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M/T Norland
Updated June 29-2013

To Norland on the "Ships starting with N" page.

Crew List

Manager: Nortraship
8134 gt, 4761 net, 11 943 tdwt
Signal Letters: LNAL

Ocean type tanker, built by Blythswood Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Glasgow. Launched on Sept. 11-1941, completed in Nov.-1941 as Empire Pict. 479.3 ft (oa), 463.2 ft x 61.2 ft. Engines: Oil.

This was one of 19 ships transferred to Nortraship in 1942. Empire Ships on my page "Ship Statistics & Misc." gives the names of the other 18. Norland was taken over at Greenock on May 6.

Captain: Eugen Christoffersen

Related items on this website:
Guestbook message - From the daughters of one of the crew members, James Glover.
Another Guestbook message - From crew member William Cohen (see crew list further down on this page).
The above have since met, and information on this, w/pictures, has been posted further down on this page.
Guestbook message - From the grandson of Boatswain Elliot Hansen. Here's another message from him.
Guestbook message - re Deckboy Victor Haggith. (The poster also sent me a link to a newspaper article about him selling war bonds, as well as a link re an Australian TV show about the return to his family of his lost scrapbook).
Guestbook message from Jim Payne, re. a U-108 related photo album (see also narrative below).

 Final Fate - 1942: 

As Empire Pict, she had arrived U.K. in Convoy HX 182 in Apr.-1942 and was taken over by Nortraship on May 6. She was en route from Glasgow to Corpus Christi in ballast on her first voyage as Norland when she was torpedoed on May 20-1942 by U-108 (Scholtz), soon after having left Convoy ON 93 as planned, position 31 22N 55 47W*. Convoy ON 93, which originated in Liverpool on May 8 and was dispersed in 38 55N 42 43W on the 17th, will be added to an individual page in my Convoys section; in the meantime, the ships sailing in it are named in the section listing ships in all ON convoys. The Norwegian Solfonn and South Africa also took part, both bound for Aruba. According to a document received from the National Archives of Norway, Norland had sailed from "Tail of Bank" on May 6 and anchored in River Clyde the next day, leaving again for Corpus Christi on May 9.

* This position is from J. Rohwer's "Axis Submarine Successes". A report on the sinking presented at the maritime inquiry says the torpedo hit at 12:57, adding that the position at 12:00 had been 31 29N 55 37W. (Rohwer gives the German time 18:39). A memorandum based on statements by survivors, dated June 25-1942, gives the time as 12:57 LAT in position 31 29N 55 37W.

At the time of attack she was on course 236° true, sailing at a speed of 12 1/2 knots (not zig-zagging), in clear weather with moderate sea, wind southeast force 3, excellent visibility, no other ships in sight. There were 4 lookouts; the 2nd mate, Ordinary Seaman Danielsen (helmsman) and 1 more on the bridge and 1 on top of the wheel house, while the gun crew of 3 were aft.

The torpedo hit with tremendous force at No. 8 tank forward of the bridge on the starboard side, about 10' below the water line, ripping the side of the ship up in a length of 50-60'. When the captain, who had been in his cabin came to the bridge and saw that the lifeboats were about to be launched, he ordered this to be stopped. The engine had been stopped immediately after the torpedo had struck, but when it became apparent that the ship was not sinking it was started again and they proceeded at full speed, having swung the ship towards Bermuda.

About 10 minutes later a periscope was spotted approx. 6 miles off, but disappeared after the gunners had fired in its direction with the 4" gun. However, the U-boat resurfaced about half an hour later and proceeded to shell the ship, whereupon Norland's gunners replied with 15-20 shells, but they all fell short. As she could not achieve a great speed with the big hole in her side, and the U-boat's shells landed ever closer, the engine was ordered stopped again, an SOS was sent out detailing their situation, and the ship abandoned at 15:00. 3 lifeboats were launched, with 19 men including the 1st mate in one, 15 including the captain in another and 14 with the 2nd mate in the third. They remained nearby until Norland caught on fire amidships and aft, and was sinking deeper and deeper (they estimated the U-boat had fired about 150-200 shells at her), then all 3 boats set a course for Bermuda.

Here are some pictures, believed to show Norland after the attack, received from Jim Payne, who has also posted a message in my Guestbook. He has purchased a photo album whose owner, Willi Wilke, served on U-108 and in which these pics were found - in other words, they belong to Jim Payne. He also has a website at Through their Eyes, where the photoes are available via this page - both links are external:

Pic 1 | Pic 2 | Pic 3 | Pic 4

They stayed together for the first 3-4 days, but due to a heavy rain storm 2 of the boats lost sight of the captain's boat, one in the afternoon of May 23, the other in the afternoon of May 25. All 48 were later rescued; the 19 in the 1st mate's boat were picked up by the Dutch Melampus and landed in Halifax on May 31, while those in the captain's boat were picked up by coast guard cutter No. 453 off Cape Lockout at 15:55 on June 7 and landed at Morehead City, N.C. a couple of hours later (denoted * in the crew list further down on this page) - see also W. Cohen's account below.

The links below go to 7 pages of a small book that Norland's crew member William Cohen wrote about the attack and his time in the life boat:
Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7

The lifeboat with 14 men in it had more in store. The Dutch ship D/S Polyphemus picked them up near Bermuda on May 25, but the next day that ship was also torpedoed (by U-578 - Rehwinkel, which sank Berganger a few days later), and they found themselves in lifeboats again. The survivors in 3 of the boats from Polyphemus were picked up near Nantucket Island, and those in the other 2 by a Portugese ship after a week's sailing. All the survivors from Norland also survived this 2nd torpedo incident, but many others had died. A complete crew list for Polyphemus is available on request via the contact address at the bottom of this page.

From a visitor to my website, Jos Odijk, I've received some information that he found in "De Nederlandse blauwpijpers" by G.J. deBoer ISBN 90-6013-939-9 (The Dutch Blue Funnels.) - Historical overview of the shipping company "Nederlandse Stoonmvaart Maatschappij Oceaan" (1891-1978), and here's a summary:

M/S Polyphemus (Captain C. Koningstein) - cargo of 5000 tons wheat and 790 tons wool, left Sydney on Apr.-16-1942 for England, arriving Balboa on May 10, then stopped in Cristobal for bunkers the following evening. After having overhauled the engine she left for Halifax on the 16th, but returned that same day due to engine problems. After repairs she continued on May 19. On the 25th a lifeboat with 14 of Norland's crew members was spotted and its occupants rescued. At 18:18 on May 26, when about 350 miles north of Bermuda Polyphemus was hit by 2 torpedos on the starboard side, destroying her stern, and killing 15 Chinese crew who were in their quarters. Captain Koningstein ordered the lifeboats launched and after about 7 minutes the ship was abandoned. All survivors, including those who had been rescued from Norland's boat earlier, were distributed in 5 lifeboats (Rainer Kolbicz from has told me that 2 of Norland's survivors were in No. 1 boat, 2 in No. 2, 3 in No. 3, 4 in No. 4 and 3 in No. 5). These boats were commanded as follows:
Boat number 1 - Captain C. Koningstein and 4th Officer J. Bos.
Boat number 2 - 3rd Engineer J. Dijkdrenth.
Boat number 3 - 2nd Officer L.J. Burger.
Boat number 4 - 1st Officer H. Brandenburg.
Boat number 5 - Chief Engineer T. Loomans with the 2nd officer from Norland as navigator.
A couple of minutes later the submarine came up and asked the usual questions (what ship, what cargo etc. - though the sea was covered with bags of wheat and wool so the cargo was obvious). After having given them a carton of cigarettes and the course to New York, the U-boat submerged. At 19:01, almost 45 minutes after she had been torpedoed, Polyphemus sank by the stern (see also the external link provided at the end of this page for more details on this attack).

This picture shows survivors from Polyphemus, received from Patricia C McCormack - the man at the X is her father, James Glover (see crew list).

As mentioned, the survivors in 3 of the lifeboats were picked up near Nantucket, while those in the other 2 boats were picked up by a Portugese ship within a week. One of the survivors, R.G. Locke in boat No. 4 kept a notebook. He says first officer H. Brandenburg, 2nd engineer G. Hoogeveen, 2 English apprentices, A. Simkin and W.H. Hoyle, passenger R.G. Locke, 2nd steward I. van der Velde, 4 Chinese and 4 survivors from Norland were in this boat (see picture below). Through the first night contact was kept with the other boats with the help of a signal lamp, and all 4 of them could still be seen the following morning, but by that evening only 1 boat could be seen and this too disappeared out of sight that night. Early in the morning of May 29 another U-boat came alongside, wanting to know the name of their ship, and where and when it had been sunk, wished them a good trip then took off again. That same day, shortly after noon, they spotted the Portugese D/S Maria Amelia (Societa de Commercio Industria e Transportes Ltda, Lisbon), Captain de Mirande, en route to New York, where the survivors were landed. They later got passage to the U.K.

Rainer Kolbicz has also told me that 11 from Polyphemus and 2 from Norland in the boat commanded by the 3rd mate(? compare w/list of boats above) were picked up by Torvanger about 130 miles east of Nantucket in the evening of June 2 and shortly thereafter transferred to the American fishing boat Alpha and Estelle about 60 miles southeast of Pollock Rip and landed at New Bedford on June 3. (again, see the link provided at the end of this page) adds that 8 men from Polyphemus and 2 from Norland in the motorboat commanded by the captain were picked up by the American fishing boat Hunting-Sanford about 50 miles east by north of Nantucket Lightship early in the morning of June 1 and landed in New Bedford the next day. 15 men from Polyphemus and 3 from Norland in the boat in charge of the chief engineer(? again compare w/boatlist above) were picked up by the Portuguese D/S Mirandella in 39 32 N 65 00 W in the morning of June 3 and landed in New York 2 days later. The 2nd mate's lifeboat with 7 men from Polyphemus and 3 from Norland encountered U-566 (Borchert) in 38 00 N 63 55 W at 20:00 on May 29. The U-boat left after providing the survivors with water and the course to the nearest land. At 13:30 on May 30, U-593 spotted the same lifeboat in 38 00 N 64 50 W and gave them bread and a bottle of rum. The survivors were eventually picked up by USCGC General Greene (WPC 140) in 41 14 N 69 20 W in the afternoon of June 5 and landed at Nantucket, Massachusetts later that day.

The inquiry into Norland's sinking was held in New York on June 22-1942 with only the captain and the 2nd mate appearing.

For info, U-108 was also responsible for the attacks on Christian Krohg, Tolosa, Blink and Breñas - follow the links for more details.

Crew List:
* Denotes those who were in the captain's boat (info recieved from Rainer Kolbicz of Edvard Lilleheil also survived the sinking of Hallanger.

Eugen Christoffersen
age 49
1st Mate
Gilbert R. Schmidt
2nd Mate
Andreas Bjelde
3rd Mate*
Knut Kristiansen
age 29
Radio Operator*
Dagfinn Egeberg
age 29
Radio Operator*
D. McNeil
(British - age 35)
Sven H. Svensen
Elliot Hansen
Able Seaman*
Otto Einarsen
age 20
Able Seaman*
William Larsen
age 22
Able Seaman*
Rolf Danielsen
age 18
Able Seaman
Erling Sjødin
Able Seaman
William P. McAllan
Able Seaman/Gunner
Karl N. Paulsen
Able Seaman/Gunner
Sigurd Søndervig
Able Seaman/Gunner
Trygve M. Sveen
Ordinary Seaman
Donald Campbell
Ordinary Seaman
Kenneth Stewart
Ordinary Seaman
Angus J. Campbell
Jr. Ordinary Seaman
Peter Kotze
(South African)
Jr. Ordinary Seaman
Thorolf W. Berger
Deck Boy
Victor Haggith
S. G. Peage
or S.C. Paige?
(British - age 44)
1st Engineer
Leif Oftedahl
2nd Engineer
Konrad Helland Rasmussen
3rd Engineer
Leif Andersen*
4th engineer
Arnt S. Andreassen
Anders Myhre
Johan M. Nilsen
Knut A. Steinsvåg
Edward Lilleheil
age 20
Thor Thorstensen
Karl Karlsen
Erling Haga
age 40
A. H. Halla
or A. H. Ballard?
(South African - age 23)
Engine Boy
Francis Agnew
Engine Boy*
John Hanna
(British - age 16)
Engine Boy*
Thomas Miller
(British - age 16)
Lars Bråten
Kåre Bergene
William M. Cohen**
(British - age 16)
James Glover***
Ronald Wilson
(British - age 15)
Frank McMillan
Gilbert Burron
Hedve? Davis
Thomas Sullivan
Harry Meek

* 3rd Engineer L. Andersen later lost his life when Nortun was sunk the following year.
**Here's a Guestbook message from William Cohen.
***See this Guestbook message from the daughters of James Glover, who sent me the picture below.

Names as follows:
1. Frank McMillan (Norland), Glasgow
2. Victor Haggith (Norland), Wembley
3. Kåre Bergene (Norland)
4. 2nd Stewart: I. van der Velde (Polyphemus)
5. Passenger: R.G. Locke - (Polyphemus)
6. Apprentice: A. Simkin (Polyphemus)
7. Chief Officer: H. Brandenburg (Polyphemus)
8. 2nd Engineer: G. Hoogeveen (Polyphemus)
9. M.L. Jodia (Norland) - does not appear as such in crew list for Norland
10. Midship Man: W.H. Hoyle (Polyphemus)
Sitting - 4 Lascars (Chinese?) (Polyphemus)

One of James Glover's daughters adds in an E-mail to me:
"Our Father told us when the German Captain came up he said he gave them chocolate along with the cigarettes, he also told us he was in the life boat with the Captain when they got picked up the second time and took to New York. When he was in New York he said the people were very nice to them and he also said that the opera singer Deanna Durbin took them in and to the day he died (Febr. 15-2007) he always played her music and my youngest sister got named after her".

James Glover

In a later mail (Sept.-2008), she says: "Today my sisters and I met William Cohen who was a crew member of the Norland and without your website this would not have been possible. William was such a lovely man and he told us his part of the story regarding the Norland and the day it was torpedoed. William was separated from my Father's life boat and spent 18 days at sea before he was rescued and taken to New York".
Many, many thanks, Patricia

Below is a picture from the reunion between William, Patricia and her sisters Jeanie and Catherine Ann.

She also sent me this picture of William and some friends taken in New York in 1942. He does not remember all their names, but says the fellow on the left in the back row was from Glasgow, next is Harry Garber and Ronnie (whom he mentions in the narrative that I've linked to further up on this page). In the front row is another lad from Glasgow, and next to him is Harry's wife, then William himself.
Patricia has also since met up with the son of another crew member, Ronald Wilson (the Ronnie, mentioned above).

Related external links:
The Empire Ships - On the "Mariners" website. Empire Pict can be found on this page.

U-108 | Claus Scholtz

U-578 - The boat that sank Polyphemus

The attack on Polyphemus | The attack on Norland

Back to Norland on the "Ships starting with N" page.

The text on this page was compiled with the help of: E-mail from Barbara Mumford (her source: "Empire Ships"), "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Norwegian Maritime Museum, Volume II, summary of survivors' statements, received from Tony Cooper, England, and misc. (ref. My sources).


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