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Manager: Skjeldbred's Rederi A/S, Kristiansand
Built by Craig, Taylor & Co., Ltd., Stockton-on-Tees in 1910.
Captain: Thorbjørn Skjeldbred (also served on Norbryn).
Some of her voyages are listed on this original image from the Norwegian National Archives:
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.
Errors may exist, and some voyages may be missing.
According to Page 1, Benwood was on her way from St. Lucia to Hampton Roads when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940. She later proceeded to Halifax, and at the end of that month she can be found, with a cargo of grain for Falmouth, in station 45 of Convoy HX 39. She arrived Falmouth Bay on May 13, continuing to London a few days later, where she remained for quite a long time. In June she shows up, together with Avance I, Fernbank, Ledaal, Nea, Svint and Topdalsfjord, in Convoy OA 168GF, which left Southend on June 15 and joined up with Convoy OB 168 from Liverpool 2 days later, the combined convoy forming the Gibraltar bound Convoy OG 34F*, which arrived there on June 24. Benwood, however, was only bound for Barry on that occasion, arriving there on June 18 (so was not part of the OG convoy). She later joined Convoy OB 172, originating in Liverpool on June 22, dispersed on the 26th. This time, her destination is given as Canada, cargo of coal; according to A. Hague, she arrived Pugwash on July 7, having started out from Milford Haven on June 23. The Norwegian Solfonn, bound for Aruba, is also listed in this convoy.
At the end of July, Benwood is listed as bound for London with lumber in the Sydney, C.B. section of Convoy HX 62 (she's not included on the A 1 form, but scroll down to the Advance Sailing Telegram for this convoy). In Sept.-1940, she served as Vice Commodore for Convoy OA 214, which left Methil on Sept. 14 and dispersed on the 17th, Benwood arriving Wabana independently on Sept. 29 (Page 1). Other Norwegian ships in this convoy were Bruse and Harpefjell, both bound for Clyde only (ref. external links provided within the Voyage Record above for info on the OA and OB convoys mentioned here). With a cargo of iron ore for Middlesbrough, she returned to the U.K. the following month in station 25 of the Halifax-U.K. Convoy HX 79, again having joined from Sydney, C.B. (Cape Breton). Sandanger, Egda, Triton, Thyra, Høyanger and Ravnefjell also sailed in this convoy, which had originated in Halifax on Oct. 8 and arrived Liverpool on Oct 23 with the loss of 12 ships, but no Norwegian ships were sunk. My page about HX 79 has more details, as does the external website that I've linked to further down on this page.
It'll be noticed, when going back to Page 1, that she later spent a long time at Tyne, where she had arrived on Nov. 8-1940. Departure is given as March 21-1941, and about a week later, she's listed as bound for Takoradi in Convoy OB 303, which originated in Liverpool on March 28 and dispersed on Apr. 3, Benwood arriving Takoradi independently on Apr. 26. (This convoy also included other Norwegian ships, namely Evviva, Facto, Leikanger and Troubadour). At the external website that I've linked to below, she's now mentioned in connction with Convoy SL 73 (left Freetown for the U.K. on Apr. 27 - Benwood was still in Takoradi on that date), but she instead joined Convoy SL 75, which left Freetown on May 17 and arrived Liverpool on June 13. She had a cargo of manganese, sailing in station 53.
Towards the end of July that same year we find her in Convoy OB 349, departing Liverpool on July 21, dispersed Aug. 1 (link in Voyage Record; Gallia, Gard, Lise, Thode Fagelund, Tore Jarl and Vav are also included). Benwood's destination is given as Wabana on that occasion, and she arrived there on Aug. 3 (according to the archive document), heading back to the U.K. shortly thereafter in Convoy HX 143 (station 83, cargo of iron ore), which also had Thorshavn, Mosli, Andrea Brøvig, Katy, Ravnefjell, Carmelfjell, Salamis, Primero, Belinda and Petter in its ranks. This convoy had originated in Halifax on Aug. 5 and arrived Liverpool on the 20th, but Benwood joined from Wabana and stopped at Belfast Lough, later arriving Port Talbot on Aug. 29.
She was on a voyage from Newport to Gibraltar in Convoy OG 74*, when she on Sept. 12-1941, the day after she had left Milford Haven, was involved in a collision with the British Harperley - no further details are available on this incident and damages to Harperley are not known, but she obviously did not sink, because she was in Convoy ONS 5 in May-1943 when she was sunk; further info on this can be found on my page about this convoy. As for OG 74, this convoy suffered losses later on in the passage. 5 ships were torpedoed (British Baltallinn, Lissa, Rhineland, Runa and Empire Moat), 1 was sunk by aircraft (Walmer Castle), and 1 was lost to a collision (City of Waterford, collision with the Dutch Thames). See the last external link below for more on the torpedoed ships. (The Norwegian Ruth I was also in Convoy OG 74). Benwood, which had returned to port after the collision, shows up again in the next convoy, OG 75* (convoy left Milford Haven on Sept. 26, arrived Gibraltar on Oct. 13). The only other Norwegian ship named in this convoy is Ingerfire.
At the end of that year, Benwood is listed in Convoy HG 76 from Gibraltar to the U.K., in which Annavore was sunk; follow the link for details. (See also HMS Vanoc's report). Benwood's destination is given as Middlesbrough; unfortunately, the archive document showing her voyages in this period is missing, but A. Hague says she arrived that destination (via Oban and Methil) on Jan. 4-1942. As can be seen in his Voyage Record above, she later had a long stay at Tyne.
She's now listed, with Brimanger and Ingerto (sunk - follow link for details), in the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 70*, which originated in Liverpool on Febr. 25-1942 and dispersed on March 15, Benwood arriving Tampa on the 25th.
Related external links:
With a cargo of phosphate rock, Benwood was on a voyage from Port Tampa to Liverpool via Halifax when she collided with the American tanker Robert C. Tuttle northeast of Molasses Reef, Florida Keys on April 9-1942 (Benwood was scheduled for the slow Halifax-U.K. Convoy SC 81 on Apr. 23). The tanker was seen coming towards them on the starboard side on a parallel course, and evasive maneuvers to port were attempted while giving 2 short blasts with the whistle. The tanker altered course to starboard and returned the signal with a blast from her own whistle. There was no room for Benwood to swing in order to get clear and, realizing a collision could not be avoided, the officer on duty signalled full ahead and rang the alarm bell to get the crew on deck. The colliding ship struck them in the bow. The whole foc'sle head was smashed in and water was flowing into No. 1 Hold. The forepart started to sink, and about an hour later orders were given to abandon ship, whereupon she grounded immediately.
The captain's and the 2nd mate's lifeboats remained by the wreck and at dawn attempts were made to reboard, but in the heavy sea this proved to be impossible. By this time only the midships section and the after deck were partly above water. About noon, the captain hired a craft and took 6 men with him back to the ship, and this time they succeeded in boarding, the seas having calmed down somewhat. That evening the salvage vessel Willet arrived on the scene to investigate, but salvage attempts were abandoned the following afternoon. "The World's Merchant Fleets 1939", by Roger W. Jordan adds she was beached on Alligator Reef, but slid off and sank on the 14th. Total loss.
Robert C. Tuttle, meanwhile, must have survived the collision, because according to Robert Browning's "U.S. Merchant Vessel War Casualties of World War II", she was damaged off Virginia Beach later that year (June 15) after having struck a mine when in Convoy KN 109 (external link). Her captain's name is given as Martin Johansen, which sounds very Norwegian, though could also be Danish. She was salvaged, but considered a total loss (note however, that she's inlcuded in several subsequent convoys at this external website, which shows her voyages to Oct.-1945).
Back to Benwood 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", Vol I, the Norwegian Maritime Museum, E-mails from Tony Cooper, England - and misc. other as named within the above text - ref My sources.