D/S Ringulv spring-1940
Posted by: Siri
Date: July 06, 2002 06:34AM
This is a rather lengthy post, but there are still quite a few gaps in my father's story which I'm hoping someone could help me fill in. I'd very much like to somehow establish which convoys this ship was in at various times in the spring of 1940. Some clues are found in my father's letters, and also in the captain's diary and letters and the stoker's diary, included in a couple of Norwegian books years ago (also included on my website).
It appears Ringulv had arrived Le Havre in March-1940 from New York, via Canada for convoy (I would assume this was Halifax). The stoker says they left Staten Island a foggy cold morning for Canada where they joined a large convoy. Encountering a bad storm en route to Europe, Ringulv was not able to keep up with the convoy speed and ended up crossing the ocean alone. They were heavily loaded and even had army trucks on deck, but arrived Le Havre safely early in March, after a voyage of 22 days.
QUESTION 1: They would have gone to England before heading to Le Havre to unload, right? My guess is Convoy HX 20 with 55 ships, left Halifax Febr. 16, arrived Liverpool March 4 (HX 21 only had 16 ships according to Arnold Hague, so I'm ruling it out), or possibly HX 22 which had 35 ships and departed Halifax on Febr. 22 and arrived on March 9, though I lean towards the first one. Does anyone have records to confirm she was in one of these?
QUESTION 2: Would Ringulv have been in convoy from England to Le Havre too, and if so, any guesses as to which one? (as mentioned she arrived Le Havre early in March).
QUESTION 3 and 4: After a few weeks in Le Havre Ringulv continued to Swansea for a cargo of coal for Norway; again, would she have been in a convoy from Le Havre to Swansea - which one? My father says in one of his letters "We managed to get out and went to Swansea, where we loaded coal for Bergen. Before we rounded Scotland the S/S Navarra was torpedoed right in front of us (Apr. 6). The stoker says they proceeded to Kirkwall alone to join a convoy for Norway. My father says "Across the North Sea we were in a convoy of about 50 ships, escorted by the destroyer Cossack. Three hours before our arrival Bergen (Apr. 9-1940) we were chased back by air planes, u-boats and war ships. We had to turn around and go back to Methil". This is the most important question of all, which convoy would this have been? Does anyone know names of other ships taking part?
QUESTION 5: She went from Methil to Newcastle for war paint and degaussing - would she have sailed alone?
QUESTION 6: The stoker now says "Then we sailed in convoy along the east coast of England". Which one? Some clues: The convoy was attacked by German aircraft, and though no ships were hit there was a "terrible air battle" between English and German planes. 2 German aircraft shot down. The stoker continues "We circled England, up the west coast and down the east (?). As we passed Dover on our way to France (the coal originally intended for Norway was to be unloaded in Le Havre), we heard a terrible booming in the direction of Holland. This was the time when Holland was being invaded by the Germans", and my father says "In Newcastle we were also bombed day and night of course, until we continued south along the coast among debris from the German E-boat attacks on the ships in the area. We passed outside of Rotterdam on May 10 when the Germans lay this city in ruins with their bombs".
Through continuous bombing her cargo was unloaded in Le Havre, and after having evacuated around 1500 refugees, Ringulv headed for Casablanca, where she was later interned. Is it likely she would have proceeded to Morocco on her own?
Lots of questions, but I'd be eternally grateful if someone has records to help me fill in these gaps.