To Navarra on the "Ships starting with N" page.
A picture is available on this external page.
Manager: Fearnley & Eger, Oslo
Tonnage: 2118 gt
Built in Sunderland in 1921 (J. Rohwer says Navarra was built in 1920).
Captain: Lorentz Ø. Tangen.
Navarra is listed in Convoy HN 10B from Norway to the U.K. in Febr.-1940, bound for Liverpool in ballast. Early in March. A. Hague has included her in the U.K.-Norway Convoy ON 18, and towards the end of that month (just a couple of weeks before Norway was invaded), she joined Convoy HN 21, bound for Swansea in ballast - follow the links for more convoy info; several Norwegian ships took part in all these convoys.
Final Fate - 1940 (Norway still neutral):
She was returning to Norway from Swansea with a cargo of coal when she was torpedoed on Apr. 6-1940 by U-59 (Jürst), sunk 59N 04W. 12 died out of the 26 on board.
A visitor to my website has told me that Admiralty records give the following:
On a voyage Swansea-Kirkwall for convoy with a cargo of coal (she may have been intended for Convoy ON 25?). Torpedoed starboard side abreast no. 3 hatch in approx. 59N 04W at 02:20 (BST) on Apr. 6-1940. She was immediatley abandoned in 2 lifeboats, one of which failed to get clear and went down with the ship. She had a crew of 26 and 3 passengers. These records say 6 crew including the captain, 1st and 2nd mates, engineer and 2 passengers drowned, adding that the survivors were picked up 8 1/2 hours later by the Finnish D/S Atlas and landed at Kirkwall.
In the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten for Monday afternoon, April 8-1940 the following is found:
"The Oslo Ship Navarra torpedoed near the coast of Scotland, 12 have died, among them the ship's captain and 2 passengers.
A new horrendous war loss has struck our merchant fleet with the sinking of the steamer Navarra, belonging to Fearnley & Eger, Oslo. Navarra has been torpedoed by a German U-boat near Scotland. 10 men, including the ship's officers and 2 passengers must be assumed dead.
From Aftenposten's correspondent, London Apr. 8. Navarra was torpedoed without warning about 30 miles from the north coast of Scotland early Saturday morning and sank in 3 minutes. Navarra was on her way from Swansea to Oslo with coal. 12 of those who were on board are feared dead, among them the ship's officers and 2 passengers. The other 14 were rescued after having drifted around in an open boat in the storm and rain for 9 hours. After having torpedoed Navarra, the U-boat circled the area for half an hour without making any effort to rescue the shipwrecked men. Navarra had all her lights on and was showing the Norwegian flag when she was torpedoed. 6 crew were probably killed during the initial explosion. 2 lifeboats were put on the water, but one of them capsized in the high seas, resulting in the death of the captain, 3 officers and 2 passengers. The other lifeboat was spotted by a British aircraft on patrol, which notified the Finnish ship Atlas which went to assist. At that time the crew had spent 9 hours in the boat in heavy seas and terrible weather. Their ordeal was clearly apparent when they were landed at a Scottish port Saturday afternoon. 2 had injuries in their legs. They said that the U-boat approached the lifeboat to a distance of 10-15 meters away and put its searchlights on them. The U-boat stayed there for half an hour without attempting to assist.
The steamer Navarra was built in 1931 (incorrect) and measured 3500 dwt. In the past few years the ship has been in service to French ports, the coast of the Bay of Biscay etc., and lately she has been transporting coal between England and Norway. The captain was L. Tangen. The Department of Foreign Affairs in London has sent a request to the Norwegian consul for a list of those who were rescued as soon as possible".
Additional snippets from this newspaper: On the same page there's a headline protesting the laying of mines by the British and the French in 3 places in Norwegian waters, saying it's a serious violation of Norwegian neutrality, demanding the mines be removed. Also, there's a few lines from the Seamen's Association touching on the attack on Mira and Navarra, saying they may consider forbidding Norwegian seamen to sign on ships that are in service to Germany, and also taking steps towards preventing German ships from loading and unloading cargo in Norwegian ports (Norway was invaded the next day). The interesting thing here is that the fattest headlines for the next day, Tuesday Apr. 9-1940, say "Several hundred German soldiers killed when Rio de Janeiro was torpedoed near Lillesand". This paper must have come out before the German invasion was known (it's the morning issue), though there's a small headline that says "German warships of all types are passing Storebelt, Danish fishermen have seen a steady stream towards the north". See also my text under Lindebø.
For info, U-59 was also responsible for the attack on Glitrefjell and later sank Touraine - follow the links for details.
Related external links:
Stavern Memorial commemorations - Names are spelt slightly different from above. Captain Lorentz Øhre-Tangen is among them. Trygve Thorsen is listed as "Stoker" here and Stoker Valdstad is listed with the last name Wolsdal. This website claims that one of the lifeboats was shelled and sunk by the U-boat, giving the position 30 n. miles northwest of Scotland. Navarra had 26 on board. The 14 survivors were taken to a Scottish port.
Astrup Fearnley - the Fearnley company today.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Norsk presse under Hakekorset" - Vol I ("Norwegian Press under the Swastika"), Gunnleik Jensson (1945 - A collection of copies of newspapers from the war years - ref. My sources), and misc. as noted within text above.