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D/S Ruth I
Owner: A/S Britannic
Delivered in Apr.-1900 from C. S. Swan & Hunter Ltd., Newcastle as Ruth to Hagb. Waage, Christiania (Oslo). Tonnages as above, 330' x 48' x 24.7', triple exp. 276 nhp (T. Richardson & Sons), owners: D/S A/S Ruth. Purchased by A/S Britannic (Brummenæs & Torgersen) in 1927, renamed Ruth I in Apr.-1932. In lumber and coal trade. (The external page that I've linked to above has more detailed information).
Captain: Einar Haugland
Related items on this website:
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.
Ruth I is listed as sailing in Convoy HN 19 from Norway to the U.K. in March-1940, bound for Workington with a cargo of ore. According to Page 1 of the archive documents, she left Workington again on Apr. 1, arriving Swansea on the 4th, and was still there when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9. From Swansea, she proceeded to Rouen on May 1.
Later that month, A. Hague has included her, together with Akershus, Bjørkhaug, Inger Lise and Varangberg, in Convoy OA 156, originating at Southend on May 27, dispersed May 30. No destination is given for Ruth I, but from the archive document, we learn that she arrived Nantes on May 30; A. Hague says she had been detached from the convoy the day before. In June we find her, along with Bjørkhaug, Garonne, Polarsol, South America and Vav, in Convoy OB 167, which originated in Liverpool on June 13 and dispersed on the 17th, Ruth I arriving New York on July 2. (These convoys are available via the external links provided within the Voyage Record). She headed back to the U.K. on Aug. 25 with the slow Convoy SC 2 from Sydney, C.B., in which the Norwegian Gro and others were sunk - follow the links for details. Ruth I had a cargo of steel and scrap for Hull. In Oct.-1940, she's listed as bound for Sydney, C.B. in Convoy OA 226, which left Methil on Oct. 8 and joined up with Convoy OB 226 on Oct. 11, then dispersed the next day, Ruth I arriving her destination on Oct. 26. A. Hague has also included Grado and Marita in OA 226 (the listing is incomplete - ref. links in the table above), while Brant County, Laurits Swenson, Petter and Samuel Bakke were in OB 226.
Ruth I now remained at Sydney, C.B. for quite a long time, before proceeding to Pugwash on Dec. 6 - again, see Page 1. Having made a voyage to Pictou, she headed to Halifax and with a cargo of pit props for West Hartlepool, she was scheduled to return to the U.K. in Convoy SC 17 from there on Dec. 23, but did not sail, and was also cancelled from SC 18 on Jan. 2-1941, but eventually got away in Convoy SC 19 on Jan. 12. She lost touch with the convoy and was attacked by aircraft, as follows:
From a visitor to my website, Juan Carlos Salgado (author, and researcher of WW2 incidents related to Spain) I've received the following:
This incident is also recorded in "Nortraships flåte" which says that 5 aircraft (FW 200) spotted the convoy(?) in 55 55N 13 20W, notified the U-boats in the area and attacked just before 09:30 on Jan. 28. Time for the attack on Ruth I is given as 09:26, but no injuries are mentioned, and she was not damaged according to this source, which adds that 2(?) British ships were sunk in the attack, and when 3 U-boats reached the area late into the night another 5 ships went down. Ships sunk by U-boats in this convoy were, in fact, the Greek Aikaterini, the British King Robert and W. B. Walker, all on Jan. 29 and all sunk by U-93 - the British West Wales, sunk by U-94 on the 29th, the Egyptian Sesostris by U-106, and on the 30th the British Rushpool was sunk by U-94. As far as I can tell, the only ship sunk by aircraft was Grelrosa - and I also believe these 2 ships were far away from the convoy itself when they were spotted - follow the link to Convoy SC 19 - see also the Analysis of attacks, as well as the external link re this convoy below and Page 1, which shows that she arrived West Hartlepool, via Oban and Methil Roads, on Febr. 9, remaining there until Febr. 22.
We now find her, together with Fjord, Granli (? follow link), Hellen, Selbo and Solitaire, in Convoy OB 292, originating in Liverpool on Febr. 28-1941, dispersed March 6. Again, no destination is given for Ruth I, but according to the archive document, she arrived St. John, N.B. on March 24, having sailed from Loch Ewe on March 2. With a cargo of steel and lumber for Garston, she was scheduled for the slow Halifax-U.K. Convoy SC 28 on Apr. 9, but did not sail (she did not arrive Halifax from St. John, N.B. until Apr. 10) - she was also cancelled from the next convoy, SC 29, as well as from SC 31 and SC 32, but joined SC 33 from Sydney, C.B. on June 1 (again, see Page 1 for a listing of her movements in this period). Her destination is now given as Portishead, where she arrived, via Belfast Lough and Barry Roads, on June 23 (Page 2). In July, she's included in Convoy OG 69*, which departed Milford Haven for Gibraltar on July 19, but after Inga I had been torpedoed Ruth I and 2 British ships were ordered by the Commodore to leave the convoy, and she reached Cadiz safely on Aug. 2. Follow the link to Inga I for more info on what had taken place in the convoy - see also the external link provided further down on this page.
With a cargo of iron ore, she headed back to the U.K. again later that month in Convoy HG 71, departing Gibraltar on Aug. 18, arriving Liverpool Sept. 2 - Ruth I stopped at Barrow the day before. This convoy is not available among the HG convoys included in my Convoys section, but see the link in the table above. She now appears among the ships in Convoy OG 74*, which left Liverpool on Sept. 12 and arrived Gibraltar on the 27th; Ruth I, however, was bound for Huelva, where she arrived that same day, having sailed from Clyde on the 12th. Benwood is also listed in this convoy, which lost several ships (ref. link further down on this page). With a cargo of iron pyrites for Mersey, Ruth I headed back in the other direction again in Convoy HG 75 from Gibraltar on Oct. 22. 6 German U-boats and 3 Italian submarines were waiting off Gibraltar, and the convoy battled its way through for 5 days, losing 4 Merchant ships, namely Alhama, Ariosto (Commodore Vessel), Carsbreck and Ulea, all British, but Ruth I, the only Norwegian ship in the convoy, made it through yet again, arriving Liverpool on Nov. 4, Garston the next day (Page 2). According to Jürgen Rohwer, the escorting British destroyer Cossack was also lost (U-563), while HMS Ariguani was damaged by U-83 (F-105 - formerly a merchant ship, requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to Naval fighter catapult ship). See my page about this convoy as well as the external links below for more details.
Ruth I now made a voyage to Tampa, joining the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 41*, departing Liverpool on Nov. 27, dispersed Dec. 11, Ruth I arriving Tampa on Dec. 30. Ada is also listed, while Rose is named among the escorts - see ON convoy escorts.
In Jan./Febr.-1942 she took part in Convoy SC 67 from Halifax, cargo of phospahtes (Heina was sunk - follow the link for info), and in March she's listed, with Petter II and Rena, in the westbound Convoy ON 76*, which left Liverpool on March 15 and arrived Halifax on the 31st; Ruth I, however, was bound for New York, where she arrived Apr. 2, having started out from Loch Ewe on March 15 (Page 2). With a general cargo for West Hartlepool, she sailed back to the U.K. in May in Convoy SC 84 from Halifax, arriving her destination on June 1, subsequently joining the westbound Convoy ON 104*, which originated in Liverpool on June 16 and also included Askeladden, Bonde and Veni. Ruth I was bound for Halifax, where she arrived on July 1, having sailed from Loch Ewe June 16.
With a cargo of wood pulp, she was scheduled for the Newfoundland portion of the slow Sydney (C.B.)-U.K. Convoy SC 93 later that month, but did not sail. She was also cancelled from SC 94, SC 95 and SC 96, and I've checked the Advance Sailing Telegrams for SC 97 (Bronxville was sunk, follow the link for more info) and SC 98, but Ruth I is not mentioned in any of them. She does not show up in an eastbound North Atlantic convoy again until Convoy SC 113*, originating in New York on Dec. 12-1942, arriving Liverpool Jan. 2-1943; Ruth I stopped at Loch Ewe on Jan. 1, having joined this convoy with the Halifax portion. From Page 3 of the archive documents, we learn that she had previously arrived Halifax from St. John's, N.F. in tow of a tug on Sept 23 (A. Hague says this was Mary Moran - As can be seen in his Voyage Record above, Ruth I had spent several weeks at St. John's, N.F.). She had departed Halifax again for Loch Ewe on Dec. 16. Askot (to St. John's only), Hallanger, Henrik Ibsen, Kirsten B (to St. John's), Lisbeth, Norvarg, O. B. Sørensen, Rio Verde and Titanian are also listed in this convoy.
She later joined the westbound Convoy ON 169 (from Liverpool Febr. 22-1943, to New York March 21; Ruth I joined from Loch Ewe - Commodore was in Geisha). According to A. Hague, she became a straggler from the convoy on March 6; the archive document says she arrived Halifax on March 15, continuing to St. John, N.B. 3 days later. She did not leave again until July 5, when she proceeded to Halifax in order to join Convoy SC 136 on July 8, cargo of steel and lumber (Commodore in Titanian). It'll be noticed, when going back to Page 3, that she also had quite a long stay at Tyne that fall. In Sept.-1943, we find her in the westbound Convoy ONS 18, which joined up with Convoy ON 202 and lost several ships, including Oregon Express and Skjelbred. Please follow the link to my page about this convoy for much more information on the battle, including the Commodore's report and several other reports; see also my pages about Skjelbred and Oregon Express for further details. Ruth I arrived Sydney, C.B. on Sept. 28, having started out from Oban on the 14th. Early in Nov.-1943 she's listed in the Sydney, C.B. portion of the eastbound Convoy SC 146 (Commodore in Rena). Ruth I sailed from Sydney on Nov. 7 and had a cargo of lumber for Grimsby, where she arrived (via various other ports) on Nov. 27, according to Page 4, which also shows that she subsequently had a long stay at Hull.
Her last westbound Trans-Atlantic convoy voyage was made in Convoy ONS 29*, which originated in Liverpool on Febr. 12-1944 and arrived Halifax on the 29th; Ruth I had started out from Oban on the 13th. A. Hague has also included Atlantic, Geisha (Commodore Vessel), Heimgar, Iron Baron, Nordanger, Norfalk, Suderøy, Tercero and Vav, while Acanthus, Eglantine and Rose are named among the escorts - see ONS convoy escorts. Ruth I now remained in Halifax for a month, before embarking on her last voyage.
In the period Jan./March 1944 Germany lost close to 40 U-boats in the North Atlantic. In the same time period over 100 convoys with around 3360 merchant ships had crossed back and forth, and only 3 had been sunk, so the conventional U-boats had lost in the face of the developing defence methods of the Allies. A number of them were called back, some stayed in the North Atlantic as weather ships, while others were kept for the convoy routes, if nothing else than to tie up the Allied battle forces.
The eastbound Convoy SC 156 had an encounter with a member of the latter group when U-302 (Sickel) attacked on Apr. 6-1944. The first ship to be hit was Ruth I, carrying a cargo of steel, lumber and pitprops, on a voyage from Halifax to Loch Ewe, having left Halifax on March 29 (the Advance Sailing Telegram for this convoy gives her final destination as Hull). The torpedo struck on the port side behind midships, and the engine room and fireroom immediately filled with water, killing 3 men there. She broke in two and within a few minutes the midships deck was in the water line, with the 2 parts sticking high up. The port lifeboat and the motorboat were destroyed in the explosion, and the starboard boat was leaking considerably but could still be used, so 17 men got into it. A "homemade" raft held the other 19 survivors.
Ruth I sank 20 mins later, position 45 05N 35 11W ("Nortraships flåte" gives 45 04N 35 20W), with lumber and props scattered over a large area of the ocean. Page 4 of the archive documents gives the time as 04:40 GMT, but whether this shows the time of initial attack or actual sinking, I don't know. The captain's report gives the time as approximately 02:20 for the attack; I'm not sure which time zone he's using.
All 36 were picked up about an hour and a half later that morning by the escorting British frigate HMS Chelmer (Lt. Cdr. R. A. Cherry) where the injured were treated by the ship's doctor. (Other escorts for Convoy SC 156 are named on this page). On Apr. 12 they were transferred to the convoy's rescue vessel, the British Goodwin, and landed at Gourock the next day.
The maritime inquiry was held in Glasgow on Apr. 17-1944 with the captain, the 2nd mate, the 3rd engineer and Able Seaman Iversen appearing.
Next, Sickel on U-302 turned his attention to M/T South America - follow the link for details. These two Norwegian ships were to be Sickel's last victims. Shortly after the attack on Convoy SC 156, U-302 was sunk with all hands by the British frigate HMS Swale - ref. external link at the end of this page.
Back to Ruth I on the "Ships starting with R" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Våre gamle skip", Leif M. Bjørkelund & E. H. Kongshavn, "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "The allied Convoy System", Arnold Hague, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Norwegian Maritime Museum, Volume II, and misc. (ref. My sources).