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Owner: A/S Vore.
Built by Kockums Mekaniska Verkstads A/B, Malmö, Sweden in 1916.
Captain: Otto E. Tjørve.
Her voyages are listed on this original document received from the National Archives of Norway.
According to A. Hague, Bravore sailed in Convoy FS 80. He says she had departed Blyth on Jan. 24-1940 and arrived Southend on the 26th.
As will be seen when going to the archive document above, she was at Rouen when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940. Later that monrth, A. Hague has included her in Convoy FS 151 (departure Tyne Apr. 20) - this was to be her last voyage; see "Final Fate" below.
Both these convoys are available at the external website that I've linked to below.
As mentioned, Bravore departed Tyne in the evening of Apr. 20-1940 in Convoy FS 151 (ref. link above), bound for Rouen with a cargo of 1991 tons coal. According to "Nortraships flåte" she had a crew of 19 and 5 French soldiers on board. At the mouth of the Thames on the 22nd the convoy was split up, with some of the ships heading for London, while Bravore and 4 others continued to The Downs (2 of these ships were French, possibly Monselet and Senneville, which are both listed in FS 151, one of them was British). Captain Tjørve became the first Nortraship captain to die when Bravore struck a mine about 4 naut. miles off Ramsgate that day (this message on my Ship Forum says it was an aereal mine laid by 9th F.D.).
They had procceeded up to the buoy outside Ramsgate and were waiting for further orders from the "order-boat" when a tremendous explosion occurred, probably on the port side near No. 2 hatch forward of the bridge, causing all the hatches on the after deck to fly into the air. Eye witnesses stated that the ship was lifted high, then went down in 15-20 seconds.
On the bridge were the captain, the 2nd mate, the helmsman (Ordinary Seaman Gunnersen) and 4 French soldiers. Deckboy Ryan was on the forecastle and Able Seaman Ellingsen was at work aft. Out of this group only the 2nd mate survived. He was in an open area on the starboard side when the explosion occurred and was flung through the window of the bridge side shelter and into the water about 30 meters, far enough to get clear of the suction. When he came up, only the stern and part of the bridge could be seen of the ship. He saw the captain some distance away and as the sea carried him towards him, he could see that the captain's face was covered in blood and that one of his hands had been torn off. He tried to get a hold of him from behind but had to let go because he only had a small piece of planking to hold on to and didn't have the strength to hold on. He later caught hold of a lifebuoy. He also saw one of the French guard go under, and observed a patrol boat trying to save somebody (this was probably the 1st mate). The 2nd mate was picked up by the Dutch Badzo shortly thereafter. He remained in a hospital in Ramsgate until May 14, having broken 4 ribs and injured 2 vertebrae in his back, in addition to other injuries caused by flying through the glass.
The first engineer and the cook, who had been in their cabins, had managed to get out. The first engineer had been asleep, but had a rude awakening when he was flung up to the ceiling of his cabin. When he opened the door, he encountered steam coming from the engine room, but kept his arm in front of his face and ran aft to the poop, where he waited with the cook until they were both picked up. The cook had gone straight into the water when he opened the door of his cabin, and was carried by the sea towards aft, past the engine room door, as Bravore was sinking by the bow, got one leg over the rail and was thrown down on the after deck by the suction, got up into the rigging on the after mast, then slid down the derrick hoist to the poop (the water was so shallow that the poop remained above water after the ship had sunk). A small motorboat from shore later rescued them both and took them to Deal.
The 1st mate and a French soldier were asleep in a cabin on the lower bridge, but somehow managed to get out, although the cabin was completely destroyed. When the 1st mate came to the surface, all he could see of the ship was part of the funnel. After half an hour he too was picked up by Badzo, as was the French soldier who had come across one of the lifeboats that had previously been on deck. They were both given first aid, and were later taken to a hospital in Ramsgate.
A visitor to my website has told me that "Shipwreck Index of the British Isles" gives the position as 1 mile south of Gull Stream Buoy, Goodwin Sands, mine laid by U-boat. However, according to the message on my Ship Forum, posted by Roger W. Jordan, it appears Bravore had struck a mine that had been laid by aircraft of the 9th Fliegerdivision. She was one of three ships (the others were British) sunk on mines laid by the 9th F.D. The minefield in which Bravore sank consisted of a total of 26 mines. The position of sinking was 51 18 38N 01 30 54E. Mr. Jordan adds: "I do not have the identity of all three ships that sank on these mines, but one of the two British ships was Rydal Force (note that this ship is also listed in Convoy FS 151), which struck about 370 metres south of Gull Buoy. This would be about 0.75 miles north of the position in which Bravore struck". In fact, the 2nd mate says that while he was in the hospital he spoke to some survivors of a British ship that had been at anchor in the Downs when Bravore struck the mine. This ship had struck a mine the following day.
From the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, dated April 29-1940:
Some of the names below were initially taken from this newspaper article, but the list has since been compared with what can be found in "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume I and adjusted accordingly.
The maritime hearings were held in London on May 9-1940 with all the Norwegian survivors appearing.
Related external link:
Back to Bravore on the "Ships starting with B" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: Partial Voyage Record, received from D. Kindell, based on Arnold Hague's database, "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume I (Norwegian Maritime Museum), and misc. others for cross checking info. - ref My sources.