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To Madrono on the "Ships starting with M" page.
Owner: A/S Norsk Rutefart
Launched by Palmers' Shipbuilding & Iron Co., Ltd., Jarrow (Yard No. 846) on Nov. 11-1916, completed (for Wilh. Wilhelmsen in Tønsberg) in April-1917 and placed under the management of H. E. Moss & Co., Liverpool (war requisition), registered owner W. M. Cohan. Returned to Wilh. Wilhelmsen in Oct.-1919. Sold on Dec. 19-1929 to Skibs A/S "Madrono" (Hans Borge), Tønsberg. Sold in 1938 to A/S Norsk Rutefart (A. I. Langfeldt & Co.), Kristiansand.
Captain: Antonius Stave (later, Sigvart Andersen).
Related items on this website:
Her voyages are listed on these original images from the Norwegian National Archives:
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 may be missing.
See the external links provided in the Voyage Record for more info on the OA and OB convoys mentioned here.
According to Page 1 of the archive documents, Madrono was on her way from Las Piedras to Falmouth when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940. Her final destination is given as Antwerp, where she later arrived on May 6. She was in drydock there for repairs of the propeller on May 10, when the German air attacks on the city and the harbour started. The Norwegian D/S Evanger was also in Antwerp at the time. That same evening the British destroyer HMS Brilliant (Lt. Cdr. F.C. Brodrick) arrived to organize the departure of the 26 merchant ships in the harbour. They all got out on the 12th, followed by 50 tugs, and though attacked 3 times by German aircraft, they escaped unharmed. Madrono was in a difficult situation, as the dock had to be filled with water before she could get out. She was the last ship to leave, carrying 50 refugees.
She went by the Downs but is said to have been damaged after colliding in fog (in the harbour?) with a Dutch vessel (please see * below - the dating must be wrong here). This ship sank but her crew of 8-10 people were picked up by Madrono, whose bow was damaged but she was able to continue to Southampton with the refugees from France (British Jews?), arriving Southampton on May 14, according to the archive document. Madrono was temporarily repaired then headed for New Orleans(?) where further repairs were undertaken (my question mark is due to the fact that this voyage to New Orleans is not mentioned for this time period on the archive document, however, these repairs may have been undertaken in Febr.-Apr.-1941, when she spent quite some time in New Orleans; again, see Page 1).
Arnold Hague now has Madrono, along with Bencas and Hardanger, in Convoy OA 149, which left Southend on May 16-1940; her voyage information is given as "Portsmouth to Falmouth". Going back to Page 1, we find that she arrived Falmouth on May 18, having started out from Southampton on the 16th. She left Falmouth again on June 12, and we now find her, with Balzac and Tautra, in Convoy OA 166, which left Southend on June 11 and which joined up with Convoy OB 166 on June 13, forming the Gibraltar bound Convoy OG 33 (see also my page listing ships in all OG convoys). Madrono, however, was bound for Aruba, arriving there on June 29, having been detached from the convoy on June 17. From Aruba, she proceeded to Bermuda the next day, joining the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 57 on July 10, arriving Liverpool on the 26th. The following month she's listed, together with Balla, Beth, Fernbrook and Granli, in Convoy OB 194, leaving Liverpool on Aug. 6, dispersed on the 10th, Madrono arriving Trinidad on Sept. 1 (via Caripito, Aug. 31). In Dec.-1940 she can be found in the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 96, bound for Barry Roads and Southampton, and it'll be noticed, in the Voyage Record above, that according to A. Hague this is when she collided with Catharina.
In Jan.-1941 she shows up, together with Beduin, Buesten, Kristianiafjord, Norefjord, President de Vogue and Solsten, in Convoy OB 279, which originated in Liverpool on Jan. 28 and dispersed on Febr. 2, Madrono arriving Bermuda on Febr. 15, having joined from Clyde. Note that it was after this voyage to Bermuda that she proceeded to New Orleans, with arrival Febr. 28, and she did not leave again until Apr. 1 (Page 1), so it's quite possible that the repairs mentioned above were undertaken in this period. At the end of that month, she joined Convoy HX 124 from Halifax, destination Ardrossan, with arrival there on May 22, according to Page 2 (she had originally been scheduled for HX 123, but did not sail; she may have arrived Halifax too late to join). See also the Commodore's narrative for Convoy SC 30, which joined up with this convoy. With Brant County, Para, Stiklestad, Strinda and Torvanger, she subsequently joined Convoy OB 327, originating in Liverpool on May 28, dispersed June 1, Madrono arriving Curacao on June 19 (she had started out from Greenock on May 29).
She headed back to the U.K. again on July 22 in Convoy HX 140 from Halifax, bound for Barry Roads with a cargo of crude oil in station 112, having been cancelled from the previous convoy, HX 139. Other Norwegian ships in HX 140 were Skiensfjord (97), Boreas (16), Velox (56), Velma (96), Alaska (106), Stiklestad (95), Vardefjell (84), Evita (114), Olaf Bergh (124), Thorshov (83), Ferncastle (113), Bonneville (82), Thorshavet (43) and Helgøy (77); others joined from Iceland (follow the link for info). Beth and Petter were also initially in this convoy but left due to engine problems. In Sept.-1941, we find Madrono in station 15 of the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 15, but she was unable to maintain convoy speed and returned to port, subsequently joining the next convoy, ON 16. She arrived Aruba on Oct. 11, the convoy having been dispersed on Sept. 27. Her subsequent voyages are shown on Page 2.
Visje has also come across another tidbit about Madrono, saying she was shelled north of Lombok, NEI by the Japanese submarine I-55 (Cdr. Nakajima, probably), but managed to escape. He gives no date for this incident, but I found mention of it in an article in the Norwegian magazine "Krigsseileren" No. 4 for 1996, saying the Japanese sub was equipped with a "false" sail to lure them into thinking they were dealing with a lifeboat and shipwrecked seamen. The 2nd mate on Madrono at the time, Ragnar Jonassen, didn't fall for the trick, altered course, returned the fire and was able to get away. It appears they were en route to Batavia at the time, possibly the voyage she made there in Jan./Febr.-1942? After the incident she was escorted by 2 Dutch destroyers the rest of the way.
More details on all the Norwegian ships mentioned here can be found with the help of the alphabet index at the end of this page, or go to the Master Ship Index.
Madrono was captured by the German auxiliary cruiser Thor on July 4-1942, while on a voyage in ballast from Melbourne to Abadan, 29 50S 70 00E, having sailed from Melbourne on June 16 - see Page 3 (unless some voyages are missing from her record, she appears to have spent quite a long time there; according to Page 2, she had arrived on Apr. 22). My page Norwegian victims of T/S Thor picks up the story from here. There's also information about the fate of her crew, as well as an account of an attempt at escape. Merchant Marine Prisoners of War has a crew list, also listing the Norwegians in Japanese imprisonment, but there's a slight discrepancy here in that the source for the list ("Ingen Nåde" by Kristian Ottosen) also includes a Gunner John Jacobsen, not mentioned at all in the crew list from the Norwegian archives, whereas 3rd Engineer Edvard Edvardsen mentioned in the latter list has not been included in "Ingen Nåde". He was placed on the Rhakotis after Madrono's capture, and was among those who were rescued by a Spanish trawler after the sinking of Rhakotis. See also my page Life in Imprisonment which describes what some of Madrono's men (and others) experienced in Japanese camps. Here's a Post war interview with Bedrich Scharf, one of her crew members.
Related external link:
As will be seen on my page about "Norwegian Victims of Thor", Madrono was renamed Rossbach after capture, and according to Wilh. Wilhelmsen's fleet list Madrono/Rossbach was allocated to Waried Tankschiff Rhederei G.m.b.H., torpedoed and sunk in the Kii Channel, Japan by the American submarine USS Burrfish on May 7-1944, position 33 14N 134 40E. I checked on this in the book "U.S. Submarine Attacks during World War II" by John D. Alden, which gives the same date, but position 33 13N 134 14E, S Murotosaki, claiming she was hit by 3 torpedoes.
Related external link:
Back to Madrono on the "Ships starting with M" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, Wilh. Wilhelmsen's fleet list, and misc. as named within text above - (ref. My sources).