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M/S Randsfjord
Updated Febr. 7-2009

To Randsfjord - Page 2
(interview with the steward)

To Randsfjord on the "Ships starting with R" page.

Crew List

Source: Roger W. Jordan collection (sent to me for inclusion on this site).
Another picture is available on this external page (click in it to enlarge).

Manager: Den Norske Amerikalinje A/S, Oslo
3999 gt, 2369 net, 7465 tdwt.
Dimensions: 407.1' x 55.3' x 22.6'
Machinery: 2 x 7 cyl. 2 SCSA Burmeister & Wain oil engines by shipbuilders, driving twin screws.
Signal Letters: LIKE

Launched Dec. 9-1936 by Eriksbergs Mekaniska Verkstads A/B, Gothenburg (Yard No. 269) for NAL, delivered in April-1937.

Captain: Halvor Pedersen

Related items on this website:
Guestbook message - From the son of one of the survivors of Randsfjord, Jan Holtermann.
Another message - From the niece of one of the casualties, 2nd Mate Eugen Knutsen.

Her voyages are listed on this original document received from the National Archives of Norway.


As will be seen when going to the archive document above, Randsfjord left New York for Norway on Apr. 5-1940, but put back to New York on the 14th (Norway was invaded on Apr. 9). It now looks like she remained there for several weeks before proceeding to Halifax on May 28 in order to join a convoy for Liverpool. She arrived Halifax on May 30, subsequently joining Convoy HX 47 on June 2 (in which the Norwegian Italia was sunk; follow the link for more details). However, she returned to port that same day; according to A. Hague she had been involved in a collision with another ship in the convoy, the Greek Georgios Potamianos. (This seems a bit odd, because as can be seen when following the link to my page about HX 47, these 2 ships had stations far away from each other, though the collision could have happened while the convoy was forming up).

 Final Fate -1940: 

Randsfjord left Halifax again on June 9 in Convoy HX 49, bound for Liverpool with 6740 tons general cargo, incl. 77 tons ammunition and 6 aircraft ("Nortraships flåte" says 33 aircraft).

According to the 1st mate's report presented at the subsequent inquiry in London on Sept. 25 the convoy was escorted by a British aux. cruiser until the afternoon of June 20, at which time it returned, and in the morning of the 21st, 2 British destroyers and an aircraft arrived. That same evening the British San Fernando was torpedoed in the middle of the convoy, and the Commodore ordered the convoy to disperse. The 1st mate says that the Commodore Ship (the British Eurybates) and Randsfjord soon ended up ahead of all the other ships, and the captain gave orders for Randsfjord to reduce her speed so that she could stay behind the Commodore Vessel and follow the same maneuvers. However, when the Commodore became aware of this he signalled orders for them to proceed at full speed. Around midnight they had to steer clear of a burning tanker, and not long afterwards, at 24:11, June 22, when approx. 70 miles south of Fastnet(?) Randsfjord was hit by a torpedo on the port side (U-30 - Lemp), forward of amidships, probably in No. 3 hold, causing her to start sinking by the bow, and within about 3 minutes she was gone.

The port lifeboat was destroyed, the starboard boat was launched with great difficulty due to the ship's speed; her engine had not been stopped, though even if it had been, it may not have made much difference, because her propeller was out of the water almost immediately. Some had to jump overboard, the 2nd mate (officer on watch) and the 1st engineer were believed to have been crushed between the lifeboat and the side of the ship when they lost their grip while trying to lower themselves down to the boat. The captain, who had been in his cabin when the attack took place was last seen on his way to the bridge, not wearing a lifevest at the time (according to a report of an interview with the steward, the lifeboat fished the captain's body out of the water - see page 2). The 1st mate attempted to jump overboard but was taken by the rush of water as the ship sank and was lifted up underneath one of the aircraft in such a way that he was trapped there until the lashings broke. There had been 3 aircraft in crates on deck, another 3, from which the wings had been removed were uncrated.

The lifeboat picked up those who were in the water, then remained on the scene until it was almost daylight in order to search for the 3 missing men, but found nothing but debris. Lemp came up to ask the usual questions about the ship and cargo etc., handed them a bottle of brandy and some water, then disappeared (the survivors thought the boat was Italian*). They set sail for land, but were picked up on June 24 by the British Port Hobart (from Convoy OA 172) and landed in Glasgow on the 26th, where the 1st mate, the 3rd mate and Jr. Ordinary Seaman Halvorsen were admitted to hospital.

* Mike Holdoway, who runs the website about SL and OB/OA convoys etc. - see this external link - has sent me the following from Port Hobart, with the time given as 11:53, June 23-1940 (not sure which time zone is used here):
"Position 50 29N 5 56W. Sighted ships life boat under sail. Investigated and took on board 29 survivors of Norwegian M.V. Randsfjord who was torpedoed at 01:00 on 22/6/40 by Italian submarine, 70 miles S.S.E. from Queenstown". Again, see also page 2 for a report of an interview with the steward. (Charles Hocking also claims the culprit was an Italian sub).

The Norwegian Eli Knudsen from the same convoy was torpedoed by U-32 that same day. According to J. Rohwer's listing she was hit at 03:36 on June 22, 19 hours before Randsfjord was torpedoed (giving position 70 n. miles south/southeast of Queenstown and time as 22:40, June 22 for Randsfjord), while "Nortraships flåte" states she was hit about 2 1/2 hours after Randsfjord. "The Allied Convoy System" by Arnold Hague gives the date for San Fernando's sinking as June 22, while Rohwer agrees with my Norwegian source, June 21. Neither Rohwer nor Hague give any indication that the convoy had been dispersed. "Nortraships flåte" says the order to disperse was given when the convoy was about 100 n. miles southwest of Cape Clear, after San Fernando had been torpedoed at 19:00 on June 21 (Rohwer gives German time 20:07).

Crew List:

1st Mate
Ingolf Halvor Pedersen
3rd Mate
Oddvar Dittleff
Karl Andersen
Arvid Rasmussen
Able Seaman
Wilfred Øiehaug
Able Seaman
Finn Røssevold
Able Seaman
Harald Iversen
Ordinary Seaman
Lars Larsen
Ordinary Seaman
Thor Antonsen
Ordinary Seaman
Johan Dahle
Jr. Ordinary Seaman
Harry Pettersen
Jr. Ordinary Seaman
Leif Halvorsen
2nd Engineer
Erik Davidsen
3rd Engineer
Alf Lodgaard
Haakon Hals
Bjørn Josefsen
Stein Tyihjell
Jan Holtermann
Einar Edvardsdal
Sigurd Thoresen
Charles Christensen
Thoralf Kristiansen
Magne Østrem
Nils Askeland
Haakon Sivertsen
Galley Boy
Nils Bøge
Mess Boy
Jens Hermansen
Mess Boy
Oskar Rud
Mess Boy
Birger Widding
* See page 2

Halvor Pedersen

2nd Mate**
Eugen Knutsen

1st Engineer
William Olavesen
* See this Guestbook message
** See this Guestbook message
(she's interested in getting in touch with anyone who knew Eugen Knutsen - please contact me via address below)

Related external links:
Stavern Memorial commemorations

Operations information for U-30

U-30 | Fritz Julius Lemp

Back to Randsfjord on the "Ships starting with R" page.

Den norske Amerikalinje previously had another ship by the name Randsfjord (ex Kongsfos), from 1921 till 1934, 3222gt, sold to Finland 1934 and renamed Gertrud, later Wilja. Torpedoed and sunk 1940. The following website has some technical information on this first Randsfjord and other NAL ships: Norway Heritage Project (see this page).

The text on this page was compiled with the help of: NAL fleet list, "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Norwegian Maritime Museum, Volume II, and misc. others as named within above text - (ref. My sources).


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