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Manager: Fred. Olsen & Co., Oslo
Delivered from Akers mekaniske Verksted in Oct.-1922 for A/S Ganger Rolf (Fred. Olsen & Co.), Oslo. Passenger vessel/Antwerp.
Torpedoed and sunk on January 25-1940 by U-14 (Wohlfarth) in 52 39N 04 15E when on a voyage from Antwerp to Oslo with general cargo. 26 crew and 11 passengers died. 21 were rescued by D/S Borgholm.
Here's a heart wrenching letter written by someone who was on board Borgholm at the time. Like I say on the "front" page of my ships lists, from the very beginning my main purpose of this website is not so much to give the cold facts about the ships themselves, but rather to show the human aspect of what it was like to be a seaman during the war, and in so many ways this short, simple letter from a distressed seaman to his wife expresses exactly that:
Yjmeden Jan. 25-1940
We and Biarritz went out together. It's quite wrong to go out in the darkness of the night. Full speed, at 11:30 on the 24th I woke up from the ship shaking and jumped up, however, nothing happened. I dozed off again, but couldn't sleep, I was fully dressed, just waiting (like everyone else). It came Amy. A bang and I and several others thought it was us who had hit. But it was Biarritz. Oh God oh God -- She sank in 1/2 a minute and how they screamed, a messgirl onboard went into hysterics and I still keep hearing the screams and all those who were in the sea screamed for help and for God.
Blackest night. A little moonlight. Calm seas. I'm crying while I'm writing this. They weren't in the boat for more than 1/2 an hour tops, but 3 died after they had come on board in spite of all revival attempts. Among them was Vikstrøm, whom you might remember me talking about who was 2nd mate on Stromboli. 3 bodies were taken ashore here. I've given away almost all of the clothes I had because I had two men in my cabin as did the others. There were 27 passengers. Crew of 32. The ones who were saved were about 18-19 and the casualties about 40. A woman was calling for her husband, he was sitting in the boat, but couldn't answer her because of being so cold. She then let go and drowned. Another was newly married and expecting. What tidings!
I don't know how we can go on. Forgive me, but I think I'm just about done for, and the same goes for the others. We haven't done anything bad. If I make it home in one piece I'll let you read this. There's more but I can't talk about it.
Amy, you've got to help me.
The following are commemorated at the Memorial for Seamen in Stavern, Norway, which I've linked to below (but I'm not sure if they all perished in the above incident):
Related external links:
Back to Biarritz on the "Ships starting with B" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, and misc. others for cross checking info - ref My sources.