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To Sirehei on the "Ships starting with S" page.
Owner: A/S Helgøy
Delivered in 1907 from Joseph L. Thompson & Sons Ltd., Sunderland as Bratsberg to A/S Borgestad (Gunnar Knudsen), Porsgrunn. Sold in 1934 to A. I. Langfeldt & Co., Kristiansand and renamed Sirehei.
From Dec. 21-1943 until Febr. 23-1944 a British able seaman by the name Thomas Patrick Shaw served on this ship - see my text for Hallfried for picture and more details on him, including some of his other WW II and post war ships. If anyone remembers this man, please contact me via the address provided at the end of this page.
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.
Follow the convoy links provided for more information on each.
Sirehei, under French charter, was caught up in the chaotic conditions in Le Havre at the end of May-1940 - according to Page 1 of the archive documents, she had arrived there from New York on Apr. 28. She waited with a full cargo on board for days before she could leave. She was then run into by a barge and had to undergo repairs for 7 days before she could continue to Southampton (the archive document gives her arrival there as May 30, having left Le Havre on May 25). On June 9 she left Barry(?) with a cargo of coal for St. Nazaire, where it soon became apparent that an evacuation of British forces and war materials was underway. She was anchored in the bay just north of the city right next to the Cunard Line's Lancastria which already had 5800 men on board and was ready to depart, when a powerful air attack started on June 17, lasting for almost an hour. Lancastria was hit by two bombs and set on fire, the sea around her was covered in oil which also caught on fire, and when she sank about 15 minutes later almost 3000 men died. In the chaos that now prevailed Captain Bjelland realized he had to take matters into his own hands, and though no orders had been received he left the next day for Falmouth, where she she arrived June 21. Sirehei was registered as the 184th ship escaping France in the last few days.
A week later, she proceeded to Pernambuco, remaining there for over a month, before contiuing to Buenos Aires, where she also had a long stay (Page 1). She's later listed in Convoy SLS 56 from Freetown, bound for Belfast with a cargo of maize in station 64 of the convoy, which left Freetown on Nov. 19 and arrived Liverpool on Dec. 12, having joined up with SL 56 en route on Dec. 9. Sirehei is said to have experienced boiler trouble and left the convoy on Nov. 25, steering towards Tenerife - note, however, that according to the archive document, she arrived Belfast Lough on Dec. 11. The Norwegian Bruse Jarl, Sandar and Ferm are also listed in this convoy; ref. link provided in the Voyage Record.
It'll also be noticed, when going back to the archive document, that she had 2 long stays in Newport at the beginning of 1941. At the end of May, we find her in Convoy OB 329 (Page 1 indicates she was bound for Freetown at the time - Christian Krohg was sunk, follow the link for details), but she went into Belfast Lough on May 31 and did not leave again until June 20, joining Convoy OB 337. This convoy had started out in Liverpool that same day and dispersed on the 28th, Sirehei arriving Rio de Janeiro on July 24 - again, see the links in the Voyage Record for more on these OB convoys; several Norwegian ships took part. According to A. Hague, Sirehei headed back to the U.K. again on Sept. 11 in Convoy SC 44* from Sydney C.B., in which Barbro was sunk - follow the link for more info. The Norwegian Carrier, Ada, Bollsta, Borgfred, Cetus, Gudvin, Hjalmar Wessel, Iron Baron, Lago, Marita, Rolf Jarl, Sneland I, South Africa and Spero are also listed in this convoy. Sirehei had a cargo of iron ore and sailed in station 42. She stopped at Loch Ewe on Sept. 27, later proceeding to Middlesbrough, with arrival Oct. 2 - see Page 2. The following month, she joined Convoy OG 77*, departing Milford Haven on Nov. 24 (the archive document gives her destination as Melilla), but she returned to port (Oban), later joining the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 51*, which left Liverpool on Dec. 27 and dispersed Jan. 11-1942, Sirehei arriving Halifax Jan. 14. She had again been in the company of other Norwegian ships, namely Beth, Carrier (returned), Far, Fjordheim and Ingerfire.
At the end of that month (Jan. 30-1942) she can be found among the ships in Convoy SC 67 from Halifax, in which the Norwegian Heina was sunk (follow the link for more info). Sirehei's destination is given as Manchester and she had a cargo of steel and pulp. Early in March, she joined the westbound Convoy ON 72* (together with Chr. Knudsen), but put back to Oban on March 7, subsequently joining Convoy ON 74* from there a few days later, arriving Halifax on March 25. The Norwegian Arosa, Beth, Borgfred, Elg, Thorsholm, Titanian, Tortugas and Tungsha are also named. Some of these, including Sirehei, left Halifax again on Apr. 11 in Convoy SC 79. Sirehei, in station 93 of the convoy, had a cargo of steel and pulp for Swansea, where she arrived (via Belfast Lough) on Apr. 27.
Page 2 later shows a long stay in Falmouth, then in June she's listed, together with Brisk, Lago, Solhavn and Vinga, in the westbound Convoy ON 106*, which sailed from Liverpool on June 23 and arrived Halifax July 8 - Sirehei, however, started out from Milford Haven on June 22, and via Belfast Lough, she arrived St. John's, N.F. on July 4. Later that month, she joined the Newfoundland portion of the slow Sydney (C.B.)-U.K. Convoy SC 93, cargo of iron ore for Ardrossan, with arrival there Aug. 7. Shortly thereafter, we find her in station 63 of the westbound Convoy ON 122, in which Trolla and others were sunk; follow the links for details. The Commodore's report is also available for this convoy. Acanthus, Monbretia, Potentilla and Eglantine served as escorts for a while. Sirehei had joined from Clyde and arrived Halifax on Sept. 1, proceeding to Sydney, C.B. on the 11th, arriving Sept. 13, continuing to Montreal the next day - her voyages in this period are shown on Page 3. According to A. Hague, she returned to the U.K. in Convoy SC 106*, which originated in New York on Oct. 16-1942 and arrived Liverpool Nov. 5 and also included Primo (to Halifax only) and Sommerstad (strangely, A. Hague has also included Mimona, but this was a Homefleet ship); Sirehei, cargo of steel and lumber, started out from Sydney, C.B. on Oct. 20 and stopped at Oban Nov. 4.
The following information was found in "Krigsseileren" No. 2-1993, which has an article written by a crew member, Kristian H. B. Jensen, who had joined the ship in London on Nov. 18-1942:
She returned to St. John's in June-1943 with Convoy ONS 10*, which originated in Liverpool on June 8 and arrived Halifax on the 27th, but Sirehei had started out from Oban on June 9 and arrived her destination St. John's on June 25. Acasta, Cetus, Fjordheim, Grey County, James Hawson, Mathilda, Novasli, Ravnefjell and Titanian are also listed. Having made a voyage to Botwood and back to St. John's, she headed back to the U.K. on July 12 with the Newfoundland portion of Convoy HX 247, which had originated in New York on July 7. Her cargo is given as pulp, destination Ellesmere Port and Manchester (Page 3).
Sirehei later had a long stay in Liverpool, before joining Convoy OS 54/KMS 25, voyaging from Liverpool to Gibraltar with coal in station 11 of the convoy, which sailed from Liverpool on Aug. 28-1943 and split up on Sept. 8, the KMS convoy* arriving Gibraltar on Sept. 10, while the OS convoy continued to Freetown, where it arrived Sept. 17 - several Norwegian ships are listed, ref. link in Voyage Record. As mentioned, Sirehei's destination is given as Gibraltar, but she arrived Malta on Sept. 15, remaining there for about a month, before proceeding to Oran, where she arrived Oct. 18. She subsequently made a voyage from Oran to Gibraltar with Convoy MKS 28 (scroll down to the second table on that page), later continuing to Casablanca, and from there she returned to the U.K., having joined Convoy MKS 29, together with the Norwegian Belnor and Norvarg. Sirehei arrived Ardrossan on Nov. 18; see Page 4. Having spent a few weeks in Glasgow, she went back to Africa with Convoy OS 63/KMS 37, voyage from Clyde to Oran with lorries and coal in station 45 of the convoy, which left Liverpool on Dec. 25 and split up on Jan. 7-1944, KMS 37* arriving Gibraltar that same day, the OS convoy continuing to Freetown, where it arrived Jan. 17. Sirehei arrived Oran on Jan. 10, having sailed from Clyde on Dec. 25. This convoy also had other Norwgian ships, again, follow the external link provided in the table above.
In Febr.-1944, she can be found in Convoy SL 147, which had started out in Freetown on Jan. 22, but Sirehei sailed from Casablanca on Febr. 2, according to Page 4 (she had arrived there from Oran on Jan. 28). That same day, the convoy joined up with Convoy MKS 38* from Gibraltar, the combined convoy arriving Liverpool on Febr. 13; Sirehei stopped at Loch Ewe that day, before proceeding to Methil Roads and Hull, where she remained for several weeks (convoy link in table above).
Sirehei ended her long life as breakwater for the Normandy operations, June 7-1944, Gooseberry 3, Gold Beach, Arromanches; she was 1 of 4 Nortraship ships given up for this purpose (according to Page 4, Sirehei's title had been transferred to the British Government on Febr. 26-1944, in other words, shortly after she had arrived the U.K. from Casablanca). D/S Lynghaug, D/S Norjerv and D/S Norfalk were the others, though the latter struck a mine and sank en route to Normandy. See also Convoy Corncob 1 (external link).
Sirehei was raised two years (4 years?) later and taken in tow to Newcastle for repairs, but ran aground just before arrival and was given up.
Back to Sirehei on the "Ships starting with S" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "The Allied Convoy System", Arnold, Hague, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume II (Norwegian Maritime Museum), and misc. other, some of which are named in the narrative above - (ref. My sources).