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M/T Vinga - Page 2
Misc. Reports following Attack by Aircraft
Vinga was abandoned by her crew after having been attacked and set on fire. 29 survivors were picked up by HNMS Campbeltown. Please see Page 1 for details on the attack.
HNMS Campbeltown went alongside the burning ship and 8 volunteers went on board with hoses and extinguished the fires. These canvas hoses were supplied with pressure in Campbeltown and led from that ship to Vinga. The fire was mostly around the bridge and small arm ammunition was burning and exploding.
Summary of a Report by Lt. Cmdr. T. Underwood, R.N.R,
Misc. details extracted from the report:
The Norwegian Vinga sailed from Greenock on September 13th, 1941 in Convoy OS 6 (which had left Liverpool on Sept. 12-1941), but fell out of the convoy about the night of September 17th through engine trouble (this date must be a misprint). The survivors are uncertain of the position. At about 09:00 on the 15th the ship was attacked by a 4 engine Focke Wulf. The plane machine gunned the ship twice and then dropped 3 bombs - 1 being a near miss starboard quarter and 2 direct hits amidships, killing the Master, Chief Officer, 2nd Mate, 3rd Mate, Wireless Operator, Carpenter and 2 Seamen. The bombs did not penetrate the main decks. The ship caught fire, engine room partly flooded and ship abandoned, the 29 survivors leaving in one boat.
A British plane appeared, and the same day the Dutch destroyer picked up the survivors, who were in the destroyer for 2 nights, standing by Vinga. The destroyer put the fire out on Vinga. H.M. Corvette and Tug arrived and took the ship in tow. The Bo'sun, Hans Hansen, Wilhelm Lund, A.B., Henrik Bredahl, O.S., Jan Nilsen, Galley Boy with 3 of the corvette's crew (another report states this was the destroyer's crew) volunteered to return to the Vinga and attended the ship on her homeward journey.
Summary of a Report as told by the Chief Engineer and other survivors
Vinga was in station 54 of the Freetown bound Convoy OS 6, but had become a straggler.
At about 09:15 on Sept. 15 a Focke Wulf appeared from astern at a height of 600-900 feet and dropped 2 or 3 bombs, 1 or 2 of which hit the bridge of Vinga, completely destroying it and causing fires to break out. Before this both Colt machine guns had been fired. The F/W returned from the port side at a height of 150 feet, firing machine guns. The same action was carried out from the starboard side, resulting in steam pipe line being holed by bullets.
While the ship was still doing 12 knots the port lifeboat was lowered. The F/W then attacked from astern and dropped a bomb which exploded on the surface near the starboard quarter of Vinga, causing the engine room to be flooded. During this last attack the engines were stopped and all valves closed.
The crew who had stayed on board now decided to leave the ship in the starboard lifeboat, but this boat was damaged while being lowered, when one of the falls which had jammed was cut. The steward was picked up from the water and transferred from the damaged boat to the port lifeboat.
After about 15 minutes a British aircraft circled above, signalling, then dropped a flare and a rubber dinghy(? word missing), and the machine gunner was picked up. The report ends by saying "After 15 minutes approximately a destroyer came up and rescued us".
Summary of a Report from Chief Examining Officer, Rothesay, Bute,
Norwegian Vinga, outward bound for the West Indies, was attacked by an enemy four-engined bomber (believed to be Focke Wulf) at 09:00 on the 16th of September, 1941, when three days out from Clyde (Note that date of attack should be Sept. 15).
The vessel was at first attacked by machine gunning, and then bombed, a direct hit being made on the bridge. A further attack was made and a second bomb hit was made on the bridge. 8 members of the crew were killed including the Master and all deck officers and the carpenter. The remainder of the crew, of which 6 are believed to be injured, took to boats and were later picked up by a destroyer. The vessel had caught fire and escaping steam had made it unsafe to remain on board, and the destroyer crew put the fires out. Later, the captain of the destroyer asked for volunteers to return to the ship, when the Bos'n Hans Hansen, and 3 members of crew, Wilhelm Lund, Henrik Bredahl, and Jan Nilsen volunteered and returned on board with 3 members of the destroyer, Able Seamen Mortimer and Hardie and Signalman Nicolson (were these men from the corvette HMS Heather?).
The vessel was taken in tow by Tug Zwarte Zee and towed to Rothesay Bay where she arrived at 15:00 on Friday 19th September, 1941.
I should like to draw your attention to the good work done by the Bos'n and 3 remaining hands and the very hard time they have had since their return to the ship. They are being accommodated on shore until other arrangements are made, and everything is being done to make their stay at Rothesay comfortable. Clothing etc., has been provided.
Letter to The Commander-in-Chief, Western Approaches
It is recommended that the bravery and devotion to duty shown by the Norwegians who returned to the Vinga to bring her into port should be suitably recognised.
Their names are:
Summary of Report of Proceedings of HNMS Campbeltown Sept. 14, 15 and 16.
Sunday Sept. 14-1941:
During the night of Sept. 15/16 carried out sweep around Vinga.
Report on Salvage - I'm assuming this is HMS Heather's report
On instruction from the C.-in-C., W.A., H.M. ship under my command proceeded to the assistance of the Norwegian tanker Vinga in position 58 02N 13 40W. Contact was made with Campbeltown at 07:15, Sept. 16. Volunteers from Vinga were embarked from Campbeltown and a salvage party of 12 hands under the command of Lt. W. L. Turner R.N.R. placed on board Vinga at 09:00. Two Hotchkiss guns from Heather were mounted and manned in Vinga and a Carley raft supplied. Salvage party secured Vinga for towage closing W/T doors, scuttles and hatches and on arrival of Rescue Tug Zwarte Zee at 09:15 Sept. 17 secured hawser.
Ship was got under way at 12:30 Sept. 17 when half of the salvage party was withdrawn leaving on board 6 hands and a signalman. Heather escorted tug and tow to Toward Point where salvage party with guns and raft were withdrawn.
Tug Zwarte Zee's Statement on Salvage
On Monday September 15th, 1941 at 17:15 the Zwarte Zee lying in the Roads of Moville in Loch Foyle was ordered to proceed to postion 58 08N 13 17W to the assistance of the Norwegian Vinga which had been attacked by enemy aircraft and was on fire. HMS Heather was standing by. We immediately got our engines ready, weighed anchor and sailed at 17:35. Steamed to sea both engines working full speed, passed Inishowen Head at 18:00, log 0, steered 321° true and passed at 19:30 the Innishtrahull at about 2 1/2 miles distance, log 19, steered thence 308° true until 20:00, log 26. Weather fine, sea calm, light swell, no wind, bar. 772, visibility good. At midnight estimated position (looks like) 56 06N 3 39W. Continued same course.
Estimated position at noon Tuesday 16th September 57 49 1/2N 12 41W, log 248.
Received message from HMS Heather that the position was 5 miles more westerly than the indicated position. Changed course to 205°. At 4 p.m. log 293. Weather continued fine with calm sea, but during the a.m. watch visibility deteriorated considerably. Changed course at 5 p.m. to 70° log 304 and lead showed 105 fthms. We kept the Echometer going and this indicated the Rockall Bank varying between 106 and 97 fthms. and then increasing to 100 - 104 - 105 - 108 - 110 - 115 - 120 - 124 - 127 and at 18:25 with log showing 321 the lead showed 133 fthms. from which we concluded the position to be 57 59N 13 24W. Meanwhile visibility was less than a mile and at 18:30 we stopped the engine as HMS Heather would fire some shots. Heard nothing. Intermittent fog. We asked HMS Heather at 19:00 to give a few wireless signals so as to obtain her position by D.F. and received answer that this would be done in 5 minutes. We, however, heard nothing from HMS Heather but we did hear an unknown sender which interfered and was very close.
We steamed at 19:15, log 322 with one engine going full speed, course 160° and altered course, however, as follows:
At 8:30 a.m. sighted a vessel and a little later on, a second vessel which on approaching were found to be the Vinga and HMS Heather. Steamed towards them and were alongside at 9 o'clock, log 487. HMS Heather took some sailors to the Vinga to make fast our hawser and at 10 o'clock we were signalled that they were ready to make fast. Steamed under her bow on the port side and threw over a line to which the 6" steel wire had been attached. As the Vinga was badly down by the stern and her bows were sticking very high out of the water the sailors on the forecastle could not manage to handle the heavy wire; they ?(word missing) with blocks, but after about 20 minutes they let the wire go.
On board the Zwarte Zee same was hauled in and made ready again, and at 11:15 we tried again. The bottom right corner of this document is ripped off so several words are missing, but in essence what is said is that the tug steamed so close that her rubbing band was dented in 3 places. They were eventually able, on board Vinga, to establish connection with the help of a mooring wire, and at 12:10 signalled that the hawser was fastened, but that towing had to wait until some of the sailors had been transferred back to Heather. This was done by 12:25 and towing commenced, with a course for the North Channel, in fine weather, with light to moderate southerly wind, slight sea and swell. Position at midnight was 57 30N 11 20W.
Crew List - Dutch Tug Zwarte Zee
Master J. Kalkman
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: Documents received from Tony Cooper - His source: Public Records Office, Kew.