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D/S Hellas
Updated Oct. 14-2011

To Hellas on the "Ships starting with H" page.

Manager: Bruusgaard, Kiøsterud & Co., Drammen
1921 gt

Built in Fredrikstad in 1925.

Captain: Martin Halleland.

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


From Page 1, we learn that Hellas was on her way from Hong Kong to Bangkok when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940. Her 1941 voyages also start on this document.

She rescued 13 survivors from the British D/S Kwantung, which had been torpedoed south of Java on Jan. 5-1942 by the Japanese submarine I-156. According to Page 2, Hellas was on a voyage from Sourabaya to Colombo at the time, arriving Colombo on Jan. 17. (A continuous stream of important military convoys crossed the Indian Ocean to the war zones in the Far East at that time, and also from Australia).

Hellas took part in the evacuation of allied forces just before the fall of Tobruk in June-1942. She took on board 700 soldiers, and towed a barge with 600 tons war materials to safety. Page 3 gives her departure Tobruk as June 16; on June 20 German tanks moved into the city.

 Final Fate - 1943: 

Hellas arrived Benghazi on Dec. 25-1942 with war stores from Alexandria (again, see Page 3). She had at first anchored in the outer harbour but was instructed to move inside the breakwater. The discharging of cargo started the following day and continued until Jan. 3-1943 at which time it had to be stopped due to a storm with heavy rain (she had been moved to the inner harbour on Dec. 28). In the course of the day the wind increased to hurricane force and high seas that broke over the breakwater with tremendous force. The next day, Jan. 4, the British D/S Bantria drifted into her and when her propeller got caught in Hellas' anchor chains, they broke, so that Hellas in turn drifted into the Danish Hanna Møller.

The crew was ordered to leave the ship at 14:00, the engineers left an hour later when water had flooded all the holds. Captain Halleland, the 1st mate and the British gunners went ashore at 16:15 and about half an hour later she sank alongside the breakwater, partly capsized to port. The water at that time was level with the captain's cabin and her entire port side was under water.

Officers and crew were taken to a military camp, as were other crews whose ships had been lost in the storm. The next day all the Norwegians and the British gunners went back on board to rescue some of the equipment. They found that quite a few items, including personal belongings had been stolen, but were able to rescue some instruments and other items. On Jan. 9, Hellas' complement and crews of other ships were sent to Tobruk in large trucks and placed in a military camp until they later continued to Alexandria, with arrival Jan. 15. The maritime hearings were held there on Jan. 20-1943. Hellas was declared a total loss (no lives were lost).

Some of Hellas' officers were: 1st Mate Helge Hanevold, 1st Engineer Gotfred Lund Nilsen, 2nd Engineer Gustav Mikalsen and the Danish 3rd Engineer Henry L. Jørgensen.

Related external links:
Evacuation from Tobruk (video newsreels)

Fall of Tobruk

Events in North Africa June 1942 (incl. the fall of Tobruk).

Back to Hellas on the "Ships starting with H" page.

The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Norwegian Maritime Museum, and misc. - (ref. My sources).


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