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D/S Biarritz

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

From a book about Akers mek. Verksted, 1931.
Another picture is available on this external page (click in it to enlarge).

Manager: Fred. Olsen & Co., Oslo
1753 gt, l017 net, 2150 tdw
Dimensions: 255.7' x 39.7' x 16.9'
Machinery: 3 Exp. Aker, 169 nhp

Delivered from Akers mekaniske Verksted in Oct.-1922 for A/S Ganger Rolf (Fred. Olsen & Co.), Oslo. Passenger vessel/Antwerp.

Related item on this website:
Oskar Skjold's diary - Norwegian text. In his diary Oskar Skjold mentions that 6 survivors from D/S Rudolf had been taken to Antwerp by Biarritz in Dec.-1939.

 Final Fate - 1940 (Norway still neutral): 

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:

 Oskar Skjold's letter to his wife (D/S Borgholm): 
Received from his grandson Erling.

Yjmeden Jan. 25-1940

Dear Amy
You won't see this letter until I get home (will send it with the captain) but I'm so dismayed and so shook up I must confide in you because you're with me in everything aren't you? If not I'm all alone.

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.


Jan. 26
Looks like we won't be leaving until Saturday, because the office says we must wait until two ships can go out together again. Sleep well tonight, and everything is ok now.

Love Oskar

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):
2 captains are listed, namely Johan Andreas Anderssen and Yngvar Løveid (I looked them up in "Våre falne", which names Norwegians who died during the war. They are both listed as captains, and were on Biarritz when sunk).
Also, Oiler Johan Konrad Anker Aagesen,
Seaman Egil Gerner Andreassen,
Motorman Henry Louis Bang,
Seaman Rolf Green Benjaminsen,
Steward Karnot Johannes Brekke,
Steward Otto Alfred Engelsgaard,
Engineer Einar Henry Englund,
"Motor Boy" Einar Leonhard Enoksen,
Able Seaman Kristian Falnes,
"Steamship Girl" Alfhild Johanna M. Fladberg,
Waiter Johan Fladberg,
Cook Charles Bertram Gabrielsen,
Stoker Paul Henry Holbø,
Cabin Girl Åsta Kristine Hovind,
Stoker Sverre Hugsted,
Seaman Lorang Johan Jensen,
Stoker Harald Eugen Johansen,
Motorman Johan Engelhardt Johansen,
Motorman John Sigvart Johnsen,
Engineer Karl Karlsen,
1st Mate Wilhelm Kloed Knudtzon,
Seaman Bernhard Knudsen,
Seaman Martin Kristiansen,
1st Engineer Morten Mortensen,
Cook Erling Martin K. Nilsen,
Able Seaman Harald Ingeman Nilsen,
Motorman Olav Marthon Olsen,
Ordinary Seaman Asbjørn Jensenius Paasche Øines,
Seaman Hans Alfred Stenseth,
Stoker Sten Erik Syversen,
Waitress Lydia Syvertsen,
Mate/Radio Operator Finn Wichstrøm,
and Steward Oskar Wilhelm Wilhelmsen.

Related external links:
Stavern Memorial commemorations - 35 are commemorated here (named above). The Norwegian text says: Struck a mine 36 n. miles northwest of Ymuiden, Holland on Jan. 25-1940. She had a total of 57 people on board; 26 crew and 11 passengers died. Several passengers were seamen who had payed off their ships and were on their way home. She sank quickly and only one lifeboat with 19 people set off. Borgholm, which sailed nearby picked up 21 survivors and 3 bodies and took them to Ymuiden. J. Rohwer does not agree with the mine theory, but says she was torpedoed by U-14, though Fred. Olsen's fleet list states she did strike a mine on that date, and so does Charles Hocking who says this happened off Land's End.

U-14 | Herberth Wohlfarth

Operations information for U-14

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.


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