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Owner: Rederi A/S Nidaros
Built by Detroit Shipbuilding, Wyandotte, Michigan in 1918 (234). Previous name: Lake Gorin until 1937 (launched Sept. 26 for U.S. Shipping Board).
Captain: Nils Nilsen
As can be seen when going to Page 1 above, Nidardal was at Maracaibo when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940. She had arrived there from Curacao on Apr. 4, departing again for Trinidad on the 10th. Her 1941 voyages start on Page 2 and continue on Page 3.
Nidardal had departed Sydney, C.B. on Dec. 4-1941 with a cargo of sulphur for Manchester and took her place in Convoy SC 58 the following morning (station 94 - she had originally been scheduled for the earlier convoys, SC 56 and SC 57 - it looks like she may have joined the latter convoy but returned to port - see Page 3). As will be seen when following the link, several Norwegian ships took part and Montbretia is named among the escorts (from Dec. 15). They soon ran into very thick fog which lasted for several days. On the 7th, a dull explosion was heard, as well as the fog signals from a ship sailing nearby a little behind her on her starboard side. Shortly afterwards they heard 2 depth charges being dropped very close by, causing her to shake violently (ref. * below).
Around midnight on the night leading up to Dec. 12 the fog lifted, but they now ran into heavy rain and seas with increasing winds, and at that time the convoy was nowhere in sight. At 14:30 the chain to her steering mechanism had broken; this was fixed in a couple of hours and she could continue. The weather had worsened, and they had to reduce their speed, while huge seas washed over her. That evening the winds decreased somewhat and she resumed her original course, but on the 13th she again experienced technical problems, this time of such a nature that they barely managed to keep the water out with the help of the pumps. In the early morning hours of Dec. 14, the chain broke again, so they had to stop the engine for a while in order to fix the problem, then proceeded at full speed a little over an hour later (at 02:15). The wind, which had calmed down the previous day, now increased to a full storm with heavy seas, and that afternoon the seas washing over her filled the port corner of the bridge and caused damages there while at the same time resulting in the electric wires malfunctioning so that they were partly without lights.
On Dec. 15 the pumps were no longer able to keep her afloat, so all hands were called on deck and everything was made ready for them to abandon ship if this should become necessary. After having discussed the situation they all agreed to wait as long as possible and see if the weather would improve. SOS was sent out, the engine stopped and heavy seas kept washing over her fore and after deck. Her holds, which had stayed dry, now started to show signs of leakage as the water gradually rose in the engine room, and she sank deeper and deeper. Valentia Radio received the distress call saying she was slowly sinking. Pictou (K 146), ordered at 16:00 on the 15th by the senior escort for SC 58 (HMCS St. Laurent) to go to Nidardal's assistance, arrived in the vicinity at about 03:30 on Dec. 16, arriving alongside Nidardal at 05:07, after having sent up a starshell which had been responded to by a flare from her, enabling Pictou to locate her. Nidardal's crew were asked if they could manage to keep her afloat until dawn, which they did, with the corvette standing by (56 07N 21 00W).
They all remained on board untill about 10:00, but by that time the water had risen in the after hold, with her after deck about a foot under water, and when heavy seas suddenly started to break over her, they finally decided to abandon ship. Both starboard lifeboats were successfully lowered, and about half an hour later they were all safely on board Pictou. By that time, Rose had also arrived, and the corvettes subsequently sent her to the bottom with gun fire and a depth charge (from Rose). Nidardal sank by the bow at 12:10, Dec. 16, whereupon Pictou proceeded to Reykjavik.
HMCS Pictou's Report - all times are GMT
The last communication received from the sinking vessel indicated that the crew were abandoning ship, and it was seen that considerable difficulty would be experienced in finding them. So at 0335 a star shell was put up which immediately resulted in a flare being seen off the starboard bow. We hauled off to steer for the flare, and arrived alongside the vesel at 0507. We called him up by light, and asked him if he could hang on until dawn, and were told that they could. We also asked if the vessel could be towed and the answer was that they thought it might be possible. We stood by for three hours, and prepared a message to C-in-C, W.A. requesting a rescue tug. I had intended sending the First Lieutenant and Chief E.R.A. aboard the vessel to asses the damage and report their opinion as to whether salvage was possible as it was seen at daybreak that the entire after deck was completely awash, but our boats are quite inadequate for anything but a calm sea.
At 0930 a message was received from the vessel stating that eight inches of water had entered the forward hold in the past hour, and as the vessel had only two holds, one forward and one aft with the engineroom amidships completely filled, at 1000 the Captain decided there was no alternative other than to abandon ship.
The crew of twenty-five were brought aboard without incident, and I at once interrogated the Captain as to the cause of the damage, the present exact state of the vessel, and the disposition of CBs. He told me that the damage consisted of a broken main injection pipe, and that the main inlet valves were wrenched away from the ship's side. Every effort had been made to save her, and he expresed the opinion that she would sink now very rapidly as the two holds were filling quickly. The appearance of the vessel confirmed his statements in every way so I decided to finish her with gunfire. The Captain informed me that the CBs had been disposed of the night before by throwing them over the side in a heavily weighted bag.
Fire was opened, and at 1030 Rose appeared. We fired twenty-three rounds, but had difficulty in hitting her in a vital spot on account of the heavy sea although two shells were put into the forward hold to leeward, and two in the after hold to windward. Rose threw a depth charge with shallow setting under the forward hold at 1130, and at 1210 the vessel sank bow foremost.
Our fuel remaining, coupled with the fact that it seemed preferable to land the survivors in Rose's destination Londonderry rather than Iceland prompted me to ask by signal whether we could accompany Rose to that port. The reply, however, indicated that our destination should be Reykjavik, and it was also suggested that the crew should be transferred to Rose if possible. This was considered to be impossible again on account of the inadequacy of our boats, consequently at 1800 we altered course to steer for Reykjavik.
Among the Norwegian crew were two English soldiers and a Canadian Wireless operator. These confirmed that everything possible had been done to save the vessel, and that only when the situation began to get desperate would the Captain give the order.....
The inquiry into the loss of Nidardal was held in Glasgow on Dec. 27-1941 with the captain, the 1st and 2nd mates, the 1st and 3rd engineers and the boatswain appearing.
Related external links:
Hyperwar - Scroll down to Dec. 15 for Robert Cressman's details on the destroyer Benson mentioned above.
Back to Nidardal on the "Ships starting with N" page.
Norway later had another ship by this name (Geo. Hansen, Oslo), ex Liberty Ship Philip Livingston, built San Francisco 1942, 7176 gt. Became Norwegian Nidardal in July-1947, Tindra in 1950 (Gørrissen & Klaveness, Oslo), Korean Dong Hae Ho in 1952, then Dong Hae (possibly in one word) in 1956. Ran aground on a reef in Inland Sea of Japan on May 4-1967. Refloated on May 15 and taken to Kobe for repairs, but declared total loss. Broken up at Pusan in Jan.-1969.
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. Pictou's report was received from Tony Cooper (ref. My sources).