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To Corneville on the "Ships starting with C" page.
Owner: Sibs-A/S Mandeville
Built by Burmeister & Wain's Maskin & Skibsbyggeri A/S, Copenhagen, Denmark in 1930.
Captain: Leif Kongstein
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.
According to Page 1 of the archive documents, Corneville was on her way from Hong Kong to Los Angeles when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940. Her 1941 voyages start on Page 2 and continue on Page 3, which also shows some of her 1942 voyages.
Together with the Norwegian Stirlingville, she's listed in Convoy SL 121, which left Freetown on Sept. 3-1942 and arrived Liverpool on the 21st. Corneville stopped at Belfast Lough on Sept. 20/21 before proceeding to Holyhead and Avonmouth. Her cargo is given as grain and mail, and she also had 6 passengers on board. Follow the link provided in the table above for more details on this convoy.
The following month we find her in station 24 of the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 137, which originated in Liverpool on Oct. 9-1942 and arrived New York on the 29th, and also included the Norwegian Iris (from Halifax to New York), Norholm, Norsol, President de Vogue, Stiklestad, Tai Shan and Velma, as well as the Panamanian Norvinn, which had Norwegian managers and is, therefore, listed under the N's of this website. Corneville was bound for New York, but according to A. Hague, she became a straggler on Oct. 14 and arrived St. John's, N.F. on the 21st - see also Page 4. A few days later she proceeded to Sydney, C.B., then on to Halifax, and from there she joined Convoy ON 140, arriving New York on Nov. 7 (this convoy had started out in Liverpool on Oct. 17, Corneville sailed from Halifax Nov. 2). Other Norwegian ships in ON 140 were Brush (also joined from Halifax), Haakon Hauan (returned), Hallanger, Harpefjell (also from Halifax only), Norjerv, Solsten and Stirlingville. Both these convoys will be added to individual pages in my Convoys section in due course, with more information on each; in the meantime, the ships sailing in them (and escorts) are named in the section listing ships in all ON convoys.
Convoy NG 326, in which Corneville sailed in Dec.-1942, also had other Norwegian ships, namely Danio, Garonne, Minister Wedel and Orwell. (Danio is also included in Convoy GZ 15).
About 5 hours later (May 9 by then) she was hit by two torpedoes from U-515 (Henke). The 1st one struck on the starboard side in No. 1 hold, sending flames high up in the air. Both engines were immediately stopped and the men successfully abandoned ship; but the starboard boats were still close to her when the 2nd torpedo hit about 10 minutes after the 1st. This time she was struck amidships in No. 3 hold, also on the starboard side, sending up a column of water that filled the boats, and Corneville sank shortly afterwards (04 50N 01 10W). According to the captain's report presented at the subsequent maritime hearings they were about 30 miles from Takoradi, and she sank at 04:56 GMT, 11 minutes after the first torpedo had struck. The U-boat came up to ask the usual questions (which ship, nationality, cargo etc.), before taking off again, having received the traditional reply that the captain was missing.
As day started to dawn at 05:30 all the boats were assembled and all 41 men were found to be accounted for. The starboard aft lifeboat and a large lifeboat that had been on the after deck were damaged, so the crew were distributed in the motorboat and 2 of the other boats, whereupon the motorboat took the latter 2 in tow, heading for land. They reached Anamabu 60 n. miles east of Takoradi at 16:00. Just off the coast they had met some fishermen in canoes who took the captain and the 1st mate on board and ashore. The lifeboats could not be landed because of the breakers, so the rest of the men were also taken ashore with the help of canoes while the lifeboats were anchored up. The captain got an army truck which happened to be at Anamabu to take him to Saltpand where there was a British army camp, about 6 miles from Anamabu. The remaining survivors were subsequently picked up by trucks and taken to the camp where they were fed and given dry clothes. Later that afternoon the captain was able to get in touch with the British Naval Control Office in Takoradi to report the sinking.
In the morning of May 10 the lifeboats were fetched and pulled up on the beach at Saltpand on orders from local British authorities, and that afternoon 3 trucks arrived from Takoradi to take the crew to Sekondi where they were accommodated at a camp for shipwrecked seamen. The following day the captain was taken to the British Naval Control Office in Takoradi to give a statement about what had happened to his ship. The 1st and 2nd mates and the 2nd engineer also gave statements the next day.
While the 4 British gunners were left in the care of the naval authorities at Takoradi, the rest of Corneville's crew were sent on board the British troop transport D/S Orduña on May 14. This ship stopped at Dakar*, and while there on June 7 Able Seaman A. Cleveland, Able Seaman A. Grovasbakk, and Mechanic Y. Magnussen joined M/S Salta, which was in need of crew. After Orduña had left Dakar it turned out that Boatswain S. Kling, 2nd Cook K. Öberg, Mechanic G. Nilsen, and Oiler O. Strand had gone ashore without permission and had not returned in time for departure.
During Orduña's stay in Casablanca on June 14 it was arranged through the Norwegian Consulate for the transfer of Corneville's crew to the troop transport D/S West Point which was bound for the U.S. She arrived Boston on June 24-1943 where the Norwegian Consulate took care of them and arranged accommodation overnight before they were sent on to New York the following day.
The maritime hearings were held in New York on June 29-1943 with the captain, the 1st mate (on duty on the bridge), the 2nd Engineer (duty in engine room) and Able Seaman Jensen appearing.
Back to Corneville on the "Ships starting with C" 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. - ref My sources.