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D/S Roald Amundsen
Built by Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyards Inc., Baltimore (2120). Launched as William Strong on Apr. 13-1943 for the United States War Shipping Administration, delivered on Apr. 24, 7191 gt, 4379 net, 10 521 tdwt, 423.1' x 57.1' x 34.9', Triple exp. (Ellicott Machine Corp. Baltimore), 2500 ihp. One of 10 (11?) ships added to Nortraship's Fleet in 1943. See my page "Ship Statistics and Misc." for a list of the others under Gains 1943. Roald Amundsen was taken over in Baltimore on the day of delivery Apr. 24-1943. On bareboat charter from the United States War Shipping Administration.
Captain: Martin Tangerås.
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.
Shortly after delivery, on May 13-1943, she was scheduled for Convoy HX 239 from New York to the U.K., but instead joined the next convoy on May 19, HX 240. Her destination is given as Liverpool, general cargo, station 32. She returned with the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 189*, which left Liverpool on June 16 and arrived New York July 1. Gallia, Glarona, Kong Sverre, Solsten, Solør and Troubadour are also listed, while Acanthus, Potentilla and Rose are named among the escorts (see ON convoy escorts). A couple of weeks later, she can be found in Convoy HX 248 from New York, again bound for Liverpool with general cargo (see also the Commodore's report). The following month we find her, together with Athos, California Express, Fjordaas, Gefion, Hardanger, Montevideo (Commodore Vessel), Mosli, Oregon Express, Skotaas and Trondheim, in Convoy ON 196*, departing Liverpool on Aug. 8, arriving New York on the 21st, Roald Amundsen subsequently remaining there for a month. According to Arnold Hague, she headed back to the U.K. again in Convoy HX 258*, which left New York on Sept. 22 and arrived Liverpool Oct. 6. See also Page 1. She had again been in the company of other Norwegian ships, namely Haakon Hauan, Idefjord, Molda, Norheim and San Andres.
With Far, Hjalmar Wessel, Ledaal and Ragnhild, she later joined Convoy OS 58/KMS 32, on a voyage from Milford to Italy with stores in station 74. This convoy originated in Liverpool on Nov. 5-1943 and split up on the 18th, the KMS convoy arriving Gibraltar the next day, while the OS convoy proceeded to Freetown - follow the external link provided within the Voyage Record above for more convoy details. Roald Amundsen was in the KMS portion. The ships that were not bound for Gibraltar, including Roald Amundsen, continued from off Gibraltar on Nov. 19, still in Convoy KMS 32*, and she arrived Augusta on Nov. 25, continuing to Naples that same day. Her subsequent voyages are shown on Page 1 - convoy information for some of these can be found in the Voyage Record.
Skipping now to March-1944, when I have her, with several other Norwegian ships, in Convoy GUS 33, which originated in Port Said on March 5 and arrived Hampton Roads on Apr. 4, but many ships had other destinations and left the convoy, while others joined along the way. In fact, Roald Amundsen was not present from Port Said, but is said to have joined from Tunis on March 12. Her destination is given as Casablanca on the convoy document, but she parted company for Oran on the 15th, arriving there March 16. From Oran, she later travelled to Augusta, having joined Convoy KMS 45*, which had left Gibraltar on March 27; Roald Amundsen started out from Oran on March 28 and arrived Augusta on Apr. 2. Having made voyages to Naples and back to Augusta, then on to Bizerta, she shows up in Convoy MKS 46*, voyage Bizerta to Oran. The convoy had originated in Port Said on Apr. 9 and arrived Gibraltar on the 21st; Roald Amundsen, however, had sailed from Bizerta on Apr. 16 and arrived Oran on the 20th. From there, she returned to the U.S. the following month (Convoy GUS 38 - link in Voyage Record).
On June 12-1944, we find her in Convoy UGS 45 from Hampton Roads (Norholm, Norheim, Hjalmar Wessel and Høegh Silverstar also took part at various times). She was bound for Augusta, where she arrived July 3. Having made voyages to Taranto and Bari, then back to Augusta (Page 1), she joined Convoy GUS 46 on July 19 and arrived Oran on July 22 (the convoy had originated in Port Said on July 14 and had Hampton Roads as its final destination; again, other Norwegian ships took part, follow the link for their names).
She subsequently took part in the landings on the coast between Cannes and Toulon on Aug. 15-1944; there's no indication of this voyage to France on the archive document, but note that Arnold Hague has included her in Convoy ARM 3 from Southern France to Oran, Aug. 28-Aug. 31 (link in the table above). About 881 ships took part in this operation, 4 were Norwegian. D/S Audun, D/S Star and M/T Elise (fleet oiler) were the others. From Oran, Roald Amundsen now returned to the U.S. again, as can be seen on Page 1 (convoy info for this and subsequent voyages can be found in the Voyage Record).
Christmas that year was celebrated while in Convoy HX 326 from New York (left Dec. 14). Acanthus escorted this convoy for a while - see HX convoy escorts. Roald Amundsen's destination is given as Solent, where she arrived on Dec. 28, according to Page 2. With Buenos Aires, Norsktank, Østhav, Solfonn, Sophocles, Strix, Thorshov and Tiradentes, she later returned across the Atlantic with Convoy ON 287*, which left Southend on Febr. 25-1945 and arrived New York March 14 - her arrival is given as March 13, having started out from Barry on Febr. 26.
In "Krigsseileren" No. 3 for 1989 I've found a story written by someone who was on board Roald Amundsen, Ragnvald Hommen. He describes the last convoy voyage Roald Amundsen had from New York before VE day. I've been trying to determine which convoy this might have been. One of his statements has to do with receiving the news that Franklin D. Roosevelt had died, and he says the Amerian ships in the convoy had their flags on half mast for the rest of the voyage. Roosevelt died on Apr. 12, and my guess that it might have been Convoy HX 347* has since been confirmed. This convoy, which also included Brasil, Buenos Aires, Dalfonn, Fenris, Lektor Garbo, Marit II, Sophocles (Commodore Vessel), Sverre Helmersen and Thorsholm, as well as the Panamanian Norlys (Norwegian managers), departed New York on March 29-1945 and arrived Liverpool on Apr. 14. Again, see also Page 2.
I get the understanding that on arrival U.K. waters, Roald Amundsen and 6 other ships anchored in The Downs for a day or so, while the rest of the ships in the convoy had other destinations. She subsequently proceeded to Antwerp (A. Hague has her, together with Sverre Helmersen, in Convoy TAM 139 for this voyage - ref. link in the table above). After cargo had been unloaded in Antwerp she returned to The Downs (Convoy ATM 130), then on to Liverpool in a 5 ship convoy, arriving there on Apr. 26 (with Balduin, she's listed in Convoy TBC 135, as well as in the 6 ships Convoy MH 93). Hommen says that one of the ships in the convoy blew up en route, shortly after they had passed Isle of Wight, possibly by a mine (he might be referring to the British Riverton, which was torpedoed and damaged by U-1023 on Apr. 23 while in Convoy TBC 135; there's more on this attack at the last external link below. This ship had also previously been in Convoy ATM 130 from Antwerp. A. Hague blames U-1203 for this attack, though this might be a simple misprint).
Again, compare the details in Hommen's account with the info found on Page 2.
Once in Liverpool (Birkenhead), Roald Amundsen started loading 3000 tons coal, and was still there when the news of the German capitulation came. In the evening of May 8 she left for Glasgow, with arrival May 10, then departed on May 12 in Convoy JW 67 (this was the last convoy to Russia, consisting of 26 ships, arriving the Kola Inlet on May 20). In addition to the 3000 tons coal they had misc. war materials, cars and 25 sled dogs - these had come on board in New York. Egerø* and Ivaran were also in this convoy. Roald Amundsen and Ivaran did not go all the way to Murmansk, but left the convoy to proceed to Kirkenes. Hommen doesn't give a date, but simply says "2. pinsedag" which means "2nd Day of Whitsun". He mentions that Ivaran almost hit a mine on approaching Kirkenes that same afternoon. Kirkenes by then had been literally burnt to the ground by the Germans so this first meeting with their own country in many years was rather a sad one.
They stayed in Kirkenes for quite some time before continuing to Tromsø, where the coal was unloaded. Ragnvald Hommen says that D/S Spes was also there at the time - the steward of that ship later became his father-in-law. Additionally, Kong Haakon VII was in Tromsø, and as mentioned in my text for that ship she was set to transport Russian prisoners of war to Murmansk. Roald Amundsen was initially ordered into the same transport, but following an inspection this did not come to pass. Instead, her next voyage took her back across the Atlantic, this time alone and with all her lights on, arriving New York in the middle of July-1945, at the same time as Queen Mary, which came in with thousands of soldiers from Europe.
According to Page 3, she went home to Norway again a few times in 1946.
Sold to Ringdals Rederi A/S (Olav Ringdal), Oslo in Oct.-1946. Ran aground off Skudesneshavn on Nov. 20-1947, voyage in ballast Antwerp-Narvik, broke in 2. Total loss. No casualties.
Related external links:
Back to Roald Amundsen on the "Ships starting with R" page.
Norway had a whale factory by the name Roald Amundsen in the early 1900's, built in Newcastle 1891, 4390 gt, ex Sandhurst, ex Toronto, ex St. Enoch. Damaged by a mine on June 17-1917 laid by UC-6 the day before off Tongue Lightvessel (in cargo service at the time). Belonged to A/S Ørnen in 1921 under the name Falk (mentioned in a footnote under my text to Falk on the F-list). Sold to Germany for breaking up in 1936 ("Damp - Dampskipets æra i Vestfold" and "Lloyd's War Losses").
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Convoys to Russia", Bob Ruegg/Arnold Hague, "Liberty Ships in Peacetime, and their Contribution to World Shipping History" I. G. Steward - 1992, and misc. sources, most of which are named within the narrative above - (ref. My sources).