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Owner: Den Norske Middelhavslinje A/S
Built at Nylands mek. Verksted, Oslo in 1918, purchased 1921.
Captain: Rudolf Nyegård.
Related items 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.
Judging from the information found on the archive document, Solferino had gotten out of Norway shortly before the German invasion (Apr. 9-1940) - she arrived Leixoes from Ålesund, Norway on Apr. 11.
With a cargo of cork shavings, she's listed as sailing in the Gibraltar-U.K. Convoy HGF 29 in May that year, bound for Portland, then Kirkaldy, arriving on May 31, proceeding to Methil 2 weeks later, subsequently remaining there for several weeks. The external website that I've linked to below has her in station 107 of Convoy OA 190 on July 26, bound for Aberdeen (several other Norwegian ships took part, but with destinations further afield). Note, however, that she's also listed as bound for Aberdeen in Convoy OA 192 on July 30, station 35; perhaps she had not sailed in the earlier convoy? She arrived Aberdeen that same day and together with Eastern Star, Fido, Helle, Regin, Trolla and Vigsnes, she now appears in Convoy OA 193, departing Methil on Aug. 3 (Solferino sailed from Aberdeen that day), dispersed Aug. 7. Her destination is not given, but from the archive document, we learn that she arrived New York on Aug. 21. With pulp wood for Barrow, she was scheduled to return to the U.K. in the Sydney, C.B. portion of Convoy HX 74, which originated in Halifax on Sept. 17, but she instead joined the Sydney section of the next convoy on Sept. 21, HX 75, and arrived Barrow on Oct. 10, later continuing to Barry, where she also had quite a long stay. The following month, we find her in Convoy OB 248, originating in Liverpool on Nov. 23, dispersed on the 26th, Solferino arriving Sydney C.B. on Dec. 7, having started out from Milford Haven on Nov. 22. Ringhorn was damaged - follow the link for details. (Direct links to the OA and OB convoys have been provided within the Voyage Record above; note that the listing for OA 193 is incomplete).
She was scheduled to return in Convoy HX 101 from Halifax on Jan. 6-1941, but did not sail. She had a cargo of steel and dry pulp for Manchester, and joined the next convoy on Jan. 11, HX 102, arriving her destination on Jan. 31, remaining there until Febr. 20, according to the archive document.
More information on all the other Norwegian ships mentioned here can be found via the alphabet index at the end of this page, or go to the Master Ship Index.
She was on a voyage from Manchester to Freetown with a cargo of 1500 tons coal when she was hit by two bombs from a German aircraft (FW 200) on Febr. 26-1941 and set on fire amidships. Abandoned, position 55 02N 16 25W. 2 died on board. The survivors were picked up by the Swedish Gdynia, which had a military doctor as passenger on board (by the name of Surgeon Leut. Leaven) who took care of the 5 injured men, but the captain died that same day, making the final number of casualties 3. Gdynia turned around and took the survivors to Greenock, arriving March 1.
At the time of this attack Solferino was in station 12 of Convoy OB 290 (external link), which earlier that morning (or 25th, depending on time zone used) had been attacked by U-47. I've added the abstract of the Commodore Ship M/S Samuel Bakke's Log as well as Commodore Admiral Hornell's report about the attacks on OB 290. The page includes names of ships sunk/damaged, one of them being the Norwegian Borgland - follow the link for details. Sandanger also took part in this convoy.
The maritime hearings were held in Greenock on March 4-1941 with 1st Mate Jakob Mørbeck Grimstad, 2nd Mate Morten Hoff, Carpenter Daniel Børresen, Boatswain Andreas Prydtz (at the wheel), and 1st Engineer Alf B. Andersen appearing, stating as follows:
2nd mate Hoff, who was on duty on the bridge stated that he had seen the Greek vessel sailing behind them (station 13) being bombed immediately prior to the attack on Solferino (this must have been Kyriakoula). He then ran to the starboard side of the bridge where the Lewis gun was ready for use, but before anything could be done, they were hit themselves. One of the casualties, Thorbjørn Larsen, had been on look-out duty on top of the wheel house, and after the bomb explosion he was not seen again. Steward Aasmund Kleve had last been seen on gun duty on the poop by the 1st engineer earlier that morning between 3 and 4.
1st mate Mørbeck Grimstad said that the attack happened around 10 o'clock while he was in bed; he was awakened by machine gun fire. (He also stated that the Greek vessel, as well as a British ship in station 15 appeared as if they had been bombed. According to A. Hague, the ship in station 15 was Melmore Head, which was bombed and abandoned - see Admiral Hornell's report). The 1st bomb hit the port lifeboat and the second between the amidships superstructure and the saloon house. The starboard boat was launched immediately with 20 men, while the remaining survivors readied the motorboat. The donkeyman had shut off the steam to the main engine before proceeding to the lifeboat. Captain Nyegård, who had been in bed in his cabin, having been up all night due to the previous U-boat attacks, had been severely injured and when he came out on the promenade deck he instructed the 1st mate to try to get hold of the ship's papers, whereupon Mørbeck Grimstad attempted to get from No. 2 hatch through a window into the glass veranda, because both ladders to the promenade deck had been blown away. However, encountering flames and smoke he had to turn around, though was able to get the ship's logbook and some blankets from his cabin.
The cabins amidships and aft were searched for possible survivors and about 20 minutes after the attack had started the motorboat pushed off with 10 men, including the captain and the 1st mate. 5 minutes later they heard the first explosion from the ammunition on board. The saloon was ablaze, and the chartroom collapsed so that the bag containing the Admiralty papers left behind was thought to have burnt up before the ship sank. When they last saw her at 11:45 she had a list of about 15° to port.
The survivors in both boats had been picked up by Gdynia at about 10:40 where they received first aid, as mentioned, but the captain died at 16:30 from internal injuries. The British gunner R. Snape had a broken arm, the 2nd mate received a cut on his arm, Ordinary Seaman Haakon Nilsen had an injured foot, while Stoker Bjarne Kristoffersen had a wound on the back of his head.
Related external links:
Back to Solferino on the "Ships starting with S" page.
Other ships by this name: Norway had also lost a steamship by this name to WW I, built 1900, 1155 gt (Otto Thoresen) - sunk by UC-47 off Ushant on March 15-1917. (Italy had a small destroyer named Solferino in WW II, lost Oct.-1944).
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume II, Norwegian Maritime Museum, and misc - ref My sources.