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M/S British Columbia Express
Updated May 18-2011

To British Columbia Express on the "Ships starting with B" page.

Both pictures are from Bjørn Milde's postcard collection.

Owner: Skibs A/S Victoria
Manager: Sigurd Herlofsen & Co. A/S, Oslo
3339 gt

Built by Götaverken A/B, Gothenburg in 1936. Fruit carrier, which operated for Skibs-A/S Fruit Express Line.

Captain: Alf Sigfred Paulsen.

Her voyages are listed on these original images from the Norwegian National Archives:
Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7

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

Voyage Record
From Oct.-1943 to Dec.-1945:

(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 several voyages are missing.

Departure From To Arrival Convoy Remarks
1943 Oct. 24 San Francisco Brisbane Nov. 13 Independent A. Hague says:
Previously traded W Coast of U.S.A./Balboa since 1941.
Earlier voyages:
Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4 & Page 5
Nov. 13 Brisbane Sydney, N.S.W. Nov. 15 Independent
1944 March 18 Sydney, N.S.W. Milne Bay March 22 Independent A. Hague says:
Then arrived Sydney, N.S.W. Apr. 1-1944
(Also, Page 5).
Apr. 7 Sydney, N.S.W. Brisbane Apr. 9 Independent
Apr. 9 Brisbane Milne Bay Apr. 13 Independent
Apr. 16 Milne Bay Sydney, N.S.W. Apr. 20 Independent
Apr. 26 Sydney, N.S.W. Oro Bay May 2 Independent
May 6 Oro Bay Sydney, N.S.W. May 12 Independent
June 21 Sydney, N.S.W. Langemak Bay June 27 Independent
July 1 Langemak Bay Sydney, N.S.W. July 6 Independent Departure date approximate
July 11 Sydney, N.S.W. Oro Bay July 16 Independent Left Oro Bay July 17
(Page 6).
July 17 Langemak Bay Sydney, N.S.W. July 27 Independent
Aug. 1 Sydney, N.S.W. Brisbane Aug. 3 Independent
Aug. 4 Brisbane Langemak Bay Aug. 8 Independent
Aug. 11 Langemak Bay Sydney, N.S.W. Aug. 16 Independent
Aug. 21 Sydney, N.S.W. Langemak Bay Aug. 27 Independent
Aug. 30 Langemak Bay Sydney, N.S.W. Sept. 4 Independent
Sept. 9 Sydney, N.S.W. Oro Bay Sept. 14 Independent
Sept. 14 Oro Bay Langemak Bay Independent
Sept. 18 Langemak Bay Oro Bay Sept. 18 Independent
Sept. 19 Oro Bay Sydney, N.S.W. Sept. 24 Independent
Sept. 28 Sydney, N.S.W. Oro Bay Independent
Oct. 2 Oro Bay Langemak Bay Oct. 4 Independent
Oct. 8 Langemak Bay Hollandia Oct. 10 Independent
Oct. 15 Hollandia Langemak Bay Oct. 16 Independent
Oct. 17 Langemak Bay Sydney, N.S.W. Oct. 23 Independent
Oct. 27 Sydney, N.S.W. Langemak Bay Nov. 2 Independent Compare w/Page 6
Nov. 3 Langemak Bay Hollandia Nov. 3 Independent (Again, Page 6).
Dec. 1 Hollandia Sydney, N.S.W. Dec. 7 Independent
Dec. 14 Sydney, N.S.W. Oro Bay Dec. 19 Independent
Dec. 20 Oro Bay Langemak Bay Independent Page 6 gives arrival Dec. 21.
Dec. 21 Langemak Bay Hollandia Dec. 22 Independent
Dec. 27 Hollandia Biak Dec. 28 Independent
Dec. 31 Biak Hollandia Jan. 1-1945 Independent
1945 Jan. 4 Hollandia Sydney, N.S.W. Jan. 12 Independent
Jan. 16 Sydney, N.S.W. Oro Bay Jan. 21 Independent
Jan. 23 Oro Bay Langemak Bay Jan. 24 Independent
Jan. 24 Langemak Bay Madang Jan. 25 Independent
Jan. 25 Madang Biak Jan. 28 Independent
Febr. 1 Biak Brisbane Febr. 7 Independent
Febr. 21 Brisbane Hollandia Febr. 27 Independent
Febr. 28 Hollandia Leyte March 4 GI 13A Convoy available at GI 13A
(external link)
See also narrative below
March 15 Manila Leyte Independent
March 19 Leyte Hollandia March 25 IG 14 Convoy available at IG 14
(external link)
Apr. 10 Hollandia Leyte Apr. 17 GI 20 Convoy available at GI 20
(external link)
Missing movements, Page 7
Apr. 26 Leyte Hollandia May 3 IG 19 Convoy available at IG 19
(external link)
May 8 Hollandia Manila May 18 GI 25 Via Tacloban
(Page 7).
Convoy available at GI 25
(external link)
May 23 Manila Lingayen Independent
May 29 Lingayen Hollandia June 3 Independent
June 30 Hollandia Manus July 2 Independent
July 24 Manus Sydney, N.S.W. Aug. 1 Independent
Sept. 29 Sydney, N.S.W. Melbourne Oct. 1 Independent
Oct. 24 Melbourne Hobart Oct. 25 Independent
Oct. 31 Hobart Melbourne Nov. 1 Independent Notional departure date
Nov. 2 Melbourne Sydney, N.S.W. Nov. 4 Independent
Nov. 6 Sydney, N.S.W. Leyte Independent
Dec. 1 Leyte Manila Dec. 3 Independent Stop at Leyte not mentioned, Page 7
Dec. 10 Manila San Francisco Dec. 28 Independent Further voyages, Page 7


When war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940, she was on her way from Cristobal to Portland, Oregon - see Page 1. Her 1941 voyages start on Page 2 and continue on Page 3. The latter document shows a long stay in Seattle, where she had arrived on Dec. 18-1941; departure is given as on Febr. 3-1942. Further 1942 voyages are listed on Page 4, while Page 5 has the rest, as well as her 1943 voyages. It'll be noticed (at the end of Page 5), that she spent a long time in Sydney, where she had arrived from Brisbane on Nov. 15-1943. She did not leave until March 18-1944, when she proceeded to Milne Bay, later returning to Sydney and Brisbane. See also Page 6 and Page 7 (to Apr.-1946) - occasional long stays in port are shown. Convoy info for some of her voyages can be found in A. Hague's Voyage Record above.

She was in service on the Pacific coast, later chartered by the US Army and fitted out as troop ship, carrying troops and equipment to the front, and wounded soldiers on her return voyages. She caught the attention of Douglas MacArthur, who chose her as his "personal" ship, and she performed many a special task for him.

She took part in the operations at Leyte during the first phase of the landings, carrying a group of generals and escorted by the destroyer O'Bannon. En route, she was attacked by Japanese bombers but escaped with small damages. (See what General Fleischer endured at Leyte).

In Febr.-1945, MacArthur entrusted her with the special task of bringing his wife and son from Brisbane to Manila, along with some troops and officers.

She was the first non-American ship to land at Baatan on March 6, escorted by a number of warships. Some seamen in a prison camp outside of Manila (Santo Tomás) heard about her arrival, and with the help of a war correspondent they were allowed to visit the ship. The captain of British Columbia Express, Alf Paulsen could hardly believe his eyes when he realized that one of them was his childhood friend and colleague, Captain Thomas Eilertsen of M/S Ravnaas. It took him a while to recognize him; he had lost 48 kg. Captain Paulsen managed to arrange passage to Australia on board his ship for some of the prisoners, but en route she was redirected to Hollandia to pick up more troops for Manila, so the former prisoners had to disembark and were placed in Camp Walker, an American camp. When he again returned to Hollandia he found they were still there, and for the first time he took advantage of his friendship with General MacArthur, and sent him a telegram about the plight of his friends. Only a few days later the Norwegian seamen were on their way to the U.S. on the Liberty ship S. I. Reid (Note: I cannot find a Liberty ship by this name), arriving San Francisco on May 8-1945, on the very day Norway was liberated. (See my page about Ravnaas for more info on what had happened to her crew).

As per Lillesand Sjømmansforening - external link.

Owned from 1950 by p/r Quadriga (Willy Bruns GmbH), Hamburg as Quadriga. From 1961 by Shanghai Dev. Co., Keelung, Taiwan as Chiau Kuo. From 1962 by Chiau Kuo S.S. Co. Ltd., Keelung, Taiwan, same name. Sold in 1969 for breaking up in Taiwan

Back to British Columbia Express on the "Ships starting with B" page.

The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "The World's Merchant Fleets 1939", Roger W. Jordan - and misc.


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