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D/S Norse King
To Norse King on the "Ships starting with N" page.
See also some details on Collision with Ferdinand Bol
Owner: A/S Norse King.
Built by J. F. Duthie & Co, Seattle, Washington in 1920. Previous name: West Mahwah until 1937.
Captain: Sigurd Kaarby. Captain at the time of loss was Lorentz Tvedt.
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.
Judging from the information found on Page 1 of the archive documents, it looks like Norse King was in Dublin when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940 (see also Torleiv Sandseth's story). She had arrived there from Havana on Apr. 7, leaving again on May 7, arriving Barry on May 8 and now appears to have remained there for quite some time; departure Barry is given as July 22.
Norse King rescued 4 men from a lifeboat from the British Bradfyne from Convoy SC 11 on Nov. 25-1940 and took them to Belfast - ref. external link below (see also Bruse and Salonica). Note that Norse King was not herself in Convoy SC 11, but is listed as sailing in Convoy SL 54, which had departed Freetown on Nov. 4; Norse King arrived Belfast Lough on Nov. 27, cargo of wheat. The external website that I've linked to within the Voyage Record has more info on this convoy, in which the Norwegian Evita and Lincoln Ellsworth also took part. It'll be noticed when going back to the archive document that Norse King subsequently spent quite a long time in Dublin again, where she had arrived from Belfast Lough on Nov. 30. The document states she arrived Holyhead on Febr. 8-1941 and according to A. Hague, she had left Dublin the day before.
From Holyhead, she proceeded to Liverpool on Febr. 9, remaining there for almost a month, before joining Convoy OB 295, which left Liverpool on March 8-1941 and dispersed on the 14th, Norse King arriving Halifax on March 27. John P. Pedersen, Topdalsfjord and Tungsha are also listed in this convoy. Norse King headed back to the U.K. on Apr. 19 with the slow Convoy SC 29 from Halifax, cargo of pig iron and scrap iron for Hull, station 52 - escorts' reports are also available for this convoy. In June that same year, she's listed in Convoy OG 64, originating in Liverpool on June 4. This was a Gibraltar bound convoy, which arrived there on June 18, but Norse King was bound for Sydney, C.B., so left the convoy to proceed to that destination, where she arrived June 19 (having started out from Oban on June 5, according to Page 1). A. Hague says she arrived damaged, but I have no further details on this. OG 64 will be added to an individual page in my Convoys section, but for now, please see the page listing ships in all OG convoys. Gudvin, Kos VII, Kos X, Kos XI, Kos XII, Lisbeth, Loke and Ranella are also named. From Sydney, C.B., Norse King continued to St. John, N.B. the next day, with arrival June 22, remaining there for almost a month before continuing to Boston on July 20. Perhaps repairs had been necessary?
From Boston, she later proceeded to Halifax in order to join Convoy HX 144 to the U.K. on Aug. 10, along with Polartank, Orwell, Hallanger, Eidanger, Havprins, Grena, Evanger, Suderøy, Vinland, Ranja and Sommerstad. Norse King returned to the U.S. the following month with Convoy ON 19, bound for New York, where she arrived on Oct. 13, the convoy having been dispersed on Oct. 7. On Nov. 10 we find her in the slow Sydney (C.B.)-U.K. Convoy SC 54, general cargo for Hull. Eglantine and Montbretia are named among the escorts. According to A. Hague's record above Norse King was involved in a collision before she reached her destination. This took place on Dec. 2 while in Convoy FS 662 which had left Methil on Dec. 1 (external link - incomplete listing), but the colliding ship is not named. Norse King arrived Hull on Dec. 5, according to Page 2 (departure Hull is given as Dec. 24).
At the beginning of 1942 she joined the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 53*, which originated in Liverpool on Jan. 2 and dispersed on the 19th, Norse King arriving Halifax on Jan. 25 (she had joined from Loch Ewe). Carrier (returned), Hallfried and Torvanger are also listed. Norse King's destination was initially New York, but she instead headed to Baltimore, with arrival Jan. 30. The following month she's listed among the ships in Convoy SC 71 from Halifax, bound for Leith and Hull with a general cargo, arriving Leith (via Loch Ewe) on March 13. As will be seen when going back to Page 2, she subsequently spent a lot of time in Middlesbrough. She had arrived there on March 19 and departure is given as June 3 - the reason for this long stay is not known. Together with Ada, Bernhard, Boreas, Grey County, Inger Elisabeth, Ingerfire, Para, Rena, Rio Branco, Solitaire, Trolla and Vest, she's now included in the westbound Convoy ON 102*, originating in Liverpool June 9, arriving Halifax on the 25th. Norse King, however, was bound for Hampton Roads, where she arrived (via New York) on July 2, having again joined from Loch Ewe.
On July 29-1942, while in Convoy HS 35 from Halifax to Sydney, C.B., Norse King collided with the Dutch freighter Ferdinand Bol (both ships were scheduled to join Convoy SC 94 from Sydney, C.B. to the U.K., which lost several ships). More details on this collision are available on this page. The Dutch ship sank, while Norse King reached Sydney, C.B. on July 30. According to Page 3, she did not leave again until Aug. 23, so may have needed repairs. She was scheduled for the Sydney portion of Convoy SC 97 that day (Bronxville was sunk - follow link for details), but instead proceeded to Halifax, where she joined Convoy SC 99 on Sept. 5, arriving Belfast Lough on Sept. 20.
Related external link:
Having made some voyages around the U.K., Norse King left Belfast Lough in Convoy ON 154 on Dec. 19-1942 with a cargo of 5400 tons coal for Boston. One of the responses to a query I posted to my Ship Forum states that she had left Swansea Dec. 14, arrived Milford Haven the next day, departed on the 17th for Belfast Lough where she arrived the following day, then left for Boston - again, see also Page 3 and Hague's Voyage Record above. The convoy consisted of 45 (49?) ships escorted by a Canadian destroyer and 5 corvettes. ON 154, which originated in Liverpool on Dec. 18 and arrived New York Jan. 12-1943, will be added to an individual page in my Convoys section, but for now, the ships sailing in it are named on this page. Fana, James Hawson, Norhauk, Ramø, Ravnefjell, Veni and Vest are also listed.
More than 20 U-boats assembled for attack. Between Dec. 27th and Dec. 29 a great number of ships went down and 1 U-boat (U-356) was sunk. According to the book "Ravnefjell", written by the mate/radio operator on that ship, Peder Kr. Nilsen, Norse King had been ordered to take on the role of rescue ship, after the designated rescue vessel Toward had taken on board as many as 164 survivors from the various torpedoed ships, and for safety reasons was ordered by the Commodore to refrain from further rescue work (probably on Dec. 27); see also my text for Ravnefjell and Fana.
Norse King, in station 112 of the convoy, was herself hit in the evening of the 28th by a torpedo from U-591 (Zetzsche), and damaged in position 43 27N 27 15W. The crew was picked up by the escort, which stayed close to the ship, and when it appeared to be repairable the crew rowed on board again, started the engine and headed for the Azores. D/S Veni indicated the next morning that she had seen Norse King in position 43 35 (25?)N 27 18W with a speed of 6 knots and her boats swung out. That was the last seen of her and her crew (some sources say 38 were on board, others 35). One of my Norwegian sources says that according to German reports Norse King was torpedoed again that same day (Dec. 29) by U-435 (Strelow), and then shelled. These reports say nothing about the Norwegian crew (the U-boat also went down half a year later; U-591 was also sunk that summer). With regard to the final sinking of Norse King, Uboat.net says (external link): "At 15.07 hours on 29 December, U-435 hit the Norse King with one torpedo and began shelling the vessel after 15.43 hours with over 100 rounds, but the ship remained afloat and had to be sunk by a coup de grâce at 16.24 hours".
If the statement that Norse King was assigned as rescue ship is correct, I'm wondering whether she also might have had some rescued seamen from other ships on board at the time she was sunk? This might explain the differing numbers found in various sources. The Stavern Memorial has 30 Norwegians listed, but I believe one of them is listed twice, leaving us with 29. Barbara Mumford (see the link to her website below) names 37 all total, and she has also received a list that originated from the Norwegian State Archives with a total of 35 names, all crew (28 Norwegians, the rest of other nationality).
Crew List - No survivors:
Initially from Barbara & Gordon Mumford's website (with permission). Part of her list came from the Stavern Memorial. I have since compared it with what can be found in "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", and adjusted the names accordingly. These men were Norwegian, unless otherwise noted.
Related external links
ONS 154 Memorials - Names of those lost from the ships in this convoy, including Norse King, a section of Barbara & Gordon Mumford's website Battle of the Atlantic - Convoy ONS 154 which describes the battle in great detail. The list also names the next of kin of the casualties and has info on memorials. This page has more information on the escorts for ON 154.
There's a book about ONS 154 entitled "The convoy that nearly died" by Henry Revely - available from amazon.com among others.
Back to Norse King on the "Ships starting with N" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume II, Norwegian Maritime Museum, and misc. others for cross checking facts as named within the above text - ref. Sources/Books.