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M/T Thorshavet
Updated Sept. 8-2012

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

Crew List

Picture source: Narve Sørensen (ex Thor Dahl employee).
Looks like it was taken before she was finished.
See also this external page.

Owner: Bryde & Dahls Hvalfangerselskap A/S
Manager: A/S Thor Dahl, Sandefjord
11 015 gt, 6602 net, 16 150 tdwt
Signal Letters: LJZK

Built by Deutsche Werft AG, Betrieb Finkenwärder, Hamburg in 1938.

Captains: Atle Tange and Arne Harbo Hansen.

In Admiralty service from 1940 (Royal Fleet Auxiliary).

From Sept.-1939 until Sept.-1942, Ole Mauritz Thorsen from Sandefjord served on this ship (ordinary seaman, able seaman and carpenter). He paid off shortly before she was sunk, in order to go to Mate's school in England (died 1995). If anybody knew him and would like to get in touch with his wife, I can provide her address - my contact address is included at the bottom of this page.

Related item on this website:
Guestbook message - From a relative(?) of one of Thorshavet's survivors, Frederick Humble. He has also sent me Frederick Humble's story.
Another Guestbook message (list of crew on arrival New York from Clyde Sept./Oct.-1942 - compare with crew list below).

Her voyages are listed on these original images from the Norwegian National Archives:
Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3

Please compare the above voyages with Arnold Hague's Voyage Record below.

  Voyage Record
From Apr.-1940 to Nov.-1942:  

(Received from Don Kindell - His source: The late Arnold Hague's database).

Follow the convoy links provided for more information on each.

Departure From To Arrival Convoy Remarks
1940 Apr. 21 Aden Bahrein Apr. 28 Independent Some earlier voyages, Page 1
Apr. 28 Bahrein Abadan Independent Page 1 gives arrival Apr. 29
May 2 Abadan Melbourne May 31 Independent
June 4 Melbourne Sydney, N.S.W. June 7 Independent
June 12 Sydney, N.S.W. Capetown July 21 Independent
July 26 Capetown Port Elizabeth July 28 Independent
Aug. 6 Port Elizabeth Abadan Independent
Aug. 30 Abadan Capetown Sept. 22 Independent
Sept. 24 Capetown Freetown Oct. 7 Independent
Oct. 12 Freetown Swansea Nov. 5 SL 51 Convoy available at SL 51
(external link)
Dec. 11 Swansea Milford Haven Independent
Dec. 13 Milford Haven OB 259 For Curacao.
Dispersed Dec. 17.
Convoy available at OB 259
(external link)
Dec. 17 Dispersed from OB 259 Curacao Jan. 4-1941 Independent
1941 Jan. 8 Curacao Gibraltar Jan. 22 Independent
Febr. 1 Gibraltar Curacao Febr. 15 Independent
Febr. 26 Curacao Bermuda March 4 Independent
March 9 Bermuda BHX 114 See link to HX 114
March 14 Bermuda portion joined main convoy HX 114 Straggled March 19.
March 19 Straggled from HX 114 Clyde March 30 Independent
Apr. 8 Clyde OB 307 For NYC.
Dispersed Apr. 13.
Convoy available at OB 307
(external link)
Apr. 13 Dispersed from OB 307 New York City Apr. 25 Independent
May 17 New York City Halifax May 19 Independent
May 20 Halifax HX 128 Straggled May 25.
May 25 Straggled from HX 128 Clyde June 5 Independent See also narrative below:
Missing movements, Page 1
June 17 Clyde OB 335 For Curacao.
Detached June 22.
Convoy available at OB 335
(external link)
June 22 Detached from OB 335 Curacao July 9 Independent
July 11 Curacao Halifax July 19 Independent
July 22 Halifax Clyde Aug. 6 HX 140 Missing movements, Page 1
Aug. 12 Clyde ON 6 For Trinidad.
Dispersed Aug. 24.
Aug. 24 Convoy dispersed Curacao Sept. 1 Independent
Sept. 2 Curacao Halifax Sept. 10 Independent
Sept. 16 Halifax Clyde Sept. 29 HX 150 Missing movements, Page 2
Oct. 8 Clyde ON 24 For Curacoa.
Dispersed 58N 28W Oct. 15.
Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
Oct. 15 Dispersed from ON 24 Curacao Oct. 29 Independent
Oct. 30 Curacao Gibraltar Nov. 17 Independent
Nov. 22 Gibraltar New York City Dec. 7 Independent
Dec. 22 New York City Halifax Dec. 25 Independent
Dec. 27 Halifax Reykjavik Jan. 9-1942 HX 167 For Hvalfjord
1942 Jan. 24 Reykjavik ON 59 Joined from Iceland.
Dispersed 41 30N 52 53W, Febr. 6.
Convoy will be added.
See link above
Febr. 6 Dispersed from ON 59 Curacao Febr. 11 Independent A. Hague says:
Dispersal date notional, probably earlier
Febr. 12 Curacao Halifax Febr. 21 Independent
Febr. 25 Halifax Loch Ewe March 8* HX 177 *Page 2 gives arrival March 6.
March 10 Loch Ewe Scapa Flow March 11 WN 256 Convoy available at WN convoys
(external link)
March 19 Lyness Oban March 21 EN 60 Convoy available at EN convoys
(external link)
March 25 Oban OS 23 For Curacao.
Detached Apr. 1.
Convoy available at OS 23
(external link)
Apr. 1 Detached from OS 23 Curacao Apr. 13 Independent
Apr. 14 Curacao Freetown Apr. 30 Independent
May 4 Freetown SL 109 Detached independent May 6.
Convoy available at SL 109
(external link)
May 6 Detached from SL 109 Trinidad May 16 Independent
May 23 Trinidad Curacao May 25 Independent
May 29 Curacao OT 4 For Freetown.
Detached June 1.
Convoy available at OT 4
(external link)
June 1 Detached from OT 4 Freetown June 13 Independent See also narrative below
June 15 Freetown Loch Ewe July 3 SL 113 Convoy available at SL 113
(external link)
July 4 Loch Ewe Scapa Flow July 4 WN 305 Loch Ewe to Scapa Flow.
Convoy available at WN convoys
(external link)
July 10 Lyness Methil July 11 WN 307 Convoy available at link above
July 12 Methil Tyne July 13 FS 853 Convoy available at FS convoys
(external link)
Aug. 13 Tyne Methil Aug. 13 FN 784 Convoy available at FN convoys
(external link)
Missing movements, Page 2
Aug. 17 Methil Oban Aug. 20 EN 125 Convoy available at EN convoys
(external link)
Aug. 21 Oban Gibraltar Sept. 1 OS 38 For Gibraltar.
Convoy available at OS 38
(external link)
Sept. 12 Gibraltar Clyde Sept. 21 Escorted
Sept. 25 Clyde New York City Oct. 11 ON 133 For NYC.
Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
This Guestbook message lists crew members on arrival New York City Oct. 11-1942.
Oct. 15 New York City Gitmo Oct. 22 NG 314 For Curacao.
Convoy available at NG convoys
(external link)
Oct. 22 Gitmo Trinidad Oct. 28 GAT 16 Convoy available at GAT convoys
(external link)
Nov. 2 Trinidad TAG 18 (See also Page 3).
Sunk - See "Final Fate" below.
Convoy available at TAG convoys
(external link)

 Some Convoy Voyages – 1940-1942: 
For information on voyages made in between those mentioned here, please see the documents received from the National Archives of Norway and A. Hague's Voyage Record above. Please follow the convoy links provided for more details; they all had several Norwegian ships.

As will be seen when going to Page 1 of the archive documents, Thorshavet was on her way from Port Said to Aden when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940.

In Oct.-1940 she's listed, along with Grena, Primero and South Africa, in Convoy SL 51, which departed Freetown on Oct. 12 and arrived Oban on the 31st; Thorshavet arrived Swansea Nov. 5, remaining there for over a month. We subsequently find her in Convoy OB 259, which originated in Liverpool on Dec. 14 and dispersed on the 17th, Thorshavet arriving Curacao on Jan. 3/4-1941; she had started out from Milford Haven on Dec. 13. Both these convoys are available via the external links provided within the Voyage Record above. A. Hague has also included Belinda, Dalfonn, Erviken (returned), Helgøy, Hørda, Idefjord, Leiesten and Taranger in the OB convoy, while another section of the same site has added Høyanger as well (A. Hague instead has this ship in the next convoy, OB 260).

From Curacao, she later headed to Gibraltar, then back to Curacao and on to Bermuda, and on March 9-1941, we find her in the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 114, bound for Clyde with fuel oil (Hidlefjord was sunk, and Kaia Knudsen damaged - follow the links for more info). Thorshavet became a straggler from this convoy and is reported to have seen a submarine (see my page about HX 114), but reached her destination safely on March 29, according to Page 1. The following month, she's listed as bound for New York in Convoy OB 307, originating in Liverpool on Apr. 7, dispersed on the 13th, Thorshavet arriving New York on Apr. 25 (she had joined from Clyde). Brønnøy, Chr. Th. Boe, Dagrun, Drammensfjord and Petter are also named (link in table above). There's a little snippet related to Thorshavet in this report saying she was westbound when met by the Ocean Escort for Convoy SC 28 on Apr. 17, in 49 36N 41 31W. (Please note that Thorshavet was not herself in SC 28, which was an eastbound convoy).

Having spent 3 weeks in New York (Page 1), she proceeded to Halifax in order to join Convoy HX 128 on May 20, cargo of fuel oil, station 24. She lost touch with the convoy on May 25, but arrived Clyde safely on June 5. Towards the end of this voyage she's said to have rescued 11 survivors from the Belgian trawler John. Jan-Olof, Sweden has told me that "Lloyd's War Losses, Vol I British, Allied and Neutral Merchant Vessels Sunk or Destroyed by War Causes", 1989 reprint says the following about this trawler: "Attacked by aircraft on June 2, 1941. Again attacked June 3 about 300 miles S. by E. of Inglos Hofdi, 93 miles N.W. of St. Kilda. Abandoned by crew. Presumed sunk. Sighted on June 3 by Thorshavet in 58 13N 11 16W. Crew 11, no casualties". Thorshavet's captain at that time was Atle Tange.

With Abraham Lincoln, Boreas, Charles Racine, Hada County, Leiv Eiriksson, Ranja, Skaraas (collided - returned, follow link for details) and Skiensfjord, she subsequently joined Convoy OB 335, which originated in Liverpool on June 16-1941 and arrived Halifax on July 2 (link in the table above); Thorshavet, however, was bound for Curacao, arriving there on July 9, having been detached from the convoy on June 22, according to A. Hague (she had joined from Clyde - Page 1). On July 22, she can be found in station 43 of Convoy HX 140 from Halifax, voyage from Curacao to Clyde with fuel oil, together with the Norwegian Ferncastle (113), Madrono (112), Boreas (16), Velox (56), Velma (96), Alaska (106), Stiklestad (95), Vardefjell (84), Evita (114), Olaf Bergh (124), Skiensfjord (97), Thorshov (83), Bonneville (82), and Helgøy (77). Beth and Petter were also initially in this convoy but left due to engine problems - others joined from Iceland, as will be seen when following the link.

Thorshavet returned the following month with the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 6 (departure Liverpool on Aug. 11-1941, dispersed Aug. 24). Her destination is given as Trinidad - she arrived Curacao on Sept. 1, having started out from Clyde on Aug. 12 (Page 1). On Sept. 16, she's listed in the Halifax-U.K. Convoy HX 150, together with the Norwegian Fenris, Solfonn, Havkong, Garonne, Heina, Topdalsfjord, Varanger and Braganza. A. Hague has also included Boreas in this convoy. Thorshavet, bound for Curacao, subsequently joined the westbound Convoy ON 24*, which originated in Liverpool on Oct. 8 and dispersed on the 15th, Thorshavet arriving Curacao Oct. 29 (she had again joined from Clyde - see Page 2). Abraham Lincoln, Aristophanes, Brasil, Glittre, Grey County, Herbrand, Idefjord, Innerøy, Petter, Solfonn, Thorshov, Topdalsfjord and the Panamanian Norvik (Norwegian managers) are also listed. From Curacao, she headed to Gibraltar, then back to New York and on to Halifax, where she joined Convoy HX 167 on Dec. 27, bound for Hvalfjord, Iceland. She arrived Reykjavik on Jan. 9-1942.

She left Reykjavik again on Jan. 24-1942, joining the westbound Convoy ON 59*, which had started out from Liverpool on Jan. 23, dispersed on Febr. 6 and also included Braganza, Hardanger (returned), Herbrand, Hilda Knudsen, Kongsgaard, Norsktank (returned), O. A. Knudsen, Pan Aruba, Salamis, Sommerstad (returned), Svenør and Sydhav. Her destination is not given, but going back to Page 2, we learn that she arrived Curacao on Febr. 11, proceeding to Halifax the next day in order to join Convoy HX 177 back to the U.K. on Febr. 25. In March that year she shows up, with Marit II, Norsktank and San Andres, in Convoy OS 23, voyaging from Oban to Curacao in ballast in station 85 of the convoy, which left Liverpool on March 24 (this was a Freetown bound convoy - see link in the table above). Thorshavet arrived Curacao on Apr. 13, having sailed from Oban on March 25 - according to A. Hague she had been detached on Apr. 1. From Curacao, she continued to Freetown the next day, and she's now mentioned in Convoy SL 109, which departed Freetown for the U.K. on May 4 and also included Brasil, Ingria and Jenny. Thorshavet, however, did not go to the U.K. She detached from the convoy on May 6 to proceed independently - her destination is not given, but going back to the archive document, we see that she arrived Trinidad on May 16, proceeding to Curacao a week later, then back to Freetown.

 Encounter with a German Raider – June-1942? 

There's an interesting personal account about Thorshavet in the book "Sjøfolk i krig" (seamen at war) by Leif M. Bjørkelund. The story is told by one of her crew members, Able Seaman Johan Byrkja and the incident took place at the beginning of June-1942 when she was on her way from Curacao to Freetown, about a week after departure Curacao on May 29 (see Voyage Record above and Page 2). It appears they were followed for a long time by what was believed to be a German raider, looking very much like the Norwegian M/S Venus, which was rumoured to have been converted to a raider. Thorshavet changed course, but to no avail. The enemy ship came extremely close at one point, before suddenly turning around and withdrawing at full speed. I've never seen this episode discussed anywhere else, and it would be interesting to know if anyone with access to German records could identify this vessel for me (could it have been Stier perhaps? Or Thor, or Michel?).

After the mysterious vessel had disappeared, Thorshavet changed course and headed south for a while before turning towards the coast of Africa. En route they encountered a British cruiser and signalled a message about the "enemy" ship operating in the South Atlantic. The cruiser escorted them part of the way, but the next morning it took off to search for the raider. According to Page 2, Thorshavet reached Freetown on June 13-1942. From there (Byrkja says), she travelled in convoy via Gibraltar to Loch Ewe, and arrived Scapa Flow on July 4. This must have been Convoy SL 113, in which she's listed (see link in Voyage Record). This convoy left Freetown on June 15 and arrived Liverpool on July 5; Thorshavet stopped at Loch Ewe July 3, continuing to Scapa the next day. She had a cargo of 15 158 tons of Admiralty fuel, station 54. The Norwegian Thorhild, Fagerfjell and Vanja are also named (Vanja did not sail). It'll also be noticed, when going back to the archive document, that she later spent a month at Tyne - reason not known.

In Aug.-1942, she can be found in Convoy OS 38, voyaging from Oban to Gibraltar in station 44. Anna Knudsen and Petter II are also listed. Thorshavet arrived Gibraltar on Sept. 1, having sailed from Oban Aug. 21. Again, see the external link within the Voyage Record for more information (convoy departed Liverpool on Aug. 20, arrived Freetown Sept. 7). She headed back to the U.K. again on Sept. 12, arriving Clyde on the 21st, and from there, she joined the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 133*, originating in Liverpool on Sept. 25, arriving New York, her destination at the time, on Oct. 11. She had again been in the company of other Norwegian ships, namely Anna Knudsen, Athos, Bello, Brimanger, Emma Bakke, Garonne, Grey County, Kosmos II, Minerva, Molda, Noreg, Nueva Granada, Petter II (returned), Polarsol, Polartank, Sandanger, Skandinavia, Thorshov and the Panamanian Norbris (Norwegian managers). A few days later, we find her Convoy NG 314, departing New York on Oct. 15, arriving Guantanamo on Oct. 22 (the Norwegian Anna Knudsen, Britamsea, Sandanger, Skandinavia and Thorshov are also listed). Rick Pitz, a visitor to my website, has informed me via this message in my Guestbook that Thorshavet subsequently joined Convoy GAT 16, which left Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for Trinidad that same day (Oct. 22) and arrived Trinidad on Oct. 28. Alar, Anna Knudsen, Britamsea, Sandanger, Skandinavia, Thorshov and Norbris are also included. Both these convoys are available via the external links provided within the Voyage Record. Again, see also Page 2 for comparison.

As will be seen in the next paragraph, her return voyage was to be her last. See also Page 3.

* The ON convoys will be added to individual pages in my Convoys section in due course, with more information on each. In the meantime, the ships sailing in them (and escorts) are named in the section listing ships in all ON convoys.

More info on 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.

 Final Fate - 1942: 

Captain Arne Harbo Hansen.

As mentioned above, Thorshavet had arrived Trinidad on Oct. 28-1942. With a cargo of 15 000 tons fuel oil for the U.K. via New York, she left Trinidad again on Nov. 2 in Convoy TAG 18 (external page - Acasta, Anna Knudsen, Astrell [sunk - follow link for details], Kaldfonn and Karmt are also listed). She's listed as cancelled from Convoy HX 216, which left New York on Nov. 19-1942, so this appears to be the convoy she was meant to join for her voyage to the U.K. However, she never made it to New York. On Nov. 3 she was torpedoed by U-160 (Lassen), 12 16N 64 06W (north of Margarita Island, Caribbean according to Charles Hocking). An excerpt from her deck journal states she was hit immediately afterwards by a 2nd torpedo, both exploding in the engine room on the starboard side, time is given as 00:14 ("Nortraships flåte" gives the time 01:00, while J. Rohwer gives 06:30, German time - Page 3 of the archive docs gives 15:00).

4 lifeboats were launched, and as the ship stayed afloat, some of the men reboarded at dawn in order to search for 3 missing men, 1 of whom, the 3rd engineer, was found floating in the engine room, but the other 2 were not found. The survivors were picked up by a destroyer that afternoon and landed in Curacao the following evening.

On Nov. 6, a salvage vessel was sent out to the wreck, but on the 7th she was reported to have sunk.

An inquiry was held in New York on Nov. 30-1942 with the captain, the 2nd mate, and the Norwegian radio operator attending (the others had not yet arrived New York). The 2nd mate stated that Thorshavet had been in the 5th column of the convoy, with 4 columns on each side of her, and was sailing right behind the Commodore Vessel, which means she may have been in station 52(?). The radio operator said he had sent out an SOS while the crew went to the boats, having found the radio equipment in full order.

For info, U-160 had also been responsible for the attack on Havsten earlier that year - follow the link for details. The U-boat was sunk with all hands the following year - ref. external link below.

Crew List:
The captain had been in his cabin when the attack occurred.
The 2nd mate was on watch on the bridge.
The 2 Norwegian casualties had been on watch in the engine room.
* Johan Byrkja had previously served on Geisha. He also served on M/T Noreg.

Arne Harbo Hansen
1st Mate
Aage Nanseth
2nd Mate
Anders Abrahamsen
3rd Mate
Knut R. Jacobsen
Radio Operator
Leif Fredvik
2nd Radio Operator
William Stevenson
Martin Drivflaat
Able Seaman
Reidar Jørgensen
Able Seaman
Johan Byrkja*
Able Seaman
Håkon Nilsen
Able Seaman
Hilmar Olsen
Able Seaman
Sverre Kjærås
Able Seaman
Arnt Olsen Linna
Able Seaman
Anders H. Hansen
Able Seaman
Carl Thomsen
Able Seaman
Walter D. C. Tomlinson
Able Seaman/Gunner
Bjørn Madsen
Able Seaman/Gunner
Oscar Ulla
Ordinary Seaman
Lars Petter Wåland
Ordinary Seaman
James Hutton
Ordinary Seaman/Gunner
Carl Nilsen
Jr. Ordinary Seaman
John Cuthbertson
Jr. Ordinary Seaman
Cecil Wealleans
1st Engineer
Gunnar Foss
2nd Engineer
Thorleif Bang Jensen
4th Engineer
Arne Engvoldsen
Frederick Humble
Hilmar Tangen
Rolf Martinius Hansen
Tor Jørgen Øverland
Harald Wammer
Ole Peder Nilsen
Søren Sørensen
Olav Kvale
Lars Brattebø
Ernst Hotvedt
Aksel Akselsen
Mess Boy
Edward Coxon
Thomas Malley
Herbert Cecil Terry
George Norris Wilson
Norman Adamson
+ 1 more survivor?
* Frederick Humble's brother William was on board Risanger when sunk. See this Guestbook message as well as this message and Frederick Humble's story. This Guestbook message shows a Fred Humble on board Ravnefjell in July-1941. It looks like he joined Norsol after the loss of Thorshavet - see this Guestbook message. William Stevenson, Edward Coxon and James Hutton are also mentioned. Other crew members from Thorshavet may also have joined Norsol - see my page about that ship.

3rd Engineer
Halvor Holtskog

Rolf Georg Nilsen

Galley Boy
Raymond Estrada

Again, this Guestbook message lists crew members upon arrival New York City from Clyde Sept./Oct.-1942 and also shows how long they had been on board. It'll be noticed, that Thomas Malley, Herbert. C. Terry, George Norris Wilson and Norman Adamson are not included in that list, so they must have signed on recently. On the other hand, the Guestbook message has a Einrid Fredriksen who's not included in my list (may have paid off in New York?).

Related external links:
Stavern Memorial commemorations - The 2 Norwegians are commemorated at this Memorial for Seamen in Stavern, Norway.

Operations information for U-160

U-160 | Georg Lassen

Ships hit from convoy TAG-18

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

Other ships by this name: Thor Dahl later had another ship by this name (T/T), built 1970. Also, a whale factory named Thorshavet (M/S), built 1947 sold 1969 (Astra), run into by M/S Karonga Apr. 14-1974 and sank off the coast of Portugese Guinea. This is described in detail (in Norwegian) on the Østfold Hvalfangerklubb website on this page - external links.

The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøfolk i krig" Leif M. Bjørkelund, "Dictionary of Disasters at Sea during the Age of Steam", Charles Hocking, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume II, Norwegian Maritime Museum, and misc. - (ref. My sources).


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