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M/T Minister Wedel
Owner: Rederi A/S Norsk Transatlantic
Built by William Doxford & Sons Ltd., Sunderland in 1930.
Captain: Olaf J. Olsen in 1940, then Wilh. J. Wilhelmsen from June 15-1942 (he had also commanded this ship previously). See also this releated Guestbook message.
In Admiralty service from 1940 (Royal Fleet Auxiliary).
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 (other Norwegian ships are also named).
Her 1940 voyages and some 1941 voyages are shown on Page 1 of the archive documents.
Minister Wedel reported seeing a U-boat 4 n. miles away when in 08 52N 52 30W on Aug. 9-1942, and was subsequently followed for an hour and a half, then a periscope was seen 2 cable lengths off the port quarters. Her gun was fired while course was altered; and nothing further happened. According to Page 2 of the archive documents, she was on her way from Trinidad to Freetown on that date, having left Trinidad on Aug. 6.
In Oct.-1942, we find her in Convoy SL 124, which left Freetown on Oct. 3 and arrived Liverpool on the 22nd (link in Voyage Record); Minister Wedel, bound for Clyde in ballast, stopped at Belfast Lough Oct. 21/22, leaving again for Clyde on the 25th. The Norwegian Albert L. Ellsworth and Tarifa also took part, as did the Panamanian Norlys (Norwegian managers and included under the N's on this website). The following month, she's listed in the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 144, originating in Liverpool on Nov. 7, arriving New York on the 27th - Page 2 gives her arrival New York as Nov. 29 (she had joined from Clyde). This convoy, which also included Bencas (joined from Halifax), Bestik, Borgfred, Cetus, Ingertre, Norlom, Orwell, Suderøy and Titanian, will be added to an individual page in my Convoys section, but in the meantime, the ships sailing in it are named in the section listing ships in all ON convoys. Eglantine, Potentilla, Montbretia and Rose are named among the escorts (see ON convoy escorts).
From New York, Minister Wedel had continued to Trinidad on Dec. 2-1942. Her captain at that time was Wilh. J. Wilhelmsen (27 years old). She had arrived Trinidad, via Guantanamo Bay, on Dec. 15, and with a cargo of 9000 tons fuel oil, she left again on the 28th in Convoy TM 1, bound for Gibraltar for orders, but did not make it to her destination. Early in the morning of Jan. 9-1943, when in position 28 08N 28 20W, she was torpedoed in the starboard side foreship by U-522* (Schneider).
All 38 survived (incl. 5 gunners) and were picked up from lifeboats by the British destroyer HMS Havelock, one of the escorts. At daybreak the destroyer went alongside Minister Wedel, which was still afloat, and let the captain, the 1st engineer, the assistant, 2 mechanics and a W/T operator go back on board to inspect the damages and see if she could be saved, but nothing could be done at that time and she was abandoned again. Two days later the captain and 1st engineer returned on a corvette, but by that time the ship was gone, sunk by a torpedo from U-522.
Captain Wilhelmsen and the 1st engineer were landed in Gibraltar on Jan. 20, and the inquiry was held there on Jan. 21 with the 2 officers appearing. The others had been transferred to a British transport and proceeded to the U.K.
Convoy TM 1 had left Port of Spain with 9 tankers, escorted by the destroyer and 3 British corvettes. By Jan. 10 only two ships were left; namely the Norwegian tanker Vanja and the British tanker Cliona, both arriving Gibraltar on Jan. 14, the escort having been reinforced with another destroyer and 2 corvettes**.
The Norwegian tanker Albert L. Ellsworth was also sunk in this convoy, as were the British Oltenia II (Commodore Ship), Empire Lytton, British Vigilance and British Dominon, and the Panamanian tanker Norvik (Norwegian managers and captain, and majority Norwegian crew). The external website that I've linked to at the end of this page has more details on this battle (again, see also my own page about Convoy TM 1).
This was the first direct convoy from Port of Spain. The tanker convoys started to go straight from Trinidad at this time (without first going to Halifax), thereby saving valuable time when bringing much needed supplies to the Allies in North Africa.
Crew List - No casualties:
Related external links:
Back to Minister Wedel on the "Ships starting with M" 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, "Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two", Jürgen Rohwer, and misc. (ref. My sources).