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Manager: Wilh. Wilhelmsen, Tønsberg
Launched by Akers Mekaniske Verksted A/S, Oslo (Yard No. 466) on Oct. 23-1935, completed Dec. 14.
Captains: Einar Fredrick Isaachsen(?), Carl I. Jensen.
Her voyages are listed on this original document received from the National Archives of Norway.
Please compare the above voyages with Arnold Hague's Voyage Record below.
(Received from Don Kindell - His source: The late Arnold Hague's database).
Follow the convoy links provided for more information on each.
Taurus was in Sweden when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940, having arrived Malmö from Copenhagen on Apr. 8, but managed to escape with 4 other ships on Jan. 23-1941 in an operation codenamed "Rubble", under the leadership of the British George Binney - Please continue to my page about Elisabeth Bakke for more details on this breakout. The captain of Taurus on arrival Malmö, Einar Fredrick Isaachsen, had transferred to Tai Shan in Gothenburg, having travelled by train from Malmö. Captain Carl Iver Jensen, who according to "The Blockade Busters"* was the 1st mate on Taurus up until that time, took over as captain.
147 men and 1 woman, wife of Chief Engineer Hans G. Hansen of John Bakke, had taken part in the breakout; 58 were British, 57 Norwegian, 31 Swedish and 1 Latvian. The 4th ship involved in this successful operation was Ranja. They arrived Kirkwall on Jan. 25.
A visitor to my website, George Monk has told me that the following men received ungazetted awards for services in Operation Rubble (his source: Seedies List of awards to the British Merchant Navy which includes awards to Allied merchant seamen):
Captain Carl Iver Jensen - Hon OBE (Civ)
At the external website that I've linked to below, Taurus is listed as scheduled (with destination Freetown) for Convoy OB 299, which left Liverpool on March 19-1941, but she did not join. She's also listed as cancelled from Convoy OB 300, leaving Liverpool on March 20, but eventually got away with OB 301 on March 23, joining from Clyde. This convoy was dispersed on March 27, Taurus arriving Freetown on Apr. 9, according to the archive document. The Norwegian Brant County, Ferncourt, Kongsgaard, Ranja and Torborg are also named in this convoy (link in the table above).
With a cargo of W.A. produce, she's later listed, together with Arosa and Corvus, in Convoy SL 74, departing Freetown on May 10-1941, arriving Liverpool June 4; Taurus, however, stopped at Oban on June 3, leaving again for Hull that same day, and according to Arnold Hague, she joined Convoy WN 136 (again with Corvus in company). As will be seen below, she didn't make it to her destination.
Taurus was attacked by German aircraft off Montrose, Scotland on June 6-1941, when on a voyage in convoy from Port Harcourt and Freetown to Hull (via Oban June 3) with a cargo of about 7000 tons groundnuts, palm kernels and cocoa. As already mentioned above, she had previously arrived Oban from Freetown in Convoy SL 74 on June 3, joining Convoy WN 136 that same day (see links in Voyage Record above). The archive document has the arrival and departure dates for Port Harcourt etc.
According to a report presented at the subsequent inquiry, the attack occured about an hour after midnight. Her 3 machine guns had been manned throughout the voyage and fire was opened at the aircraft as soon as it came within range, but immediately afterwards 3 bombs detonated in the sea close to her stern and the port quarter, causing a leak with the result that water gushed into the engine room and she started to sink by the stern, listing heavily to port. The leakage in the engine room caused the electric installations to be put out of action. The tunnel door was closed and orders given for the shackling in of the hand steering apparatus, but before this could be done the main engine had to be stopped because of the rising water. The emergency radio transmitter had also been rendered inoperable, but they were able to send a message to one of the other ships in the convoy with the help of a morse lamp, requesting tug assistance.
At 02:15, Taurus was taken in tow towards the sandy beach north of Montrose Bay by an escorting trawler* (which had also made a request for tug assistance by wireless), but the towing was interrupted for a while when another aircraft came in low and dropped 3 bombs which exploded close to her port bow, about 25 meters from the ship's side. Towing was resumed at 03:00, but as the ship was now sinking faster course was set for Johnshaven, while salvage assistance was requested. The weather worsened, and by 05:30 the after part was down to the deck in the water, so those of the crew who were not needed to continue with the towing were ordered into lifeboats and were soon afterwards picked up by the British trawler HMS Chrysolite. By 06:15, the towing had to be given up and 5 minutes later the remaining men also abandoned ship. Taurus sank at 06:22 in approximate position 56 47N 02 15W in about 20 fathoms of water.
The inquiry was held in London on June 13-1941 with the captain, the 1st mate, the 1st engineer, and Able Seaman Sandstad attending.
Crew List - No casualties:
Back to Taurus on the "Ships starting with T" page.
Other ships by this name: Wilh. Wilhelmsen had 5 ships over the years by this name, this was the 3rd one. Det Bergenske Dampskibsselskab lost a steamship named Taurus in WW I, built in Campeltown 1902, 1238 gt - torpedoed and sunk by the German UB-80 north of Whitby on Sept. 8-1918, while sailing in convoy on a voyage for Bergen (or from Rouen to Tyne?) in ballast. There's a thread on my Ship Forum that mentions this vessel; one of the responses names the 6 casualties.
There was also an American ship by this name in WW II (steam, 1251 gt), scuttled in the Pasig River, Luzon on Dec. 27-1941 (U. S. Merchant Vessel War Casualties of World War II, Robert M. Browning Jr.).
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: Wilh. Wilhelmsen fleet list, "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume II, Norwegian Maritime Museum, and misc. (ref. My sources).