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Manager: Lauritz Kloster, Oslo
Built by A.G. Neptun, Rostock in 1925.
Captain: O. N. Bråstad
Related item on this website:
Her voyages are listed on this original document received from the National Archives of Norway.
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.
As will be seen when going to the archive document, Vestvard was in New York when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940; she had arrived there from Norway 2 days before. A few days later, she proceeded to Kingston, Jamaica, where she stayed for 3 weeks, before continuing to Fort de France, then on to Trinidad and the U.K., arriving Falmouth on June 24 (she had been destined for Bordeaux, but was diverted to Hull, where she later arrived July 2).
That summer, she's listed among the ships in Convoy OA 191, which left Methil on July 28-1940 and dispersed Aug. 1 - Ringen is also named (ref. external link provided in the record above). Vestvard's destination is not given, but from the archive document, we learn that she arrived New York on Aug. 11, later proceeding to Montreal. With a cargo of wheat for Manchester, she returned to the U.K. later that month in the Sydney, C.B. portion of Convoy HX 69 - follow the link for more convoy details; the Commodore's narrative is also available. Vestvard arrived Manchester on Sept. 13.
She left Manchester again on Sept. 20 in order to return to Montreal, but did not make it to her destination, as will be seen below.
From a posting to my Ship Forum:
"At 1113 hours, central European time, on 27 September 1940, Vestvard was torpedoed by U-31 and sunk about 300 miles west of Ireland. One crew member was lost, but 28 crew survived (compare w/crew list below). She was on voyage from Manchester to Montreal in ballast. KL Prellberg was in command of this U-boat from July 1940 to 2 November 1940. His previous command was U-19, from April to July 1940. On 2 November 1940, while in the vicinity of convoy OB 237, U-31 was located by the destroyer HMS Antelope and was sunk in a depth charge attack. Of the U-31 crew, 2 were drowned, but Prellberg and 43 others survived and were made prisoners of war. Two of the crew died later in a failed attempt to escape". (Posted by Roger W Jordan).
Before she was torpedoed Vestvard had been in Convoy OB 218 (external link - incomplete), which left Liverpool on Sept. 24-1940 and had scattered after U-137 had sunk the British Stratford and Manchester Brigade (Commodore Vessel) and damaged the British Ashantian on Sept. 26. Vestvard was continuing on individual course to the convoy's determined meeting place, when she was hit by 2 torpedoes from U-31 (Prellberg) on the 27th.
The first torpedo struck on the port side near Hatch 3, the 2nd (after the boats had been launched) in Hatch 4. The port lifeboat, which had drifted behind the ship was hit by something flying through the air during the second detonation and was destroyed, so the 7 occupants had to jump into the water but were able to get on a raft, and were later picked up by the starboard boat. Others who had not yet managed to get in the lifeboats had to jump overboard from the heavily listing ship (to port); an able seaman was pulled under as she sank after 10 minutes and he was never seen again.
The 30 survivors landed near Slane Head Light on Oct. 1, where 4 men were taken to a hospital at Galway. The crew stayed at a hotel in Clifton for a few nights before going to Dublin, then to Liverpool via Holyhead.
According to a personal story found in "Sjøfolk i krig" by Leif M. Bjørkelund, told by 2nd Engineer Alf Schrøder, the captain had his wife on board with him. Schrøder adds that the U-boat, which was a cream color, surfaced and circled them twice before disappearing again. He says they encountered a horrendous storm on the second night and didn't think they were going to survive in the giant waves in the overcrowded lifeboat, but fortunately the boat was new, a fact that in his opinion helped save their lives.
When they eventually reached the lighthouse on the south coast of Ireland it was late at night so they couldn't go in. The next morning, 2 men showed up and guided them to shore. They were well fed by the lighthouse keeper before being picked up by a large rowboat and taken to the mainland, where a horse and buggy awaited them. After having spent the night at a hotel they caught a train to Dublin, arriving that same evening. He says that in those days officers and crew could not spend time together, so the officers were given lodgings at one hotel, and the crew at another. The next morning they were dressed up from head to toe, again the crew at one store and officers at another, then caught a ferry to Liverpool the following morning.
The inquiry was held in Liverpool on Oct. 8-1940 with the captain, the 3rd mate (officer on watch), Ordinary Seaman Børresen (helmsman), Jr. Ordinary Seaman Gulliksen, the 1st engineer and Able Seaman Asbjørn Nilsen attending.
Related external links:
Back to Vestvard on the "Ships starting with V" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøfolk i krig" by Leif M. Bjørkelund, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume II (Norwegian Maritime Museum), and misc. as named within above text - (ref. My sources).