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M/T Minister Wedel
Updated June 18-2010

To Minister Wedel on the "Ships starting with M" page.

Crew List

Picture received from Lillesand Sjømannsforening, Norway.
Another picture is available on this external page (click in the little thumbnail to make it larger).

The Australian War Memorial also has a picture of this ship (external links).

Owner: Rederi A/S Norsk Transatlantic
Manager: Karl Bruusgaard, Oslo
6833 gt, 4022 net, 10 645 tdwt
Signal Letters: LDOI

Built by William Doxford & Sons Ltd., Sunderland in 1930.

Captain: Olaf J. Olsen in 1940, then Wilh. J. Wilhelmsen from June 15-1942 (he had also commanded this ship previously). See also this releated Guestbook message.

In Admiralty service from 1940 (Royal Fleet Auxiliary).

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

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

  Partial Voyage Record
From Apr.-1941 to Jan.-1943:  

(Received from Don Kindell - His source: The late Arnold Hague's database).

Follow the convoy links provided for more information on each (other Norwegian ships are also named).

Departure From To Arrival Convoy Remarks
1941 Apr. 7 Aden Suez Apr. 13 BN 23 Earlier voyages, Page 1
Convoy available at BN 23
(external link)
Missing 1941 voyages:
Page 1 above & Page 2
1942 July 17 Cristobal Gitmo July 21 PG 2 Earlier 1942 voyages:
Page 2 above.
Convoy available at PG 2
(external link)
Arrived Curacao, July 26
(Page 2).
Aug. 1 Curacao Trinidad Aug. 4 WAT 9 Curacao to Trinidad.
Convoy available at WAT 9
(external link)
Left Trinidad Aug. 6
(Page 2).
See also narrative below.
Aug. 29 Freetown Takoradi Sept. 3 ST 32 Convoy available at ST 32
(external link)
On to Point Noire, Sept. 5,
back to Takoradi
(missing voyages, Page 2)
Sept. 25 Takoradi Freetown Sept. 30 TS 20 Convoy available at TS 20
(external link)
Oct. 3 Freetown Belfast Lough Oct. 21 SL 124 Convoy available at SL 124
(external link)
Missing movements, Page 2
Nov. 7 Clyde New York City Nov. 29 ON 144 Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
Dec. 2 New York City Gitmo Dec. 9 NG 326 For Trinidad.
Convoy available at NG 326
(external link)
Dec. 9 Gitmo Trinidad Dec. 15 GAT 28 Convoy available at GAT 28
(external link)
Dec. 28 Trinidad TM 1 Sunk - See "Final Fate" below.
See also TMF 1
(external link)

 Misc. WW II: 
For information on voyages made in between those mentioned here, please see the documents received from the National Archives of Norway. Convoy information for some of them can be found in Hague's Voyage Record above.

Her 1940 voyages and some 1941 voyages are shown on Page 1 of the archive documents.

Minister Wedel reported seeing a U-boat 4 n. miles away when in 08 52N 52 30W on Aug. 9-1942, and was subsequently followed for an hour and a half, then a periscope was seen 2 cable lengths off the port quarters. Her gun was fired while course was altered; and nothing further happened. According to Page 2 of the archive documents, she was on her way from Trinidad to Freetown on that date, having left Trinidad on Aug. 6.

In Oct.-1942, we find her in Convoy SL 124, which left Freetown on Oct. 3 and arrived Liverpool on the 22nd (link in Voyage Record); Minister Wedel, bound for Clyde in ballast, stopped at Belfast Lough Oct. 21/22, leaving again for Clyde on the 25th. The Norwegian Albert L. Ellsworth and Tarifa also took part, as did the Panamanian Norlys (Norwegian managers and included under the N's on this website). The following month, she's listed in the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 144, originating in Liverpool on Nov. 7, arriving New York on the 27th - Page 2 gives her arrival New York as Nov. 29 (she had joined from Clyde). This convoy, which also included Bencas (joined from Halifax), Bestik, Borgfred, Cetus, Ingertre, Norlom, Orwell, Suderøy and Titanian, will be added to an individual page in my Convoys section, but in the meantime, the ships sailing in it are named in the section listing ships in all ON convoys. Eglantine, Potentilla, Montbretia and Rose are named among the escorts (see ON convoy escorts).

 Final Fate - 1943: 

From New York, Minister Wedel had continued to Trinidad on Dec. 2-1942. Her captain at that time was Wilh. J. Wilhelmsen (27 years old). She had arrived Trinidad, via Guantanamo Bay, on Dec. 15, and with a cargo of 9000 tons fuel oil, she left again on the 28th in Convoy TM 1, bound for Gibraltar for orders, but did not make it to her destination. Early in the morning of Jan. 9-1943, when in position 28 08N 28 20W, she was torpedoed in the starboard side foreship by U-522* (Schneider).

All 38 survived (incl. 5 gunners) and were picked up from lifeboats by the British destroyer HMS Havelock, one of the escorts. At daybreak the destroyer went alongside Minister Wedel, which was still afloat, and let the captain, the 1st engineer, the assistant, 2 mechanics and a W/T operator go back on board to inspect the damages and see if she could be saved, but nothing could be done at that time and she was abandoned again. Two days later the captain and 1st engineer returned on a corvette, but by that time the ship was gone, sunk by a torpedo from U-522.

Captain Wilhelmsen and the 1st engineer were landed in Gibraltar on Jan. 20, and the inquiry was held there on Jan. 21 with the 2 officers appearing. The others had been transferred to a British transport and proceeded to the U.K.

Convoy TM 1 had left Port of Spain with 9 tankers, escorted by the destroyer and 3 British corvettes. By Jan. 10 only two ships were left; namely the Norwegian tanker Vanja and the British tanker Cliona, both arriving Gibraltar on Jan. 14, the escort having been reinforced with another destroyer and 2 corvettes**.

The Norwegian tanker Albert L. Ellsworth was also sunk in this convoy, as were the British Oltenia II (Commodore Ship), Empire Lytton, British Vigilance and British Dominon, and the Panamanian tanker Norvik (Norwegian managers and captain, and majority Norwegian crew). The external website that I've linked to at the end of this page has more details on this battle (again, see also my own page about Convoy TM 1).

This was the first direct convoy from Port of Spain. The tanker convoys started to go straight from Trinidad at this time (without first going to Halifax), thereby saving valuable time when bringing much needed supplies to the Allies in North Africa.

* "Nortraships flåte" gives U-575 (Heydemann) as the attacker of Minister Wedel and Norvik. J. Rohwer says "U-522 reported three hits, which were also observed by U-575. It is probable that two hit the Minister Wedel, which started to burn fiercely, and the other the Norvik. HMS Havelock unsuccessfully tried to sink both ships by gunfire. The two vessels were sunk the next day by torpedoes from U-522" (the date Jan. 9 is given for both ships).

** In addition to the destroyer Havelock, A. Hague names Godetia, Pentstemon, Pimpernel, Quentin, Samphire and Saxifrage as escorts for this convoy - ref. external link provided in the table above. Quentin was a destroyer, the others were corvettes.

Crew List - No casualties:
Olaf H. Ellefsen had been 1st Engineer on this ship ever since she was built in 1930.
1st Mate Alf Riiber Christensen had previously served on
Tankexpress, later served on John Bakke and Bergensfjord.
For Radio Operator Jonassen, see also crew list for Brattdal. He later served on President de Vogue and California Express.
Arnold Wilhelmsen had previously served on Mosli, later joined Salta. He's also listed among those who had been on board Rigmor in Operation Performance in March/Apr.-1942.

Wilhelm Wilhelmsen
1st Mate
Alf R. Christensen
2nd Mate
Ossian Gudvaag
3rd Mate
Peder Rønning
Radio Operator
Arvid Jonassen
Edvin Gustavsen
Carl Hallqvist
Able Seaman
Kalevi Olkio*
Able Seaman
Birger Rygh
Able Seaman
Guttorm Stormark
Able Seaman
Bjarne Andersen
Able Seaman
Lennard Johanson
Able Seaman
Jack Sprague
Able Seaman/Gunner
Mikal Mikkelsen
Ordinary Seaman
Thorleif Waage
1st Engineer
Olaf H. Ellefsen
2nd Engineer
Olaf Pettersen
3rd Engineer
Trygve Aasen
Sverre Svendsen
Leif Elvevold
Richard Nielsen
Arnold Wilhelmsen
Bernt Frøkedal
Haakon Pedersen
Knut Hallqvist
Wilhelm Larsen
Andreas Omholt
Kristian Tallaksen
Mess Boy
Lam Kow
Mess Boy
Chan Chuen
Mess Boy
Kong Hee
Mess Boy
Wong Kwan
Mess Boy
For Yua
Benjamin Levitt
Joseph Angus
Robert Eccle
Bernhard Maguire
+ 1 more survivor(?)

* Kalevi Olkio contacted me a couple of years ago, he lives here in the U.S. Project Liberty Ship has his history (here's the site map for Project Liberty Ship). He has written a book, which he sent me, entitled "Jernskip og unge menn" (iron ships and young men) - full of pictures of Norwegian seamen and "sea women" post war, as well as wonderful stories. Unfortuantely, I can't find an ISBN number, but if anyone is interested in acquiring a copy, I'm sure I can get a hold of Kalevi again.

Related external links:
Stavern Memorial commemoration - Greaser Arne Sigvald Johansen is said to have died in an accident while at sea on Sept. 27-1940 (ship's name is spelt wrong).

TM-1, 3-12 Jan 1943
U-522 | Herbert Schneider

Operations information for U-522

Back to Minister Wedel on the "Ships starting with M" page.

The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Norwegian Maritime Museum, Volume II, "Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two", Jürgen Rohwer, and misc. (ref. My sources).


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