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To Borgholm on the "Ships starting with B" page.
Pictures of the ship are available on this external page (click in them to enlarge).
Manager: Fred. Olsen & Co., Oslo
Delivered from Akers mek. Verksted, Oslo in Febr.-1922.
Related items on this website:
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 (it'll be noticed that some of the listings are incomplete). Where the "Convoy" column is left blank, it means that convoy is not known.
Errors may exist, and some voyages are missing.
Borgholm arrived Ymuiden from Drammen, Norway on Jan. 15-1940, leaving again on the 17th for Antwerp with arrival the same day. Departed Antwerp on Jan. 24 in order to return to Ymuiden where she arrived the next day, having picked up 21 survivors from the Norwegian D/S Biarritz. Below, I've translated a heart wrenching letter written by Oskar Skjold, who was on board Borgholm at the time, and who had served as an engineer on her since she was new in 1922. 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. Note also that Oskar's diary has been added to the Norwegian Warsailor Stories page; it describes some of Borgholm's voyages in the late fall and winter of 1939.
At the beginning of March.-1940, she's listed in the original Advance Sailing Telegram for Convoy HN 16 from Norway to the U.K. Her destination is given as London, general cargo. Judging from the information found on Page 1 of the archive documents, she had left Antwerp for Oslo, Norway on March 21. Arrival Oslo is not given, but she later arrived Amsterdam on Apr. 9. She had mostly been in service between Norway and Antwerp, but got out of Norway just 2 days before the Germans invaded, having departed Horten on Apr. 7, and therefore sailed as a free ship in Nortraship's fleet during the rest of the war.
She appears to have been attacked by aircraft on June 18-1940 - please scroll down to the letter* I've transcribed further down on this page.
The following month she's listed as bound for Sydney, C.B. in Convoy OB 188, which originated in Liverpool on July 23-1940 and dispersed on the 27th, Borgholm arriving Sydney, C.B. independently on Aug. 7. The Norwegian Gaston Micard, Glarona, Inger, Loke (returned), Lotos and Reiaas are also included - ref. external link provided within the Voyage Record above (as well as the link at the end of this page - several ships were sunk). Borgholm headed back to the U.K. on Aug. 25 with the slow Convoy SC 2 from Sydney, C.B., in which the Norwegian Gro and others were sunk (follow the links for details). Borgholm had a cargo of lumber for Tayport, where she arrived Sept. 16.
Arnold Hague later has her in Convoy OA 232, which departed Methil on Oct. 20-1940 and dispersed on the 26th, Borgholm arriving Sydney, C.B. independently on Nov. 3. About a week later, she proceeded to Port Alfred, where she arrived on Nov. 12, departing again for Cap a l'Aigle on the 14th, with arrival destination that same day. She subsequently returned to Sydney, C.B., arriving Nov. 22, and with a cargo of pit props for Blyth, she was scheduled for the Sydney portion of Convoy HX 91 a few days later, but instead joined the slow Convoy SC 14 on Nov. 30, arriving Blyth (via Clyde and Methil Roads) on Dec. 26, remaining there for over a month (Page 1).
She left Blyth again on Jan. 29-1941 and arrived Oban as a straggler from Convoy EN 65 on Febr. 4, then left Oban on Febr. 10 for St. John, N.B., joining Convoy OB 284, and arrived St. John on Febr. 25 (convoy had originated in Liverpool Febr. 9, dispersed Febr. 14, again, ref. link in the table above. A. Hague also lists Dagrun and Sildra in this convoy, while another section of the same site has also included Acasta - however, this ship is listed in OB 286). With a cargo of lumber for Hull, Borgholm returned across the Atlantic with the slow Convoy SC 25, which left Halifax on March 10 and arrived Liverpool on the 29th; Borgholm arrived Loch Ewe on March 30. On the night of Apr. 8, when anchored at the mouth of the Humber, she again came under enemy attack - see the captain's letter* further down on this page. According to Page 2, she arrived Hull on Apr. 9 and did not leave until Apr. 26.
At the beginning of May-1941, she sailed to Reykjavik, where she stayed for a long time, before making an independent voyage to Rimouski in June, later returning to the U.K. in Convoy SC 37*, cargo of lumber, station 13. This convoy, which departed Sydney, C.B. on July 12 and arrived Clyde on the 28th, also included the Norwegian Acasta, Berto, Ingerfem, Ingertre, Mathilda, Sneland I and Veni. The following month, she's listed in the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 10, which originated in Liverpool on Aug. 27 and dispersed on Sept. 11, Borgholm arriving Philadelphia independently on the 17th (having started out from Loch Ewe on Aug. 29). She subsequently returned to the U.K. in Convoy SC 48 on Oct. 5, in which the Norwegian Ila, Barfonn, Erviken, Rym and several others were sunk - follow the links for more info. See also the cruising order/Commodore's notes. Borgholm was bound for Cardiff with steel and canned goods, arriving there on Oct. 22.
She now made voyages around the U.K., until March 16-1942 (see Page 2 and Page 3 - the latter document shows a long stay at Clyde at the end of 1941/beginning of 1942), when she travelled to Iceland again (convoy info in Voyage Record above). She was scheduled to go back with Convoy RU 17 from Reykjavik on Apr. 3, but returned to port, then joined the next convoy, RU 18, on Apr. 10. We now find her, along with Aun, Bjørkhaug, Heimgar, Lido, Lisbeth (returned), Nea, Norjerv, Norvarg, Rio Verde, Selbo, Snar, Suderøy, Velox and Ørnefjell, in the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 90*, which originated in Liverpool on Apr. 28. She was initially bound for Boston, but stopped at Halifax and Sydney, C.B., before proceeding to Three Rivers, where she arrived May 24, returning to Sydney, C.B. in June in order to join the slow Convoy SC 87 on June 12, cargo of lumber for Boston (Lincs.), where she arrived (via various other ports) on June 30. Her voyages in this period are shown on Page 4. A couple of weeks later, she's listed in the westbound Convoy ON 112*, together with the Norwegian Albert L. Ellsworth, Bjørkhaug, Bruse Jarl, Evviva, Facto, Fidelio, Gezina, Hjalmar Wessel, Ingerfem, Lisbeth, Loke, Norjerv, Ragnhild, Selvik and Titanian (returned). This convoy originated in Liverpool on July 13; Borgholm sailed from Loch Ewe that day and arrived Halifax on the 28th, continuing to Chatham, N.B. the next day.
In Aug.-1942, she's listed in the Sydney, C.B. portion of Convoy SC 96, cargo of lumber for Great Yarmouth, where she arrived Aug. 31, and later sailed to Halifax with Convoy ON 132*, which originated in Liverpool on Sept. 19; Borgholm joined from Loch Ewe. She was again in the company of other Norwegian ships, namely Askeladden, Gezina, Loke, Pollux (from Halifax), Ravnefjell and Snar, while the Norwegian corvettes Acanthus, Eglantine, Montbretia and Potentilla are named among the escorts - see ON convoy escorts. Borgholm arrived Halifax on Oct. 7, subsequently remaining there for several weeks (Page 4). According to Arnold Hague, she went back to the U.K. in Dec.-1942 with Convoy SC 112*, which originated in New York on Dec. 4 and arrived Liverpool on the 25th; Borgholm, cargo of lumber, station 103, sailed from Halifax on Dec. 6 and stopped at Belfast Lough on Dec. 24, before proceeding to Sharpness, where she arrived Dec. 27. Other Norwegian ships in this convoy were Acasta, Aragon (to St. John's only), Dageid, Fjordheim, Garnes (to St. John's), Harpefjell, Heimgar, Norjerv, Primo (to Halifax), Sir James Clark Ross, Solitaire and Tropic Star (returned).
Skipping now to Apr.-1943, when she's listed as bound for Halifax in station 102 of the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ONS 4*, together with Hjalmar Wessel, Para and Sneland I. This convoy originated in Liverpool on Apr. 13 and arrived Halifax on May 5. In June she's listed in Convoy SC 133 from Halifax to the U.K., then the following month she made a voyage to Lisbon with coal, Convoy OS 52/KMS 21, voyaging from Oban in station 56, arriving Lisbon on July 30 - see Page 6. This convoy had originated in Liverpool on July 19 and split up on July 28, the Gibraltar portion (KMS 21) arriving there the next day, while the OS portion continued to Freetown, where it arrived Aug. 7. The Norwegian Fernhill was sunk (follow the link for details); other Norwegian ships taking part were Hallfried, Jenny and Spurt - ref. link provided within the table above for info on the combined convoy. Borgholm later returned to the U.K. with Convoy MKS 22 from Gibraltar, departing Aug. 24. This convoy joined up with Convoy SL 135 from Freetown on Aug. 26, SL 135/MKS 22 arriving Liverpool on Sept. 6. The original Advance Sailing Telegram for MKS 22 gives Borgholm's destination as Ardrossan, where she arrived Sept. 6, cargo of iron ore. Again, follow the link provided in the Voyage Record above for info on the combined convoy, Bosphorus, Nyhorn, Spurt, Thalatta and Viva are also listed.
It'll be noticed, when going back to Page 6, that Borgholm subsequently had a long stay in Glasgow. She headed back to Gibraltar again on Oct. 23, arriving Nov. 1 (convoy info in Voyage Record), later making a voyage from Gibraltar to Algiers in Convoy KMS 32*, arriving Algiers on Nov. 21. From there, she sailed to Bougie with Convoy KMS 34* on Dec. 11, and arrived Bougie Dec. 12. Both convoys also had other Norwegian ships, namely Dux, Far, Hjalmar Wessel, Katy, Ragnhild and Roald Amundsen in KMS 32, and Dux, Hardanger, Hjalmar Wessel, Marita, Norefjord, Norfalk and Thorsholm in KMS 34. Again, see the archive document for a listing of her subsequent voyages; convoy info for some of them can be found in the Voyage Record above.
In the spring of 1944, we find her in Convoy KMS 46*, voyage Oran to Algiers. She had left Oran on Apr. 7 and arrived Algiers the next day. Belpareil, Hai Lee, Hermelin, Solør and Troubadour are also named in this convoy. Page 6 shows that Borgholm had a long stay in Algiers later on that spring/summer. I also have a snippet of information saying that she was in Bizerta in Aug.-1944, departing for Algiers on Aug. 9. This agrees with the details found on the archive document and in the Voyage Record, as well as with info for Convoy GUS 48 (7 ships left Bizerta that day to join this convoy, one of which was bound for Algiers) but note that she's not actually listed in the document available to me for that convoy. The following month, she made a voyage from Augusta to Algiers in Convoy MKS 61*, which also included Belnor, Ima, Polartank and Tricolor. Borgholm arrived Algiers on Sept. 15, having sailed from Augusta on the 11th. Page 7 has the rest of her 1944 voyages, as well as some of her 1945 voyages (with convoy info in the table above).
As can be seen when going to Page 8, it looks like they got to celebrate Christmas of 1945 in Norway.
*What follows is a letter written by Borgholm's captain, received from Andrew Webb, Nova Scotia (see his message in my Guestbook), whose British father, George Dillwyn Webb, was the radio operator on Borgholm. Andrew has told me that his father later moved to Canada, after having lost contact with his family in Wales, and Andrew is looking for information on that family (if anyone can help, please contact me via the address provided at the bottom of this page).
The letter is addressed to Messrs. John Bruce & Co., Glasgow and is dated Dunston, Febr. 24-1943 (Her voyages in this period are shown on Page 5).
With reference to your letters dated 11-2-43 and 22-2-43 respectively concerning the recognition of my officers and crew by the British Government, I have pleasure in submitting the following names of men who have served aboard my ship for some time during this war. They are:
Chief Officer Henrik Aas Wesenberg (Norwegian) See also this Guestbook message
All these men have served me in a most able manner during their time aboard and when my ship has been subject to enemy attack, have displayed courage and resourcefulness and by so doing have been an example to their shipmates, maintaining the great heritage of the Merchant Navy. I enclose a description of the services of each man for your perusal.
We have been working for the British Government through the Norwegian Shipping and Trade Mission ever since escaping from France and have encountered the enemy a number of times. There are two occasions however, which I should like to mention, on which three of my Officers showed outstanding courage and devotion to duty in the face of enemy attack. When we escaped from France 18th June 1940 with a cargo of sugar, intended for Germany(?). We were heavily bombed and had no protection of any kind, nor a gun on board. Many ships were damaged and sunk around us but we managed to escape undamaged and succeeded in bringing the cargo safely to England. During this attack my Chief Officer Alf Hansen (since drowned) and Second Officer Henrik Wesenberg (now Chief) remained at their duties without any thought of personal danger and by their courage, determination and devotion to duty we arrived safely at England for whom we have had the honour to sail ever since. (Borgholm arrived Falmouth on June 19 - see Page 1 and Voyage Record above)
Another occasion on which Chief Officer Wesenberg (then 2nd Officer) and Radio Officer Webb showed outstanding courage in the face of enemy attack was on the night of April 8th 1941 (according to A. Hague, she was in Convoy FS 457 on that date - external link, incomplete listing; Freidig and Leka are also named. See also Page 2 - Borgholm had just arrived U.K. from Halifax in Convoy SC 25 and was bound for Hull with lumber). It was a moonlight night and the deck cargo was plainly visible. We were anchored at the mouth of the Humber and at that time our only armament was two "Hotchkiss" machine-guns, one being mounted on the bridge and the other being mounted above the Radio Office, both having no protective armoured plating of any kind. About 9 p.m. we heard a number of aircraft proceeding up the river. Suddenly there was an explosion near the ship followed by several more. On hearing the planes Chief Officer Wesenberg and Radio Officer Webb immediately manned the guns and when we were attacked, opened fire on the enemy. The attack lasted about 8 minutes during which time bombs were dropped around the entire ship but fortunately no hit was obtained and the only damage received being the losening of a few Keel plates, causing the ship to leak. About 20 minutes later an enemy plane returned and swept the deck with machine-gun bullets to which my two officers replied. Planes were passing over the ship throughout the night and although there were no further attacks, these men were standing at their guns until 5 a.m. the following morning. I feel sure that the courage, devotion to duty and cool manner in which these two officers exposed themselves to great danger, entirely unprotected and without any thought for their own lives, my ship was saved from a direct hit and was able to make landfall with my cargo. (Borgholm arrived Hull on Apr. 9).
Thanking you for your letters and enclosure and trusting these particulars are satisfactory.
Sold in 1949 to Johannes Ick, Germany and renamed Lisken. Sold in 1956 and renamed Holger. Sold to Rudolf Harmstorf Wasserbau & Travewerft GmbH, Lübeck, for breaking up, arrived Hamburg Febr. 28-1962 and delivered March 5-1962 for breaking up. (Compare with the history found on this external page).
Related external links:
Back to Borgholm on the "Ships starting with B" page.
Other ships by this name: Fred. Olsen had previously had another ship by this name, built 1912, sunk 1917, and a 3rd built Amsterdam 1959, sold in 1966 to Cosmopolitan Shipping Co. S.A., Panama. The company's 4th Borgholm was a passenger/car ferry built in Arendal in 1958 for A/S Kristiansand's Dampskibsselskap (which was purchased by Fred. Olsen in 1968), originally named Skagen, rebuilt in 1971, then sold in 1975 to Sameiet Borgholm and converted for use with mini subs/diving service. Sold in 1981 to Intercar A/S, Drammen and renamed Norghol.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: Fred. Olsen fleet list, "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, E-mails from R. W. Jordan and Tony Cooper, England, and misc. (ref. My sources).