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D/S Norhauk
Updated March 17-2012

To Norhauk on the "Ships starting with N" page.

Crew List

This is a picture of Empire Beaver, which later became Norwegian Norhauk.
Received from R. Griffiths, England - original source: Steamship Historical Society of America.

Manager: Nortraship
6038 gt
Signal Letters: LNAH

Built under United States Shipping Board contracts (WW I) by G. M. Standifer Construction Corp., Vancouver, Wash., completed as Waban (USSB) in 1919. Design 1015; 9400 tdw, 402 ft x 53 ft. Owned by Lykes Bros-Ripley SS Co. in 1933. Purchased from USA by British Ministry of Shipping in 1940, renamed Empire Sambar. On March 6-1941 she had an explosion in the engine room while at sea; towed in, repaired, and renamed Empire Beaver (M.O.W.T.) in 1942. (Info from Mitchell & Sawyer's "Empire Ships", received from Barbara Mumford).

This was one of 19 ships transferred to Nortraship in 1942, see my page "Ship Statistics & Misc." under Empire Ships for names of the other 18. Taken over at Mersey on April 5-1942 and given the name Norhauk (she had previously arrived U.K. as Empire Beaver in Convoy SC 70). Most of the ‘Empire’-named ships that were transferred from the British to the Norwegian flag during the war years were given the prefix ‘Nor’, others were named for members of the (exiled) Norwegian Royal Family. A slight disagreement over tonnage here, "Empire Ships" says she was 6038 gt, while "Lloyd's War Losses WW II" gives her 6086 gt, as does Charles Hocking's "Dictionary of Disasters at Sea during the Age of Steam 1824-1962". "Nortraships flåte" says she was 9193 tdwt, while "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig" gives her 6086 gt, 3749 net. All these books (except "Empire Ships") are listed in My sources.

Captain: Thorvald Birger Lihaug

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.

  Voyage Record
From Apr.-1942 to Dec.-1943:  

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

Follow the convoy links provided for more information on each.

Departure From To Arrival Convoy Remarks
1942 Apr. 14 Liverpool Cape Cod Canal Apr. 29 ON 86 For Philadelphia.
Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
Apr. 29 Cape Cod Canal Philadelphia May 3 Independent See also Page 1
May 20 Philadelphia New York City Independent
May 27 New York City Cape Cod Bay Independent
May 29 Cape Cod Bay Halifax May 31 BX 21 To Sydney, C.B.
Convoy available at BX convoys
(external link)
June 3 Halifax Sydney, C.B. June 5 HS 9 Convoy available at HS convoys
(external link)
This stop at Halifax (and Cape Cod Bay) not mentioned, Page 1
June 5 Sydney, C.B. Liverpool June 19 SC 86
July 19 Liverpool ON 114 For NYC.
Dispersed Aug. 4.
Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
Aug. 4 Dispersed from ON 114 New York City Aug. 5 Independent
Aug. 7 New York City Baltimore Aug. 9 Independent
Aug. 26 Baltimore New York City Aug. 30 Independent
Sept. 5 New York City Cape Cod Bay Independent Via Boston
(Page 1)
Sept. 8 Cape Cod Bay Halifax Sept. 12 BX 37 Convoy available at BX convoys
(external link)
Sept. 12 Halifax Oban Sept. 28 SC 100 See also narrative below
Sept. 28 Oban Loch Ewe Sept. 28 Independent Compare w/Page 1
Sept. 30 Loch Ewe Methil Oct. 2 WN 343 Convoy available at WN convoys
(external link)
Oct. 3 Methil Southend Oct. 5 FS 924 Convoy available at FS convoys
(external link)
Dec. 5 Southend Methil Dec. 7 FN 883 Convoy available at FN convoys
(external link)
Dec. 12 Methil Loch Ewe Dec. 14 EN 172 Convoy available at EN convoys
(external link)
Dec. 18 Loch Ewe Halifax Jan. 9-1943 ON 154 Page 1 says:
Lost convoy
Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
1943 Jan. 11 Halifax Hampton Roads Jan. 17 ON 156 From Halifax
Jan. 18 Hampton Roads Baltimore Jan. 19 Independent
Febr. 5 Baltimore New York City Febr. 8 Independent
Febr. 13 New York City Liverpool March 5 SC 120 Convoy will be added.
See ships in SC convoys
March 28 Liverpool ONS 2 Convoy will be added.
See ships in ONS convoys
Apr. 19 From ONS 2 Cape Cod Canal Apr. 21 XB 46 Convoy available at XB convoys
(external link)
Apr. 21 Cape Cod Canal New York City Apr. 22 Independent
Apr. 28 New York City Baltimore Apr. 29 Independent
May 17 Baltimore Hampton Roads May 18 Independent
May 19 Hampton Roads New York City May 20 Independent
May 23 New York City Boston Independent
May 26 Boston Halifax May 28 BX 54 Convoy available at BX convoys
(external link)
June 5 Halifax Loch Ewe June 18 SC 133
June 19 Loch Ewe Methil June 20 WN 443 Convoy available at WN convoys
(external link)
June 21 Methil Southend June 23 FS 1148 Convoy available at FS convoys
(external link)
See also Page 2
July 18 Southend Methil July 20 FN 1076 Convoy available at FN convoys
(external link)
July 20 Methil Oban July 22 EN 258 Convoy available at EN convoys
(external link)
July 27 Oban ONS 14 For Philadelphia.
Convoy will be added.
See ships in ONS convoys
Aug. 9 From ONS 14 Cape Cod Canal Aug. 11 XB 68 Convoy available at XB convoys
(external link)
Aug. 11 Cape Cod Canal New York City Aug. 11 Independent
Aug. 13 New York City Philadelphia Aug. 13 Independent
Sept. 2 Philadelphia Boston Independent Via New York
(Page 2).
Sept. 5 Boston Halifax Sept. 7 BX 72 Convoy available at BX convoys
(external link)
Sept. 15 Halifax Loch Ewe Sept. 29 SC 142
Sept. 29 Loch Ewe Methil Oct. 1 WN 486 Convoy available at WN convoys
(external link)
Oct. 1 Methil Hull Oct. 3 FS 1235 Convoy available at FS convoys
(external link)
Oct. 17 Hull Methil Oct. 19 FN 1154 Convoy available at FN convoys
(external link)
Oct. 19 Methil Oban Oct. 22 EN 296 Convoy available at EN convoys
(external link)
Oct. 23 Oban ONS 21 For St. John, N.B.
Detached Nov. 5.
Convoy will be added.
See ships in ONS convoys
Nov. 5 Detached from ONS 21 St. John, N.B. Nov. 6 Independent
Nov. 24 St. John, N.B. Halifax Nov. 26 FH 87 Convoy available at FH convoys
(external link)
Dec. 2 Halifax Loch Ewe Dec. 16 SC 148
Dec. 16 Loch Ewe Methil Dec. 18 WN 519 Convoy available at WN convoys
(external link)
Dec. 19 Methil FS 1305 Mined and Sunk.
See "Final Fate" below.
Convoy available at FS convoys
(external link)

 Some Convoy Voyages: 
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.

As mentioned, Norhauk was taken over by Nortraship on Apr. 5-1942, having previously arrived U.K. as Empire Beaver in Convoy SC 70. Already on the 14th, we find her in the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 86* from Liverpool, together with Bonde, Bur, Drammensfjord, Harpefjell, Maud, Sneland I and Trolla. The Norwegian corvettes Acanthus, Eglantine, Potentilla and Rose are named among the escorts for this convoy (see ON convoy escorts). Norhauk was bound for Philadelphia, where she arrived on May 3. With a general cargo for Liverpool, she returned across the Atlantic in June in Convoy SC 86 from Sydney, C.B., for which the Norwegian Ramø served as the Vice Commodore ship. Having remained in Liverpool for a month (see Page 1), Norhauk joined the westbound Convoy ON 114*, which left on July 19 and dispersed Aug. 4, Norhauk arriving New York the next day. Astrid, Berto, Bonneville (Commodore Vessel), Ingertre, Marga, Marie Bakke, Titanian and Torfinn Jarl are also named in this convoy.

When on her return voyage to the U.K. in Convoy SC 100 the following month, she rescued some of the survivors from Empire Hartebeeste, which was sunk in this convoy (see external link provided further down on this page). Rio Verde rescued the other survivors. Going back to Page 1, we see that she later had a long stay at Gravesend, before proceeding to Methil Roads, then on to Loch Ewe, and together with Fana, James Hawson, Norse King (sunk - follow link for details), Ramø, Ravnefjell, Veni and Vest, we now find her in the westbound Convoy ON 154*, originating in Liverpool on Dec. 18-1942, arriving New York Jan. 12-1943, having lost many ships (ref. external links provided on my page about Norse King for more on this battle). According to the archive document, Norhauk's destination was New York and Baltimore, but she lost touch with the convoy and put in at Halifax on Jan. 9-1943. From there, she later joined the westbound Convoy ON 156, according to A. Hague. ON 156 had started out from Liverpool on Christmas Eve and arrived New York Jan. 17-1943 (Ingerfem was sunk - follow link for more info); Norhauk sailed from Halifax on Jan. 11 and arrived Hampton Roads on the 18th, leaving again for Baltimore that same day; later arrived New York on Febr. 8.

Arnold Hague now has her returning to the U.K. in Convoy SC 120*, departing New York on Febr. 13-1943, arriving Liverpool March 5. Norhauk had a general cargo as well as bombs, and had again been in the company of several other Norwegian ships, namely Brand, Gausdal, Mathilda, Norsktank, Nyco (to St. John's) and Vest. Later that month she's listed, along with Askepot, Astrid, Harpefjell, Ingerfire (sunk - follow link for details), Ravnefjell and Suderøy, in the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ONS 2*, which left Liverpool on March 28 and arrived Halifax on Apr. 19; Norhauk, however, was bound for New York, where she arrived on the 22nd.

In June-1943 we find her, again with a general cargo and explosives, in station 32 of the slow Convoy SC 133, which left Halifax on June 5 and arrived Liverpool on the 19th - Norhauk stopped at Loch Ewe on the 18th. Together with Acasta, Bestik, Boreas, Karmt, Marie Bakke, Snar, Solstad and Tercero, she later joined the westbound Convoy ONS 14* (departure Liverpool July 26, arrival Halifax Aug. 9). Norhauk was bound for Philadelphia; she had sailed from Oban on July 27 and arrived New York on Aug. 12, Philadelphia the next day, heading back to the U.K. on Sept. 15 with Convoy SC 142 from Halifax. She had a general cargo for Hull, arriving there Oct. 3, subsequently joining the westbound Convoy ONS 21*, which originated in Liverpool on Oct. 22 and arrived Halifax Nov. 5; this time her destination was St. John, N.B., where she arrived Nov. 6, having started out from Oban again - see Page 2. Ferncliff, Gausdal, Henrik Ibsen, Maud, Para, Petter II, Sommerstad and Suderøy also took part in this convoy.

Shortly thereafter she was to embark on her last voyage across the Atlantic.

* These convoys will be added to my Convoys section, with more information on each; in the meantime, the ships sailing in them (and escorts) are named in the section listing ships in all ON convoys, and on the page for ships in all ONS convoys. Also, the entire SC series will eventually be updated and completed, including the already existing convoys (some have already been updated), but for now, please go to ships in all SC convoys.

More details on the other Norwegian ships mentioned here can be found via the alphabet index at the end of this page, or go to the Master Ship Index.

Related external links:
The attack on Empire Hartebeeste
Ships hit from Convonvoy SC 100 (again, see also my own page about Convoy SC 100).

 Final Fate -1943: 

Norhauk departed Halifax on Dec. 2-1943 in Convoy SC 148, her captain serving as the Vice Commodore (Tropic Star served as Rear Commodore ship). Eglantine, Potentilla and Rose are named among the escorts (see SC convoy escorts). Norhauk was on a voyage from St. John, N. B. (had left Nov. 24) with 6800 tons general cargo for London, incl. about 500 tons ferro chrome in hold No. 3, but she didn't make it into London.

In the morning of Dec. 15, the convoy split into 2 groups, with Norhauk taking over as Commodore Vessel for the northbound group. She arrived Loch Ewe in the morning of Dec. 16, then joined a coastal convoy that evening (see Convoy WN 519 - external link), arriving Methil Roads in the afternoon of the 18th, and left again the next day in a southbound coastal convoy (Convoy FS 1305 - external link). Again, see also Page 2.

On Dec. 21 a pilot embarked at the inlet to the Thames. Around 14:38 that day, when in 51 50 03N 01 33 01E (Thames Estuary) a horrendous explosion occurred beneath the after part of hatch 3, practically severing the ship in 2 to the 'tween deck, and in a matter of seconds she sank in the middle down to the upper bridge, and was under water from hatch 1 to hatch 5. On the bridge at the time were the 2nd mate and the pilot, the captain having left a little earlier, as he had been up for more than 48 hours. There was no time to get to the lifeboats on the boat deck before they went under. The 2nd mate was injured, but tried to release the No. 1 boat with the captain's help, however, the captain was taken by the suction.

Stoker Stenhovden and Donkeyman Johannessen were killed in the engine room. The 1st radio operator was also on watch, while the 2nd radio operator was off duty, as were the other casualties listed below, except for the cook. The pilot was killed on the upper bridge. Some of the men who had been amidships were either killed in the explosion, or injured so badly they were unable to jump overboard to save themselves, while others drowned. Several vessels nearby came to assist and picked up 15 from the water (incl. a British gunner), 12 from the stern and 3 from the prow, total count: 11 died, 30 survived.

According to a report presented at the subsequent inquiry, held in London on Jan. 6-1944, Norhauk did have degaussing installed, and this had been on the whole time. The captain, the 2nd mate, the boatswain, the carpenter and the 3rd engineer appeared at the hearings. The boatswain and the carpenter had been forward when the ship struck the mine and they both remained there with another crew member until rescued by lifeboats from other ships in the convoy. The engineer had been in the engine room. He ended up in the water and swam around for about half an hour before getting onto the after part of the ship which was still above water, and was picked up from there by a tug which had come to in order to tow the ship away(?), along with the 11 others who had remained in that area. While in the water he had seen Stoker Steen on the propeller and swam towards him, but as he came closer he was gone. He had also seen another 2 men swimming around whom he believed to have been the 2nd radio operator and the cook.

A visitor to my website has told me that "Shipwreck Index of the British Isles" lists her cargo as 111 tons of flour, 1,000 tons of zinc, 863 tons of cheese, 727 tons of aluminium, 627 tons of military vehicles, 60 tons of tank parts, 95 tons of wireless sets and 236 tons of guns and aircraft (totalling 3719 tons). This source adds that the wreck was dispersed by explosives.

Crew List:

Thorvald Birger Lihaug
2nd Mate
Karl Tvedt
3rd Mate
Ole Søve
Ole Jørgen Wiig
Arne Vivestad Håvet
Able Seaman
Tormod Ringstad
Able Seaman
Reider Klausen
Able Seaman
Helge Haugestad
Able Seaman
Edgar Berggren
Able Seaman
Arne Hartvigsen
Able Seaman
Olafur Karlson
Able Seaman
Johan Sundling
Ordinary Seaman
Harry Björk
Jr. Ordinary Seaman
Thomas Banks
Jr. Ordinary Seaman
Douglas Robinson
3rd Engineer
Reidar Enok Andersen
4th Engineer
Olaf Opran
Assar (Ansgar?) Wiik
Reidar Olsen
Jørgen Myhre
Bernt Johansen
Ola Elsrud
Jens Eriksen
Sidney Hulme
Davis Jones
Arthur Pledger
Jack Patsey
Patrick McMenmy
Fredrick Butler
John Dungate

1st Mate
Rolf Christiansen

1st Radio Operator
Derrick A. Reynolds*
(British - Age 21)

2nd Radio Operator
Eric Raymond Hallam*
(British - Age 23)

1st Engineer
Oskar Davidsen

2nd Engineer
Olaus Sæterbø

Andreas Johannessen

Einar N. Steen

Arvid Stenhovden

Olav K. Olsen

William Osgothorpe*

Stuart Isles Buck*

* Further info on these casualties can be found by entering each name in the relevant search field at the The Commonwealth War Graves Comm. website, using WW II and 1943 in the other fields to narrow the search. The radio operators are commemorated at Tower Hill, Panel 73. Billy McGee, England has told me that the pilot Stuart Isles Buck from Gravesend, Kent (age 59) is also commemorated at Tower Hill - see this page. I also found a William Osgothorpe listed as having died on the date Norhauk was sunk, commemorated at Plymouth Naval Memorial. (All these links are external).

Related external links:
The Empire Ships - Empire Beaver can be found on this page.

Stavern Memorial commemorations - Norwegians only are commemorated at this memorial for seamen in Stavern, Norway. Olav Kristoffer Indrevær is probably identical to Olav K. Olsen above (Norwegians often added the place names to their name, in other words, Olav K. may have been the son of someone called Ole or Ola [Ole's son=Olsen] living at Indrevær).

Back to Norhauk on the "Ships starting with N" 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, and misc. as named within text above - (ref. My sources).


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