|Site Map | Search Warsailors.com |Merchant Fleet Main Page | Warsailors.com Home|
Owner: Skibs-A/S Oiltank
Built by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd., Wallsend, Sunderland in 1930.
Captain: Einar Trygve Bernt (had been on board for a year and half when Bello was torpedoed).
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.
Errors may exist and some voyages are missing.
It'll be noticed, when going to Page 1 of the archive documents, that Bello appears to have spent quite a long time in Liverpool in the spring of 1940.
A. Hague has included her in Convoy OB 143 in May that year, with a note attached saying "possibly this convoy". It left Liverpool on May 6 and joined up with Convoy OA 143 on the 9th, the combined convoy forming the Gibraltar bound Convoy OG 29 (see my page naming ships in all OG convoys). Bello, however, was not bound for that part of the world; she's said to have arrived Portland on May 8 (in other words, she did not take part in the OG convoy - she subsequently remained in Portland for 3 weeks). She's also listed, together with Corvus and Thorstrand, in Convoy OA 159, originating in Southend on June 1, dispersed June 4. This time she was bound for New York, cargo of whale oil, station 42. She arrived New York on June 16, having started out from Falmouth June 3. See the external links provided within the table above for more on the OA and OB convoys.
She was scheduled to return to the U.K. with the Bermuda portion of the Halifax-U.K. Convoy HX 60 on July 22, but did not sail - as will be seen, when going back to Page 1, she did not go to Bermuda in this time period; she was on her way from New Orleans to New York when this convoy sailed from Bermuda, arriving New York on July 27. She subsequently remained there for a long time (reason not known); departure is given as Oct. 23, when she proceeded to Halifax, where she also had quite a long stay. She left Halifax again on Dec. 3, joining Convoy HX 93 (see also escort's report), but she was unable to keep up with the convoy speed and was sent back to Halifax, then proceeded to Sydney, C.B. in order to join the slow Convoy SC 15 from there on Dec. 8, arriving Clyde Dec. 23.
At the beginning of 1941, she spent several weeks in Newport (Page 1). In March, she's listed in Convoy OG 55 (again, see ships in all OG convoys). This convoy originated in Liverpool on March 7 and arrived Gibraltar on the 21st, but Bello had detached from the convoy to proceed to Aruba, where she arrived on March 29. From there she headed to the U.S. a few days later. She was scheduled for Convoy HX 120 from Halifax on Apr. 10, but is crossed out on the form; as can be seen when going back to the archive document, she had arrived Hampton Roads from Aruba on Apr. 9, continuing to New York that same day, with arrival Apr. 11, and again had a long stay there (reason unknown), before proceeding to Halifax on June 11 in order to join Convoy HX 133 on the 16th. Soløy and Vigrid and others were sunk, and Kongsgaard was torpedoed and damaged (follow the links for details). Bello's destination is given as Avonmouth, and she arrived there on July 4.
About a week later, she's listed in Convoy OB 345 and arrived New York on July 27 after having detached from the convoy (which originated in Liverpool on July 11 and arrived Halifax on the 26th). Belita, Geisha, Havprins, James Hawson, Marit, Salamis, Selvik, Solsten, Tanafjord, Vigsnes and Ørnefjell are also named (link in the table above). Having remained in New York for about a month, Bello proceeded to Halifax (Page 1), and on Aug. 29 we find her in station 114 of Convoy HX 147, along with the Norwegian Nueva Granada (station 104), Bralanta (102), Solør (54), Sandanger (station 103, which means she was the 3rd ship in the 10th column, right behind Bralanta and in front of Nueva Granada), Slemmestad (95), Strinda (63), G. C. Brøvig (44), and O. A. Knudsen (112). Bello stopped at Belfast Lough on Sept. 11, before continuing to Milford Haven on the 13th - see Page 2.
Later that month, she joined the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 21* (convoy left Liverpool Sept. 28; Bello had sailed from Milford Haven on Sept. 27), but she went into Oban on Sept. 30, subsequently joining ON 22* from there. This convoy originated in Liverpool on Oct. 2 and dispersed on the 15th. Her destination was Baton Rouge, station 75 - she arrived New Orleans, via Miami, on Oct. 26, having sailed from Oban Oct. 3; according to A. Hague, she had become a straggler from the convoy on Oct. 12. Both these convoys also had other Norwegian ships, namely Brisk, Hallanger, Kolsdal, Lyra, Nueva Granada (returned) and Taborfjell in ON 21, and Bernhard, Daghild, Gefion, Helgøy, James Hawson, Kollbjørg, Lise, Nueva Granada, Orwell, Slemmestad, Solstad, Thorsholm and Vivi in ON 22, Eglantine was among the escorts for a while - see ON convoy escorts.
Bello headed back to the U.K. with Convoy HX 162 from Halifax on Nov. 27, together with Astrell, Brant County, Katy, Sama, Skandinavia, Beth (returned) and Høegh Scout. The Panamanian Norvinn (Norwegian managers and, therefore, included under the N's on this website) was also scheduled to be in this convoy but did not sail. Bello's last Trans-Atlantic voyage that year was made in Convoy ON 52*, which originated in Liverpool on Dec. 31 and dispersed Jan. 11-1942, Bello arriving Galveston Jan. 30-1942 (Page 2). She had again been in the company of several other Norwegian ships, namely Brasil, Kaia Knudsen, Katy, Morgenen, Mosli, Nyholt, Solsten, Stigstad, Thorshøvdi, Tungsha and Vanja. This time, Montbretia and Rose are named among the escorts.
She's also listed among the ships leaving Halifax in Convoy HX 178 on March 3-1942. A visitor to my website has told me that Bello was in a collision in convoy with the British Dundee in March-1942 - not sure which convoy this was, but it might have been while in HX 178? Or, it could have been while in Convoy FS 754 (external link), in which they're both listed. It'll be noticed, when going back to Page 2, that she later spent quite a long time at Tyne, where she had arrived March 31, perhaps some repairs had been necessary? At the beginning of May that year, we find her in station 23 of the westbound Convoy ON 91*, which started out in Liverpool on May 1 and dispersed on May 15, Bello arriving New York on May 16. Geisha, Heranger, Kronprinsen, Laurits Swenson, Salamis, Skaraas and Rio Novo are also listed in this convoy. Bello's voyages in this period are shown on Page 3 - convoy info for some of her subsequent movements can be found in the table above.
An article in "Krigsseileren" No. 2 for 1992, written by 2nd mate Ragnar Kristian Pedersen, says Bello ran aground in heavy fog when on a voyage from New York via Long Island Sound and the Cape Cod channel to Boston (Boston, Lincs., or Boston U.S.?) in the spring of 1942 - she had a pilot on board at the time. According to A. Hague, however, this took place in June. When the fog cleared they could see the Little Gull Island lighthouse just a couple of hundred meters ahead and on the starboard side, an equal distance away, was one of the U.S. Coast Guard stations. The radio operator was unable to get in touch with New York, so the captain had to use a lifeboat to row in to the Coast Guard station in order to make a call from there. Salvage vessels and barges came out and she was later towed to New York where the damages were found to be so extensive she had to stay in dock for 5 weeks. Going back to Page 3, we learn that she had left New York on June 21, put back to New York on June 26 and did not leave again until Aug. 24, when she proceeded to Halifax in order to join Convoy HX 205 on Aug. 30, cargo of lub. oil for Loch Ewe, where she arrived Sept. 10, later proceeding to London. Acanthus, Eglantine, Montbretia and Potentilla are named among the escorts.
Together with Anna Knudsen, Athos, Brimanger, Emma Bakke, Garonne, Grey County, Kosmos II, Minerva, Molda, Noreg, Nueva Granada, Petter II (returned), Polarsol, Polartank, Sandanger, Skandinavia, Thorshavet, Thorshov and the Panamanian Norbris (Norwegian managers), she returned across the Atlantic a couple of weeks later with Convoy ON 133* (originated in Liverpool on Sept. 25, arrived New York Oct. 11). Having made some voyages around the U.S. (Page 3 - convoy info in Voyage Record), she later went back to the U.K. with Convoy HX 216, which departed New York City on Nov. 19 and arrived Liverpool on Dec. 6. Bello's destination is given as Bowling, where she arrived Dec. 5, cargo of gasoline and oil, station 84. This turned out to be her last eastbound North Atlantic convoy voyage, because on her return voyage she was sunk.
Bello had left Clyde on Dec. 11-1942 in ballast for New York, taking station 104 of Convoy ON 153. At 05:20 (ship's time) on December 16 she was hit by two torpedoes within a few seconds of each other. The torpedoes had come from U-610* (von Freyberg-Eisenberg-Allmendingen), the 1st one hitting in the engine room on the starboard side, and the 2nd a little further forward. Her after part was practically submerged in less than 30 seconds after the last torpedo struck, so it was believed that none of the men who were in that section of the ship could have managed to get out of their cabins. For the same reason the gunners who were on duty on the platform were also lost. No distress signals were sent. As there was no time to properly launch the lifeboats the captain ordered the crew to the rafts. 3 rafts came clear before the ship sank (51 45N 23 50W); some men were on the overturned port lifeboat, some in liferings.
After about an hour the 7 survivors, including the captain, were picked up by the corvette HMS Pink (K 137) which unsuccessfully searched for more survivors until daylight, then rejoined the convoy. The survivors were landed in St. John's on Dec. 29. Convoy ON 153 arrived New York on the 31st.
28 Norwegian and 5 British seamen died, they are all named further down on this page. The Norwegians are commemorated at the Stavern Memorial for Seamen, link below, while Billy McGee, England has told me that the following 5 young men are commemorated at Tower Hill, Panel 16:
Galley Boy Frederick Arthur Bull from Southall, Middlesex (age 19), Mess Room Boy Leslie J. Gatehouse from Highbury, London (age 17), 4th Engineer Officer Robert Goodwin (age 29), Mess Room Boy Anthony Michael Noy (age 18), and Saloon Boy Michael Alexander Peetz (age 16).
The official report on the sinking of Bello states she was chartered to British Tanker Co. at the time of loss and says a 3rd torpedo was also fired, but missed and was believed to have struck the British Regent Lion*, sailing on Bello's port side (this ship is listed in station 83 on the convoy document, Bello was in station 104. Regent Lion was damaged by U-610, later salvaged and in the U.K. at the time the report was written, Febr. 6-1943). The time of attack is given as 07:20 GMT in this report, and position 53 N 27W, 550 - 575 miles west of Cape Clear, in stormy weather with heavy seas. The report adds that Bello had a complement of 40, 33 of whom were missing. "Nortraships flåte" agrees with the time 05:20 given in the 2nd mate's account below, which appears to be ship's time.
The maritime hearings were held in St. John's on Dec. 31-1942. The following were present: Captain Bernt, 1st Mate Moen, Able Seaman/Gunner Wick (at the wheel when Bello was torpedoed; he was rescued from the capsized lifeboat), and Able Seaman Wisnes (on lookout - rescued while holding on to a door, being the first one to be picked up by the corvette).
The Belgian Emile Francqui was also sunk in this convoy (U-664) with the loss of 46 lives, and U-211 sank HMS Firedrake. The report mentioned above claims that the British Tortuguero was damaged (Dec. 16) as was the British Otina (Dec. 20). Otina was sunk by U-621 on Dec. 20, with the loss of all 60 on board. Jürgen Rohwer does not name a convoy in connection with this ship, probably because she was straggling at the time, and he does not mention an attack on Tortuguero at all (note that, like Bello, Otina had also previously arrived the U.K. with Convoy HX 216, while the others, including Regent Lion, had arrived with HX 215).
According to an article found in "Krigsseileren" No. 4 for 1992 (also written by 2nd Mate R. K. Pedersen), the torpedo hit in the engine room at 05:20 while he was asleep. He ran up on deck where he found the 1st mate, the captain and a few others attempting to launch the lifeboat amidships. This boat had gotten stuck so they were all ordered to the rafts, but he was knocked overboard by the seas, though was able to get himself to the surface and on to a nearby raft, together with the captain (he says they were the only 2 on this raft).
He says that a heavy storm lasting for several days resulted in Pink starting to run out of bunkers while waiting for the weather to improve, so she had to head for the nearest port, Ponta del Gada, the Azores, arriving there on Dec. 22 (again, see my page about Convoy ON 153), before continuing west to St. John's, N.F., landing Bello's survivors there on Dec. 29. Pedersen says the reason Bello sank so quickly was the fact that she had a lot of ballast due to the storm forecasts. He does not mention a 2nd torpedo, nor does he give details on whether any other survivors joined the 2 on the raft later.
Norwegian, unless otherwise noted
Related external links:
Back to Bello on the "Ships starting with B" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Norwegian Maritime Museum, Volume I, articles in "Krigsseileren" No. 2, 1992 and No. 4, 1992, official report on the sinking (based on captain's statements), from British archives, received from a visitor to my website, and misc. others for cross checking info - ref My sources.