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Owner: D/S A/S Carolvore
Built in Stockton-on-Tees, delivered in Dec.-1920 as Stonewall to Garland SS Corp, New York. Owned from 1923 by St. Helen's Shipping Co, London as Silverbirch. Renamed Ardenhall in 1924 for S.N. Co., West Hartlepool, Cefnybryn in 1936 for Kilvey Shipping Co. (Ambrose, Davies & Matthews), Cardiff, Galeb from 1936 for Jugoslavenska Plovidba DD, Susak, Yugoslavia. Sold in 1939 to D/S A/S Carolvore, Farsund, Norway and renamed Vest. (See also the external page above, which has slightly different history details).
Captain: Petter Martin Pedersen, from May-1939 to May-1941. He also served on Lutz for a while, and Thorstrand - see this Guestbook message from his son, as well as this posting (Norwegian text) and this external page. Later, captain was Thorolf Gundersen.
On charter to The Ministry of War Transport from 1940 and all through the war, then returned.
(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.
According to Page 1 of the archive documents, Vest was in Cristobal when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940, departing that day for Mobile, with arrival Apr. 17. Her 1941 voyages also start on this document; it'll be noticed that she appears to have spent quite a long time in New York that year. She had arrived there from Hampton Roads on March 27 and departure is given as May 25, when she proceeded to St. John, N.B. Her 1941 voyages continue on Page 2 (showing a long stay in Calcutta that fall), which also has most of her 1942 voyages.
On Jan. 15-1942, she joined Convoy SL 98 from Freetown for Liverpool, but returned to port, subsequently joining the next convoy on Jan. 27, SL 99, but again returned to Freetown (ref. external links provided in the Voyage Record). She left Freetown again on Jan. 31 for Trinidad, arriving Febr. 20, having sailed independently. From Trinidad, she later proceeded to Hampton Roads, where she stayed for about a month before heading to Halifax, joining the slow Convoy SC 83 to the U.K. on May 7 (having been cancelled from the 3 previous convoys, SC 80, SC 81 and SC 82). Acanthus, Eglantine, Potentilla and Rose are named among the escorts for SC 83. Vest had a general cargo for Dundee, and arrived her destination on May 26. In June, we find her in the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 102*, which originated in Liverpool on June 9 and arrived Halifax on the 25th; it looks like she was initially bound for Tampa, but arrival there is not mentioned on Page 2, which says she arrived St. John, N.B. on June 26, having started out from Loch Ewe on June 9. As can be seen, she remained at St. John for quite a while, before proceeding to Halifax and on to Sydney, C.B.
With a cargo of steel and lumber for London, she now headed back across the Atlantic on July 24 with the slow Convoy SC 93 from Sydney, C.B. Having stopped at Loch Ewe and Methil Roads, she arrived Gravesend on Aug. 12. The following month, we find her in station 53 of the westbound Convoy ON 128. The original convoy document gives her destination as Halifax, and she arrived there on Sept. 21. The Commodore's narrative is also available for this convoy (Vest is mentioned under Sept. 6). A few days later she continued to St. John, N.B., spending over 3 weeks there before returning to Halifax (Page 2), departing again on Oct. 27, joining Convoy SC 107* back to the U.K., cargo of grain and lumber, station 22. Geisha's captain acted as Vice Commodore for this convoy, which had originated in New York on Oct. 24 and lost 15 ships - see the external link further down on this page for more info. Vest stopped at Loch Ewe on Nov. 10, later continuing to Methil Roads and Hull, where she also stayed for about 3 weeks. Her voyages in this period are shown on Page 3. Her last convoy voyage that year was made with the westbound Convoy ON 154*, which sailed from Liverpool on Dec. 18 (Vest left Loch Ewe that day). This convoy also lost many ships, including the Norwegian Norse King - follow the link for details (as well as the external links below). Vest arrived Hampton Roads on Jan. 12-1943.
From Hampton Roads, she proceeded to New York at the end of that month (Jan. 31-1943), then joined Convoy SC 120* on Febr. 13. She arrived Newport, via Belfast Lough, on March 6 and later that month, she can be found in Convoy OS 45, voyaging from Milford to Freetown with coal, station 43, arriving Freetown on Apr. 14 - Bosphorus and Jenny are also named in this convoy. Vest now had a long stay in Freetown (unless some movements are missing from the record), before going back in the other direction in Convoy SL 129, departing Freetown on May 11. Having joined up with Convoy MKS 13* from Gibraltar on May 24, the combined convoy arrived Liverpool on June 1; Vest stopped at Loch Ewe that day, continuing to Methil and Middlesbrough the next day (remaining in Middlesbrough for almost 3 weeks - Page 3). Her cargo is given as Pepel ore, voyage from Pepel to Loch Ewe. The Norwegian Belnor, Fernhill and Heimvard are also listed - ref. external links in the table above for more on these 2 convoys.
She now made another voyage to Halifax, having sailed in Convoy ON 192*, which originated in Liverpool on July 9 and arrived New York on the 22nd, but Vest stopped at Halifax on July 20, having started out from Clyde on the 9th (Commodore was in Laurits Swenson). Having made a voyage to Quebec, she headed back to the U.K. again on Sept. 4 in the Sydney, C.B. section of the slow Convoy SC 141, cargo of steel and lumber for Garston, where she arrived Sept. 18 (Page 3). A. Hague says she also had 40 depth charges on board on this voyage. The following month she made a voyage to Gibraltar, joining Convoy OS 56/KMS 29. This convoy started out in Liverpool on Oct. 7 and split up on Oct. 18, KMS 29* (in which Vest took part) arriving Gibraltar Oct. 20. Follow the external link in the Voyage Record for more convoy details - Boshorus, Norelg and Star are also included.
As mentioned, Convoy KMS 29 had arrived Gibraltar on Oct. 20-1943. Vest proceeded to Malta the next day, then on to Augusta and Brindisi, arriving the latter on Nov. 2 with her 6180 tons coal (the voyage having started out in Cardiff - see Voyage Record, as well as Page 3 and Page 4). Being too deep for the quay, she dropped anchor to await orders. On Nov. 24, she received orders to head to Bari to unload half of the cargo, then return with the rest, so she departed Brindisi for Bari the following day. On the 26th* she commenced discharging coal to the depot vessel S/S Frisconini, and also provided bunkers to the Danish Lars Kruse (British flag at the time), continuing to unload in the course of the subsequent few days, providing bunkers for various naval vessels. On Dec. 2, she was placed in between Frisconini and S/S Odysseus which was to receive bunkers, but when a storm blew up the work ceased around noon (the depot vessel had caused some damages to her port side in the strong winds) and a tug moved Odysseus away from her.
At that time a large allied convoy of tankers, ammunition ships and supply vessels was at anchor in Bari with much needed supplies for the British, American and Canadian armies for their advance up the Italian mainland. The Liberty ship USS John Harvey (captain Knowles) had a cargo of liquid mustard gas bombs (suspecting the enemy might resort to chemical warfare), and was guarded by a unit of the 701st Chemical Maintenance Company. In addition to Vest, the Norwegian D/S Bollsta, Norlom, Lom and Salamis were present. About 20 enemy aircraft attacked that evening and one of the ammunition ships was hit and blew up, setting a number of ships on fire. The end result was over 1000 dead, many injured and suffering from the effects of the mustard gas. At least 17 ships were sunk (follow the link to my page about Bollsta for a list of all the ships damaged or sunk - see also the external links at the end of this page for further information).
Vest took part in the defence by firing her guns from the bridge and boat deck, supervised by Captain Gundersen and 1st Mate Fulland on the bridge, and 2nd Mate Karlsen on the boat deck, the latter also being the gunnery officer on board. About 15 minutes after the attack had started she was hit by a bomb, causing the funnel to fall down, blowing the upper part of the bridge away, and shrapnel and pieces of glass were flying around. Able Seaman Pettersen stated at the subsequent inquiry that he saw the captain, the 1st mate and a British gunner being thrown down to the lower bridge. 15 were injured, Donkeyman Moldevær most severely, his left hand almost ripped off. He was also bleeding heavily from a wound in his thigh, and needed urgent medical attention. The injured were placed in the motor lifeboat and the port lifeboat, which both had to be rowed because the gasoline tank for the motorboat had been destroyed during the bombing. They managed to get passed the burning ships and within half an hour they reached shore, where the injured were taken by car to a hospital. Donkeyman Moldevær was later sent by plane to North Africa, according to Stoker Sperre's statements at the inquiry.
The captain and the 1st mate had intended to return to save the ship's and their own papers as soon as the injured had been seen to, but in the meantime the ammunition ship exploded, turning the entire harbour into an inferno. Those who had remained on board had assembled amidships on the starboard side and somehow escaped serious injury, managing to launch a 3rd lifeboat and get themselves to safety. At that time, Vest was on fire on both sides of the after deck. The fire soon spread to other areas of the ship, and the following afternoon, Dec. 3, when the captain, the 1st mate and 2-3 others went back on board they found Vest seriously damaged, and parts of the ship, including several cabins, completely burnt out.
8 days later, 10 crew members were sent to Toronto, then on to Bizerta, later to Tunisia. From there, they were transported to Algiers by train, arriving during the night of Dec. 21. An inquiry was held there on Dec. 23-1943 with Able Seaman Pettersen and Stoker Sperre attending. None of the officers had arrived Algiers, 14 men, including the captain having remained in Bari on orders from Ministry of War Transport to oversee the unloading of her cargo. Some of the cabins could still be used. On Dec. 7, they had been requested to provide bunkers for S/S Spero which came alongside (this was the British ship by that name, not the Norwegian one. According to A. Hague, she left Bari the next day in Convoy HA 11 - external link). Spero also helped extinguish a small fire in the coal in No. 2 hold with the help of a water hose laid out from the ship. On Dec. 9, Pelagos (not the Norwegian one) and Giampavlo received bunkers from Vest, as did S/S Slokada and Screlno the next day.
Vest was in for repairs for a long time - see Page 4 and Voyage Record above.
In the spring of 1945, she's listed in Convoy MKS 88, departing Gibraltar for the U.K. on March 11 - see ships in all MKS convoys. She later appears to have spent a long time in Falmouth - again, see the archive document referred to above. In May that year, we find her in the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ONS 51, which originated in Liverpool on May 21 and arrived Halifax June 4 (see ships in all ONS convoys). Her destination is given as Sydney, C.B., but according to the archive document, she arrived Camden, N.J. and Philadelphia on June 6, having started out from Belfast Lough on May 21 (Minerva's captain had served as Vice Commodore).
Crew List - No casualties:
Sold in 1950 to Kristiansand and renamed Siredal. Sold in 1954 to Skibs A/S Motor (Einar Salvesen, Kragerø, manager), renamed Regulus in 1956. Sold in 1959 to Bowring & Curry GmbH, Hamburg and renamed Ruth. Sold to breakers at Hong Kong, where she arrived on Oct. 29-1959. (Again, please compare with the details found on this external page).
Back to Vest on the "Ships starting with V" page.
A fishing vessel, M/B Vest (R 270 A) escaped from Sævelandsvik on May 17-1940 with 7 people on board, 4 of whom were British, arriving Lerwick on May 18. Vest later returned to Norway, then made another trip to Shetland on Aug. 7-1941 with 2 people. This external Norwegian website has a picture and more information.
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).