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M/T Nyholt
Updated Aug. 6-2010

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

Crew List

Source: Roger W. Jordan collection - sent to me for inclusion on this website.

Manager: Christian Haaland, Haugesund
8087 gt, 4807 net, 11 525 tdwt, remeasured in 1933, 12 350 tdwt.
Dimensions: 461.7' x 60.3' x 34.4'.
Machinery: 2 x 6 cyl. 4T EV B&W, 3200 bhp, 2 propeller, 11 knots.
Signal Letters: LDSL

Delivered in Apr.-1931 from Odense Staalskibsværft, Odense as Nyholt to D/S A/S Idaho, Haugesund (Chr. Haaland).

Captain: Alf P. Andersen

In Admiralty service from 1940 (Royal Fleet Auxiliary).

Related items on this website:
Guestbook message - From the grandson of Alfred Nilsen.
Guestbook message - From the grandson of Harald Hansen.
Guestbook message - From the grandson of Jakob Strømsnes.
Guestbook message - From the son of Robert Griffiths. He later left this message

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

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

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

(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 some voyages may be missing.

Departure From To Arrival Convoy Remarks
1940 Apr. 7 San Francisco Balboa Apr. 21 Independent From Los Angeles, Apr. 9.
See Page 1
Apr. 22 Cristobal Kingston Apr. 24 Independent
May 5 Kingston Curacao May 9 Independent
May 19 Curacao Buenos Aires June 11 Independent
June 16 Buenos Aires Curacao July 4 Independent
July 5 Curacao Buenos Aires July 25 Independent
July 29 Buenos Aires Capetown Aug. 13 Independent
Aug. 14 Capetown Port Elizabeth Aug. 16 Independent
Aug. 31* Port Elizabeth Abadan Sept. 12 Independent *Page 1 gives departure Aug. 21
Sept. 13 Abadan Trincomalee Sept. 24 Independent
Oct. 1 Trincomalee Abadan Oct. 10 Independent
Oct. 12 Abadan Colombo Oct. 22 Independent
Oct. 22 Colombo Singapore Oct. 28 Independent
Nov. 4 Singapore Colombo Nov. 11 Independent
Nov. 11 Colombo Abadan Independent
Nov. 22 Abadan Fremantle Dec. 14 Independent
Dec. 14 Fremantle Brisbane Independent
Dec. 26 Brisbane Sydney, N.S.W. Dec. 29 Independent
1941 Jan. 4 Sydney, N.S.W. Melbourne Jan. 6 Independent Notional sailing date
Jan. 16 Melbourne Abadan Febr. 10 Independent
Febr. 14 Abadan Aden Febr. 22 Independent
Febr. 23 Aden Abadan March 5 Independent Notional sailing date
March 7 Abadan Mombasa March 19 Independent
March 21 Mombasa Capetown Apr. 1 Independent
Apr. 2 Capetown Freetown Apr. 14 Independent
Apr. 22 Freetown Gibraltar May 2 Independent
May 7 Gibraltar Curacao May 22 Independent
May 23 Curacao Bermuda May 29 Independent
May 30 Bermuda BHX 130 See link to HX 130
June 5 Bermuda portion joined main convoy Clyde June 21 HX 130 See also Page 1
June 30 Clyde OB 341 For Curacao.
Dispersed 48 30N 26 30W, July 6.
Convoy available at OB 341
(external link)
July 6 Dispersed from OB 341 Curacao July 19 Independent
July 20 Curacao Halifax July 29 Independent
Aug. 1 Halifax Reykjavik Aug. 13 HX 142 For Reykjavik.
Convoy will be added.
See ships in HX convoys
Oct. 8 Reykjavik ON 23 Joined from Iceland.
Detached Oct. 19.
Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
Oct. 19 Detached from ON 23 New York City Oct. 24 Independent
Nov. 28 New York City Halifax Nov. 30 Independent
Dec. 3 Halifax Reykjavik Dec. 17 HX 163 For Reykjavik
1942 Jan. 4 Reykjavik ON 52 Joined from Iceland Jan. 5.
Dispersed Jan. 11
Convoy will be added.
See link above
Jan. 11 Dispersed from ON 52 Independent Sunk - See "Final Fate" below
(see also Page 2)

 Some Convoy Voyages: 
For information on voyages made in between those mentioned here, please see the documents received from the National Archives of Norway and A. Hague's Voyage Record above. Follow the convoy links provided for further details; the Commodore's notes are also available for some of them and several Norwegian ships took part.

As will be seen when going to Page 1 of the archive documents, Nyholt was in Los Angeles when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940, leaving that day for Curacao, where she arrived, via Balboa and Kingston, Jamaica, on May 9. Some of her 1941 voyages are also shown on this document.

At the end of May-1941, she joined the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 130. Her destination is given as Clyde, cargo of Admiralty fuel. Cruising order/Commodore's notes are also available for this convoy. Together with Brisk, Evanger, Fana, Leikanger, Novasli, Nueva Granada, Polartank, Ringstad, Sommerstad, Thorøy, Thorshavn, Thorsholm and Vigsnes, she now appears in Convoy OB 341, originating in Liverpool on June 30, dispersed July 6, Nyholt arriving Curacao on July 19 (she had started out from Clyde on June 30). Please note that I believe some of the above ships belong in Convoy OB 341A - see Evanger for an explanation. Nyholt left Curacao already the next day to head to Halifax in order to join a convoy back across the Atlantic. In Fact, Tony Cooper, a visitor to my website has told me that she was in station 56 of Convoy HX 142*, together with the Norwegian Siljestad, Kristianiafjord and Morgenen (A. Hague has also included Sama). Corvus was also initially in this convoy but was sent to Convoy SC 39* because she was too slow for HX 142. HX 142 departed Halifax on Aug. 1-1941 and arrived Liverpool on the 18th, but as will be seen when going to Page 2 of the archive documents, Nyholt did not follow this convoy to the U.K., but stopped at Reykjavik on Aug. 13. According to Tony's information 63 ships sailed from Halifax in this convoy, while 8 joined from Sydney, C.B. Kirkpool and Scottish Musician had engine defects and were sent back to Halifax. Like Corvus, Hercules (Dutch) was also sent to join SC 39 because of her slow speed. Rotterdam, Murena, Hjelmaren and Narragansett went missing in the fog (from HX 142). Empire Sailor did not join HX 142 till Aug. 6. Perth was the rescue ship for HX 142.

The following comes from the Commodore:
Delayed in sailing by fog which persisted during the whole convoy. First count was on August 4th when four ships were missing. On Aug. 5, the Sydney portion of 8 ships and SC 39 of 27 ships joined HX 142. SC 39 parted company with HX 142 on Aug. 13.

It looks like Nyholt remained at Reykjavik for almost 2 months; her departure is given as Oct. 8, and she's listed in the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 23*, which had originated in Liverpool on Oct. 4 and arrived Halifax on the 19th. Nyholt, however, was bound for New York, where she arrived on Oct. 24. Astrell, Jan Mayen (for Iceland), Lancing and Suderholm are also listed in this convoy. Nyholt remained in New York for over a month before proceeding to Halifax, and according to Arnold Hague, she joined Convoy HX 163, departing Halifax on Dec. 3. She again stopped at Reykjavik, arriving there on Dec. 17 - again, see Page 2.

Nyholt left Reykjavik again on Jan. 4-1942, joining Convoy ON 52* in order to return to New York. Bello, Brasil, Kaia Knudsen, Katy, Morgenen, Mosli, Solsten, Stigstad, Thorshøvdi, Tungsha and Vanja are also listed in this convoy, which originated in Liverpool on Dec. 31 and was dispersed Jan. 11-1942. Montbretia and Rose are named aong the escorts (see ON convoy escorts). Nyholt, however, did not make it to her destination.

* The ON convoys will be added to individual pages in my Convoys section in due course, along with further details on each. In the meantime, the ships sailing in them (and escorts) are named in the section listing ships in all ON convoys. Also, the entire HX series and SC series will eventually be updated and completed, including the already existing convoys (some have already been updated), but for now, please go to ships in all HX convoys and ships in all SC convoys.

More info on the other Norwegian ships mentioned here is available via the alphabet index at the end of this page, or go to the Master Ship Index.

 Final Fate - 1942: 

Nyholt was torpedoed by U-87 (Berger) 180 n. miles south of Cape Race (45 46N 54 18W) in the evening of Jan. 17-1942, after having lost contact with Convoy ON 52 in thick fog south of Greenland on a voyage in ballast from Reykjavik to New York. As already mentioned above, this convoy had started out in Liverpool on Dec. 31-1941 and was dispersed Jan. 11-1942; Nyholt had joined from Iceland on Jan. 5.

At the time of attack 3rd Mate Hermansen was on watch on the bridge, with Able Seaman Knarvik at the wheel, and Able Seaman Østgaard and Ordinary Seaman Rolfsen on lookout duty. The explosiond destroyed 3 tanks on the port side, but she stayed afloat and tried to get away at full speed, adapting a zig-zag course for Cape Race. However, about 4 hours later (Jan. 18) she was hit by another two torpedoes, also port side. The men had left the ship before it was shelled for about half an hour and sunk.

4 lifeboats had been launched. Those who were in 2 of the boats were later transferred to the larger motorboat, because the other 2 had been damaged in the explosion. The captain and 2 men fell (jumped?) into the sea; the captain was picked up by one of the boats, but Mechanic Skaaland and Galley Boy Hopland were lost. The lifeboats did not have contact with each other that first day, but met up again on the 19th. They decided to head south in order to try to reach warmer waters, the motorboat taking the other boat in tow.

As per Jan. 20, after some redistribution of men had taken place, there were 15 in the lifeboat and 24 (incl. the captain) in the motorboat. Late that night a snow storm blew up, and the motorboat used a sea anchor, still with the lifeboat in tow. During the night the latter boat drifted off, and though they met up again the following morning, the seas were so heavy that it was impossible to resume the towing. Before parting company, those in the motorboat had hailed the others and told them it was probably best to steer in a northerly direction afterall, in order to reach an area with more traffic and a better chance of being rescued. The lifeboat was never seen again.

For 9 days the people in the motorboat battled the sub zero temperatures. It's important to keep in mind that this took place from Jan. 18 and onwards in the waters between Iceland and Greenland, and there were times when the boat was covered in an inch thick layer of ice, when hurricane force winds were howling and the huge, cold waves threatened to swallow them. There's a vivid and extremely moving account of the days spent in the open lifeboat in the book "Tusen norske ship" by Lise Lindbæk, written by Dr. Adam Egede Nissen, a passenger on Nyholt. This book was translated to English under the title "Norway's New Saga of the Sea" - see my page "Books" (link at the bottom of this page) for tips on how to find a copy. It's mainly based on Lise Lindbæk's interviews with seamen during the war; the Norwegian version was published in New York in Nov. 1943.

1st Engineer Olaf Egeland died, and his wool sweater was given to someone who had none. Just as they were about to bury their Scottish shipmate, Oiler Michael Duffy, in the sea on Jan. 26 they were spotted by a Lockheed Hudson which kept circling above them as if to give them encouragement, and dropped a lifevest containing 2 thermoses with warm liquids, apples, oranges, cigarettes and some sandwiches from the pilots' own lunch down to the exhausted seamen. Egede Nissen had nearly frozen to death himself during the last night in the lifeboat. He hadn't slept for more than an hour during the 9 days, and had lain down next to the engine box, covered by a sail. He was woken up by somebody knocking against him when he realized he was passing out. Another man next to him was in the same situation, but he woke him up, thereby probably saving his life. A few hours after the aircraft had circled around them they were picked up by the Canadian destroyer St. Clair and landed in Halifax the next day, Jan. 27. By then the captain had died on board the destroyer. He had clung to life until he saw his men rescued, then gave up his battle and simply let go. 1st Engineer Knut Meland, who had survived the sinking of Taranger the year before, and who had been a passenger on Nyholt, died at a hospital on Febr. 5.

J. Rohwer says Nyholt was torpedoed, shelled and sunk on the 17th, the first attack taking place at 03:59, German time - see link below, which adds: "The U-boat had difficulties to hit the wild zigzagging tanker and missed with four torpedoes at 04.04, 04.08, 04.55 and 05.34 hours. While reloading the tubes, the tanker tried to ram the U-boat and both ships turned in circles near to each others until the stern tube was reloaded. The stern torpedo was fired at 08.21 hours and hit the ship amidships on the port side, followed by a bow torpedo four minutes later, but the last torpedo fired at 08.26 hours missed and the U-boat had to sink the ship with the deck gun after the crew abandoned ship in two lifeboats. 120 rounds were fired between 09.02 and 09.35 hours, of which about 70 were hits".

Other ships attacked from dispersed Convoy ON 52: British Toorak (damaged by U-86) and Diala (damaged by U-553, sunk by U-587).

Related external links:
The attack on Toorak
The attacks on Diala
The attacks on Nyholt

 A Royal Visit: 

The 20 year old Ordinary Seaman Johannes Bauge (Haugesund) had gangrene in both his hands, but was operated and allowed to keep his hands. He received unexpected visitors at Camp Hill Hospital, Halifax when Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Märtha (the parents of Norway's present King Harald) came by to see him and others in the room. The Crown Princess pulled a chair up to his bed and sat down for a chat while the Crown Prince wandered around talking to the others. 2nd Mate Haaland had both his legs amputated (he had previously served on Ila). An ordinary seaman had all his toes removed (Louis Rolfsen?), 1st Mate Hansen lost part of his foot, and several had some toes removed. 6 ended up staying in a hospital; some for just a few weeks, others up to 2 years.

An inquiry was held at this hospital on Apr. 23-1942. The 1st and 3rd mates, engine Room Assistant Strømsnes and the carpenter were questioned. The 2nd mate had just undergone the operation at that time and was too weak to be questioned as was Ordinary Seaman Rolfsen. According to Dr. Egede Nissen's statements the lifeboats had collided with the U-boat and literally had to pull themselves free from it.

 The Vaco Suit saves Lives: 

It later became clear that those who did not wear the so called Vaco suit suit (follow the link for a description) were the ones who did not survive the ordeal. The captain had not had time to put his on, and after his stay in the cold water he had to endure the days in the boat without the protection of the suit. Michael Duffy did not wear his suit, and the 2nd mate who had to have both his legs amputated was also without one; the same mate had tried to warm his dying shipmate Michael Duffy's frozen body with his own, while blowing his own warm breath on him and into his mouth in a desperate effort to save his life there in the boat.

 Lloyd's War Medal for Bravery at Sea: 

1st Mate Harald Hansen later received "Lloyds War Medal for Bravery at Sea", for the way he distinguished himself in commanding the lifeboat. This medal was instituted by the Corporation of Lloyd's in Dec.-1940, from an idea by Sir Percy Graham, a member of Lloyd's Committee. It's made of silver, and on one side there's a figure of a man (sitting) symbolizing Courage and Endurance. He's looking across the sea and in the distance a ship can be seen. He holds a wreath in his right hand, possibly a laurel wreath symbolizing victory? Along the edge it says "Awarded by Lloyd's". On the other side (reverse side) there's a Trident which symbolizes Sea Power. This is surrounded along the edge of the medal by a wreath of oak leaves and acorns. Across the center is the word "Bravery". It has a silver and blue ribbon with 2 narrow silver edges and a wide silver stripe in the center. This medal would be worn on the right breast. Only 530 were awarded, several to Norwegian seamen. 5 were awarded to women, namely Miss Virginia A. Drummond, 2nd Engineer(?) S/S Bonita, Miss M. E. Ferguson, Passenger S/S Avila Star, Dr. A. N. Miller, Ship's Doctor S/S Britannia, Miss E. M. Owen, Stewardess S/S St. Patrick, and Mrs. E. Plumb, First Class Stewardess M/V Rangitane. Some of the Norwegians who received it were Captain Albert Toft of Talabot, 1st Mate Arnt Olav Torgersen of D/S Segundo, Captain Thoresen, 1st Mate Arntsen and Pumpman Larsen of Frontenac among others. The external websites that I've linked to at the end of this page have more info (with a picture of the medal).

11 Norwegian ships were sunk in Jan.-1942, 155 crew and 5 passengers died. (One source says 8 ships were Norwegian, and 75 lives lost).

Crew List:
*According to this external page, H. Ødegård had previously served on Germa, and was on board Eastern Star when she was sunk. Following the loss of Nyholt, he trained to become a gunner and then joined Lutz, General Fleischer, Sommerstad and Haakon Hauan.

1st Mate
Harald Hansen
2nd Mate
Størker Haaland
3rd Mate
Paul Hermansen
Sofus Salomonsen
Vlades Burba
Able Seaman
Haakon Østgaard*
(should be Ødegaard)
Able Seaman
Ingvald Knarvik
Able Seaman
Oscar Kipperberg
Able Seaman
Aksel Widell
Able Seaman
Trygve Olsen
Able Seaman
Halvor Aasmundrud
Ordinary Seaman
Johannes Bauge
Ordinary Seaman
Louis Rolfsen
2nd Engineer
Haakon Stene
Jakob Strømsnes
Harry Achre
Sigurd Heggelund
Alfred Nilsen
Gwen Edward
Adam Egede-Nissen
Guestbook Message from the grandson of Alfred Nilsen.
Guestbook message from the grandson of Harald Hansen.
Guestbook message from the grandson of Jakob Strømsnes.

Alf P. Andersen
(Died Jan. 27)

Able Seaman
Joakim Erstad

Ordinary Seaman
Lauritz Frantsen

1st Engineer
Olaf Egeland
(Died Jan. 22)

3rd Engineer
Gunnar Jacobsen

Christian Johnsen

Ragnvald Skaaland

Torvald Karlsen

Oscar Abrahamsen

Henrik Henriksen

Michael Duffy

Emil Hornfelt

Tørres Heggelund

Kaare Dahl

Galley Boy
Harry Hopland

Mess Boy
Edward Worthington*

Mess Boy
Albert Adams*

Robert Griffith Griffiths*

(1st Engineer)
Knut Meland
(Died Febr. 5)

Halvor M. Sverkelid
+ 1 more?
Guestbook message from the son of Robert Griffiths
Another message

Billy McGee, England has told me that the men denoted * are commemorated at Tower Hill. They can be found on the The Commonwealth War Graves Comm. website by entering each name in the relevant search field and using WW II and 1942 in the other fields to narrow the search. I cannot find Michael Duffy, he may not be commemorated(?) or his name may be spelt wrong(?). Here is Edward Worthington, and here is Albert Adams, both 17 years old and from Earlestown, Lancashire. I also found Roberth Griffiths, commemorated at Portshmouth Naval Memorial. The Canadian Emil Hornfelt is commemorated at the Halifax Memorial. He's also included in the Candian Merchant Navy War Dead database.

My Guestbook has a message from someone who thinks her grandfather, Edward Joseph Boon may have been among the casualties of Nyholt. However, she has since found out that he served on Culebra. He's mentioned on this page at the Commonwealth War Graves Comm. website.

Related external links:
Stavern Memorial commemorations - 16 are commemorated at the Stavern Memorial, some of the names are spelt a little differently. Oiler Henriksen is listed twice (as able seaman), once as Henry Johan Henriksen and also as Henry Johan H. Torsnes. This website says 19 died in all.

Operations information for U-87


Lloyd's War Medal for Bravery at Sea - With a picture of the medal

Crews & Gallantry Awards - (A section of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich). This is simply a research guide with advice on how and where to find information on the various medals awarded to Merchant Seamen. According to this, a register of awards of Lloyd's War Medal for Bravery at Sea 1939–1945 can be found in "Under Hazardous Circumstances" compiled by R J Scarlett.

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

Other ships by this name: The company later had 2 more ships named Nyholt. One was delivered in June 1951, 10 358 gt. Sold in Jan.-1965 to Spanish breakers. The other was built 1975, 17 958 gt. Had various owners, then became Silver Holt of Cyprus in 1991, Bow Explorer 1995 (Liberia), Norwegian Gyda in 1999.

The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Våre motorskip" by Leif M. Bjørkelund and E. H. Kongshavn, "Tusen norske skip", Lise Lindbæk, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Norwegian Maritime Museum, Volume II, and misc. others for cross checking facts. Details on Lloyd's medal is from an article by Ian A. Millar found in "Krigsseileren" - Ref. Sources/Books.


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