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Owner: A/S Nesjar
Built in Wilmington, Delaware 1919. Launched as War Crater, delivered in Jan.-1919 as Marshall to the US Shipping Board, Wilmington. Sold in 1920 to Henrik Østervolds Dampskibs-A/S, Bergen. Renamed Torny in 1923 for D/S A/S Torny (J. Eliassen), Bergen. Owned from 1937 by A/S Nesjar (Eilert Lund), Bergen
Captain: Harald Østerbø
As will be seen when going to Page 1 above, Torny was in New York when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940, having arrived there from Corner Brook on Apr. 7. She left New York again on Apr. 10 for Philadelphia, later proceeding to St. John 's, N.F., and from there she headed to Iceland on Apr. 26. That fall, she had over a month's stay in New York, where she had arrived on Aug. 3; departure is given as Sept. 9. She also remained in New York for about 3 weeks later that year. Her 1941 voyages also start on this document and continue on Page 2. It'll be noticed that she stayed in New York for quite a long time that spring as well. She had arrived there from Puerto la Cruz on Apr. 25, leaving again on May 28. Also, she appears to have spent quite some time in New Orleans at the beginning of 1942. She had arrived from Gulfport on Febr. 6, and did not leave until March 13 (March 15?).
Torny had arrived Cristobal, C.Z. from Tocopilla on Apr. 30-1942 - see Page 3. She left Cristobal again for Panama City, Florida on May 2 with a cargo of 3650 tons Nitrate. On May 8, she was torpedoed by U-507 (Schacht), 26 45(40?)N 86 40W. The torpedo struck on the starboard side, close to the fire room (2 stokers were killed), blowing away the starboard side of the bridge as well as the captain's cabin, and destroying the starboard lifeboat. Hold No. 2 was immediately flooded, and within seconds the foredeck was under water. Trimmer Jakobsen, who was on the starboard side amidships, was thrown overboard, as was 2nd Mate Storaas, who was on the bridge. When the latter came to the surface he found himself 1-2 ships' lengths behind the ship.
The crew ran to the undamaged lifeboats on the port side and launched them, with 15 men in the 1st mate's boat, and 6 in the motorboat commanded by the captain. By the time they were on the water the amidships section sank. Those in the lifeboat were in a critical situation, as the ship still had some speed and the boat was pulled towards the rotating blades of the propeller. They were ordered to jump into the sea, and 11 of them did, but just then Torny went down and they were pulled under, though all of them resurfaced and managed to find some debris to hold on to until they could be picked up. The lifeboat missed the propeller by 6 inches. Torny sank in 3 minutes. 4 men were found to be missing, but the damaged starboard lifeboat was located a little further away holding the 2nd mate and Trimmer Jakobsen. (Numbers don't add up here - there were 24 survivors)
The U-boat came up to ask the usual questions about ship and cargo then cruised around the area for about 45 minutes before taking off in a westerly direction. The survivors were able to get some fruit, canned foods etc. from the refrigerator(?) that was floating nearby, as well as extra water from the rafts and misc. other useful items from the damaged lifeboat and the wreck area. About 2 hours after the attack had occurred the motorboat took the lifeboat in tow heading north. Less than an hour later they were spotted by an army aircraft which dropped down a jar fastened to a lifebelt, but the jar was broken so they could not see what had been in it. They continued steering north for a little over half an hour until the aircraft returned and dropped another jar instructing them to steer east. The aircraft also dropped 2 rubber rafts.
With planes circling overhead they headed eastwards for about 50 minutes, then 2 seaplanes landed near the boats. Within 10 minutes they were all on board the seaplanes which landed them at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida a couple of hours thereafter. They were all taken to a hospital but only a few were slightly injured, namely 2nd Mate Storaas, Stoker Vasques, Stoker Jacobi, and Able Seaman Söderlund.
In my Guestbook there's a message from someone whose uncle took part in the rescue. He wishes to share information about this event with survivors, and others who may have information and knowledge about the U-boat attack, and the rescue.
An inquiry was held in New York on May 18-1942 with the captain, the 2nd mate, Able Seaman Abrahamsen (lookout), Ordinary Seaman Ohma (helmsman), and the 2nd engineer appearing.
Lars Storaas later joined M/S Besholt, which was torpedoed in Dec.-1942. He also served on General Fleischer. A book about his experiences under the title "På vakt" came out in 1994 (written by Sjur Tjelmeland).
Related external links:
Back to Torny on the "Ships starting with T" page.
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).