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D/S Tempo

To Tempo on the "Ships starting with T" page.

Manager: Richard Aas, Oslo (from 1939)
629 gt

Built in Thorskog in 1903. Previous names: Ingvar, Tempo, then Borgvold until 1932, before being renamed Tempo again that year. What follows is from this posting to my Ship Forum (by Terry Whalebone):
Built as the INGVAR by P. Larsson at Thorskog (Yard No 167) and operated by the shipyard owner.
Owners and name changes:
13 - Estate of P. Larsson (Eskil Larsson), Thorskog
15 - TEMPO A/S Tempo (Joh. Lindvig), Kragerø NO
16 - C. H. Engelhart, Kragerø
17 - D/S A/S Adine (C. H. Engelhart), Christiania
17 - D/S A/S Odette (B. Engelhart), Christiania
20 - D/S A/S Tempo (B. Rafen), Tønsberg
22 - Skibs A/S Nilsons & Michelsens Rederi (A. S. Nilson), Bergen
23 - Skibs A/S Nilsons Rederi (s/m)
24 - Dorner, Neugebauer & Co. G.m.b.H., Stettin GE
25 - A/S Nilsons Rederi, Bergen NO
26 - BORGVOLD Borgvold's Rederi A/S (N. K. Witnes), Sarpsborg
32 - TEMPO Skibs A/S Tempo (Ottar Holter), Sarpsborg
37 - Tempo Rederi A/S (Bj. Isaksen), Trondheim
38 - Erling Rolfsen, Oslo
39 - A/S Tempo (Erl. Rolfsen), Oslo
39 - Skibs A/S Senita (H. Rich. Aass), Oslo

Captain: Albert Knudsen.

 Final Fate - 1940 (Norway still neutral): 

Sunk by German aircraft off the Northumberland coast on Febr. 3-1940, on a voyage from Methil to Hull with cargo of paper. 5 died out of the 15 on board. (The Forum posting mentioned above gives location as "off the Longstone, 55.59N-01.35W", voyage Gothenburg - Hull).

Jan-Olof, Sweden has sent me a copy of an old newspaper clipping covering statements made by Tempo's Captain Albert Knudsen in an interview. He says the attack by 3 large bombers occurred close to Longstone light, about 7-8 miles from the coast, while he was having his meal at around 10 that morning. He had initially planned to go to bed as he had been up all night, but had changed his mind, which appears to have saved his life because the bomb that sank Tempo went straight through his cabin. (The 2nd mate and a helmsman were on the bridge at the time). Hearing the characteristic sounds of machine gun fire he ran out on deck, and when the aircraft returned he and others present had to seek shelter in the chart house. During this second attack, bombs were also dropped, one of which hit the aft of the ship. As it was clear she would sink very quickly both lifeboats were launched; the captain and 8 men in one, the 1st mate and 5 men in the other.

The aircraft returned a 3rd time; the captain believes at least 4 bombs were dropped altogether. He says the bombers came back another 2 times after they had gotten in the lifeboats, one of them firing at them with machine guns from 200-300 meters above them, with the bullets hitting just a meter from the boats. When asked whether he thinks it possible that the Germans were unaware of the nationality of the ship, he says Tempo had clear nationality markings on her sides in addition to the Norwegian flag flying aft, and the visibility was good.

After having circled them for about 20 minutes the bombers took off and the lifeboats headed for land. However, the mate's boat capsized in the breakers with the result that 5 men lost their lives, the only survivor from this boat being Able Seaman Olav Lillenes who somehow managed to get to shore. Those in the captain's boat were picked up by a rescue vessel. The maritime inquiry was held in Oslo with the captain, the 2nd mate, the 1st engineer and 2 deck crew questioned (the owner, Richard Aas was also present).

I found the following in a war time diary for the northeast of England under Saturday, Febr. 3-1940 (external site by Roy Ripley and Brian Pears - the Norwegian Jernfjeld is mentioned under the same date):
"'SS Tempo' (629t) a Norwegian ship was sunk by German aircraft off St Abbs Head at 55 59N 01 35W. She lies in 35 metres of water. A boat containing the captain and some of the crew landed safely at Eyemouth, but another boat containing six crew members drifted further south and unfortunately ended up on the wrong side of the pier at Berwick upon Tweed. It hit the rocks and capsized before coming ashore. Four of the six were dead and a fifth died later in the Harbour Master's house". A visitor to my website has told me that Peter Collings' "The Divers' Guide to the North-East Coast England 1986" gives the same date and position. "Shipwreck Index of the British Isles" says 19.5 miles off St Abbs Head.

The following men are commemorated at the Memorial for Seamen in Stavern, Norway (link below):
Able Seaman Harald Forfang, Seaman Halfdan Georg Lauritzen, 2nd Engineer Thorbjørn Julius Nilsen, Seaman John Ricard Stjern, and 1st Mate Andreas Torkelsen.

Related external link:
Stavern Memorial commemorations

Back to Tempo on the "Ships starting with T" page.


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