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M/T Athene
Updated Dec. 18-2012

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

Crew List

From Bjørn Milde's postcard collection.

From Tony Cooper's collection.

More pictures are available on this external page (click in them to enlarge).

Owner: A/S Athene.
Manager: Jørgen Bang, Kristiansand.
4680 gt, 2468 net.
Call Sign: LCDV.

Built by Sir W. G. Armstrong, Whitworth & Co. Ltd., Newcastle upon Tyne in 1928.
According to the external page that I've linked to above, she was delivered as Athene to Skibs A/S Varild (Alf Jakhelln), Oslo in June-1928, then owned by A/S Athene (Jørgen Bang), Kristiansand from Sept.-1935.

Captain: Johan Arnt Dahl (later died), then Tharald Tharaldsen.

Related items on this website:
A Guestbook message from a relative of Ingvald Rødsjø, one of the survivors.
Guestbook message from the great granddaughter of Captain Dahl.

Her voyages are listed on these original images from the Norwegian National Archives:
Page 1 | Page 2

Please compare the above voyages with Arnold Hague's Voyage Record below.

Voyage Record
From Apr.-1940 to June-1942:

(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 some voyages are missing.

Departure From To Arrival Convoy Remarks
1940 Apr. 18 Kirkwall Methil Apr. 19 Independent Earlier voyages, Page 1
Had arr. Kirkwall Apr. 16, from Norway
(see also narrative below).
Missing movements, Page 1
July 22 Methil OA 188 From Leith
(Page 1).
Dispersed July 23.
Convoy available at OA 188
(external link)
July 23 Dispersed from OA 188 Capetown Aug. 22 Independent Missing movements, Page 1
Sept. 5 Capetown East London Sept. 8 Independent
Sept. 14 East London Abadan Oct. 8 Independent
Oct. 11 Abadan Durban Nov. 2 Independent Again, see also Page 1
1941 Febr. 24 Durban Abadan March 14 Independent
March 17 Abadan Aden March 26 Independent
March 31 Aden Suez Apr. 7 BN 22 Convoy available at BN 22
(external link)
Apr. 16 Suez Abadan Independent See also Page 1
May 3 Abadan Aden May 13 Independent
June 3 Aden Suez June 11 Independent
June 17 Suez Abadan July 2 Independent
July 18 Abadan Aden July 29 Independent
Aug. 19 Aden Suez Aug. 27 Independent On to Port Said Sept. 4
(Page 1).
Sept. 5 Port Said Iskenderun Sept. 8 Independent
Sept. 12 Iskenderun Haifa Sept. 14 Independent
Sept. 22 Haifa Alexandria Sept. 24 Independent
Oct. 6 Alexandria Haifa Oct. 8 Independent
Oct. 12 Haifa Iskenderun Oct. 14 Independent
Oct. 23 Iskenderun Beirut Oct. 28 Independent Via Haifa
(Page 1)
Oct. 31 Beirut Haifa Oct. 31 Independent
Nov. 18 Haifa Iskenderun Nov. 19 Independent
Nov. 26 Iskenderun Haifa Nov. 27 Independent
Nov. 30 Haifa Alexandria Dec. 2 Independent
Dec. 18 Alexandria Haifa Dec. 20 Independent
Dec. 24 Haifa Port Said Dec. 26 Independent On to Suez Dec. 27
(Page 2).
See also narrative below.
1942 Jan. 4 Port Said Alexandria Jan. 5 Independent
Jan. 15 Alexandria Haifa Independent Page 2 gives arrival Jan. 18.
Jan. 19 Haifa Beirut Jan. 20 Independent
Jan. 25 Beirut Haifa Jan. 25 Independent
Jan. 26 Haifa Alexandria Jan. 27 Independent
Jan. 28 Alexandria Tobruk Jan. 30 AT 21 Convoy available at AT 21
(external link)
Febr. 5 Tobruk Alexandria Febr. 6 A. Hague says:
Presumably escorted.
Febr. 28 Alexandria Haifa March 1 Independent Notional sailing date
March 2 Haifa Beirut March 3 Independent
March 6 Beirut Haifa March 7 Independent
March 9 Haifa Beirut March 10 Independent
March 14 Beirut Haifa March 14 Independent
March 27 Haifa Beirut March 28 Independent
March 31 Beirut Haifa March 31 Independent
Apr. 2 Haifa Port Said Apr. 4 Independent
Apr. 5 Port Said Port Said Apr. 12 Independent Voyage unknown
Apr. 13 Port Said Alexandria Apr. 14 Independent
Apr. 28 Alexandria Port Said May 1 Independent
May 2 Port Said Haifa May 3 Independent
May 8 Haifa Iskenderun May 10 Independent
May 13 Iskenderun Haifa May 15 Independent
June 7 Haifa Alexandria June 9 Independent
June 9 Alexandria For Tobruk AT 49 Convoy available at AT 49
(external link)
Sunk - See "Final Fate" below

 Misc. Voyages: 
For information on voyages made in between those mentioned here, please see the documents received from the National Archives of Norway and A. Hague's Voyage Record above.

Captain Johan Arnt Dahl.

Athene arrived Ålesund, Norway from South America on Apr. 9-1940 (the day of the German invasion of Norway). She managed to get out of Norway on Apr. 14, arriving safely in Kirkwall on the 16th, thereby saving this valuable tanker for allied service. Her subsequent voyages are shown on Page 1 of the archive documents (it'll be noticed that she spent a long time in Grangemouth that spring, and again in Leith). In July that year, she's listed in Convoy OA 188, which left Methil on July 22 and dispersed the next day, Athene arriving Capetown independently on Aug. 22. The Norwegian Cetus, Dux and Stirlingville are also listed in this convoy, ref. link provided within the Voyage Record.

According to "Nortraships flåte" by J. R. Hegland, Athene was in Clyde on March 13-1941, tied up alongside the British Trevarrack and is said to have been somewhat damaged, when that ship listed towards her and sank after having been hit by bombs from a German aircraft. Note however, that this does not fit with the information found on the archive document, which states that Athene was on a voyage from Durban (where she had spent a long time - see Page 1) to Abadan on this date. Has Hegland gotten the ship mixed up with HMS Athene? (Trevarrack must have been raised, or was only damaged in the attack, because Roger W. Jordan's "The World's Merchant Fleets 1939" and Jürgen Rohwer both have a Trevarrack as torpedoed and sunk in a convoy by U-46 on June 8-1941 [launched as War Laurel in 1919], unless there was another ship by that name afterwards? Note that gives the U-boat as U-101, and she was in the convoy from which Christian Krohg was sunk, OB 329).

At the end of that month (March-1941), we find Athene in Convoy BN 22, which had originated in Bombay on March 20 and arrived Suez on Apr. 7; Athene had started out from Aden on March 31, cargo of paraffin. The Norwegian Cypria, Ima and Noravind are also listed, all joining from Aden - again, see the external link in the table above. (Going back to Page 1, we see that she had a long stay in Aden in May that year and again that summer).

Athene was at Haifa on Christmas Eve 1941 when the French tanker Phenix blew up. More information on this is available on my page about M/T Vilja. Athene left Haifa that same day for Port Said, with arrival on the 26th.

On Febr. 1 and 2-1942 Athene was at Tobruk unloading cargo, enduring several air attacks on the city. According to A. Hague, she had arrived Tobruk from Alexandria on Jan. 30 in Convoy AT 21, having left Alexandria on Jan. 28. See also Page 2 (which shows occasional long stays in port).

Captain Johan Arnt Dahl died at a hospital in Haifa on May 6-1942 and is buried there, but I'm not sure exactly what had happened to him. One source says he was injured, while "Våre falne", a series of 4 books naming Norwegians who lost their lives during the war, states he died of exhaustion.

More information on the other Norwegian ships named here is available via the alphabet index at the end of this page, or go to the Master Ship Index.

 Final Fate - 1942: 

Captain Tharald Tharaldsen.

Athene had left Haifa on June 7-1942 with 6000 tons benzine for Alexandria (*), but off Alexandria in the afternoon of June 9 she was stopped by a naval vessel and rerouted to Tobruk in convoy AT 49 with 4 other ships and 6 escorts - see the external link provided in the Voyage Record (only 2 other ships are named in this convoy, namely the British Brambleleaf and Havre, but the listing may be incomplete?). Athene took her place as the 2nd ship in the middle column. The convoy was located by U-81 which shadowed it and notified other U-boats further west.

According to a report presented at the subsequent hearings, Athene was ordered by the Commodore to take the place of the ship in front of her, when that ship** was torpedoed in the afternoon(?) of June 10. About 3 hours later, Athene was hit on the port side between the poop and midships area near tank No. 7 by a torpedo from U-559 (Heidtmann). At that time, she was between Alexandria and Mersa Matruh, 31 12N 28 10E. Most of her deck was destroyed, and at the same time benzine washed over the boatdeck and poop, covering the men who were in that location at the time.

* For info, there's a note at (external link) regarding the trawler HMS Wolborough as escort for Athene on June 8-1942 - follow the link for details.

Brambleleaf is said to have been damaged in the same attack, but not sunk (see this external page). J. Rohwer gives the same time for both ships (Athene and Brambleleaf), namely 04:56, June 10. Rohwer says the British Havre was sunk the same day by U-431, but much later at 23:48., on the other hand, gives U-81 as the culprit in the latter attack, giving the time as 02:18 on June 10; in other words, before the attack on the other 2 ships - see this external page. If this is the case, Havre** must have been the ship sailing in front of Athene, which she was ordered by the Commodore to replace. This would also fit with the statement that Athene was torpedoed "about 3 hours later". U-453 was also on the scene, and Arnold Hague claims this was the boat that sank Havre. Rohwer says this boat made an attack at 22:41 and adds in a footnote that she heard a heavy detonation after 4 min. 53 sec.

The men amidships managed to lower the gig, and Captain Tharaldsen, 1st Mate Lars Larsen, 3rd Mate Ragnvald Hansen, Boatswain Anton Hansen (who had been at the helm), Able Seaman Rasmus Olsen (lookout), and a British signalman went in it, then as it drifted aft alongside the ship they also managed to pick up Galley Boy Asbjørn Bothner. However, when burning gasoline flowed down the side of the ship and into the gig they all had to jump overboard.

In the meantime, 1st Engineer Thallaug Eggen, 2nd Engineer Gotfred Pedersen, 3rd Engineer Arne Johannessen, 4th Engineer Ragnar Johansen, Steward John Karlsen, the Danish Cook Rikard Haug, Pump Man Jahn Hidle, Motorman Anton Bentsen, Able Seaman Ingvald Rødsjø, and the Palestinian Engine Boy A. Kurti were still struggling to launch the starboard boat, but while this was going on another explosion occurred (possibly from the engine room) and they had to jump overboard; some of them were never seen again.

Athene burned fiercly and sank in the course of the day. 17 had survived and were picked up from the water by the escort after about half an hour. Some of them had severe burns and were taken to a hospital in Alexandria. Captain Tharaldsen, the 3rd mate, the 2nd engineer, 4th engineer, Able Seaman Rødsjø, the Palestinian Able Seaman John Turtell, and the Palestinian A. Kurti were admitted to Anglo Swiss hospital, while the boatswain was taken to a hospital ship. The remaining survivors were taken care of by the consul.

The maritime hearings were later held in Kairo with Captain Tharaldsen (on the lower bridge when the explosion occurred) and 3rd Mate Ragnvald Hansen (on the bridge) appearing.

13 casualties are named below, 9 of whom were Norwegian. I'm wondering if the number 14 (10 Norwegians) which is given in various sources stems from the fact that Athene's Captain J. A. Dahl had died the previous month. Norwegian records state that 13 died, 17 survived in the sinking. Athene had no 2nd mate at the time.

For info, U-559 was sunk later that year - ref. link at the end of this page for more details.

Crew List:
The 2nd engineer later served on Fernhill, Elg, Rena and Tarn.
Stoker Grødum had also served on

Tharald Tharaldsen
3rd Mate
Ragnvald Hansen
Anton Hansen
Able Seaman
Ingvald Rødsjø*
Able Seaman
John Turtell
Able Seaman
Erik Hansen
Deck Boy
Henry Wasserman
2nd Engineer
Gotfred Pedersen
4th Engineer
Ragnar Johansen
Toralf Grødum
Engine Boy
A. Ibrahim
Engine Boy
A. Kurti
Mess Boy
A. Gabriel
Franc Smith
C. Birckan
A British Gunner
A British Signalman

1st Mate
Lars Larsen

1st Engineer
A. G. Thallaug Eggen

3rd Engineer
Arne Johannessen

Deck Boy
Harry Bucheimer**

Able Seaman
Rasmus Olsen

Anton Bentsen

Robert Nilsen

L. Liwchutz**

Pump Man
Jahn Hidle

John Carlsen

Rikard Haug

Galley Boy
Asbjørn Bothner
C. Meeham
1 more Norwegian??*
* See the last paragraph above

** These 2 men are commemorated at Tower Hill, Panel 12. Further info on them can be found at The Commonwealth War Graves Comm. website. Harry Bucheimer's details are on this page, while L. Liwchutz can be found on this page. All external links.

Related external links:
Stavern Memorial commemorations - Captain Johan Arnt Dahl is also commemorated here. Other names correspond to what I've listed above, with some differences in spelling and titles. For instance, Asbjørn Olaf Bothner is listed as Radio Operator, Robert Nilsen as Able Seaman.

U-559 | Hans Heidtmann

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

Other ships by this name: The company had another tanker by this name after the war, built in Malmö, Sweden, 8654 gt, launched Aug.-1949. Also, Norway (K. Salvesen, Kragerø) had an Athene before the war. This ship sailed as Estrella during the war. Another Athene was delivered in 1974 to Bang Tank (Jørgen Bang), Kristiansand, also built in Malmö, 125 910 gt. When the managing company went bankrupt in 1978, the management was taken over by Anders Jahre, Sandefjord, later by A/S Havtor, Oslo (1981). Sold in 1985, renamed Al Oyoun the following year for new owners in Oslo. Sold again in 1986, renamed Knock Dolian, managed by Fred. Olsen & Co. A/S, Oslo, Liberian flag. Sold in 1987 and renamed Dorian, Liberian flag. Sold in 1989 and renamed Cottinga (Gotaas Larsen, London) - broken up in 1993.

The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "The World's Merchant Fleets 1939", R. W. Jordan, "Axis Submrine Successes of World War Two", Jürgen Rohwer, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Norwegian Maritime Museum, Volume I, and misc - ref My sources.


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