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M/S Belmoira
Updated Jan. 2-2013

To Belmoira on the "Ships starting with B" page.

Crew List

A picture is available at (external link).
Another picture can be found on this external page (click in it to enlarge).

Manager: Christen Smith, Oslo.
3214 gt., 1869 net, 4518 tdwt.
Call Sign: LGCA.

Delivered in Febr.-1928 from Sir W. G. Armstrong Whitworth & Co. Ltd., Newcastle upon Tyne (1027) as Belmoira to Rederiet Belmoira A/S (Christen Smith & Co.), Oslo. 329.6' x 49.2' x 21.2', 4 cyl. 2T single acting Sulzer DM (Armstrong), 387 nhp. Owned from Oct.-1935 by Skibs-A/S, Belships Co. Ltd. (Christen Smith), Oslo.

Captain: Morten Mortensen (he tells his story on this external page - Norwegian text).

This original document from the National Archives of Norway has information on some of her voyages prior to being sunk.


According to the Memorial for Seamen in Stavern, Norway (link below), Belmoira lost a crew member in the spring of 1940. Cook Hans Bertin Severhagen is said to have died on board following an illness, May 9-1940. From the archive document, we learn that Belmoira was on her way from Capetown to Dakar on that date.

Related external link:
Stavern Memorial commemoration

 Final Fate - 1940: 

Belmoira left Dakar alone* on June 18-1940 in ballast for Southampton (archive doc gives Avonmouth), thereby escaping internment, a fate the other 26 Norwegian ships in North and West Africa at the time of the fall of France had to endure. However, she was torpedoed by U-26** (Scheringer) in the early morning of June 30 (approx. 48 15N 10 30W, about 250 miles southwest of Lands End according to the captain's report). She was hit amidships on the starboard side between No. 2 and 3 hatch, causing an enormous explosion. Belmoira had no armament at the time. She had a complement of 25 and, since a dark object assumed to be a U-boat had been seen on the horizon earlier, they had been instructed to hold themselves in readiness for all eventualities. After the explosion they took to the lifeboats, though 4 had to jump overboard and were later picked up by one of the boats. The captain, who was on the bridge, had run down to his cabin after he had given the orders for the lifeboats to be launched, picked up his briefcase with the ship's papers, then went back on deck and towards aft where he was practically able to step straight into the lifeboat because the ship had already submerged quite a bit. About 5 minutes after she had been hit she broke in two and sank very quickly, with the two parts knocking against each other as she went down.

* It looks like she may have been intended for Convoy SL 36 (external link), but did not catch up with the convoy. Captain Mortensen says in an article found on this external page (Norwegian text) that they had come from Saigon via Capetown to French West Africa (agreeing with the archive document) and had left on June 18 in order to join a convoy but they were stopped (due to the situation in France) and sent back. The captain went ashore to get further instructions, but could not obtain any more info, so they left again a few hours later, hoping to catch up with the convoy. They did see the masts of some ships from it one evening, but suffered some engine trouble so had to slow down again. Therefore, they ended up sailing alone.

** "Nortraships flåte" says that Belmoira was torpedoed by U-102, this being the only U-boat in the area at the time, but this appears to be incorrect. Roger W. Jordan says Belmoira was torpedoed by U-26 (Scheringer), and J. Rohwer agrees, but says there is no torpedo report for Belmoira (both agree with the position given above, Rohwer gives no date). Both the above mentioned U-boats were operating in the area at the time, but neither returned from their patrols; both were sunk on July 1-1940 - ref. links provided at the end of this page for more info. The captain stated that the U-boat had Mickey Mouse painted on it within a blue circle on the conning tower. I made some inquires about this Mickey Mouse "logo" on my own ship forum, and Jan-Olof, Sweden confirmed that this was U-26. Also, another response to my query states that the survivors of U-26 had identified their victim that day as Belmoira. Rohwer claims Belmoira was a steam ship, and suggests she may have been in Convoy OA 175 at the time (external link), but as mentioned, she was sailing alone, and besides, this convoy sailed from, not to the U.K. U-26 went on to attack this convoy shortly after Belmoira had been sunk (see this external page), so that may be where this confusion stems from (there's no mention of a convoy in the official sinking report for Belmoira).

The U-boat came up to ask the usual questions of the men in the captain's boat, then submerged and the survivors set sail, heading northeast. That afternoon they were offered help by the British D/S Sheridan, but as that ship was en route to Brazil they chose to continue in the lifeboats (Sheridan is listed in Convoy OB 175, which had left Liverpool on June 27 and dispersed on the 30th - external link. She arrived Santos on Aug. 4). The Sheridan notified two Spanish trawlers nearby, which picked them up late that same afternoon (captain says at 19:30) and landed them at La Coruña, Spain on July 2. A visitor to my website, Juan Carlos Salgado tells me the names of the trawlers were Miguel Veiga and Weyler No 2 (the captain says Weyler No. 1 from Bouzas), and says they were asked by Sheridan at 21:00 hrs on June 30 to pick up crew of Belmoira. They picked up 25 "castaways" 300 miles off La Coruña and landed them there on July 2, as mentioned. He has also provided me with a list of the survivors' names, which can be found below. One of the lifeboats had been taken aboard Weyler, while some of the contents of the other had been taken aboard the other trawler, which subsequently took the boat in tow, but during the first night the towline broke and it was lost. The rescued boat and the contents saved from the other were later handed over to the Norwegian Consul.

The maritime hearings were held in Lisbon on July 25-1940 with Captain Mortensen, the chief engineer, the 2nd engineer, the 2nd mate, and Able Seaman Strømme appearing.

For info, U-26 had also been responsible for the attack on Nidarholm and Steinstad earlier that year - follow the links for details.

Crew List - all rescued:
All Norwegian

The list was originally sent to me by Juan Carlos Salgado, author and researcher of WW2 incidents related to Spain. The list has since been compared to the crew list found in "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", and the spelling adjusted where necessary.

Morten Mortensen
1st Mate
Asbjørn Uthne
2nd Mate/R.O.
Tore Edvind Olsen
3rd Mate
Haavard Mathiesen
Johan Gamlem
Ivar Lund Gunnulfsen
Able Seaman
Harald Nicolai Strømme
Able Seaman*
Gunnar Nilsen
Able Seaman
Leif Ragnar Emil Nilsen
Ordinary Seaman
Finn Fredriksen
Ordinary Seaman
Jentoft Martin Hansen
Ordinary Seaman*
Reidar Olsen
Jr. Ordinary Seaman
Ivar Arnold Aarø
Deck Boy
Aage Risum
Chief Engineer
Morten L. Johansen
2nd Engineer
Odd Johannes Kjeldsberg
3rd Engineer
Johan Henry Johansen
Ole Larsen
Arne Ludvig Paulsen
Henry Andersen
Leif Johnsen
Engine boy
Camillo Carlsen
Isak S. Holte
Jarl Bang
Karl Lundgren*

* Mr. Salgados's list had one name that does not appear in the Norwegian source, namely Donkeyman Karl Lundgren. Only 24 names are given in the Norw. source, but it does say that 25 survived.

* The boatswain later joined Fagerbro. G. Nilsen also served on Siljestad. I believe Reidar Olsen is identical to the Reidar Olsen who survived the attack on Høegh Giant. Steward Holte later survived the attack on Havtor in 1941. He died when Bello was sunk in Dec.-1942 - follow the links for details.

Back to Belmoira on the "Ships starting with B" page.

The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume I, Norwegian Maritime Museum, and misc. others for cross checking info. as named within above text - ref My sources.


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