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To Duala on the "Ships starting with D" page.
Owner: A/S Castillo
Built by Götaverken A/B, Gothenburg, Sweden in 1938.
Captain: Ole Thommesen
Some more crew members are named in the narrative further down on this page.
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.
According to the first external website that I've linked to at the end of this page, Duala sailed in station 34 of Convoy OA 55 in Dec.-1939. This convoy departed Southend on Dec. 18 and joined up with Convoy OB 55 from Liverpool on Dec. 20, the combined convoy forming Convoy OG 11, which arrived Gibraltar on Dec. 26 (see ships in all OG convoys). Note that A. Hague has not included Duala in OA 55 (external link); However, he has a British Diala in station 34, perhaps there's a mix up here? (I have no way of knowing which is correct).
From Page 1 of the archive documents, we learn that she was on her way from Norway to Bermuda when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940. She arrived Bermuda on Apr. 12, remaining there for over a month (unless voyages are missing from the record), before proceeding to Casablanca on May 18. She later headed to Bordeaux and then on to Dakar, where she arrived June 24.
Duala was one of 26 Norwegian ships interned in West and North Africa - See this page for a list of all 26. As usual, different sources give different dates and information. "Nortraships flåte" says she was interned in Dakar on June 24-1940, later requisitioned and renamed St. Sabine. Returned to Nortraship on March 3-1943 as Duala (following the Allied invasion). A French visitor to my website has given me the following from French records: She sailed from Casablanca on May 31-1940 in convoy 1-K* under French escort. At Brest early June-1940. Sailed from Brest on June 13-1940 in convoy 50-BF** under French escort (compare with A. Hague's info in the Voyage Record, as well as Page 1). Arrived Casablanca on June 19. Seized in Dakar in July-1940. Under French flag at Dakar in 1941 as Ste Sabine.
According to Guri Hjeltnes ("Handelsflåten i krig") Duala had 28 Norwegian crew, 1 of whom went home while 20 managed to escape; I have the names of 7 of them (from "Krigsseileren", Issue No. 4, 1984, which has an article about a reunion of the 7, 43 years after the event). They were Deckboys Sverre Solberg and Otto Kristian Jørgensen*** (both 16 years old at the time), Cook Ingvald Heimgård, Ordinary Seamen Anker Thorbjørnsen and Leif Kristiansen, Engineer Assistant Lars Gjelstad, and Messboy Harry Hansen.
Duala was a fruit carrier, but like so many of the other fruit carriers she transported meat during the war, as well as fish.
As can be seen in the Voyage Record, she's said to have made a voyage to Freetown and Gibraltar following her release from internment. From Gibraltar, she proceeded to Liverpool on Apr. 5, arriving on Apr. 12, remaining there for quite a long time - again, see Page 1 (presumably, an overhaul was necessary after such a long time in internment). A couple of months later, A. Hague has included her in the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 188*, departing Liverpool on June 10. The Norwegian Abraham Lincoln (Commodore Vessel), Bajamar, Bañaderos, Belinda, Evita, G. C. Brøvig, Gylfe, Kaia Knudsen, Kaldfonn, Montevideo, Mosdale, Skandinavia, Strinda, Thorhild, Vav and Velma are also listed. This convoy arrived New York on June 26, but according to the archive document, Duala stopped at Halifax on the 24th, continuing to St. John, N.B. a few days later. She returned to the U.K. with Convoy HX 247, which had originated in New York on July 7, but Duala joined from Halifax on July 11. According to the Commodore's notes, she had been among a group of ships that formed a fast section, which had parted company with the convoy in 55 32N 20 56W; date not given. Her cargo is given as general and meat, destination Cardiff, where she arrived (via Belfast Lough) on July 22. About a week later, she joined the westbound Convoy ON 195*, originating in Liverpool on July 31, arriving New York Aug. 13; Duala sailed from Milford Haven on July 30 and arrived Halifax on Aug. 12, proceeding to St. John, N.B. a few days later, with arrival Aug. 18. Abraham Lincoln (Commodore Vessel), Bajamar, Bañaderos, Vav and Velma had again been in company, as had Christian Michelsen, Egerø, Gallia and Washington Express.
With a general cargo and mail for Bristol, Duala headed back across the Atlantic again at the end of that month in Convoy HX 254, station 116, having joined with the Halifax portion (HX 254 had originated in New York on Aug. 27-1943). She arrived Bristol on Sept. 12, and later that month she joined the westbound Convoy ON 203*, together with California Express, Dageid, Gefion, Lista, Norholm, Polartank, Skaraas, Trondheim, Vav and Vinga, as well as the Panamanian Norlys, which had Norwegian managers and is included under the N's on this site. ON 203 had originated in Liverpool on Sept. 22 and arrived New York Oct. 10, but Duala again joined from Milford Haven and stopped at Halifax on Oct. 7, subsequently joining Convoy HX 261* from there about a week later, arriving Liverpool on Oct. 25. Bajamar, Elisabeth Bakke, Norsol, Pan Scandia, Tai Shan and Vav (returned) are also named in this convoy, which had originated in New York on Oct. 11. On Nov. 6 we find her in the westbound Convoy ON 210*, with Buenos Aires, California Express (Commodore Vessel), Gallia, Heranger, Marit II, Pan Scandia and Vinga. This convoy arrived New York on Nov. 23, but Duala's destination was again Halifax, where she arrived on Nov. 20, joining Convoy HX 268* from there shortly thereafter, arriving Liverpool on Dec. 10. Other Norwegian ships in this convoy were John Bakke, Pan Scandia, Reinholt (Commodore Vessel) and Strinda (HX 268 originated in New York on Nov. 26). The year was rounded off by sailing back to Halifax in Convoy ON 217*, departing Liverpool on Christmas Eve, arriving New York on Jan. 10-1944 - Duala arrived Halifax on Jan. 8. Brimanger, Fagerfjell, John Bakke, Norheim, Pan Scandia and Reinholt are also listed. Again, see also Page 1.
With meats and general for Liverpool, she can now be found in the Halifax portion of Convoy HX 275, which had originated in New York on Jan. 13-1944 (Vice Commodore in Samuel Bakke). Duala arrived Liverpool on Jan. 28, and on Febr. 7 she left with the westbound Convoy ON 223*, along with Fagerfjell, Frithjof Nansen, Idefjord, Norheim and Tigre. Duala was again bound for Halifax, arriving there on Febr. 22, returning to the U.K. the following month in the Halifax portion of Convoy HX 282, bound for Bristol with meat, with arrival March 21. Another Trans-Atlantic voyage was commenced at the end of March, when she joined Convoy ON 230*, which also had Morgenen, Pan Scandia and Villanger in its ranks. A. Hague says she arrived New York on Apr. 15, but according to Page 2, she arrived Halifax that day, continuing to Boston the following day.
Later that year she was in service from San Francisco for the troops in Honolulu for a year, returning to San Francisco every 3 weeks. The men on Duala were in the lucky position to have the company of several women working on board as messgirls (American).
Duala's captain was Ole Thommesen according to a personal story sent to me. While on charter to the American Navy she made many voyages to the Pacific, also to Pearl Harbor. She also followed the invasion forces to Saipan, Guam and Tinian. Christian S. Christensen, the radio operator on board who has told this story, says that Duala was in the harbour of Tinian when the aircraft which dropped the first atom bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6-1945 took off from the island. "We knew nothing about this historic event until the plane returned, and then we understood something out of the ordinary had happened". The harbour area was strictly guarded the whole time and the use of radio was prohibited. (Compare with the listing on Page 3).
Christensen has also added the following:
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