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To Skiensfjord on the "Ships starting with S" page.
Manager: Den norske Amerikalinje A/S, Oslo
Launched on Jan. 26-1922 by Napier & Miller Ltd., Old Kilpatrick, Glasgow (Yard No. 234) for NAL. Delivered in March-1922.
Related items on this website:
Captain: K. E. Larsen Roppestad (according to the Commodore's notes for Convoy ON 157).
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.
A French visitor to my website has told me that according to his records Skiensfjord sailed from Bordeaux on Apr. 6-1940 and was seized in the Atlantic (28 20N 15 18W) by the French submarine Phoque on Apr 12 (3 days after the German invasion of Norway). Ordered to Casablanca, released a few days later. According to Page 1 of the archive documents, she had previously arrived Bordeaux from Oslo, Norway, having initially been bound for Madagascar. However, the document gives departure Bordeaux as Apr. 2, she sailed from Pauillac on Apr. 6 - arrival Casablanca is not given. She later proceeded to Dakar, and from there to Freetown.
With a general cargo and graphite, she's listed in station 72 of Convoy SL 44, which departed Freetown on Aug. 18 and arrived Liverpool on Sept. 7. The following month she's listed as bound for Montreal in station 51 of Convoy OB 232, which left Liverpool on Oct. 21 and dispersed Oct. 26, Skiensfjord arriving Montreal on Nov. 3 (she had served as Commodore Vessel). Several Norwegian ships took part; see the external links provided within the Voyage Record for more on these 2 convoys. She headed back to the U.K. on Nov. 26 with the Sydney, C.B. portion of Convoy HX 91, bound for Avonmouth with general cargo, where she arrived on Dec. 13. Cruising order/Commodore's notes are also available for this convoy.At the beginning of 1941 we find her, again with other Norwegian ships, in Convoy OB 271, originating in Liverpool on Jan. 8, dispersed on the 12th. No destination is given for Skiensfjord, but from Page 1 we learn that she arrived St. John, N.B. on Jan. 23, having started out from Milford Haven on the 8th. According to Arnold Hague, she returned to the U.K. with Convoy HX 110, leaving Halifax on Febr. 19, arriving Liverpool on March 11; Skiensfjord arrived Avonmouth March 12. As will be seen when following the link to my page about this convoy, she's not mentioned there, but only the Bermuda portion is currently available; the page will be updated*. The following month, she's listed in station 22 of Convoy OB 305, which originated in Liverpool on Apr. 2 and dispersed on the 6th, Skiensfjord arriving St. John, N.B. on Apr. 15 (again, see the external links in the Voyage Record for more details on the OB convoys). She was scheduled to return to the U.K. in Convoy HX 126 from Halifax on May 10 (in which John P. Pedersen and several others were sunk - follow the links for info), but instead joined Convoy HX 127 on May 16, general cargo, also carrying 5 Hurricanes and ammunition, station 123. She arrived Avonmouth on June 2.
Later that month, she's listed as bound for Montreal in Convoy OB 335 (originated in Liverpool June 16, ref. link in table above). She arrived Quebec on July 3, Montreal on July 5, later heading back to the U.K. in Convoy HX 140, together with the Norwegian Madrono, Boreas, Velox, Velma, Alaska, Stiklestad, Vardefjell, Evita, Olaf Bergh, Thorshov, Ferncastle, Bonneville, Thorshavet and Helgøy. Beth and Petter were also initially in this convoy but left due to engine problems. Skiensfjord joined this convoy from Sydney, C.B., having left that port on July 23 - see Page 2. Some of these ships, including Skiensfjord, also show up in the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 11 at the end of Aug.-1941. Skiensfjord's destination is given as Boston, station 24, but according to the archive document, she arrived Montreal on Sept. 13; Boston is not mentioned.
On Oct. 10 she joined Convoy HX 154 from Halifax, together with the Norwegian Hilda Knudsen, Kaia Knudsen, Ranja, Tai Shan, Samuel Bakke, Emma Bakke, Polarsol, N. T. Nielsen-Alonso, Toronto, Noreg and Svenør. Skiensfjord arrived Avonmouth on Oct. 26, and the following month she's listed in station 24 of the westbound Convoy ON 36, which originated in Liverpool on Nov. 13. Montbretia and Eglantine are named ampong the escorts. See also the Commodore's narrative, where Skiensfjord is mentioned under Nov. 16 as having been in a collision with the escorting Chelsea. Skiensfjord arrived St. John, N.B. on Nov. 30. Christmas that year was celebrated while in Convoy HX 166, departing Halifax on Dec. 21, arriving Liverpool on Jan. 5-1942, Skiensfjord, however, was bound for Avonmouth, where she arrived, via Belfast Lough, on Jan. 7/8.
Bound for St. John, N.B. with china clay, she now returned across the Atlantic with Convoy ON 61*, which left Liverpool on Jan. 27-1942, dispersed Febr. 10, Skiensfjord arriving her destination on the 13th (having sailed from Milford Haven, via Belfast Lough, on Jan. 26). On March 3, she can be found among the ships leaving Halifax in Convoy HX 178, subsequently joining the westbound Convoy ON 85* in order to sail to New York (originated in Liverpool Apr. 10), where she arrived Apr. 24, remaining there for several weeks, according to Page 3. In June that year she's listed in Convoy HX 193 from Halifax to Liverpool, then headed back to New York with Convoy ON 109*, which left Liverpool on July 3. She arrived New York on July 17, and at the beginning of Aug.-1942, she was back in Halifax, sailing to Liverpool with Convoy HX 201 - see also the narrative/log for the passage of this convoy.
She returned to New York again at the end of that month with Convoy ON 125, arriving Sept. 12 (having served as Vice Commodore Ship. The Commodore was in Samuel Bakke), heading back to Liverpool on Sept. 24 with Convoy HX 209, this time serving as Commodore Vessel. She later joined the westbound Convoy ON 141*, departing Liverpool on Oct. 24, arriving New York on Nov. 10 (Commodore in Samuel Bakke), then on the 27th we find her in Convoy HX 217, which was escorted by Rose, Eglantine and Potentilla for a while. Skiensfjord's cargo is given as "general and valuables" and she was bound for Liverpool. This convoy was attacked and 2 ships were sunk; my page about HX 217 has the details - see also the Commodore's narrative. Her last Trans-Atlantic voyage that year was made in Convoy ON 157, acting as the Commodore Ship again (arrival New York Jan. 15-1943).
At the end of Jan.-1943, she was one of several Norwegian ships forming Convoy HX 225 from New York to the U.K. In addition to general cargo she also carried explosives, destination Swansea, where she arrived Febr. 15. Early the following month, she joined the westbound Convoy ON 170, arriving New York March 20, then returned across the ocean with Convoy HX 233 on Apr. 6 (general cargo and explosives). In May, we find her in the westbound Convoy ON 182* (originated in Liverpool May 6, arrived New York May 22). Skiensfjord had sailed from Milford Haven on May 5 and stopped at Halifax on May 19, later proceeding to New York (again, see Page 3), and on May 31, she joined Convoy HX 242 from there. This convoy arrived Liverpool on June 15, and Skiensfjord had station 101, general cargo. She now joined the westbound Convoy ON 190*, which left Liverpool on June 24 and arrived New York on July 9, subsequently returning in Convoy HX 249, leaving New York on July 23. Her destination is given as Milford Haven and Southampton, general cargo, station 61 - her voyages in this period are shown on Page 4.
She subsequently shows up in the westbound Convoy ON 198*, which started out in Liverpool on Aug. 21 and arrived New York on Sept. 4, and according to A. Hague, she returned in Convoy HX 257*, leaving New York on Sept. 16, arriving Liverpool Sept. 30 (Potentilla and Rose are named among the escorts - see HX convoy escorts). She later served as Commodore Vessel for the westbound Convoy ON 206* (departure Liverpool Oct. 11, arrival New York on the 27th - Potentilla and Rose were again among the escorts for a while - see ON convoy escorts), returning to the U.K. the following month with Convoy HX 265*, leaving New York on Nov. 6, arriving Liverpool on the 21st - Skiensfjord stopped at Loch Ewe Nov. 20 (Commodore was in Abraham Lincoln). Christmas and New Years Eve were celebrated at sea while in the westbound Convoy ON 216*, which originated in Liverpool on Dec. 16-1943 and arrived New York on Jan. 3-1944.
On Jan. 22-1944 she headed back across the Atlantic in Convoy HX 276 from New York (Commodore was in Abraham Lincoln), bound for Glasgow with general cargo (Page 4), returning with Convoy ON 225* (originated in Liverpool Febr. 22, arrived New York March 8 - Commodore in Abraham Lincoln). Buttercup, which came under the Norwegin flag following the loss of Tunsberg Castle later that year, is named among the escorts. With a general cargo for London, Skiensfjord joined Convoy HX 284 on March 21 (again with Abraham Lincoln as Commodore Ship), returning with Convoy ON 234* (originated in Liverpool Apr. 26, arrived New York May 12). On May 27, she joined Convoy HX 293, general cargo for Liverpool (Commodore in Samuel Bakke), then headed back across the ocean with Convoy ON 242*, which left Liverpool on June 25 and arrived New York on July 11 (Vice Commodore in Samuel Bakke). Later that month, she can be found in Convoy HX 301, again bound for Glasgow with general cargo - see also Page 5. Commodore was in Reinholt, Vice Commodore in Samuel Bakke.
In Aug.-1944 she's listed in the westbound Convoy ON 249* (originated in Liverpool Aug. 18, arrived New York Sept. 2 - Vice Commodore in Norma), and with a general cargo for London, she commenced her return voyage on Sept. 13 in Convoy HX 308 (Vice Commodore in Villanger). The following month she's listed, with destination New York, in Convoy ON 261, arriving New York Nov. 5 (having initially started out in the previous convoy, ON 260*, but returned to port - Commodore was in Høyanger; Buttercup, Rose and Tunsberg Castle were among the escorts - Rose was sunk). It now looks like she spent quite a long time in New York; she was scheduled for Convoy HX 325 on Dec. 9 but instead joined the next convoy on the 14th, HX 326, arriving Liverpool on Dec. 27. She had a general cargo. Acanthus escorted for a while.
Again, follow the links provided for much more information on these convoys.Early in 1945, Skiensfjord joined Convoy JW 64 to Murmansk, as the only Norwegian ship. The convoy departed the Clyde Anchorage on Febr. 3 with the British S/S Fort Crevecour as Commodore ship. They were attacked several times by aircraft, but the convoy's defence was able to prevent serious harm. 11 U-boats were involved in the action on Febr. 13 and the corvette Denbigh Castle was torpedoed by U-992, towed to the Kola Inlet by another corvette (Bluebell) and a Russian tug, but later became a total loss when she grounded, then capsized. The rest of the convoy reached the Kola fjord on Febr. 15 without losses, but a few mishaps in that the escorting trawler HMS Oksøy** straggled on Febr. 11, and the commodore ship collided with the American Arunah S. Abell upon arrival to the inlet. Skiensfjord, along with 3 Russian ships continued west along the coast on Febr. 25, escorted by 30 Russian and 4 Norwegian Naval vessels in addition to aircraft, arriving Kirkenes that same night where she unloaded cargo until March 13.
For her return voyage she joined Convoy RA 65, leaving Kola on March 24 (23?), arriving Scapa Flow on the 31st (Apr. 1? disagreement in my sources, could be a matter of different time zones used) without having been attacked. According to Page 5, Skiensfjord arrived Glasgow on Apr. 2. A. Hague says she had 15 passengers on board on this voyage.
Shortly after the above mentioned voyage to Murmansk and back, Skiensfjord made another voyage to New York with Convoy ON 295*, which originated in Liverpool on Apr. 7-1945 and arrived New York on the 26th, and in May she served as Commodore Vessel for the eastbound Convoy HX 355* (Commodore J. J. E. Barclay R.N.R.). It left New York City on May 9, so it looks like that's where VE Day had been celebrated. Her subsequent voyages are shown on Page 5 and Page 6. From the latter document we learn that she got to go home to Norway again in Dec.-1945.
Upon hearing the news that the Norwegian island of Sørøy was being attacked by enemy aircraft the Flag officer of JW 64, mentioned above, detached the escorting destroyers Sioux, Zambesi, Zealous (Commander R. F. Jessel, R.N.) and Zest to have the 500 civilians brought from Sørøy to Murmansk. They were later distributed in various ships. From a visitor to my website I've received an interesting article which she found in the magazine "The Arctic Look Out" (ISBN 1960 0299 Winter 1998 edition Number 33 Page 12-13). The heading is "A response' to Sir Ludovics request for information, Bv P. Jones (1824) L.A. 'Taff Courtney 0204. &. 'Jan' Callicot, 1869", and it starts off by saying that Convoy JW 64 had reached Polyarno, Kola, on Febr. 15-1945 "after quite an awful trip from the Clyde". With regard to Sørøya the report states that the Germans were bombing the civilians who had gathered on the island, and that one of the men had managed to get across the mountains into Sweden for help. By then they were living on "squirrels, seaweed and any small animals they could catch. The Swedes radioed the Red Cross in Geneva, who radioed the Admiralty". The Admiralty in turn radioed the Flag Officer at Kola, who then despatched the 4 destroyers.
The article continues: "Our ship, Zealous, sailed at full speed - and a bit more - arriving there after about twelve hours". They hove to about 100 yards from shore but couldn't immediately see anyone. Then they saw a movement on the hill, "a black dot which rapidly grew to become a man on skis. He shouted and waved. Within minutes, scores of people appeared, clothed in ragged clothes and carrying bundles of belongings.When they reached Zealous the Norwegians needed no urging to scramble aboard, whilst throwing up their pathetic bundles. One bundle caused a rapid reaction by an A.B. on the deck, when a cry emerged from the bundle he was about to catch. He caught it with great care - there was a baby in it!!". When the embarkation was complete they had over 100 civilians on board.
They were told by one of the Norwegians that there were 2 German armed trawlers in a nearby inlet, so "the Zealous zoomed away at maximum speed plus. On board, the Chief Cook worked very hard for many hours, cooking meals for the survivors, who were very hungry and suffering from varying degrees of frostbite. The galley produced corned beef, mashed potatoes, bread, and glucose for the babies. The ships medical officer, for some reason, ordered that all the Norwegian women must be bathed and de-loused. At this point Chief Stoker Adams became famous, when he volunteered to take charge of this delicate situation. The women, being hungry, scared, bemused and frostbitten obeyed automatically, though in a daze. The Chief Stoker sat on an up-turned bucket in the after bathroom, armed with cloths, soap and de-lousing solution. They went in two at a time (as a gesture to propriety?). The cloths were rubbed up and down, back and front, lather rinsed off with clean water. Amidst this steamy scene I was also present as the Jack Dusty, with thick woolly underclothes, socks, jumpers, gloves, blankets and dry towels. Needless to say, one of the young Norwegian women wandered, un-noticed, out of the bathroom with her blanket over one arm and survivors gear in the other hand, and not wearing a stitch. Fortunately a three badged A.B. appeared, took her arm and led her back under cover. To his credit, Stripey never even grinned, but sympathetically and without fuss, saved the day".
The article then says: "The young midshipman, Chief Cook and Chief Stoker were all mentioned in despatches for their efforts although the Chief Stoker never lived it down. What a thing to get a mentioned in despatches for!". Since the Russians themselves suffered from shortage of food, the Norwegians were distributed among the various ships bound for the U.K. in Convoy RA 64. Follow this link to Idefjord for more info on this. (My Norwegian Guestbook has a message from someone whose parents were among those evacuated from Sørøya).
This external page has excerpts from the diary of Hjalmar Holthe, who sailed on this ship after the war. It describes, in Norwegian, some of her post war voyages (he had previously sailed with Brant County, Vest and Norjerv).
Skiensfjord was sold to Kam Kee Navigation Co. Ltd. in March-1957 (Jebshun Shipping Co. Ltd.), Hong Kong and renamed Shun Hing. Arrived Hong Kong on March 7-1959 to be broken up by Sun Sun Enterprises.
Related external links:
Back to Skiensfjord on the "Ships starting with S" page.
Den norske Amerikalinje later had another ship by this name (built 1958).
The text on this page was compiled with the help of:
"Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Norwegian America Line" fleet list, Bjørn Pedersen & F. W. Hawks and misc. other (ref. My sources).