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M/T Pan Norway
Updated Apr. 23-2012

To Pan Norway on the "Ships starting with P" page.

Crew List

Pictures are available on this external page (click in them to enlarge).

Owner: Skibs-A/S Arnstein
Manager: Per Holm, Oslo
9231 gt, 5624 net, 14 930 tdwt
Signal Letters: BNML

Built by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd., Wallsend, Sunderland in 1931.

Captain: Johan Arndt Bach

Related items on this website:
Guestbook message - From the son of 2nd Mate Øistein Vollebekk (who later settled in Canada and died in 1982).
Another Guestbook message - From the daughter of the Captain Bach
Guestbook message - From the captain's grandson.
See also this Guestbook message

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 Nov.-1941 to Jan.-1942:  

(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
1941 Nov. 20 Aruba Halifax Nov. 28 Independent A. Hague says:
Previously traded N & S America.
Earlier voyages:
Page 1 & Page 2
Dec. 15 Halifax Belfast Lough Dec. 28 HX 165
Dec. 29 Belfast Lough Barry Roads Dec. 30 BB 117 Convoy available at BB 117
(external link)
1942 Jan. 2 Barry Roads Avonmouth Jan. 2 Independent
Jan. 9 Avonmouth Milford Haven Jan. 10 Independent
Jan. 11* Belfast Lough ON 56 *Page 2 gives departure Jan. 13.
For Aruba.
Dispersed 59 00N 17 00W, Jan. 16.
Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
Jan. 16 Dispersed from ON 56 Independent Sunk - See "Final Fate" below


As can be seen when going to Page 1 of the archive documents, Pan Norway was on her way from Rio to Cristobal when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940. It'll also be noticed that she spent several weeks in New York City at the end of that year. Her 1941 voyages also start on this document and continue on Page 2, which shows that she had a long stay in Boston that fall.

At the end of 1941 she's listed in Convoy HX 165, which left Halifax on Dec. 15 and arrived Liverpool on the 30th. Pan Norway stopped at Belfast Lough on Dec. 28, before proceeding to Avonmouth, where she arrived on Jan. 2-1942.

 Final Fate - 1942: 

She left Avonmouth again on Jan. 9 in order to sail to Aruba to load aviation fuel for the U.K., and joined the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 56, which originated in Liverpool on Jan. 12 and dispersed on the 16th. Judging from the listing on Page 2, Pan Norway joined from Belfast Lough. This convoy will be added to my Convoys section, but in the meantime, the ships sailing in it are named in the section listing ships in all ON convoys; the Norwegian Alaska, Andrea Brøvig, Leiesten (sunk - follow link for details), Polarsol, Ringstad (sunk), Solstad, Topdalsfjord and Vardefjell are also included.

As already mentioned, the convoy had been dispersed on Jan. 16, so she was sailing alone when she at about 20:30 on Jan. 26 was shelled by U-123 (Hardegen), approximate position 36 00N 50 40W*. This took place east of Cape Hatteras. Hardegen was on his way home and had no torpedoes left, but plenty of ammunition for his guns. (The British S/S Culebra, from Convoy ON 53, had also been shelled and sunk by him the day before; no survivors).

* The above position is from Captain Bach's report. J. Rohwer gives position as 35 56N 50 27W, agreeing with "Lloyd's War Losses". The captain's report also indicates there were 2 U-boats, one on each side, but suspecting that Hardegen may have gone around to both sides, thereby making it look like there was more than one U-boat present to those on board Pan Norway, I posted a query to the forum (external link), and a reply confirms that U-123 was alone.

According to this Guestbook message from the daughter of Captain Bach, Hardegen and the captain were former friends.

Able Seaman/Gunner Einar K. Karlsen was hit by shrapnel and fell from the gun platform to the deck, but the remaining 3, Able Seaman/Gunner Arne G. Berntsen, Able Seaman William Jensen and Galley Boy Leif Wanstrøm continued their efforts to defend the ship, only to find that the gun was jammed after a hit from the U-boat.

Pan Norway was already on fire and the men were ordered to the lifeboats. The port aft lifeboat had been lost during a storm on the 19th. The starboard boat was hit by a shell which cut the forward tackle causing the boat to end up hanging from one tackle, which then had to be cut and those who had been in it had to jump into the water. Others had already jumped overboard from the ship. All the rafts were also launched. The radio operator sent out SOS (for 20 minutes), while those who had assembled amidships were trying to take care of the injured 1st mate and 2nd engineer, before both lifeboats were launched and rowed away from the firing line, with 16 in the captain's boat, and 12 in the 2nd mate's boat.

Half an hour had now passed since the attack started. While looking around for the others, a ship was spotted, and at 23:00 those in the captain's motorboat were picked up by the Greek Mount Aetna (Captain Stavros Sotirchos - on charter to Switzerland and sailing under the Swiss flag) which had seen the fire and heard the shooting*. By 11:40 the 12 in the other lifeboat were also picked up, but 12 were still missing. The U-boat now came alongside and informed them that there were more survivors in the water ahead of them, then took off, but 10 minutes later it returned and signalled for Mount Aetna to stop, then asked for a line as it had picked up a man from the water. After he had been transferred to the Greek vessel, the U-boat commander told them he had no time to assist further, then disappeared in a northwesterly direction. About 5 minutes later, thanks to the red lights on their lifesaving suits, the remaining 11 men were found on a raft, 2 of whom were injured (both able seamen).

* The above is according to Norwegian sources. Roland Berr has sent me Hardegen's report on this episode, and if I understand the German text correctly it appears it was the U-boat who stopped and directed the Swiss ship to the lifeboats, before returning to the sinking position and picking up the injured man from the water. Hardegen seems rather disgusted with the way this man had been treated, saying that when questioned he said that panick had occurred and when fighting for room in the lifeboat, one of his "friends" had slapped him in the face so that he had fallen overboard and had simply been left there. Hardegen also states that after the people in the 2 lifeboats had been picked up (29 men according to him) they had told Mount Aetna's captain there were no more survivors - Hardegen assumes this was from fear that this ship would also be sunk if it did not leave the scene immediately. Hardegen, however, informed the captain of Mount Aetna that more survivors had been seen near the sinking position, and asked him to search further.

Jan-Olof Hendig, Sweden has also sent me some details from Hardegen's KTB which states that Pan Norway was sighted at 00:30 on Jan. 27 (German time) in CC 8667, approached, then opened fire at 02:03 (CC 8691), with the third salvo aiming for the engine room and funnel. He adds that the vessel returned fire, whereupon the U-boat aimed at the bridge, setting it on fire at which time the Norwegian ship stopped and launched lifeboats. (Pan Norway sank at 03:58 German time).

The 5 injured men were: 1st Mate Robertsen who had been hit by shrapnel in his ancle, 2nd Engineer Severinsen, hit by several pieces of shrapnel in his stomach and hip, Able Seaman Karlsen, shrapnel in his back and hip, Able Seaman Lunde, shrapnel in his side (picked up by the U-boat) and Cook Aasmundsen, hit in the hip.

Mount Aetna was on a voyage from New York to Lisbon with a cargo of wheat, and she landed Pan Norway's men there on Febr. 6. The inquiry was held in Lisbon on Febr. 12-1942 with the captain, the 1st engineer, the 3rd mate (officer on watch), Able Seaman Karlsen (on gun duty), and the radio operator appearing. The captain and crew of Mount Aetna were highly praised for the treatment the survivors received on board.

See also the external link provided below to's account on the attack.

For info, U-123 had also been responsible for the attacks on Vespasian and Norness - follow the links for dates and more info.

Crew List:
Einar Karlsen had previously served on Skaraas. Following the lost of Pan Norway, he joined Thorsholm.
Magnar Stiansen's other ships are shown on
this external page.

Johan Arndt Bach*
1st Mate
Eberhard Robertsen
2nd Mate
Øistein Vollebekk**
3rd Mate
Bjarne Isaksen
Radio Operator
Ole Magnus Dreng
Peter Georg Caune
Thorstein Johannessen
Nils Nordberg
Able Seaman
Alfred Haarberg
Able Seaman
Roger Reppestad
Able Seaman
Leif Jaasund
Able Seaman
William Jensen
Able Seaman
Einar Karlsen
Able Seaman
Arne Georg Berntsen
Able Seaman
Harry Borge
Able Seaman
Arne Bjørn Hauge
Able Seaman
Jacob de la Motte
Able Seaman
Erik Lunde
Deck Boy
Albert Croft
Deck Boy
Albert Ball
1st Engineer
Karl Martin Andersen
2nd Engineer
Harald Severinsen
3rd Engineer
Bredo A. Lehmann
4th Engineer
Georg Gulbransen
Arne Rudjord
Wilfred Larsen
Helge Fonneland
Erik Samuelsen
Otto Jensen
Magnar Stiansen
John Stiansen
Magnus Thim
Ingemann T. Hovland
Thorbjørn Kristiansen
Peter Kaneps
Petter Nilsen
Arne Aasmundsen
Galley Boy
Leif Warnstrøm
Mess Boy
John Hedge
Saloon Boy
Carmen Greencorn

*Here's a Guestbook message from the daughter of Captain Bach, and here's a Guestbook message from his grandson.
**See also this Guestbook message from the son of 2nd Mate Øistein Vollebekk.

Back to Pan Norway on the "Ships starting with P" 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. (ref. My sources).


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