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Manager: Wilh. Wilhelmsen, Tønsberg
Launched on Apr. 19-1916 by Sir James Laing & Sons Ltd., Sunderland (Yard No. 656) as Simla. Completed on June 1-1917 under the name Glastonbury and placed under the management of Furness, Withy & Co. Ltd., London (war requisition), registered owners Norfolk & North American Steam Shipping Co. Ltd. Returned to Wilhelmsen on June 1-1920 and renamed Simla.
Captain: Hans von Krogh
Related item on this website:
Her voyages are listed on this original document received from the National Archives of Norway.
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.
As can be seen when going to the archive document, Simla was on her way from Cardenas for Oslo, Norway when the Germans invaded on Apr. 9-1940, but was diverted to Liverpool, where she arrived (via Kirkwall) on May 12.
Later that month we find her in Convoy OB 155, leaving Liverpool on May 26-1940. Novasli, Nyland and Thyra are also listed - ref. external link provided in the table above. This convoy joined up with Convoy OA 155 on May 29, forming the Gibraltar bound Convoy OG 31, which arrived there on June 3. Simla, however, was not part of this convoy; she was bound for New York, where she arrived on June 13 - A. Hague says she had been detached from the OB convoy on May 29. (OG 31 will be added to an individual page in my Convoys section; in the meantime, the ships sailing in it, and escorts, are named on the page listing ships in all OG convoys).
From New York, Simla proceeded to Philadelphia at the end of June, remaining there for a long time - according to A. Hague this was due to crew trouble.
Simla finally left Philadelphia for Halifax on Aug. 31-1940 (or Sept. 1, depending on time zone) with about 8000 tons of steel ingots and scrap metal for Methil. She arrived Halifax on Sept. 5, departing again on Sept. 9 in Convoy HX 72, which lost several ships (follow the link for more information - see also the external links at the end of this page).
On Sept. 22, when west of Bloody Foreland, Ireland, she was torpedoed and sunk by U-100 (Schepke), position 55 08N 17 40W*, the torpedo striking foreward of the bridge, probably in hold No. 2, starboard side. Due to the many ships having been sunk around her beforehand, all on board were already on deck, wearing their life jackets, but she sank so quickly that there was no time to launch the lifeboats and they had to jump overboard. She went down with such violence that the forward superstructure was torn to pieces.
The 31 survivors were rescued from rafts or lifeboats that had been floating around by the escorting British corvette HMS Heartsease 45 minutes after the torpedo had hit. Some were badly injured, one of whom, Donkeyman Pettersen, had a piece of wood piercing right through his body in the lower region of his abdomen back to front; half of it could be reached and taken out from the back. The 3rd engineer, the 1st mate and Able Seaman Kieding were also injured. The latter had been on lookout duty, and was the only one on the bridge who survived.
The maritime inquiry was held in Liverpool on Sept. 30-1940 with the 1st and 3rd mates, the 1st engineer, the radio operator and the boatswain appearing. The 1st engineer had been standing on the after deck when Simla was attacked, and as she went down by the bow he and some others (including the 3rd mate) threw themselves on to the raft and went down with the suction as she sank, but came up again. The radio operator, the 1st mate and several others had managed to scramble into the motorboat after the ship had gone down.
In Philadelphia, where Simla had taken on board cargo, rumours were going around that she had been torpedoed on her way to the U.K. Some (in unnamed circles) indicated that the captain was up to fishy business. In a telegram via the Naval Office in Ottawa on Oct. 4 he was accused of being pro-German and untrustworthy and, therefore, on his way to Norway with the ship. The Admiralty was requested to keep an eye out for this deserter. The telegram was duly registered by the Admiralty but they didn't bother to reply. For security reasons it was found to be unwise to publish details on the truth about Simla and Convoy HX 72 just for the purpose of stopping the rumours on the peaceful side of the Atlantic.
The captain, the 2nd mate and the Danish able seaman had been on the bridge when the torpedo struck, the latter at the helm.
Related external links:
Canonesa, Convoy HX 72 & U-100 - this website has a a lot of information on this convoy battle. There's also a section with more info on cargo, destination and number of crew of the Ships Lost and Damaged as well as post war fates of the ships that survived the war. Additionally, it lists the names of the 116 allied merchant seamen who were killed in the attack on HX 72 on the Memorial Page - The men who died.
Convoy HX 72 - (from Encyclopedia of WW II Naval Battles).
Back to Simla on the "Ships starting with S" page.
Norway also had a Simla (motor vessel) in 1968, originally built as Hippo for Paal Wilson & Co. A/S, Bergen in 1962, 297 gt. Went to a Bømlo/Haugesund company in 1966 but back to Paal Wilson on a 12 months T/C. Renamed Simla Aug.-1968. Sold to Stavanger in 1970, renamed Gamel, to owners in Tønsberg in 1972 as Bjerkøsund, then Tanja of Brønnøysund from Febr.-1974, Trolltind of Molde 1981. Sold to Kristiansund in Jan,-1987. 634 gt in 1992, reg. in Måløy 1994.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: Wilh. Wilhelmsen fleet list, "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Norwegian Maritime Museum, Volume II and misc. (ref. My sources).