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D/T Madrono
Updated May 21-2010

To Madrono on the "Ships starting with M" page.

Received from, and painted by Jan Goedhart, Holland.
More pictures are available on this external page (click in them to enlarge).

Owner: A/S Norsk Rutefart
Manager: A. I. Langfeldt & Co., Kristiansand
5894 gt, 3697 net, 8600 tdwt.
Dimensions: 407.5 x 52.4' x 31.6'.
Machinery: 3 cylinder triple expansion steam engines of 2200 ihp by George Clark Ltd., Sunderland. Service speed 10 knots.
Call Sign: LDGF.

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:
Norwegian victims of T/S Thor - Details on the capture of Madrono, fate of the crew etc.
Merchant Marine Prisoners of War - Has a crew list for Madrono at the time of capture by Thor.
Life in Imprisonment - Describes what some of Madrono's men (and others) experienced in Japanese camps.
The sinking of Rhakotis (scroll down on the page).
Guestbook message - From the niece of Arne Emil Framnes, a crew member of Madrono.
Guestbook message - From the grandson of another crew member, Erling Sveberg.
Post war interview with Bedrich Scharf, one of her crew members. Here's a Guestbook message from his son.

Her voyages are listed on these original images from the Norwegian National Archives:
Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3

Please compare the above voyages with Arnold Hague's Voyage Record below.

Voyage Record
From May-1940 to July-1942:

(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.

Departure From To Arrival Convoy Remarks
1940 May 16 Portsmouth Falmouth OA 149 Earlier voyages, Page 1
A. Hague says:
Portsmouth to Falmouth
(Page 1 says arrived from Southampton, May 18).
Convoy available at OA 149
(external link)
June 12 Falmouth OA 166G Convoy available at OA 166
(external link)
Formed OG 33, June 13
June 13 Formed at sea OG 33 Detached, June 17
Convoy will be added.
See ships in OG convoys
June 17 Detached from OG 33 Aruba June 29 Independent
June 20* Aruba Bermuda July 6 Independent *Should be June 30
July 10 Bermuda BHX 57 See link to HX 57.
July 15 Bermuda portion joined main convoy Liverpool July 26 HX 57
Aug. 6 Liverpool OB 194 Dispersed 54 36N 18 02W, Aug. 10.
Convoy available at OB 194
(external link)
Aug. 10 Dispersed from OB 194 Caripito Independent
Aug. 31 Caripito Trinidad Sept. 2 Independent
Sept. 2 Trinidad Cape Verdes Sept. 13 Independent
Sept. 19 Cape Verdes Trinidad Sept. 27 Independent
Oct. 5 Trinidad Curacao Oct. 8 Independent
Oct. 10 Curacao Freetown Oct. 26 Independent
Oct. 31 Freetown Trinidad Nov. 12 Independent
Nov. 28 Trinidad Las Piedras Dec. 2 Independent
Dec. 2 Las Piedras Curacao Dec. 3 Independent Notional sailing date
See also Page 1
Dec. 3 Curacao Bermuda Dec. 10 Independent
Dec. 12 Bermuda BHX 96 See link to HX 96.
Dec. 18 Bermuda portion joined main convoy Barry Dec. 30 HX 96
Dec. 31 Barry Dartmouth Jan. 2-1941 Independent Collision Dutch Catharina which sank
1941 Jan. 2 Dartmouth Solent Independent See also Page 1
Jan. 21 Solent Dartmouth Jan. 22 Independent
Jan. 22 Dartmouth Clyde Jan. 26 Independent
Jan. 28 Clyde OB 279 For Bermuda.
Dispersed 62N 23 10W, Febr. 2.
Convoy available at OB 279
(external link)
Febr. 2 Dispersed from OB 279 Bermuda Febr. 15 Independent
Febr. 19 Bermuda New Orleans Febr. 28 Independent
Apr. 1 New Orleans Aruba Apr. 9 Independent
Apr. 13 Aruba Las Piedras Apr. 14 Independent
Apr. 14 Las Piedras Halifax Apr. 25 Independent
Apr. 30 Halifax Ardrossan May 22 HX 124 See also narrative below & Page 2
May 29 Clyde OB 327 Dispersed 52 42N 22 18W, June 1.
Convoy available at OB 327
(external link)
June 1 Dispersed from OB 327 Curacao June 19 Independent
July 3 Curacao Las Piedras July 5 Independent
July 5 Las Piedras Bermuda July 13 Independent Missing voyage, Page 2
July 22 Halifax Belfast Lough Aug. 5 HX 140 See also narrative below
Aug. 7 Belfast Lough Milford Haven Aug. 9 BB 58 Convoy available at BB convoys
(external link)
* Aug. 8 Milford Haven Southampton
*The above entry should probably be deleted.
Aug. 9 Milford Haven Southampton Aug. 12 WP 17 Missing voyages, Page 2.
Convoy available at WP convoys
(external link)
Sept. 5 Solent Dartmouth Sept. 6 PW 30 Again, compare w/Page 2
Convoy available via this page
(external link)
Sept. 7 Dartmouth Milford Haven Sept. 9 PW 31 Via Falmouth.
Convoy available via link above
Sept. 11 Milford Haven Oban Sept. 13 ON 15 (Left Belfast Lough, Sept. 11, Page 2)
Sept. 14 Oban ON 16 Dispersed Sept. 27.
Sept. 27 Dispersed from ON 16 Aruba Oct. 11 Independent
Oct. 12 Aruba Cristobal Oct. 15 Independent
Oct. 17 Balboa Wellington Nov. 21 Independent
Nov. 25 Wellington Darwin Independent Missing voyages, Page 2
1942 Jan. 5 Darwin Sourabaya Independent Page 2 gives arrival Jan. 14.
Jan. 23 Sourabaya Palembang Independent
Jan. 31 Palembang Batavia Independent See also narrative.
Febr. 17 Batavia Colombo Febr. 28 Independent
March 1 Colombo Trincomalee March 3 Escorted
March 8 Trincomalee Fremantle March 27 Independent
March 29 Fremantle Brisbane Apr. 13 Independent
Apr. 17 Brisbane Melbourne Apr. 22 Independent
June 16 Melbourne Independent For Abadan - See Page 3
Captured by Thor,
see narrative below
(& Norwegian victims of T/S Thor)

 Misc. War Voyages – 1940-1941: 
For information on voyages made in between those mentioned here, please see the documents received from the National Archives of Norway and A. Hague's Voyage Record above. Follow the convoy links provided for further details; several Norwegian ships took part.

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).

* I believe that this episode has been confused with another episode which took place early in 1941. Visje, a Dutch visitor to my website has told me that the Dutch coaster Catharina (completed 1939, 391 gt), was rammed and sunk by Madrono in the Channel on Jan. 1-1941, 7 miles south of Lizard (see also Hague's Voyage Record above), and he can find no other mention of Madrono in connection with a Dutch ship. Another possibility is, of course, that the nationality given for the ship in the May-1940 incident is incorrect (the mention of refugees from France would indicate it did happen in 1940). However, if it did happen in Jan.-1941, it would make more sense that she was repaired in New Orleans from Febr.-1941, as suggested above; in other words, she may not have collided at all when the refugees were on board in the spring of 1940.

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.

 Encounter with German Thor - 1942: 

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:
Stavern memorial commemorations - Again, see the links above for more information on what happened to these 3 men.

 Final Fate: 

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:
SS 312 - Burrfish - This page gives the nationality of the ship sunk by this submarine as Japanese, the tonnage given is the same as Madrono's tonnage.

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).


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