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Whale Factory Lancing
Updated Dec. 8-2011

To Lancing on the "Ships starting with L" page.

Crew List

A picture is available at - external link. See also this external page, as well as this page (also external - click in the picture to make it larger).

Owner: Hvalfangerselskapet Globus A/S
Manager: Melsom & Melsom, Larvik
7866 gt, 4561 net, 11 900 tdwt.
Signal Letters: LCSG

Built by C. Connell & Co. Ltd., Glasgow in 1898 as Knight Errant, Greenshields Cowie & Co., Liverpool. Sold in 1914 and renamed Rio Tiete. Sold again in 1915, renamed Omsk. Renamed Calanda in 1921, sold in 1922, renamed Flackwell, then sold and converted to whale oil factory Lancing in 1925. Note that the last external website that I've linked to above has a more detailed history.

Captain: J. H. Bjerkholt, later captain of N. T. Nielsen Alonso (?)

Related item on this website:
Guestbook message from Frank Fussner, who was on board when she was sunk (see crew list below). He's interested in getting in touch with shipmates. I have his E-mail address in my files, and can put you in touch - my contact address is at the bottom of this page.

Her voyages are listed on this original image received from the National Archives of Norway.

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

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

(Received from Don Kindell - His source: The late Arnold Hague's database).

Follow the convoy links provided for more information.

Departure From To Arrival Convoy Remarks
1940 May 4 Rio Trinidad May 20 Independent A. Hague says:
Ex Antarctic whaling grounds
(see also archive doc)
May 25 Trinidad Curacao May 27 Independent
Aug. 1 Curacao Halifax Aug. 11 Independent
Aug. 13 Halifax Sydney, C.B. Aug. 15 Independent
Nov. 2 Halifax New York City Nov. 6 Independent
Dec. 16 New York City Curacao Dec. 25 Independent
Dec. 31 Curacao Rio Febr. 7-1941 Independent
1941 Febr. 17 Rio Port Stanley March 1 Independent
March 1 Port Stanley Port Stanley March 26 Independent A. Hague says:
Presumably to whaling grounds to load
(again, see also archive doc).
March 26 Port Stanley Rio Apr. 8 Independent
Apr. 22 Rio Trinidad May 8 Independent
May 8 Trinidad New Orleans May 18 Independent
June 10 New Orleans Mobile June 12 Independent
July 21 Mobile New Orleans July 26* Independent *Archive doc gives arrival July 23.
Aug. 18 New Orleans Sydney, C.B. Aug. 27 Independent
Aug. 30 Sydney, C.B. Liverpool Sept. 20 SC 42
Oct. 4 Liverpool ON 23 For Curacao.
Detached Oct. 14.
Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
Oct. 14 Detached from ON 23 Curacao Oct. 29 Independent
Nov. 3 Curacao Aruba Nov. 3 Independent
Nov. 5 Aruba New York City Nov. 13 Independent
Nov. 16 New York City Curacao Nov. 23 Independent
Nov. 26 Curacao New York City Dec. 5 Independent
Dec. 11 New York City Curacao Dec. 19 Independent
Dec. 20 Curacao New York City Dec. 29 Independent
1942 Jan. 29 New York City Curacao Febr. 7 Independent
Febr. 9 Curacao New York City Febr. 19 Independent
Febr. 28 New York City Curacao March 10 Independent
March 13 Curacao Kingston March 16 Independent
March 20 Kingston Curacao March 24 Independent
March 28 Curacao Independent Sunk - See "Final Fate" below

 Some War Voyages: 

When Norway was invaded on Apr. 9-1940 Lancing was in Rio de Janeiro where she, due to the situation in the world, had been since the completion of the 1939/1940 whaling season. Upon hearing the news of the invasion of Norway some of the crew paid off while the rest came with her to Trinidad, arriving on May 20 (she had been taken over by Nortraship by then and was ordered to an allied port like the rest of the Norwegian ships in various parts of the world). After a few days she was ordered to Willemstad, Curacao where whale oil was discharged, before she proceeded to Halifax to replenish the whale factories Ole Wegger, Thorshammer, Pelagos and Solglimt. According to the archive document, Lancing did not leave Curacao until Aug. 1, so she had stayed there for a long time. When checking the voyage records for these 4 ships, we find that they were all indeed in Halifax at this time.

Towards the end of that year she again had sailing orders for Curacao to pick up bunkers for the whaling fleet; the archive document gives arrival Curacao from New York, Dec. 25 (having previously spent over a month in New York). However, on her way south to the Antarctic she was suddenly ordered to the nearest South American port, not knowing until later what the reason for this change of plans was. The majority of the whaling fleet had, meanwhile, been captured by Pinguin so Lancing narrowly escaped the same fate, see my text at Norwegian Victims of Pinguin. According to "Nortraships flåte" Lancing had departed Curacao on Dec. 30 with the intention of supplying Ole Wegger and adds that following the capture of the whaling fleet there was great concern for Lancing until she finally arrived Rio de Janeiro on Febr. 7-1941*. When asked why it had taken them 38 days to get there from Curacao, the captain explained that Lancing had reached position 50S 10W on Jan. 26 when Nortraship in New York had instructed them to proceed to the nearest South American port. Not quite believing in the validity of this signal the captain asked to have it repeated in private code and as soon as this was received he continued to Rio.

*A story found in the Norwegian magazine "Krigsseileren" No. 3 for 1995, written by Finn B. Rasmussen who was ordinary (able?) seaman on board, says Lancing had reached Thorshammer at the end of January, unloaded fuel oil, then loaded whale oil for New Orleans. He doesn't mention exactly where or when this took place, but Thorshammer and some of the whale catchers that had escaped capture had gone to South Georgia by then, Thorshammer arriving Jan. 21-1941 (according to her voyage record for this period). Going back to the archive document, we learn that Lancing headed to the Antarctic on March 1-1941 (from Port Stanley, where she had arrived from Rio that same day) and New Orleans is not mentioned until May that year. Perhaps this encounter with Thorshammer had not taken place until March-1941? (compare the records for these 2 ships). It'll also be noticed that Lancing spent quite a long time in Mobile that summer, with similar long stays in port throughout the record.

Another item to note in Rasmussen's account is that he's convinced Lancing was in Convoy SC 42. Several Norwegian ships were in this convoy but he says Lancing is not listed, and he thinks this is due to the fact that the officers had demanded a lifeboat drill just before departure as the boats had never been on the water before. All the equipment proved to be in order, but Lancing was delayed and joined the formation at the very last minute. His description of what later occurred does indeed fit with the incidents that took place during the passage of this convoy in Aug./Sept.-1941, and I have since found information that proves him right. Lancing, with a cargo of whale oil, is listed in station 102 of Convoy SC 42, which left Sydney, C.B. on Aug. 30. Please follow the link for details on the battle and the names of ships sunk, the Norwegian Stargard being among them.

We subsequently find her in station 44 of the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 23, which left Liverpool on Oct. 4 and arrived Halifax on the 19th. Lancing, however, was bound for Curacao, where she arrived on Oct. 29, having detached from the convoy on the 14th, according to A. Hague. This convoy will be added to an individual page in my Convoys section, but in the meantime, the ships sailing in it, some of which were Norwegian, are named in the section listing ships in all ON convoys.

 Final Fate - 1942: 

Lancing had arrived Curacao from Kingston, Jamaica on March 24-1942 - again, see the archive document. She left Curacao again on March 28 with 8900 tons fuel oil for New York, but on Apr. 7 she was torpedoed off Cape Hatteras by U-552 (Topp), position 35 08N 75 22W (F. Rasmussen says they had been ordered to go by Norfolk to join a convoy for New York). The torpedo hit on the starboard side amidships, blowing away both lifeboats on that side so they all had to run to the port side boats. 1 man was killed in the engine room, the remaining 49 went in 4 lifeboats and stayed near the ship until it sank about an hour and a half later.

After about 5 hours in the lifeboats they were picked up by a Canadian patrol boat and by the American tanker Pan Rhode Island* that same morning and taken to Norfolk where they spent the night at a naval base, before being sent by Greyhound bus to New York. Hearings were held there on Apr. 16-1942 with the captain, the 3rd mate, Able Seaman Sørensen (helmsman), Able Seaman Johnsen, and Able Seaman Olsen appearing. The latter 2 had both been on lookout duty.

*According to Robert Cressman, "The Official Chronology of the U.S. Navy in World War II" (see link to "Hyperwar" at the end of this page), Pan Rhode Island picked up 29 of the survivors (calling Lancing a "freighter) adding that this ship also rescued 20 men from the British tanker British Splendour, sunk by the same U-boat the same day.

For info, U-552 was also responsible for the attacks on Spind, Barbro and Slemdal - follow the links for details.

Crew List:
Some of Lancing's crew later joined N. T. Nielsen Alonso, whose captain at the time she was torpedoed in 1943 was Johan H. Bjerkholt; probably identical to Lancing's Captain Bjerkholt. I've compared this crew list with N. T. Nielsen Alonso's crew list and in addition to Captain Bjerkholt I find that Boatswain Rasmus Eikeseth, Stoker Åge Johannessen, and a Swedish Gustav Olsson (listed as mess boy) were on that ship when sunk. There's also an Erling Johannesen, listed as Able Seaman on N. T. Nielsen Alonso.

J. H. Bjerkholt
1st Mate
Thomas S. Olsen
2nd Mate
Anton B. Karlsen
3rd Mate
Jacob Jacobsen
Radio Operator
Odd Omsland
Anders Olav Nilsen
Rasmus Eikeseth
Able Seaman
Thor Lauritzen
Able Seaman
Martin Gjone Nilsen
Able Seaman
Odvar Arne Lunde
Able Seaman
Alf Holm
Able Seaman
Olav Hedrum Johnsen
Able Seaman
Olav Temtemoen
Able Seaman
John Georg Olsen
Able Seaman
Gustav Olsen
Able Seaman
Gustav Skorge
Able Seaman
Rolf Spange Norby
Able Seaman
Ragnvald Seeberg
Able Seaman
Erling Larsen
Able Seaman
Ivar Sørensen
Able Seaman
Finn Rasmussen
Able Seaman
Knut Helgeland
Able Seaman
Roald Hansen
Ordinary Seaman*
Ragnvald Smevik
Ordinary Seaman
Francis Fussner*
1st Engineer
Wilhelm Johansen
2nd Engineer
Josef Hansen
3rd Engineer
Karl H. Korneliussen
4th Engineer
Olaus M. Anstensen
Erling Johannesen
Anders Mathisen
Einar Slåtta
Åge Johannesen
Olav Olsen
Petter H. Pettersen
Harald Kittelsen
Rolf Johansen
James Homer Beard
John J. Murphy
Max Wade
Johannes van der Ende
Wietse Albrenda
John Wetsteyn
Arne Liljedahl
Ansgar H. Johansen
Johannes Einarsen
Mess Boy
Oni Holm
Mess Boy
Walter Osmundsen
Mess Boy
Stuart McClelland

Emil Hansen

Related external links:
U-552 | Erich Topp

Operations Information for U-552

Stavern Memorial commemorations - It'll be noticed that in addition to Stoker Hansen there's a Marthinius Marthinsen commemorated at this memorial for seamen in Stavern, Norway. He may have died in a previous incident(?), or he might, in fact, be identical to Stoker Hansen, whose middle name was Marthinius (their birthdates are different, but this might be an error on the site).

Lancing - Pictures and facts from a website on shipwreck diving, with underwater pictures of the wreck. There's also a picture of *Ordinary Seaman Ragnvald Smevik, and a note about the ship's pet dog, Tursa, who when Lancing was torpedoed brought 4 of her 5 puppies to the lifeboat, but failed to return with the fifth.

Hyperwar - Linked to Robert Cressman's book, events of 1942.

Back to Lancing on the "Ships starting with L" page.

Melsom & Melsom later had another Lancing, built in Glasgow in 1950. The Clydebuilt Ships website has more details on this ship.

The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "The World's Merchant Fleets", R. W. Jordan, article in "Krigsseileren" No. 3 for 1995, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Norwegian Maritime Museum, Volume I, and misc. others for cross checking info.


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