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Owner: Skib-A/S Thorsholm
Built at Framnæs Mek. Verksted A/S, Sandefjord, Norway in 1938. Fruit carrier.
Related items on this website:
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.
Errors may exist, and several voyages are missing.
As will be seen when going to Page 1 of the archive documents, Thorstrand arrived Suez from Albany on Apr. 11-1940, 2 days after the Germans invaded Norway. It looks like her destination had initially been Oslo, Norway, but she was diverted to London, where she eventually arrived, via various other ports, on May 16, having sailed from Gibraltar in Convoy HGF 29 on May 4. Her destination is given as Portland and London with fruit - she arrived Portland on May 13, London May 16, as already mentioned. According to Arnold Hague, she later joined Convoy OA 159, along with Bello and Corvus. This convoy departed Southend on June 1 and dispersed June 4. Her destination is not given, but it looks like she left the convoy before it was dispersed, arriving Falmouth on June 2, and from there, she joined Convoy OA 161, which originated in Southend on June 3 and joined up with Convoy OB 161 on June 5, the combined convoy forming Convoy OG 32, which arrived Gibraltar on June 11 (Tautra is also listed). Thorstrand, however, was bound for Hampton Roads, where she arrived June 14 - A. Hague says she had been detached from the convoy on June 5. She's not included in OG 32, so must have left before the 2 convoys joined up (OG 32 will be added to an individual page in my Convoys section in due course; in the meantime, the ships sailing in it are named on the page listing ships in all OG convoys). The OA convoys mentioned here are available via the links provided within the Voyage Record above. Thorstrand subsequently remained at Hampton Roads for a month, before proceeding to Santos and Buenos Aires.
Some of her 1941 voyages are listed on Page 2 but unfortunately, all the sailing dates are missing from the document. The rest of her 1941 voyages are shown on Page 3, which also has some 1942 voyages (it'll be noticed that she had quite a long stay in Buenos Aires that spring). As mentioned further up on this page, her captain from Dec.-1941 to July-1942 was Petter Martin Pedersen.
On June 14-1942, she's listed in Convoy HX 194 from Halifax, cargo of bacon (Torvanger was sunk - follow the link for details). Thorstrand stopped at Belfast Lough on June 25, continuing to Milford Haven and Southampton the next day. The following month, she was on a voyage from Southampton to New York via Milford Haven, when an intense air attack took place in Milford Haven, lasting for 2 hours. She had just had some American anti aircraft armament installed and the gunners defended her fiercly, preventing a direct hit on the ship. Thorstrand was damaged when a bomb fell right in front of her, but was able to continue her voyage. She arrived New York on July 16, having sailed from Milford Haven on July 7 - her voyages in this period are shown on Page 4.
Later that year, when on a voyage from Liverpool to New York, Thorstrand rescued survivors from the British Glenlea, which had been torpedoed and sunk on Nov. 7-1942 by U-566. This ship had been a straggler from the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 142. Thorstrand's captain at that time was Karl Petter Pedersen. A posting to my Ship Forum says:
Related external link:
Captain Anthonius Stave. Thorstrand had departed Liverpool alone on Febr. 27-1943 with about 1500 tons general cargo for St. John, N. B., but didn't make it to her destination. On March 6, she was torpedoed and sunk by U-172 (Emmermann), position 41 23N 42 59W. Page 4 of the archive documents gives the time as about 19:17 (J. Rohwer gives time as 23:07). The torpedo struck on the port side in No. 3 hatch, destroying the port midships lifeboat. 4 died while 35 crew and the 8 passengers survived. ("Nortraships flåte" gives the sinking position as 41 23N 42 50W).
The next morning, the motor lifeboat took the other 2 lifeboats in tow, heading for the Azores. 1 of the lifeboats had to be given up due to leaks, and after 3 injured men had been transferred to the motorboat it was ordered to go on ahead. It was located on March 14 by an American ship and its occupants landed at Casablanca on the 21st, while the lifeboat continued sailing for 11 days until they on March 17 were taken in tow to Flores by a motorboat which came out.
Antonius Stave says they departed Liverpool on Febr. 28 with general cargo and 8 passengers, as mentioned. He states that a periscope was sighted on March 5 in position 42 39N 36 00W, and the men were ordered to their stations. A couple of shots were fired from their 3 inch gun but the boat submerged, and they saw no more of it. Thorstrand continued at top speed with stations still manned all afternoon, while at the same time altering course and zig-zag'ing. Around 4 in the afternoon (this must be ship's time?) a lifeboat* was spotted ahead, as well as a lot of oil and wreckage from a recently torpedoed ship, but while they were still debating whether it would be wise to stop for a rescue operation, 2 surfaced U-boats were sighted, 1 near the lifeboat which was on their starboard side and 1 straight ahead. Shots were again fired while they tried to get away but the U-boats followed, though too far away for Thorstrand's guns to be of any use. After about an hour yet another U-boat was spotted on their starboard side, about 4 miles off. Thorstrand's speed helped her stay ahead, and as it turned dark the captain little by little altered course again until they at 11 that evening headed at full speed back to the original course. Nothing further happened that night, and they thought they had indeed escaped.
The next day, March 6, dawned with beautiful weather and they all started to relax a little, though kept a very close lookout. 1st Mate Ivar K. Solbak took over on the bridge about 4:30 that afternoon and the captain went for dinner. Just as he was done and ready to return to the bridge he noticed a bump as if they had hit something floating in the water, and then a terrible explosion occurred. By the time he got to the lower bridge, the entire midships section was on fire. He ran up to the bridge to throw the secret documents overboard and was told by the radio operators that the emergency radio had been destroyed. He ordered them to the starboard lifeboat; the port boat was gone as was the 1st mate, so the captain feared he had fallen overboard along with the boat.
The ship sank in 7 minutes (gunners' report says 20 minutes). After having picked up his papers and donned his rubber suit (this is the Vaco suit, which is described in the section for lifeboat contents & survival), he headed for the lifeboat and by the time he reached it Thorstrand was so low in the water he could simply walk straight into the boat. He could see some men trying to lower the starboard aft boat and though one of the davits were broken they managed to do so with enormous effort. 1st Mate Solbak and Boatswain Walderhaug had ended up in the water while trying to launch the port midships boat(?), but had somehow managed to get back on the aft of the ship. With the help of some of the crew they were able to launch the port aft boat, which was a motor boat. The U-boat came up and Solbak was taken on board for questioning, but after having been told the captain had gone down with his ship the U-boat commander let him go and the U-boat took off.
The captain, meanwhile, had been busy picking up those who had jumped overboard, greatly aided by the little lamps attached to their suits. In the captain's boat there were 2 men with broken legs (Mess Boy Morrison and Engineer Brudevold), Gunner Eriksen had injured his back, while Mechanic Johansen had burn injuries. The boats stayed together until daylight (March 7), at which time they realized 4 men were missing. They were 1st Cook Olaf B. Olsen from Tvedestrand, 2nd Cook Jørgen Stormoen from Rjukan, 3rd Engineer Olav Olsen and Mechanic Hans Lines. The cooks and the engineer had been in the galley when the explosion occurred and had probably been killed immediately. It would appear that Mechanic Lines had fallen overboard and drowned as he hadn't had time to put his safety suit on (he could not swim).
The motorboat with the 1st mate in command towed the other 2 boats until that afternoon. The starboard aft boat had initially had 8 men, including 4 passengers, but no navigator so the 3rd mate and 3 men had gone on board. However, this boat turned out to be useless so those who were in it were distributed in the other 2 boats; 5 joined those in the captain's boat and 7 transferred to the 1st mate's boat. It was decided to place the wounded in the motorboat and head east in the hope of encountering traffic or reaching land before the other lifeboat, whereupon they separated. Nothing further was heard from them until a telegram was received from London on the 25th that they had reached Africa after having been picked up on the 8th day by a convoy escort.
Captain Stave estimated they were about 556 miles off Flores Island (Azores). The days went by; ships were seen a couple of times but instead of responding to their emergency signals the ships turned and disappeared. On Tuesday the 16th, the captain estimated they would see land the next day, which turned out to be true, and 11 days after they had been torpedoed they landed at Lajes at 11:30 in the morning, having been towed the last 2 miles by a motorboat which came out. They got a splendid reception with the locals doing everything in their power to make them comfortable while there. On Apr. 4, they were sent with a Portugese ship to Lisbon where a temporary report was given to the Norwegian Consulate, before continuing to New York. The captain ends his story by saying: "Thorstrand was a great ship and we were fond of her; it was tough to watch as she rose up and then went down, with her bow towards the sky as a threat to the enemy and a promise to us who were left behind in the lifeboats".
An inquiry was held in Lisbon on Apr. 14-1943. The captain, the 3rd mate, the 2nd engineer and Able Seaman Bakken (helmsman) were questioned.
For info, U-172 was also responsible for the attack on Bennestvet the year before - follow the link for details.
Crew & Passengers List:
Back to Thorstrand on the "Ships starting with T" page.
Other ships by this name: Thor Dahl later had two other ships by this name, one M/S built 1949, sold Hamburg 1961 (Transeuropa, Florita). The other was a tanker, built 1962, sold Istanbul 1967 (Payas). This external website has more info on these ships.
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. other for cross checking info. The captain's report and picture were received from Narve Sørensen (ex Thor Dahl employee).