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N. T. Nielsen Alonso
Whale Factory
Updated Apr. 7-2012

To N. T. Nielsen Alonso on the "Ships starting with N" page.

Crew List

This picture was received from Axel Kuehn, who says the photographer is Alex Duncan.
Here are some pre war pictures (external link).
See also this external page (click in the picture to enlarge).

Owner: Hvalfangerselskapet Polaris A/S
Manager: Melsom & Melsom, Larvik
9348 gt, 12 250 tdwt.
Signal Letters: LCUO

Built by C. Connell & Co Ltd., Glasgow in 1900 as cargo liner Custodian, T. & J. Harrison, Liverpool. Sold in 1923 to H. J. Giffin, Leith and renamed Polcevera. Sold to Norway in 1926 and converted to whale oil factory N. T. Nielsen Alonso.

Captain: Johan Henry Bjerkholt from Oct.-1942 - I believe he had previously served as captain of the whale factory Lancing.

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

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

  Voyage Record
From May-1940 to Febr.-1943:  

(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 some voyages may be missing.

Departure From To Arrival Convoy Remarks
1940 May 4 Rio Victoria, Bz May 7 Independent See also Page 1
May 7 Victoria, Bz Trinidad May 21 Independent
May 25 Trinidad Curacao May 27 Independent
July 21 Curacao Hampton Roads July 29 Independent
July 30 Hampton Roads New York City Aug. 1 Independent
1941 Jan. 14 Curacao Trinidad Jan. 17 Independent A. Hague says:
Passage NYC/Curacao unknown
(but see Page 1)
Jan. 17 Trinidad Pernambuco Jan. 26 Independent
March 6 Pernambuco Santos March 12 Independent
Apr. 5 Santos Rio Apr. 6 Independent
Apr. 17 Rio Curacao May 3 Independent
May 10 Curacao New York City May 19 Independent
June 24 New York City Sydney, C.B. June 29 Independent
July 1 Sydney, C.B. Liverpool July 19 SC 36 Convoy will be added.
See ships in SC convoys
July 26 Liverpool ON 1 For Halifax.
Dispersed 42 29N 45 45W, Aug. 9.
Aug. 9 Dispersed from ON 1 Halifax Aug. 12 Independent
Aug. 13 Halifax Baltimore Aug. 17 Independent
Sept. 12 Baltimore Curacao Sept. 19 Independent
Sept. 23 Curacao New York City Oct. 1 Independent
Oct. 4 New York City Halifax Oct. 7 Independent
Oct. 10 Halifax Liverpool Oct. 23 HX 154 7 Passengers
Nov. 1 Liverpool ON 32 For NYC.
Detached Nov. 16.
Nov. 16 Detached from ON 32 New York City Nov. 18 Independent
Dec. 29 New York City Halifax Jan. 1-1942 Independent
1942 Jan. 2 Halifax HX 168 Dispersed Jan. 13.
Jan. 13 Dispersed from HX 168 Clyde Jan. 15 Independent
Febr. 2 Clyde Clyde Febr. 2 ON 63 Returned
(not mentioned, Page 1).
Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
Febr. 8 Clyde ON 65 For NYC.
Dispersed 43 50N 47 45W, Febr. 19.
Convoy will be added.
See link above
Febr. 19 Dispersed from ON 65 New York City Febr. 25 Independent
Apr. 20 New York City Halifax Apr. 22 Independent
Apr. 26 Halifax Clyde May 8 HX 187 (See aslo Page 1).
May 15 Clyde Cape Cod Canal May 29 ON 95 For NYC.
Convoy will be added.
See link above
May 29 Cape Cod Canal New York City May 30 Independent
June 9 New York City Hampton Roads Independent
June 13 Hampton Roads KS 510 Detached June 18.
Convoy available at KS convoys
(external link)
June 18 Detached from KS 510 Mobile June 20 Independent
July 9 Mobile Port Arthur July 11 Independent See also Page 2
July 12 Port Arthur Texas City July 13 Independent
July 17 Texas City New Orleans July 19 Independent
July 25 New Orleans Key West July 27 Independent
July 31 Key West New York City Aug. 6 KN 125 Via Hampton Roads
(Page 2).
Convoy available at KN convoys
(external link)
Aug. 8 New York City Cape Cod Bay Independent
Aug. 13 Cape Cod Bay Halifax Aug. 16 BX 33 Convoy available at BX convoys
(external link)
Aug. 16 Halifax Clyde Aug. 28 HX 203
Sept. 11 Clyde New York City Sept. 25 ON 129 Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
Nov. 3 New York City Clyde Nov. 17 HX 214 Missing movements, Page 2
Nov. 27 Clyde New York City Dec. 12 ON 149 Convoy will be added.
See link above
Dec. 21 New York City Clyde Jan. 9-1943 HX 220 Missing movements, Page 2
1943 Febr. 11 Clyde ON 166 Sunk - See "Final Fate" below

 Misc. 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 and/or narrative are also available for some of them and several Norwegian ships took part.

Judging from the information found on Page 1 of the archive documents, it looks like N. T. Nielsen Alonso was in Rio de Janeiro when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940, having arrived there from the Antarctic on March 19. Departure is given as May 4.

According to the Memorial for Seamen in Stavern, Norway a man named Paul Olsen died in an accident on board this ship on May 6-1940 - ref. link at the end of this page. From the archive document, we learn that N. T. Nielsen Alonso was on her way from Rio de Janeiro to Victoria, Brazil on that date.

On the same document, it'll also be noticed that she appears to have spent almost 2 months in Curacao that year, and there's another long gap in her voyages later on - she had arrived New York on Aug. 1-1940; departure is given as Jan. 2-1941, when she proceeded to Curacao again.

Together with Berto, Bjerka, Bollsta, Chr. Knudsen, Don, Einvik, Loke, Rena and Rym, Arnold Hague has included her in Convoy SC 36*, departing Sydney, C.B. on July 1-1941, arriving Liverpool on the 19th. She subsequently headed back in the other direction in Convoy ON 1, leaving Liverpool on July 26. She arrived Halifax on Aug. 12, the convoy having been dispersed on the 9th. Her subsequent voyages are shown on Page 1.

In Oct.-1941 she's listed in Convoy HX 154 from Halifax to the U.K., along with the Norwegian Hilda Knudsen, Kaia Knudsen, Ranja, Tai Shan, Samuel Bakke, Emma Bakke, Polarsol, Skiensfjord, Toronto, Noreg and Svenør. A. Hague says she had 7 passengers on board on this voyage. At the beginning of the following month she joined the westbound Convoy ON 32. She had station 32, and was bound for New York, where she arrived on Nov. 18, remaining there for several weeks.

Her next Trans-Atlantic voyage was made in Jan.-1942, when she returned to the U.K. in Convoy HX 168 from Halifax, together with the Norwegian Fernmoor, Tai Shan, Triton and G. C. Brøvig. Brimanger was also scheduled for this convoy, but did not sail. The following month we find N. T. Nielsen Alonso in the westbound Convoy ON 63*, originating in Liverpool on Febr. 2, but she returned to Clyde (not mentioned on Page 1), later joining Convoy ON 65*, which started out in Liverpool on Febr. 8 and dispersed on the 19th, N.T. Nielsen Alonso arriving New York on Febr. 25. Arthur W. Sewall, Bralanta, Cetus, Egda, G. C. Brøvig, Hardanger, Kaldfonn, Kollbjørg, Mirlo, Nueva Granada, Stiklestad, Tankexpress, Troubadour and Vav are also listed. According to the archive document, she remained in New York until Apr. 19 when she proceeded to Halifax in order to join Convoy HX 187 to the U.K. on Apr. 26. In May she's listed, with Abraham Lincoln, Daghild, Fernwood, Hardanger, Helgøy, Morgenen, Norbryn, Solstad, Stigstad and Trondheim, in the westbound Convoy ON 95*. She arrived New York on May 30, having started out from Clyde on the 15th.

As can be seen on Page 2, she now made voyages to Hampton Roads, Mobile, New Orleans, Port Arthur, Texas City and Key West, then back to New York and on to Halifax (convoy information for some of these voyages can be found in A. Hague's Voyage Record above), where she joined Convoy HX 203 for the U.K. on Aug. 16-1942. Along with Atlantic, Brant County, Kollbjørg, Meline, San Andres, Vardefjell, Vav and Velma (in collision, returned to port), she later went back in the other direction with Convoy ON 129*, originating in Liverpool Sept. 11, arriving New York on the 25th. She now had another long stay in New York, then on Nov. 3 she can be found among the ships in Convoy HX 214, bound for Clyde in station 33, arriving Nov. 17, subsequently joining the westbound Convoy ON 149* in order to go back to New York, where she arrived on Dec. 12. Evita, Høyanger, Morgenen, Vanja and Vinga, as well as the Panamanian Norlys (Norwegian managers and included under the N's of this website) are also named in this convoy which originated in Liverpool Nov. 26. She started on her return voyage to the U.K. in Convoy HX 220 from New York on Dec. 21, and arrived Clyde on Jan. 9-1943. N. T. Nielsen Alonso had teak on board in addition to her oil cargo, sailing in station 44.

* The ON convoys will be added to individual pages in my Convoys section in due course, along with further details on each. In the meantime, the ships sailing in them (and escorts) are named in the section listing ships in all ON convoys. Note also that the entire SC series will eventually be updated and completed, including the already existing convoys (some have already been updated); but for now, see ships in all SC 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 -1943: 

N. T. Nielsen-Alonso had departed Clyde in ballast (4000 tons water) on Febr. 11-1943, and was on a voyage from Glasgow for New York, having joined Convoy ON 166, originally consisting of 48 (49?) ships, but in the stormy weather 9 ships had been unable to keep up. The convoy was spotted on Febr. 20 by U-604 and for the next 4 days, 18 U-boats were chasing it over a distance of 1100 n. miles. The Norwegian M/T Stigstad was torpedoed on the 21st, and at 02:15 the next morning, when 800 miles east of Cape Race, N. T. Nielsen-Alonso, in station 25 of the convoy, received a torpedo amidships in the engine/boiler room, port side, from U-92 (Oelrich). According to a memorandum, based on survivors' statements, dated March 31-1943 and signed U.S.N.R. Lt. Robert G. Fulton, she was sailing on course 231° true at a speed of 10 knots in clear weather with moonlight, northwest wind force 3 and a heavy sea. She was blacked out, radio silent and not zig-zagging. 11 trained lookouts had been on watch for 2 hours; 6 aft and 5 on the bridge equipped with 2 pairs of binoculars, but the U-boat was not seen. The boiler room flooded at once, and the engine room also filled with water, disabling the machinery immediately and killing 3 men there. An SOS was sent but no reply was known to have been received.

The ship was abandoned within 10 minutes and the 50 survivors distributed in 4 boats (starboard boats, and the aft port boat, the remaining port lifeboats having been destroyed), then rowed away from the factory. About 20 minutes later, she was struck by another torpedo, this time from U-753 (Mannstein), but she remained afloat until she was sunk about 8 hours later by the escorting Polish destroyer Burza (48 00N 34 00W).

The survivors were picked up at about 05:30 by the American coast guard cutter Campbell and later (time given as "11:00, next day" in a Norwegian report) transferred to Burza which landed them at St. John's, N. F. on Febr. 27. The maritime hearings were held there on March 2-1943, with the captain, the 3rd mate (officer on watch - had been on board for 3 months), the 1st engineer (on board for 7 1/2 years), and Able Seaman Sporsheim (helmsman) appearing.

The info given above is a summary of details from several different sources (some named at the bottom of this page). Burza's war diary gives a different time and sinking position - as is noted in this message on my Ship Forum. Jürgen Rowher's "Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two" says N. T. Nielsen-Alonso was hit during the first and third attacks on the convoy by U-92's FAT torpedoes at 04:36, Febr. 22 (German time) and finally by a T-3 torpedo from U-753 at 07:29. He adds she was sunk by Burza at 12:00 hrs GCT in position 48N 31 24W - this position is also given by Lloyd's War Losses, Vol I. The memorandum gives initial attack time as 04:15 GCT, approx. postion 48N 34W, sunk about 8 hrs later by a torpedo from Burza, as mentioned. Survivors picked up at approx. 07:30 GCT by Campbell. The memorandum adds that red lights were lit on the bridge before abandoning and that classified documents went down with the ship. Page 2 simply says she was lost at 10:00 on the 22nd. (J. Rohwer also claims the Norwegian M/T Thorsholm became a straggler of Convoy ON 166, and that she on Febr. 22 struck a mine laid by U-118 on Febr. 1, 15 n. miles 14° Cape Espartel, but this ship could not have been a straggler from Convoy ON 166, which was in a different area altogether. Follow the link for further info).

The external website about the coast guard cutter Campbell that I've linked to at the end of this page, states that when it was discovered that the whale factory's confidential documents had not been destroyed prior to abandoning ship, Campbell returned to the wreck of N. T. Nielsen Alonso and "opened up with her deck guns, igniting the tanker's bridge in the area where Alonso's commanding officer reported the documents to be" - the site has quite a bit of information on the events taking place in Convoy ON 166.

Here's what the above website says with regard to N. T. Nielsen Alonso:
"During the next day, 22 February 1943, the Norwegian tanker SS Nielsen Alonso was torpedoed and dead in the water astern of the convoy and the escort commander, as the convoy's rescue vessel, Stockport, was occupied, ordered Campbell to the tanker's assistance. Arriving in the vicinity of the tanker, Campbell found her still afloat and in no apparent danger of sinking. She rescued the 50 surviving crewmen who had taken to their lifeboats. One-half hour after setting course and steaming back towards the convoy, Hirschfield learned that the merchant sailors had not destroyed their confidential publications and these documents were still on board the abandoned wreck. The Campbell then obtained permission to return to the tanker and ensure the destruction of those documents. As they once again approached the still floating tanker, the men watched as a torpedo exploded against the Norwegian's hull. After dodging a torpedo believed to have been fired at Campbell, lookouts spotted a surfaced U-boat in the distance and the cutter got underway and prepared to attack. The U-boat crash dived after being illuminated by one of Campbell's searchlights but the cutter's sonar operator quickly picked up her echo. The cutter commenced a devastating depth charge attack, bringing some debris and oil to the surface but they were unable to regain contact.

The Campbell then returned to the wreck of the Nielsen Alonso and opened up with her deck guns, igniting the tanker's bridge in the area where Alonso's commanding officer reported the documents to be. Urgent requests for assistance from the convoy convinced Hirschfield that he needed to get back but by now the convoy was nearly 40 miles away and the cutter's 271 search radar was inoperative due to the vibrations caused by the many depth charge explosions. The radar technicians, led by CRM Benjamin Stelmasczyk, were able to get the radar operative again".

The factory is also mentioned further down in the report, as follows:
"The Burza was then ordered to take the Campbell in tow, but because of the risks involved of proceeding without screen it was decided to await further assistance. On the 23rd some 120 members of the Campbell's crew were transferred to Burza as well as 50 Nielsen Alonso survivors as the remaining crew attempted to patch the gash in the hull (of the cutter). The Burza remained to guard the Campbell until the arrival of the British tug Tenacity on the 26th. The Tenacity took her in tow and with two British escorts as screens, proceeded to St. John's where they arrived on the 3rd of March 1943. On the 15th, after the openings in her hull had been closed she was towed to Argentia where she underwent repairs until the 19th of May, 1943".

Other Norwegian ships sunk were M/S Ingria and M/T Glittre - follow the links for details. My page about Convoy ON 166, as well as the external websites that I've linked to at the end of this page have more information. Other Norwegian ships sailing in this convoy were Molda, Skandinavia, Tai Shan, Tropic Star and Brasil.

For info, U-753 had also been responsible for the attacks on Haakon Hauan and Hamlet the year before - follow the links for details.

Crew List:
Some of the survivors had been on board Lancing when that factory was sunk the year before. I've compared this crew list with Lancing's crew list and in addition to Captain Bjerkholt, I find that Boatswain Rasmus Eikeseth, Stoker Åge Johannessen, and a Swedish Gustav Olsson (listed as able seaman) were on that ship when sunk. There's also an Erling Johannessen - listed as electrician on Lancing; same man?
Emil Sørseth had previously served on
Heimvard (escaped from internment), Velma and Katy. Following the loss of N.T. Nielsen Alonso, he joined Sandviken.

Johan Henry Bjerkholt
1st Mate
Olav Mørch
2nd Mate
Sverre Bjønnes
3rd Mate
Jens Martin Andersen
Radio Operator
Leif B. Amundsen
Leif Kongstein
Rasmus Eikesæth
Able Seaman
Arne Jensen
Able Seaman
Karl Hansen
Able Seaman
Alfred Vold
Able Seaman
Harald Mathisen
Able Seaman
Erling Johannessen
Able Seaman
Walter Eriksen
Able Seaman
Thor Albert Stokstad
Able Seaman
Ole Andreas Sporsheim
Able Seaman
John Rollefsen
Able Seaman
Einar O. H. Hardersen
Able Seaman
Alf Paulsen
Able Seaman
Jarl Dahl Jensen
Able Seaman
Henry Thorsen
Able Seaman
Trygve Kristiansen
Able Seaman/Gunner
Svein Kristiansen
Able Seaman/Gunner
Emil Sørseth
Able Seaman/Gunner
Adolf Johansen
Able Seaman/Gunner
Kristoffer Furevik
Able Seaman/Gunner
Ragnar Hjørnevåg
Able Seaman/Gunner
Vidar Johansen
1st Engineer
Einar Hansen
2nd Engineer
Olaf Johannessen
3rd? Engineer
Hans Chr. Nystad
Martin Fløysland
Pump Man
Arne Henry Eriksen
Karl Arthur Johansen
Knut Roberg
Thorvald Knudsen
Åge J. Johannessen
Ludvig Larsen
Ellef Halgrimsen
Hilbert Jensen
Ole Andersen Laupet
Guttorm Dyrø
Hartvig Martinsen
Jens Ruberg
Arne Sæves
Karsten H. Pettersen
Mess Boy
Rolf Hornemann
Mess Boy
John L. Byrne
Mess Boy
Josef S. H. Johansen
Mess Boy
Gustav Olsson
Mess Boy
Edward Hill

3rd Engineer
William Fjelberg

Thorbjørn Larsen

Erling Jensen
All died in the engine room

Related external links:
Stavern Memorial - The website has recently been updated and unfortunately, the casualties are no longer named. However, they can be found by going to "Søk 2. verdenskrig" and entering each name in the search field for "Personer". As mentioned, Paul Olsen is said to have died in an accident on board on May 6-1940. From Page 1, we learn that N. T. Nielsen Alonso was on her way from Rio de Janeiro to Victoria, Brazil on that date.

ON 166, 21 - 26 Feb 1943
U-92 | U-753

The history of USS Campbell - The rescue of N. T. Nielsen Alonso's survivors is described.

Hyperwar - Linked directly to Robert Cressman's book entries for 1943 - scroll down to Febr. 20, 21, 22 and 23 for details on the attack on ON 166.

Back to N. T. Nielsen Alonso 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), summary of survivors' statements in a memorandum received from Tony Cooper, England, and misc. (ref. My sources).


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