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M/S Sørholt - Pictures

Back to Sørholt - Page 1 (account on sinking, w/crew list).

All the pictures on this page were taken by Conrad Thrane, one of the passengers (ref. crew list, Page 1). They were sent to me by his son by the same name, as were the captions - here's a Guestbook message from him. Files have been reduced in order to save disk space and download time.

Conrad has told me:
"These 17 photographs were taken with a small, pocket-sized camera that my father took with him off the M/S Sørholt in 1942. I recall that he thought it remarkable that this film and the camera came away intact. There was some water damage to the film emulsion, and the camera’s leather facia came off, leaving it with a battered appearance. He remained fond of the camera and kept snapping photos with it right up until he passed away, long ago in 1966.

Only four of the photos have some names noted on the back, these are underlined below. I do not have the negatives, and do not know the order in which these pictures were taken, so there is supposition and no doubt some errors in how I have arranged them.

The emulsion damage is greater on the earliest photos, and gone altogether in the last photos - so I have largely ordered those in between by degree of emulsion damage, which seems to correspond well with the morning to afternoon changes in the sunlight and cloud cover".

Leif Kihlberg washing clothes on deck. Laundry day?
Captain Jacobsen (facing aft, an hour or so before next photo?) on the bridge of the Sørholt.


The Captain and his three passengers in the Officer’s mess. From left: Leif Kihlberg, Nils Harbitz, Capt. Jørgen Jacobsen, Conrad Thrane. They are all here wearing the same shirts as in the later photos, so this is likely taken in the afternoon/evening just before the nighttime Uboat attack. (Aside from the flag, and two very Norwegian-looking landscapes on the wall, Harbitz has no bruise over his eye, so this is not taken somewhere else after their rescue. The shadow cast from the right table corner would allow an estimation of the sun’s angle and time of day).

Morning of Sept. 16. Port raft in tow behind the lifeboat. Eight people are visible in the lifeboat, three in the raft. Rightmost in raft is Per Olof Axelson, with bandaged head.

Leif Kihlberg and Capt. Jacobsen, on starboard raft. The captain has a more battered cap on, compared to photo (b), without braid etc.

At Rudder, 2nd. Officer Gustafsen, Oslo.
Electrician Sverdrup Bang Eriksen, Nøtterøy.
Motorman Peder Nygaard, near Haugesund.
Nils Paulsen, Kraakerøy.

Perhaps this photo (and the next) was hurriedly taken because the gig is just returning after having found gunner Abrahamsen, who was presumed dead. (The rightmost rower is identified here as Nils Paulsen, but seems on the next photo to be the same man identified as Oluf Svendsen on Page 1. Electrician Eriksen’s name is given as Evensen in crew list).


# Sverre Abrahamsen, gunner.
# Alf Einang, gunner.

The symbol # is I guess meant to denote ‘wounded’. Alf Einang must be the boy lying in the bow of the gig, while Abrahamsen is lying aboard the raft. The gig has perhaps just transferred Abrahamsen to the raft, along with a large box.

We can put names to six of the eight men visible here, from left:
Einang (gunner)
Nygaard (motorman)
Eriksen/or Evensen (electrician)
Paulsen/or Svendsen (able seaman)
Gustafsen (2nd officer).


Gustafsen is to the left on the raft, shifting a box, and twelve men are now visible in the lifeboat, some of them standing up to perhaps see better what has been happening onboard the raft. The photo is taken from the starboard raft, which is approaching the port raft

Now the rafts are side by side. The wounded man sitting on the right is Axelson. The man lying down with bandaged eyes is perhaps the last of the 4 described as ‘seriously wounded’ (the others being Abrahamsen, Einang, and Axelson).

Axelson (Baker) Helsingborg, Sweden.

This photo (as contrast f, g, and h) is again more composed, the camera intended to also capture the lifeboat behind Axelson (but focal range was too short), and 3 or 4 men on the lifeboat appear to be waving at the camera.


The gig now has a rig up, improvised with an oar and canvas. Four men are visible, ‘turbaned’ against the midday sun. Eriksen/or Evensen is at the tiller, and Paulsen/or Svendsen is at the oars.

Nils Harbitz in foreground. The lifeboat looks to be a strake lower in the water. The sun must be pretty directly overhead, and the men seeking shade under the canvas. From the rope behind Harbitz it looks as if the starboard raft has some kind of rig up.

Nils Harbitz again, this time he is holding up a bag of Mustad fish hooks, made in Norway. It would be fairly ironic if the fish hooks were among the things received from the U515 - which had sailed out of Kristiansand a few weeks earlier. My father knew several Mustads quite well.

Leif Kihlberg
Nils Harbitz
Jørgen Jacobsen, capt.

In the bottom right corner another man has his left hand to his head, missing a lot of skin on his finger joints.


Gig alongside the lifeboat. Six heads are visible in the latter. There is a kind of Homer Winslow air about this picture with the scorching sun, flat calm, and cumulus clouds on the horizon.

Rescue in sight. A Douglas B18 'Bolo' bomber (likely from the 9th Bombardment Group, then based in Trinidad) flying low and close over the survivors. Note the observation turret on the back (closeup photo) The photo is marked X with a grease pencil for some reason; this could be a B18b - equipped with air to surface vessel (ASV) radar, and magnetic anomaly detection equipment.

Ashore in Port of Spain. My father and Nils Harbitz have probably set the camera on a wall, pushed its self-timer and are posed to spend what is the last frame of the film - then they watch haplessly as this bypasser crosses in front of the lens... Harbitz has found a new shirt, at least, and my father's pants and shoes also have a borrowed and untorpedoed look about them.

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