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Manager: Wilh. Wilhelmsen, Tønsberg
Launched by Odense Staalskibsvaerft, Odense (Yard No. 18) on Jan. 17-1925, completed Aug. 8 that year.
Captain: Sigfred Ahlgren
Her voyages are listed on this original document received from the National Archives of Norway.
As can be seen when going to the archive document above, Touraine must have gotten out of Norway shortly before the German invasion. Departure date from Oslo is not given, but she arrived Table Bay on Apr. 17-1940, later making voyages to East London, Durban, Beira and Newcastle N.S.W. From there she proceeded to Sydney, on to Brisbane and back to Sydney, then returned to Table Bay before heading to Freetown on Aug. 16, with arrival Aug. 29. She left Freetown again on Sept. 3 and is listed in station 33 of Convoy SL 46, which arrived Liverpool on the 23rd; Touraine, cargo of wool, arrived Greenock on the 22nd (convoy is available at the external link below - Soløy and Rinda are also listed).
Related external link:
Touraine later proceeded to Glasgow, with arrival there Oct. 1, then left Glasgow on Oct. 4, and Clyde anchorage on Oct. 6 in ballast, joining a convoy*. According to the captain's statements at the subsequent inquiry, she was bound for Sydney, C.B.
On the night of Oct. 6/7, she lost touch with the convoy, and was torpedoed near hatch 4 by U-59 (Matz) at about 16:15 on Oct. 7, west of Bloody Foreland, Ireland, position 55 12N 10 18W**. She rapidly settled by the stern, and fearing further attacks the crew was ordered to the lifeboats.
All 35 had survived and launched 3 lifeboats which remained by the ship for a while. When last seen, her bow was high out of the water and she was heavily down by the stern.
The 1st mate's lifeboat with 11 ratings launched a sea anchor, the sea being very rough and darkness was coming on. At daybreak they tried to signal to the 3rd mate's boat (motor boat) with the help of a morse lamp, but the latter could not read the message, and by daylight (Oct. 8) the 3rd mate's boat was no longer within view. They lay at sea anchor until around noon and about an hour later a steamer was sighted, but their signals were not observed. An aircraft came over them later on, but again their signals were not seen. The weather improved that afternoon so they set sail for land, launching a sea anchor again as darkness fell. When a ship was observed to leeward, they put up a blue light and the ship altered course towards them. Shortly thereafter they were all safely on board the British armed merchant cruiser Derbyshire which landed them at Greenock on Oct. 9, having reported the existence of the other 2 boats to the Naval Authorities.
The captain's lifeboat, meanwhile, had remained by the ship until dark, then rowed with the wind astern until 10 a.m. the following morning, at which time sail was set, sighting land about 15:00 the next day, Oct. 9. At 4 a.m. on the 10th they rowed around until a bay was found on leeside where the boat was beached (Arranmore Island, Donegal), before they went to a farmhouse where they got hot tea and food. They later arrived in Glasgow.
The 3rd lifeboat landed at Tory Island in the morning of Oct. 10.
The maritime inquiry was held in Glasgow on Oct. 28-1940 with the captain, the 1st and 2nd mates, and Able Seaman Eriksen attending.
Back to Touraine on the "Ships starting with T" page.
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).