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Manager: Krogstad Shipping Agencies Ltd. A/S (Geo. Hansen, Oslo).
Built by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Wilmington, Delaware in 1919. Previous names: Bethnor until 1922, Irene until 1939 (A. H. Bull Steamship Co. Inc.).
Captain: John Blakseth.
Torpedoed by U-26 (Scheringer) on Febr. 12-1940, 50 50N 14 10W, when on a voyage from Tampa and Halifax for Liverpool with a cargo of cotton and grape fruit. All 25 on board survived and were rescued about 10 hours later by D/S Berto which was en route from Torrevieja for Bergen via Gibraltar and Kirkwall.
Jan-Olof, Sweden has sent me a copy of an old newspaper article which appeared in connection with the subsequent maritime hearings (date not visible). Position for the attack is given as "175 n. miles southwest of the southernmost point of Ireland". It states that while 1st Mate Mathisen Kittelsnes was on watch on the bridge 3 warning shots were fired from the U-boat at 08:20 that morning, 1 shell exploding a couple hundred feet in front of the ship on the port side. He did not see the U-boat. The ship was stopped and the crew called to the lifeboats. When they were about to launch the boats the conning tower of the U-boat, which was green in colour, was spotted about 2-3 n. miles straight ahead. The boats rowed away, and due to the seas they had to use a sea anchor as well as the oars to keep them up against the wind.
At around 09:00 a torpedo hit Nidarholm amidships, cutting her in 2, the bridge section flying high in the air before being flung overboard. A few minutes later the 2 parts separated and drifted away from each other. The afterpart had caught on fire and burning cotton bails were floating around the lifeboats. The U-boat went around the wreck and came up a "stone's throw" from the lifeboats, which at that time were 1 n. mile from the wreck. The 1st mate claims the boat was submerged when 2 shells were fired from the conning tower and exploded a couple hundred meters from the lifeboats, about half way between them and the wreck of Nidarholm. The captain felt this was a warning to them to not try to get back on board, or possibly an attempt to set the wreck on fire.
In the increasing seas they drifted with the sea anchor out. At 11:15 the foreship sank while the after part drifted further away from the boats. At 13:30 the captain pulled the sea anchor in, at which time they attempted to row closer to the wreck. However, an hour later they had to swing up against the wind again so as not to get the boats filled with water. At 16:20 a steamer was spotted, so a flash was sent up whereupon they saw the ship turn towards them. With the help of repeated light signals the ship was able to locate them and those in the captain's boat were picked up by Berto at 17:00, while those in the 1st mate's boat were rescued an hour later. The captain felt that the U-boat had seen the rescuing vessel and therefore knew they would be picked up.
Berto also rescued 5 survivors from the Danish Martin Goldschmith 2 days later, 15 were lost from this ship, which according to J. Rohwer was torpedoed and sunk by U-53 on Febr. 14-1940 (ref. external link below).
(For info, a visitor to my website tells me that Admiralty records state the forepart of Nidarholm sank at 11:00. The same records say that the 1st mate had heard two shots at 08:30 in the morning of the 12th whereupon he stopped the ship and sounded the alarm. He then sighted the conning tower of a submarine at 1 to 1 1/2 miles away to starboard. All on board got in the lifeboats and about 20 minutes later a torpedo struck forward of the bridge breaking her in 2).
Related external links:
Back to Nidarholm on the "Ships starting with N" page.
Geo. Hansen had another ship by this name after the war, ex Liberty Ship John Holmes, built 1943, 7176 gt, became Norwegian Nidarholm in Sept.-1947, renamed Tista in 1950 (Gørrissen & Klaveness, Oslo). Became South Korean Su Hae Ho in 1953, Sue Hae (Suhae?) in 1956. Broken up at Pusan in Jan.-1969.