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Re: Vardefjell
Posted by: Roy Martin (IP Logged)
Date: April 13, 2012 01:36AM

A short version ofan article in the TOWROPE, the journal of the Deep Sea Rescue Tugs Association, by Reg Frampton Signalman on Marauder.

Christmas Eve 1943 ss Vardefjell

MARAUDER was first stationed at Campbeltown, followed by Milford Haven, Falmouth, Plymouth, Scapa Flow, Campbeltown (again) and then Stornaway. On Christmas Eve 1943 (actually 1942?) MARAUDER sailed from the latter port to go to the assistance of the Norwegian tanker VARDEFJELL, had broken in half while in convoy in a North Atlantic storm.
When MARAUDER found the casualty a boat was sent away with Lt McCorke (a noted Cornish yachtsman) and a crew of six. After a ‘hellish trip’ the boats crew boarded the tanker and connected the tow; easy to write, but very difficult to do. As soon as MARAUDER took the strain the towline parted and, with the weather deteriorating even further, the crew were marooned on a dead ship. They could see their tug with her stern rising out of the water and her racing propellers visible. Eventually the C.O. Lt Cdr Jennings RNR signalled that he would have to take the tug to the Faroes for shelter. It should be remembered that an important part of his crew was on the casualty, so the tug was shorthanded. In the final signal the tug informed those on the VARDEFJELL that they were drifting towards a minefield!
Because of oil leaking from the cargo they were unable to light fires and it was snowing and bitterly cold. After several days, during which the weather moderated a little, they were found by the ex Hull trawler HMS KINGSTON AGATE. They were taken off by the trawlers boat, they found that the motion on the trawler was even worse than it had been on their tug. Even getting the remains of a hot meal was a rarity. Reg Frampton, the MARAUDER’s signalman says that the trawler’s crew ‘were a wild bunch, they had not had any leave for a long time’: this coming from a member of a crew who had, in the early days, ‘a reputation for causing trouble wherever they were’!
In January 1943 the MARAUDER was again sent to salvage the hulk, which had been spotted by an aircraft, close to the occupied coast of Norway. This time the salvage was successful, with the casualty being redelivered to the Faroes. The tow back to the UK is not covered. By 1944 the VARDEFJELL was back in service with a new bow. With the engines the stern half of a ship is of far more value than the bow.

Subject Written By Posted
  Vardefjell Roy Martin 04/12/2012 04:45AM
  Re: Vardefjell siri 04/12/2012 07:30AM
  Re: Vardefjell Roy Martin 04/13/2012 01:36AM
  Re: Vardefjell siri 04/14/2012 04:26AM

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