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D/T Mirlo
Updated Febr. 19-2012

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

Crew List has a picture of Mirlo (external link).

Manager: Wilh. Wilhelmsen, Tønsberg
7455 gt, 4415 net, 11 334 tdwt
Dimensions: 441' x 57.5' x 34.1'
Machinery: 3 cyl. triple expansion steam engines of 2800 ihp by shipbuilders.
Service Speed: 10.5 knots
Signal Letters: LCTP

Launched Nov. 29-1920 by Sir W. G. Armstrong, Whitworth & Co., Ltd., Newcastle (Yard No. 976), completed Jan. 31-1922.

Captain: Oddmund Berge, later Olav R. Reinertsen.

In Admiralty service (Royal Fleet Auxiliary) from 1940.

Related items on this website:
Guestbook message from the son of Mirlo's steward, Nils J. Fjeld.
Another Guestbook message - re 2nd Engineer, John Kristiansen.

Her voyages are listed on these original images from the Norwegian National Archives:
Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3

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

  Voyage Record
From Apr.-1941 to Aug.-1942:  

(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.

Departure From To Arrival Convoy Remarks
1941 Apr. 20 Aruba New York City Apr. 28 Independent Earlier voyages:
Page 1 & Page 2
May 1 New York City Las Piedras May 8 Independent
May 9 Las Piedras Aruba June* 9 Independent *Should be May 9.
May 10 Aruba New York City May 17 Independent
July 3 New York City Halifax July 6 Independent
July 11 Halifax Clyde July 27 HX 138 See also Page 2
Aug. 6 Clyde ON 5 For NYC.
Dispersed 53 29N 37 35W, Aug. 14.
Aug. 14 Detached from ON 5 New York City Aug. 22 Independent
Aug. 30 New York City Halifax Sept. 2 Independent
Sept. 4 Halifax HX 148 Straggled, Sept. 9.
Sept. 9 Straggled from HX 148 Loch Ewe Sept. 16 Independent
Sept. 17 Loch Ewe Methil Sept. 18 WN 181 Convoy available at WN convoys
(external link)
Sept. 21 Methil Harwich Sept. 24 FS 601 Convoy available at FS convoys
(external link)
Sept. 26 Harwich Southend Sept. 27 FS 604 Convoy available at link above
See also Page 2
Oct. 11 Southend Loch Ewe Oct. 15 EC 84 Convoy available at EC convoys
(external link)
Oct. 16 Loch Ewe ON 26 Straggled Oct. 24 in fog.
Arrived St. John's 28th
Oct. 24 Straggled from ON 26 St. John's, N.F. Oct. 28 Independent
Oct. 29 St. John's, N.F. New York City Nov. 3 Independent
Nov. 9 New York City Sydney, C.B. Nov. 12 Independent
Nov. 16 Sydney, C.B. Reykjavik Nov. 30 SC 55
Dec. 8 Hvalfjord Murmansk Dec. 20 PQ 6 See also narrative below
Dec. 29 Murmansk Iokanka Dec. 30 Independent
1942 Jan. 5 Iokanka Seidisfjord Jan. 16 Independent A. Hague says:
"Due in QP 4, but dates by Lloyds!"
See also narrative below
(and Page 2).
Jan. 18 Seidisfjord Reykjavik Jan. 20 Escorted
Jan. 23 Rekjavik Hvalfjord Jan. 25 Independent
Febr. 10 Reykjavik ON 65 Dispersed 43 50N 47 45W, Febr. 19.
Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
Febr. 19 Detached from ON 65 Bermuda Febr. 27 Independent
March 2 Bermuda New York City March 6 Independent
May 3 Cape Cod Canal Halifax May 6 BX 13 A. Hague says:
"Sailed from NYC, May 2"
(see also Page 3).
Convoy available at BX convoys
(external link)
May 7 Halifax Loch Ewe May 22 SC 83
May 24 Loch Ewe Methil May 26 WN 287 Convoy available at WN convoys
(external link)
May 28 Methil Sheerness May 30 FS 814 Convoy available at FS convoys
(external link)
Left Sheerness June 3
(Page 3).
June 4 Southend Methil June 6 FN 726 Convoy available at FN convoys
(external link)
June 8 Methil Loch Ewe June 10 EN 95 Convoy available at EN convoys
(external link)
June 12 Loch Ewe Cape Cod Canal June 27 ON 103 For Curacao.
Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
June 26? Boston? New York City June 27 Independent A. Hague says:
Via Cape Cod Canal
June 29 New York City Hampton Roads June 30 Independent
July 5 Hampton Roads Key West July 13 KS 517 Convoy available at KS convoys
(external link)
July 17 Key West Curacao July 23 WAT 6 Key West to Curacao.
Convoy available at WAT convoys
(external link)
July 26 Curacao Trinidad July 29 WAT 7 Aruba to Trinidad.
Convoy available at link above
Aug. 1 Trinidad Sunk - See "Final Fate" below.
A. Hague says:
BR 1993 says 'spec. convoy'.
She is, in fact, listed in E 6
(external link)

 Some Convoy Voyages: 
For information on voyages made in between those mentioned here, please see the documents received from the National Archives of Norway and A. Hague's Voyage Record above. Follow the convoy links provided for further details; the Commodore's notes are also available for some of them and several Norwegian ships took part.

According to Page 1 of the archive documents, Mirlo was on her way from New York to Tampico when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940, arriving her destination on Apr. 13, having left New York on the 5th. Her 1941 voyages also start on this document and continue on Page 2. It'll be noticed that she spent quite a long time in New York, where she arrived from Aruba on May 17; departure is given as July 3, when she proceeded to Halifax in order to join Convoy HX 138 on July 11, bound for Clyde, where she arrived on July 27. She returned across the Atlantic with Convoy ON 5, originating in Liverpool on Aug. 6, dispersed on the 14th, Mirlo arriving New York on Aug. 22 (she had joined this convoy from Clyde). She subsequently headed back to the U.K. on Sept. 4 in Convoy HX 148 from Halifax, along with the Norwegian Ørnefjell, James Hawson, Grey County, Stigstad, Idefjord, Egda, Vivi, and Herbrand, as well as the Panamanian Norvinn (Norwegian managers and, therefore, listed on this website). A. Hague has also included Gefion in this convoy and adds that Mirlo became a straggler on Sept. 9 - she arrived Loch Ewe on the 16th.

A month later, we find her in station 83 of the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 26, which originated in Liverpool on Oct. 14; Mirlo started out from Loch Ewe on the 16th. According to the Commodore's notes, she lost touch with this convoy in fog on Oct. 24. He says: Mirlo, with a speed of 10 knots, had problems maintaining convoy speed and straggled continuously at night. On Oct. 24, when fog came on she was observed to be dropping astern and would not answer signals to close up. She eventually lost touch and was not seen again. In my opinion this was done deliberately probably from timidity. The master of Manchester Mercant informed me she did the same thing in the last convoy he was with her (this was probably Convoy HX 148, mentioned above; Manchester Merchant served as Commodore Vessel for both these convoys). The Commodore adds, I submit she is not fit to go in convoy until her master undertakes not to straggle and to keep a better look out for signals. She was a continual cause of anxiety to me. Going back to Page 2 of the archive documents, we see that she stopped at St. John's, N.F. on Oct. 28, proceeding to New York the next day, with arrival there on Nov. 3. On the 16th of that month she joined the slow Convoy SC 55 from Sydney, C.B., bound for Hvalfjord, Iceland; the archive document gives arrival Reykjavik on Nov. 30.

It appears she subsequently joined Convoy PQ 6 to Murmansk on Dec. 8, though British sources list the British El Mirlo in this convoy. However, as will be seen from this response to my query on the Ship Forum, the British ship was in another part of the world at that time. With regard to Mirlo, the posting states (compare with Page 2):
Arrived New York 22-8-41 from Greenock (this is the voyage she made with ON 5, as mentioned above).
Sailed New York 30-8-41 - Arrived Halifax 2-9-41
Sailed Halifax 4-9-41 - Arrived Thames Haven 27-9-41 (this is the voyage she made with HX 148, as mentioned above).
Sailed Thames Haven 29-9-41 - Arrived Gravesend 1-10-41
Sailed Gravesend 8-10-41 - Arrived New York 3-11-41 (this is the voyage she made with ON 26, as mentioned above).
Sailed New York 9-11-41 - Arrived Sydney NS 12-11-41
Sailed Sydney NS 16-11-41 - Arrived Reykjavik 30-11-41 (this is the voyage she made with SC 55, as mentioned above).
Sailed Reykjavik 8-12-41 - Arrived Molotovsk 23-12-41 (in other words, Convoy PQ 6).
Sailed Murmansk 29-12-41
Sailed Iokanka 5-1-42 for Iceland and New York.
2 of my Norwegian sources also state that Mirlo (Captain Oddmund Berge) served as oiler in Convoy PQ 6 to Murmansk in Dec.-1941, and this voyage is confirmed by the archive document mentioned above. "Skip og Menn" by Birger Dannevig adds that this convoy was attacked by aircraft from Petsamo, and that by that time Mirlo had lost touch in a snow storm, and proceeded to Murmansk on her own. Both sources claim she returned with Convoy QP 9 in March 1942, but as can be seen when following the link she's not listed in the Advance Sailing Telegram for that convoy and besides, she was in New York at that time. She is, however, listed in the original Advance Sailing Telegram for Convoy QP 4 on Dec. 29-1941 - her final destination is given as New York ("Convoys to Russia 1941-1945" by Bob Ruegg and Arnold Hague states that this was the British El Mirlo). It'll be noticed in the Voyage Record above that there's some confusion regarding her presence in this convoy. She did indeed leave Murmansk on Dec. 29 but is said to have stopped at Iokanka (Russia), not leaving again until Jan. 5-1942. According to the AST for QP 4, this was the date the convoy "cleared ice", later arriving Seidisfjord on the 15th - again, see also Page 2, where we learn she did arrive Seidisfjord around that date. There's now a handwritten entry showing that she subsequently proceeded to Reykjavik and Page 3 shows that she headed to New York from there on Febr. 10, though stopped at Bermuda on the way, as seen in the next paragraph.

Together with Arthur W. Sewall, Bralanta, Cetus, Egda, G. C. Brøvig, Hardanger, Kaldfonn, Kollbjørg, N. T. Nielsen Alonso, Nueva Granada, Stiklestad, Tankexpress, Troubadour and Vav, Mirlo is listed in the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 65*, originating in Liverpool on Febr. 8-1942, dispersed Febr. 19. As already indicated, Mirlo started out from Iceland on Febr. 10, and arrived Bermuda on Febr. 27. A few days later, she continued to New York, arriving March 6, remaining there for quite a long time (Page 3). Departure is given as May 3 when she proceeded to Halifax in order to join the slow Convoy SC 83 on May 7. Acanthus, Eglantine, Potentilla and Rose are named among the escorts. Mirlo was bound for Sheerness, where she arrived, via Loch Ewe and Methil, on May 30, according to A. Hague. With Ferncourt, Frontenac, Garnes, Idefjord, Kaia Knudsen, Kong Haakon VII (Commodore Vessel), Lista, Maud, Noreg, Scebeli, Sommerstad, Thorshøvdi, Tijuca and Troubadour, as well as the Panamanian Norvinn, she later joined the westbound Convoy ON 103*, originating in Liverpool on June 12; Mirlo sailed from Loch Ewe that day and arrived New York on June 27, continuing to Curacao on the 29th, where she arrived on July 23 (via Hampton Roads and Key West - convoy details in Voyage Record above).

* The ON convoys will be added to individual pages in my Convoys section, with more details on each; in the meantime, the ships sailing in them (and escorts) are named in the section listing ships in all ON convoys.

More details on the other Norwegian ships mentioned here can be found with the help of the alphabet index at the end of this page, or go to the Master Ship Index.

 Final Fate - 1942: 

Captain Olav Reinertsen. As mentioned, Mirlo had arrived Curacao on July 23-1942. She left again on July 26 (listed in Convoy WAT 7, together with Frontenac and Kaia Knudsen, external link), arriving Trinidad for routing instructions on the 29th, departing for Freetown on Aug. 1, but did not make it to her destination. On Aug. 11, she was torpedoed in the starboard side foreship and sunk by U-130 (Kals), 870 miles west-southwest of Freetown, position 06 04N 25 53W. She had a cargo of 10 300 tons fuel oil and diesel. All 37 survived. This took place just two days after Malmanger had been torpedoed by the same U-boat.

(J. Rowher gives the position 06 04N 26 50W).

 Eye Witness Account & Report: 

In the Norwegian magazine "Krigsseileren", Issue No. 1 for 1995 and in Issue No. 1 for 1971 I've found articles describing the events surrounding the loss of Mirlo. As is common when 2 different people tell a story, some of the details are slightly different, so I've summarized one of the articles, then where the information differs from the first article I've added the details of the other in a separate paragraph. The information in the second article appears to be identical to that found in a report presented at the subsequent inquiry, held in London on Sept. 17-1942.

Olaf Johan Oen says Mirlo departed Port of Spain in convoy* on Aug. 1-1942 with 12(?) other ships. After having travelled 300 n. miles the escort left them and each ship continued according to individual instructions. On Aug. 3 at 14:45 the 2nd mate sighted a surfaced U-boat** on the port side. The alarm was sounded and he saw a torpedo approach but it passed in front of her bow, the ship having quickly turned to starboard. The gun crew fired a shot at the boat which immediately submerged. The captain now decided to not follow the original course but proceed more southerly while at the same time zig-zag'ing, altering course every 6 to 9 minutes, thereby being on the right course twice an hour. During the afternoon the radio operator reported several ships in the convoy having been torpedoed.

* Mirlo is listed among the ships in Convoy E 6, which left Trinidad on Aug. 1 and was dispersed Aug. 4 (external link). Other ships sunk: Empire Arnold (survivors picked up by Dalvangen), Tricula and Vimeira (survivors picked up by a ship which was also sunk, later picked up by Siranger) - ref. external links at the end of this page for more on these attacks.

** Rainer Kolbicz ('s forum) suggests the attacker on Aug. 3 may have been U-155 (Piening). Date, time and position fits Piening's attack report, which describes the target as a fully laden tanker of 8000 grt. The U-boat fired a spread of two torpedoes, which were outmaneuvered by the tanker, but they heard after 125 seconds a metallic impact and Piening assumed that the second torpedo hit without detonating.

On Aug. 11, when Oen came on 04:00 o'clock lookout duty he noticed a strong smell of oil and gas, and when daylight came they could see oil all over the ocean around them. They later found out this came from the torpedoed Malmanger. A few hours later, at 10:45 the officer on watch saw 2 torpedoes coming towards Mirlo, 1 of which missed due to evading maneuvers of the ship, the other hit in the foredeck followed by a horrendous explosion, tearing up the deck and flinging oil all over the ship. The donkeyman stopped the engine, and Oen, who was in bed at the time ran up on the boatdeck and helped launch the lifeboats. They succeeded in lowering 3 of them, but had problems with the 4th. The U-boat came alongside the boats, and when it was discovered that a man was missing, Kals gave captain Reinertsen permission to row back to the ship to look for him. While the other lifeboats were waiting for the captain's boat to return some of the U-boat crew came up on deck. 1 of them spoke good Norwegian so the ensuing conversation was easy to follow.

The captain returned with the badly injured man and was then taken aboard the U-boat where he was very politely treated. Kals apologized for having to sink Mirlo, saw to it that he had the bandages and everything else he needed to treat the injured man, told them to convey his apologies to Malmanger's mate for having forgotten to give him the map he had promised him, and said he would send a telegram to the Admiralty with their position so that they could be rescued. (Kals already had two prisoners from Malmanger on the boat at that time - follow the link above for more info). Another torpedo was sent into Mirlo and she disappeared in seconds in a huge explosion of oil and flames, which for a while threatened the people in one of the boats. Oen praises the U-boat commander for his honourable behaviour towards them.

He says the nearest coast was 780(?) n. miles away and the 3 boats headed for land. Bad weather caused them to lose contact with each other on the 3rd day. On the 8th day Oen's boat (with 11 on board) saw land and at the same time a convoy appeared along the coast and they were picked up by a corvette. Oen says they stayed in Freetown for 10-12 days before being taken to the U.K. on a British troop transport, and most of the crew subsequently joined other ships.

Some additional details from a report on the sinking:
As mentioned, Mirlo had departed Curacao in convoy on July 26-1942 and arrived Port of Spain on the 29th, then left Port of Spain on Aug. 1, bound for Freetown. The convoy was dispersed at 02:00 on Aug. 3, and Mirlo continued at full speed according to routing instructions received, while zig-zagging. Several of the other ships in the convoy could still be seen when at 14:45 in position 10 36N 53 45W a periscope was spotted a little aft of the port quarters (the other article says the boat was on the surface). Shortly afterwards the contour of the boat became visible under the water about 2 cable lengths off, just as a torpedo was seen heading for the port side midships section of Mirlo, and would have struck had they not altered course to starboard. Mirlo had swung 90° to starboard when they again saw the contours of the boat, this time the periscope came up very close right behind them, and the gunners were ordered to fire in its direction with the 4" gun, whereupon full speed was ordered to the engine room. At the same time the American Georgian, the ship sailing closest to Mirlo was warned via Aldis lamp that the U-boat was in the area (again, see Convoy E 6). The attack was also reported twice to the land station, and acknowledged by same (time given as 18:35 GMT). Course was then set southwards for 25 n. miles in order to get out of the original course.

3 days later (Aug. 6 at 15:40) a U-boat was again spotted aft of the port quarters, about 5-6 miles off and course immedately altered 90° to starboard, and again they escaped, until Aug. 11 when, as described above, the 2 torpedoes were seen coming towards them from the starboard quarters, 1 of which was heading for the engine room, the other for the foreship - no boat or periscope was seen on this occasion. Quick evasive maneuvers to port avoided the former torpedo, while the other exploded with terrific force near side tank No. 8, starboard side.

The rest of the report more or less corresponds to details in the above article, adding that the complete destruction of the radio room had rendered SOS impossible; that room had also been filled with crude oil in the explosion. Mirlo was quickly sinking by the bow, so orders to abandon ship were given, but while the port amidships boat was being launched a big wave came over it, filling it with crude oil, so only the 3 boats could be used. This report states that the last torpedo hit Mirlo when the captain's motor boat was half way between the ship and the U-boat after having fetched the injured ordinary seaman, hitting on the starboard side, a little forward of the after mast where the tank contained diesel oil, sending flames 200-300 meters in the air before the ship sank within seconds. Time is given as ca. 11:00, and position 06 04N 25 53W, distance from Freetown about 870 miles.

With the help of the first aid items that Kals had given them the men in the captain's boat tried their best to take care of the seriously injured Ordinary Seaman Sverre Gustavsen, who had been on lookout duty on the chart house roof when the explosion occurred, but for the first 3 days he was in very bad shape, continuously throwing up blood, and they did not expect him to survive, but to everyone's surprise and relief he gradually improved. After 9 days, when they were about 108 n. miles southwest of Freetown, having sailed about 762 n. miles, the 10 men in the captain's boat were picked up by HMS Canna on Aug. 20 and landed in Freetown on the 22nd. The injured man was taken to a hospital where he was found to have a very severe skull fracture in addition to other injuries. The 11 men in the 1st mate's boat had been picked up by HMS Banff (Y 43) on Aug. 18 and landed in Freetown the next day. HMS Boreas had picked up the 15 in the 2nd mate's boat on the 18th, landed in Freetown on the 23rd.

As mentioned, the inquiry was held in London on Sept. 17-1942, with the captain, the 2nd and 3rd mates and the radio operator appearing. They had arrived London the day before.

For info, U-130 had also been responsible for the attacks on Frisco, Alexandra Høegh, Varanger, Grenanger and Tankexpress (in addition to Malmanger) - follow the links for more details.

Crew List - No casualties:
The captain had previously served on Tamesis as 1st mate.
According to "Våre falne", a series of 4 books naming Norwegians who died during the war, 1st Mate Petersen later worked at Nortraship's office in London and died in an accident on March 7-1944 (he's also said to have experienced being torpedoed in the 1st WW).
Galley Boy Pettersen had previously served on
Sophocles and Baalbek, later joined Prins Harald and was on board when sunk - see crew list; in fact, Jørgen Koppen, Harald Fløysland and Cook Solvang are also listed. Galley Boy Pettersen subsequently joined Norfalk.
* Here's a Guestbook message re 2nd Engineer John Kristiansen.
** See also this message from the son of Mirlo's steward, Nils J. Fjeld.

Olav R. Reinertsen
1st Mate
Claus Petersen
2nd Mate
Harald Ch. Larsen
3rd Mate
Anders Ch. Hansen
Radio Operator
Gunnar Frantzen
Bjarne Svendsen
Able Seaman
Gunnar Martinsen
Able Seaman
Dagfin Olsen
Able Seaman
Rangvald H. Svines
Able Seaman
Jørgen Koppen
Able Seaman
Olaf J. J. Oen
Able Seaman/Gunner
Anton G. R. Karlsen
Ordinary Seaman
Harald Fløysland
Ordinary Seaman
Sverre Gustavsen
Ordinary Seaman
Tellef O. Hansen
Ordinary Seaman
John K. Strand
1st Engineer
Ansgar Løfquist
2nd Engineer*
John Kristiansen
3rd Engineer
Johan K. Hansen
Johan E. Hvitsten
Sevrin K. J. Riksheim
Mathias A. H. Lexau
Gunnar Fossen
Rolf J. Johansen
Henry Bertelsen
Olaf Nyheim
Sigvart Lund
Louis Marchante
Engine Boy
John Gould
Nils J. Fjeld
Johan E. Solvang
Galley Boy
Verner Pettersen
Mess Boy
Thomas P. Fahey
Saloon Boy
William Currie
? Mills
? Pape

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

This was the second tanker Wilh. Wilhelmsen owned by the name Mirlo. The first one was also torpedoed by a German U-boat, (U-117) but in the 1st World War; Aug. 16-1918, on a voyage New Orleans-London with gasoline and refined oil, half a mile south by east of Wimble Shoal Buoy, Cape Hatteras (9 died, the captain was among survivors). This ship had been completed in Aug.-1917, 6978 gt, and was placed under the management of H. E. Moss & Co., Liverpool (war requisition) with registered owner W. M. Cohan.

The text on this page was compiled with the help of: Wilh. Wilhelmsen fleet list, Articles in "Krigsseileren", Issue No. 1 for 1995 and in Issue No. 1 for 1971, "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Norwegian Maritime Museum, Volume II, and misc. - (ref. My sources).


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