Site Map | Search |Merchant Fleet Main Page | Home 

D/S Arcturus

To Arcturus on the "Ships starting with A" page.

Both pics are from Bjørn Milde's postcard collection.

Manager: Det Bergenske Dampskibsselskab, Bergen
1277 gt

Delivered in Dec.-1910 from Bergens Mek. Verksted, Solheimsviken, Bergen (166) as cargo vessel Arcturus to Det Bergenske Dampskibsselskab, Bergen. Steel hull, 229.9’ x 35.2’ x 16’, 1277 gt, 1850 tdwt, Tripple Expansion (BMV) 145nhp 9.5 knots. Placed in cargo service Trondheim-western Norway-River Thames-London. By 1939 she was in cargo service Trondheim-Bergen-Glasgow-Manchester (once a month).

Captain: Nicolai Ludvik Engene.

Related item on this website:
Thread on Arcturus on my Ship Forum.

 Final Fate - 1939 (Norway still neutral): 

Sunk at 09:45 on Dec. 1-1939 following a powerful explosion when on a voyage London-Stavanger with a cargo of coal. The torpedo from U-31 (Habekost) had struck in the port side aft and she started to sink immediately. 2 of the lifeboats were destroyed, but 2 rafts floated clear as the ship sank in 2 minutes, however, 9 crew were unable to get to them and they all died. 8 were able to get on the rafts and tied them together. The next morning, they were spotted by a British aircraft which directed a Danish vessel to their location and the survivors were landed at Fredrikshavn, Denmark. According to (external link), Arcturus was on her way from Burntisland to Trondheim at the time, and says the Danish ship was D/S Ivar.

The following men had lost their lives:
Captain Nicolai Ludvik Engene, 1st Mate Roald Karlaug, 2nd Mate Einar Ramm, Able Seaman Aksel Walholm (listed as Aksel Warholm at the Stavern Memorial - see link below), Ordinary Seaman Ansgar Kaspersen, Chief engineer Finn Skage, Donkeyman Karl Helland, Stoker Emil Gundersen Lunde (Emil Sigred Lunde at Stavern Memorial), and Cook Peder Wichmann.

There's quite a bit of confusion surrounding this name, because there were a few other ships named Arcturus and the various sources have a tendency to get them mixed up. Here's what can be found in misc. sources:

J. Rohwer says this particular Arcturus was torpedoed and sunk by U-21* (Frauenheim) on the date given above. Charles Hocking says she struck a mine on this date, with a loss of 9 lives. Jan-Olof, Sweden has told me that "Lloyd's War Losses, Vol I, British, Allied and Neutral Merchant Vessels Sunk or Destroyed by War Causes", 1989 reprint, agrees with the U-boat theory (using the term "submarine"), adding she was on a voyage from Burntisland to Trondheim with general cargo (tea, gas stoves, steel wire, cardboard folders & diaries, boots, shoes and machinery). The first website that I've linked to below says she sank in 2 minutes (having struck a mine), adding that 9 died, while 17 survivors were picked up by the Danish cargo vessel.

* With the help of Jan-Olof, U-21's KTB and Bob Baird's book "Shipwrecks of the North of Scotland" it has been possible to establish that J. Rohwer has 2 ships swapped around in his "Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two", namely Arcturus and the Finnish Mercator. He says Mercator was sunk by U-31 at 09:27 (compare this to the attack time for Arcturus in the first paragraph above) and Arcturus by U-21 at 04:53. However, the ship attacked by U-21 at 04:53 that morning was Mercator (the wreck has been located off Peterhead, near Aberdeen Scotland).

For info, U-31 has also been credited with the loss of Gimle and Primula a few days later, as well as Vestvard the following year - follow the links for details. The U-boat was sunk with all hands in March-1940, raised and repaired, sunk again that same year (ref. external link below).

Related external links:
Stavern Memorial commemorations - 14 are named here. Note that this casualty list appears to be a combination of those who died on the 1277 gt Arcturus and those who lost their lives on the 1682 gt Arcturus, which can be found in my Homefleet section. The 2nd captain listed is Johan Fredrik Lampe.

U-31 | Johannes Habekost
U-21 | Fritz Frauenheim

Back to Arcturus on the "Ships starting with A" page.

Det Bergenske Dampskibsselskab also had a ship named Arcturus after the war, delivered in Dec.-1947. Sold in Febr.-1958 to Det Nordenfjeldske Dampskibsselskap and renamed Atle Jarl. Broken up in 1980.

The text on this page was compiled with the help of: Misc. sources, including info received from T. Eriksen, Norway (his sources: Articles about Bergenske D/S in "Skipet" 1-2.88 by Dag Bakka Jr. and "Norges eldste Linjerederi, BDS 1851-1951", Wilhelm Keilhau). Also, I've used info received from Jan Olof Hendig, Sweden and "Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two", Jürgen Rohwer (ref. My sources).


 Site Map | Search |Merchant Fleet Main Page | Home