, the boatswain, a Canadian gunner (who was injured) and 1 of the crew were in the forward lifeboat**. All 20 were picked up by the British destroyer Witherington, which came to assist shortly thereafter. 3 had to be taken ashore on stretchers upon arrival Sheerness.

* The crew's quarters and mess room, the officers' messroom and the engine room officers' cabins were aft, while the deck officers' cabins were amidships (the 1st engineer and the 1st mate would have their meals with the captain in the saloon).

** Mexico had an extra lifeboat on the foredeck, set in gripes in such a way that it would float clear if the ship sank. This arrangement had been obtained at Mobile Drydock in Febr.-1934 (this boat could not be launched in the ordinary manner). The gig was located on the port side amidships. Additionally, she had 2 rafts aft, 1 of which was built in New York in Aug.-1940, the other in Halifax in Jan.-1941. They were located on each side of the ship on special bridges, and were also installed in such a way that they would glide out by themselves when the lashings were cut. An axe had been placed alongside for this purpose. She also had a motorboat aft on the port side, and another lifeboat on the starboard side, both in davits and swung out.

An inquiry was held in London on March 24-1941, with the captain, the 3rd mate, Ordinary Seaman Mønnerød, and the 1st and 3rd engineers appearing.

Boatswain Gustavsen had joined D/S Vigrid in London on March 15 (he's listed among the casualties of that ship).

Roger W. Jordan's "The World's Merchant Fleets 1939" says Mexico sank in position 51 55 04N 01 38 01E (claiming that 23 survived).

Crew List:
I'm not sure whether the 2nd mate might also have been the radio operator(?)

Godtfred Sandnes
1st Mate
Harald Hansen
2nd Mate
Johnny Hilding Jansen
3rd Mate
Arne Oddvar Grøn
Radio Operator
Ivar Gustav
Ordinary Seaman
Ole Mønnerød
Ordinary Seaman
Ernest Plume
Ordinary Seaman
Jens Hoftvedt
Ordinary Seaman
Charles Turner
1st Engineer
Helge Johansen
3rd Engineer
Gunnar Karsten
James Stuart
+ 6 more survivors

Able Seaman
Louis Verheyden

2nd Engineer
Aksel Johan Helgesen

John Hansen

Halfdan Hagen

Marti Helin

Henry Yates

Androys Millers

Elmars Akantjevs

Martin Lunde

Mess Boy
Henrik van Kaaren

* Henry Yates can be found on this page at the Commonwealth War Graves Comm. website (external link). Commemorated at Tower Hill Memorial, Panel 70.


The wreck of Mexico was visible all through the rest of the war with the forepart above water, and wasn't sunk until Jan.-1946. A visitor to my website has told me that according to "Shipwreck Index of the British Isles" she was dispersed as navigational hazard, 1.75 miles south/southwest of the East Shipwash buoy.

Related external link:
Stavern Memorial commemorations - There's an Aksel Johan Rossebø commemorated, probably identical to 2nd Engineer Helgesen in the crew list above. This website says 21 survived.

Back to Mexico on the "Ships starting with M" page.

Norway had previously had a whale oil factory by this name, laid down as War Yukon for the Shipping Controller in 1918. Became British Ryckett in 1919, Norwegian Ragnhild Bryde in 1923 (Leif Bryde A/S, Sandefjord), Mexico for Hvalfangerselskapet Mexico A/S, Sandefjord in 1925. Renamed Porvenir the following year (Hvalfangerselskapet Atlas A/S, Sandefjord). Panamanian Coronado in 1927, scrapped in 1937.

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).


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