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M/S John Bakke
To John Bakke on the "Ships starting with J" page.
Captains during the war: Tallak Tallaksen, later Captain Holme and S. Lyngholm.
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.
Errors may exist, and some voyages are missing.
Captain Tallak Tallaksen. When Norway was invaded on April 9-1940 John Bakke was in Copenhagen, Denmark, unloading cargo from South America (see also Page 1). She also had some cargo which was meant for Sweden (copper, lead and coffee), but remained in Copenhagen due to the German invasion. On Apr. 30 she was seized by German authorities and with German military personnel on board she was taken to Stettin (or possibly Hamburg?), where the cargo originally intended for Sweden was unloaded, and the crew placed in internment camps. According to Captain Tallaksen the Germans wanted to use the ship in their coal transport, but upon further investigation they found her to be unsuitable. She was freed and the crew sent on board again on May 25, before she departed for Øresund (Sweden) on June 11 with German naval officers on board. Once there, the officers disembarked, probably assuming the ship was still under German control, and that she'd subsequently return to Haugesund, but instead, the crew took her to Gothenburg.
On Jan. 23-1941, 5 Norwegian ships escaped from Gothenburg (Operation Rubble) and made it safely to British port. Among them were Knutsen's John Bakke and Elisabeth Bakke, the others being M/S Tai Shan, M/S Taurus and M/T Ranja. Please continue to my page about Elisabeth Bakke for full details on the breakout. See also my page Ships in Sweden for a list of, and information on the other Norwegian ships there at the outbreak of war in Norway.
Chief engineer on John Bakke at the time of escape from Sweden was Hans G. Hansen*, who also had his wife with him. Captain Tallaksen was replaced by the British W. J. Escudier for the breakout (see also this Guestbook message and scroll down to John Bakke). After the 2nd battle of Narvik, the crews of 4 steamers, D/S Blythmoor, sunk Narvik Apr. 10, D/S Mersington Court, sunk Narvik Apr. 15, D/S Romanby, sunk Narvik Apr. 22/23 and D/S Riverton, sunk Narvik Apr. 24, as well as survivors from the destroyers Hunter and Hardy had been taken by the Germans through deep snow across to Sweden, where they were subsequently placed at the camp Hälsingmo north of Stockholm. George Binney used several of these men for "Operation Rubble", because many of the Norwegians on board were reluctant to take the risks involved, feeling the attempt was bound to fail. However, all 5 ships safely reached Kirkwall on Jan. 25-1941. 147 men and 1 woman had taken part in the breakout, 58 were British, 57 Norwegian, 31 Swedish and 1 Latvian.
According to Arnold Hague, she ran aground on Febr. 1-1941, when on an independent voyage from Kirkwall, having departed on Jan. 30, but was refloated on Febr. 2, arriving Rothesay Bay in tow that same day - I have no further details on this incident - Page 1 of the archive documents says she arrived Clyde on Febr. 3.
In Apr.-1941, she's listed, together with Charles Racine, Solfonn, Taborfjell and Tigre, in Convoy OB 310, originating in Liverpool on Apr. 13, dispersed on the 18th, John Bakke arriving Buenos Aires on May 14 (she had started out from Milford Haven on Apr. 12). See the external link provided within the Voyage Record for more on this convoy. In June, she joined the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 136, bound for Liverpool with general cargo, arriving there on July 18, and the following month, we find her in the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 5, leaving Liverpool on Aug. 6, dispersed Aug. 14, John Bakke arriving Trinidad on Aug. 25 (Page 1). At the end of that year, she can be found in Convoy SL 96 (link in Voyage Record), which left Freetown on Dec. 26. She arrived Liverpool on Jan. 18-1942, the convoy having been dispersed on the 13th.
She later joined the westbound Convoy ON 71*, originating in Liverpool on Febr. 26-1942 (John Bakke sailed from Clyde on the 27th), dispersed March 8, John Bakke arriving Capetown on Apr. 2. Her subsequent voyages are shown on Page 2, while convoy information for some of them can be found in the Voyage Record.According to "Nortraships flåte" by J. R. Hegland, she collided in convoy off Oversay with a British ship on Dec. 5-1942, but this appears to be the wrong date. Hegland adds that the British ship was a total loss. A posting on my Ship Forum indicates this was the British Blairatholl but the collision took place on Nov. 26. This question also came up in an earlier query on my forum. Yet another posting to my Ship Forum, in reply to a query about Convoy SC 110*, which departed New York on Nov. 17-1942 and arrived Liverpool on Dec. 6 (and which also included Fana, Ferncliff, Gezina, Hallfried, Meline, Norbris [Panamanain flag], Norefjord, Tanafjord and Vav, in addition to John Bakke and the British Blairatholl), says the following:
"Blairatholl was in collision with John Bakke on the 26-11-42. At 07.21 GMT 27-11-42 Blairatholl sent an SOS. 'Foundering. Require Assistance. Taking to rafts. Boats carried away'. Blairatholl foundered while proceeding to St. John's NF. She had arrived at New York from Partington 26-10-42 and left New York 17-11-42 for Loch Ewe and Tyne. John Bakke arrived New York 09-11-42 and left 17-11-42, arriving Liverpool 07-12-42 with slight damage, stem broken". (Checking further, I've found that Blairatholl had previously arrived New York from the U.K. in Convoy ON 136* on Oct. 26).
Roger W. Jordan's "The World's Merchant Fleets 1939" also gives the collision date as Nov. 26-1942, adding the position for Blairatholl's sinking as 51 25N 48 30W. As can be seen in the Voyage Record above, A. Hague gives the collision date as Dec. 1. From Liverpool, where she had arrived on Dec. 6, John Bakke proceeded to Ellesmere Port, later to Manchester, with arrival there on Dec. 12, according to Page 2. Departure Manchester is given as Febr. 28-1943; she may have undergone some repairs there(?).
The following month, she's listed in Convoy ON 170, which departed Liverpool on March 3-1943 and arrived New York on the 20th. John Bakke, however, was bound for St. John, N.B., where she arrived (via Halifax) on March 22. With a general cargo and explosives, she headed back to the U.K. on Apr. 8, joining the Halifax portion of Convoy HX 233, which had originated in New York on Apr. 6. She also carried 2 passengers on this voyage and arrived Manchester, via Liverpool, on Apr. 21/22, later returning to Liverpool, where she remained for several weeks (Page 2), possibly being fitted out for Operation Husky?
John Bakke (captain Holme) is said to have left the U.K. for Algiers at the beginning of July-1943, arriving July 8. Note, however, that she's listed in Convoy KMS 19 which left Clyde on June 25, though she did arrive Algiers on July 8, according to A. Hague. She carried 1623 tons of stores and 54 troops on this voyage, and was used as supply ship in connection with the allied invasion of Sicily (July-10-1943 - Operation Husky). She departed Algiers again on July 14, arriving Augusta via Malta on July 19 (having left Malta the previous night - see KMS 19Y on my page about KMS 19). While in the U.K., her armament had been heavily reinforced, and she had 7 British and 9 Norwegian gunners on board (Ragnar Olsen, Torstein N. Flathaug, Harald Johan M. Odland, Erling M. Martinsen, Palmer Sputnesset, Lars Johan Jacobsen, Fridtjof Anker Thoresen, Karl Zincke Bauge, Arnold Strand Berg), under the command of Second Lieutenant Alf R. Christensen. Due to the continuous air attacks, during which her new armament and gunners were in constant use, unloading of her cargo was extremely difficult, so she was ordered to return to Malta on the 21st; in fact, she's listed in the Augusta to Malta portion of KMS 19 (KMS 19A - again, follow the link to my page for KMS 19, which also has the names of ships sunk in air attacks at Augusta). She was back in Sicily by the 24th, anchoring up between Alvola and Syracuse, where she endured heavy, nightly air attacks until July 30, at which time she had finished unloading her cargo, returned to Malta, and then on to Port Said on Aug. 4, arriving on the 9th - see Page 3 of the archive documents and the second table on my page for Convoy KMS 21. (It'll be noticed that she subsequently remained at Port Said for a month, before proceeding to Haifa on Sept. 8).
John Bakke also transported supplies for the invasion forces in Italy in Sept.-1943, arriving Taranto from Alexandria and unloading from the 26th till the 30th of September (Taranto had been conquered by a small British force on Sept. 9).
She later proceeded to Halifax; she had been bound for Hampton Roads, but put in at Halifax on Nov. 4 (see Voyage Record and Page 3), and later that month, A. Hague has included her, along with Duala, Pan Scandia, Reinholt (Commodore Vessel) and Strinda, in Convoy HX 268*, which started out in New York on Nov. 26 and arrived Liverpool on Dec. 11. John Bakke, however, joined this convoy from Halifax. She subsequently returned across the Atlantic with Convoy ON 217*, departing Liverpool on Dec. 24. She was bound for Halifax, but put in at St. John's, N.F. on Jan. 6-1944, continuing to Halifax on the 22nd, with arrival Jan. 25, remaining there for a month.On Febr. 22-1944, she joined the Halifax portion of Convoy HX 280, which had originated in New York on Febr. 20. She had a cargo of meats, grain and general for Manchester, where she arrived on March 12. Later that month, she joined the westbound Convoy ON 229*, departing Liverpool on March 23. Acanthus and Eglantine are named among the escorts for this convoy (see ON convoy escorts), which arrived New York on Apr. 7, but John Bakke stopped at Halifax on Apr. 5. She now shows up in the Halifax portion of Convoy HX 288, again bound for Manchester (general, meat, flour and metal). Laurits Swenson served as Commodore Vessel, while Emma Bakke's captain acted as Vice Commodore for this convoy, which had started out in New York on Apr. 18 and arrived Liverpool May 4; John Bakke continued to Manchester that same day - again, see Page 3. Early in June, we find her in the westbound Convoy ON 239*, which left Liverpool on June 3 and arrived New York on the 22nd; John Bakke, however, was bound for Montreal, where she arrived on June 19, having detached from the convoy on the 15th.
She returned to the U.K. in July in Convoy HX 298, bound for Manchester with general cargo and mail, this time joining the convoy from Sydney, C.B. (HX 298 had sailed from New York on July 3). She arrived her destination on July 21, later joining the westbound Convoy ON 248F*, departing Liverpool on Aug. 6, arriving New York Aug. 20. The following month, she served as Commodore Vessel for Convoy HX 307 (having been cancelled from the previous HX 306), sailing with 7 other Norwegian ships, namely Buenos Aires, Fagerfjell, Frontenac, Idefjord, Kaia Knudsen, Thorsholm and Stiklestad. John Bakke had a general cargo and trucks, and arrived Avonmouth on Sept. 20 (Page 3). She went back to New York with Convoy ON 259*, for which Villanger served as Commodore Vessel, while Laurits Swenson's captain acted as Vice Commodore. This convoy originated in Liverpool on Oct. 12 and arrived New York on the 29th; John Bakke had started out from Milford Haven on Oct. 13 - see Page 4. Her last Trans-Atlantic voyage that year was made in the New York-U.K. Convoy HX 322, general cargo for Liverpool.
In Jan.-1945, she served as Commodore Vessel for Convoy ON 276*, which departed Southend on Jan. 2 and arrived New York on the 18th. Captain in this period was S. Lyngholm. She left New York again on Febr. 2, acting as Commodore Vessel for Convoy HX 336 back to the U.K., and in March, she's listed in Convoy ON 289*, which left Southend on March 7 and arrived New York March 25. John Bakke joined from Clyde, and carried 12 passengers. According to the Memorial for Seamen in Stavern, Norway (link at the end of this page), she lost a crew member on this voyage. Mechanic Karl Johan Hildonen is listed as having died at sea on March 20-1945 following an accident. She headed back to the U.K. on Apr. 8, serving as Commodore Vessel for Convoy HX 349* (Commodore Sir O.H. Dawson), which arrived Liverpool on the 23rd. Her last convoy voyage was made in the westbound Convoy ON 300* (Commodore in Heranger), departing Liverpool on May 2 - in other words, VE Day was celebrated at sea.
From Page 4, we learn that she got to go home to Norway in Aug.-1945.
To D/S A/S Varøy (Vibran Shipping, Knut Knutsen), Haugesund in March-1956. Ran aground on August 14-1964 near Kokkola, on a voyage from Murmansk to Yxilpa. Refloated and docked in Haugesund. Condemned and sold in Oct.-1964 to Norsk Skipsopphugging A/S, Grimstad (breakers). Left Haugesund on her last voyage on Oct. 17.
Stavern Memorial commemoration - Mechanic Karl Johan Hildonen is listed as having died at sea on March 20-1945 following an accident. "Våre falne" says he drowned that day. According to Page 4 of the archive documents, John Bakke was on her way from Clyde to New York on that date.
Back to John Bakke on the "Ships starting with J" page.
Other ships by this name: Knut Knutsen had previously had another ship by the name John Bakke (steam ship), delivered in Sept.-1913, 1611 gt.. Sunk by gun fire from U-88 on June 7-1917, 65 n. miles east of Shetland on a voyage Baltimore-Rotterdam, on charter to Belgian Relief. My Ship Forum has a thread on this ship. The company's 2nd D/S John Bakke was built in 1923, 1907 gt. Sold in March-1929 to Banck & Co., Helsingborg and renamed Capella. From 1951 she sailed as Ängsø of Stockholm, and in 1954 as Anni Stinnes of Hamburg. Broken up in Lübeck in 1962 as Fritz Ho Stinnes. (This info from "Våre gamle skip", Leif M. Bjørkelund & E. H. Kongshavn). Knut Knutsen's 4th John Bakke was a Container ship, built in Kobe in 1978, 16 438 gt. This ship sailed as Høegh John from Aug.-1982 while under time charter to Leif Høegh & Co. A/S, Oslo. Sold in Nov.-1982 to Denmark and renamed Høegh Borg, then Wedellsborg in May-1983. Sold again in 1987 and became Laja under Chilean flag.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Våre motorskip", Leif M. Bjørkelund and E. H. Kongshavn (pre war and post war details). Also, "Tilbakeblikk", published in 1995 by the Norwegian Gunners' Veterans Association, and misc. others for cross checking info, incl. "The World's Merchant Fleets 1939", Roger W. Jordan, and "The Allied Convoy System" by Arnold Hague, and misc. postings to my Ship Forum.