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To Ravnefjell on the "Ships starting with R" page.
Another picture is available on this external page (click in it to enlarge).
Manager: Olsen & Ugelstad, Oslo
Built by Nyland's mek. Verksted, Oslo in 1938.
Captain: Peder Steinsvik - also, Nikolai Breivik Rød.
Some crew members have been named within the narrative below.
Related item on this website:
Please compare the above voyages with Arnold Hague's Voyage Record below.
(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 are missing.
According to Page 1 of the archive documents, Ravnefjell was on her way from St. Thomas to Para when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940. A French visitor to my website has told me that she was stopped for examination in the Caribbean sea by the French auxiliary cruiser Esterel on Apr. 14 and ordered to Fort-de-France (French West Indies). Released on Apr. 23 on condition she comply with orders from London-based operating office. From the archive document, we learn that she had left Para on Apr. 13 and arrived Fort de France on the 18th. From there, she proceeded to Ceara on the 23rd, with arrival May 2, continuing to Pernambuco that same day.
In July that same year she can be found among the ships in the Halifax-U.K. Convoy HX 58, bound for London with general cargo (she had previously been cancelled from HX 57). In the middle of the following month she's mentioned as bound for St. John's with Convoy OA 199 (ref. external link at the end of this page), but instead joined OA 201 a few days later, together with Fanefjeld (convoy departed Methil Aug. 18, dispersed Aug. 22). Ravnefjell arrived St. John's on Aug. 30, proceeding to Matane that same day, with arrival Sept. 2 - according to the caption for the pictures posted at the top of this page, she stranded at low tide in the harbour of Matane, Québec (she left for Montreal on Sept. 5, remaining there until Sept. 30 - see Page 1).
She was run into and damaged by the Swedish Axel Johnson when in Convoy HX 79 on Oct. 19-1940. Ravnefjell was 1 of 7 Norwegian ships in this convoy, the others were Benwood, Sandanger, Egda, Triton, Høyanger and Thyra. HX 79 had departed Halifax on Oct. 8 and arrived Liverpool on Oct 23 having lost 12 ships - follow the link to my page about HX 79, as well as the external link provided at the end of this page for more info. Ravnefjell, bound for Mersey with a general cargo, joined this convoy from Sydney C.B., as did Axel Johnson, sailing right behind her. It'll be noticed, when going back to Page 1, that Ravnefjell subsequently remained at Clyde for quite some time, so it's possible repairs were made there.
In Jan.-1941 she's listed, together with Brask (sunk - follow link for details), Don, Ferncastle, Gezina, Kongsgaard, Marita and Victo, in Convoy OB 272, originating in Liverpool on Jan. 10, dispersed on the 14th (see link provided within the Voyage Record). Ravnefjell arrived Freetown on Jan. 30, having started out from Clyde on Jan. 12. Together with Dagfred, Gudvin, Lisbeth, Lise and Thorshov, she later went back to the U.K. again in Convoy SL 71, departing Freetown on Apr. 8 (the external website that I've linked to at the end of this page has also included her in SL 70 on March 29, but she probably did not sail - she had arrived Freetown from Lagos that same day and may have arrived too late to join). Her voyages in this period are shown on Page 2.
In June that year we find her, with Helgøy and Topdalsfjord, in Convoy OB 336, which originated in Liverpool June 15 and dispersed on the 25th (23rd?). Her destination is given as St. John, N.B., however, she arrived St. John's, N.F. on June 28 (having started out from Loch Ewe on the 18th). Having made a voyage to Montreal (where she had quite a long stay), she proceeded to Sydney, C.B. in order to join the Sydney portion of Convoy HX 143 back to the U.K. on Aug. 6. The Norwegian Thorshavn, Belinda, Mosli, Andrea Brøvig, Petter, Katy, Carmelfjell, Primero, Benwood and Salamis are also named. The archive document gives Ravnefjell's destination as Manchester, and she arrived there on Aug. 22/23 - A. Hague says she had become a straggler from this convoy on the 15th. The following month she's listed in the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 14; destination is given as Botwood, N.F., where she arrived on Sept. 21, the convoy having been dispersed on Sept. 14 - the Commodore's narrative is also available for this convoy.
Ravnefjell now made another voyage to Montreal, before proceeding to Sydney, C.B., joining the slow Convoy SC 53 on Nov. 4, but returned to port, arriving St. John's on Nov. 8, and from there, she subsequently joined Convoy SC 54, general cargo for Manchester, where she arrived Nov. 29 (Page 2). Eglantine and Monbretia are named among the escorts for this convoy. Christmas that year was celebrated while in the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 49*, which originated in Liverpool on Dec. 21-1941 and dispersed Jan. 5-1942. Her destination is not given, but according to Page 3 of the archive documents, she arrived Sydney, C.B. on Jan. 7, having started out from Clyde on Dec. 21. (There's a note on the document saying she returned to Clyde on the 27th, but it looks like an attempt has been made to erase this entry). Blink, Bur, Titanian and Veni are also named in this convoy.
It'll be noticed, when going back to the archive document referred to above, that she had a long stay in Boston, where she had arrived from Sydney, C.B. on Jan. 15-1942. Departure is given as Febr. 21, when she proceeded to New York City then on to Halifax, and on March 21 she shows up in Convoy HX 181. Eglantine is again named among the escors, as are Acanthus and Potentilla. According to A. Hague, Ravnefjell detached from this convoy and headed to Argentia, N.F. where she arrived on March 24, so she did not sail to the U.K. on that occasion (her subsequent voyages are shown on Page 3, with convoy info for some of them in the table above). In fact, she did not head to the U.K. again until Aug. 22, when she joined Convoy SC 97 from Halifax, in which Bronxville was sunk; follow the link for details (Vice Commodore was in Bonneville). Ravnefjell then returned across the Atlantic with Convoy ON 132*, which originated in Liverpool on Sept. 19 and arrived New York Oct. 8. Ravnefjell, however, went to Halifax, where she arrived Oct. 7, having started out from Clyde Sept. 20 - see Page 4. Askeladden, Borgholm, Gezina, Loke, Pollux (from Halifax) and Snar are also listed, and Acanthus, Eglantine, Montbretia and Potentilla are named among the escorts - see ON convoy escorts.
Later that month, Ravnefjell joined Convoy ON 136* in order to sail from Halifax to New York, where she arrived Oct. 26, having sailed from Halifax on the 22nd. This convoy had started out in Liverpool on Oct. 3 and also included Astrid, Fana, Glarona (also from Halifax), Iron Baron, Lisbeth and Novasli. Ravnefjell is also mentioned in connection with Convoy HX 213 from New York on Oct. 26, but is crossed out on the original convoy form, which probably means she did not join. In fact, Arnold Hague has instead included her, along with Astrid, Atlantic, Grado, Hjalmar Wessel, Iron Baron, James Hawson, Mathilda, Norse Lady, Ragnhild, Thalatta and Veni, in the slow Convoy SC 109*, which left New York on Nov. 9 and arrived Liverpool on the 30th - Ravnefjell stopped at Glasgow the day before.
She's also crossed out on the original form for the westbound Convoy ON 152 in Dec.-1942 (Commodore in Bonneville). For several years I have suspected that Ravnefjell instead joined Convoy ON 154* later that month. In an article in "Krigsseileren", Issue 4/1989 Captain Knudsen of Fana describes a voyage that ship took part in. He mentions the disappearance of Norse King, and also says Ravnefjell was in the convoy. Knudsen's story, coupled with what can be found in the book "Ravnefjell", written by 1st Mate/Radio Operator Peder Kr. Nilsen lead me to this tentative speculation, and A. Hague has indeed included her in this convoy, along with Fana, James Hawson, Norhauk, Norse King (sunk, as mentioned - follow link above for details), Ramø, Veni and Vest - please scroll down to the list of ships in Convoy ON 154 posted on this page. I will add this convoy to its own individual page in due course, with the ships in their proper stations. Arnold Hague says it departed Liverpool on Dec. 18 and arrived New York on Jan. 12-1943; Ravnefjell joined from Clyde - again, see Page 4.
In his book P. Nilsen (previously of Beaulieu) says they left the U.K. for the U.S. on Dec. 19-1942. Some of the ships were bound for the Mediterranean and Africa and were to leave the convoy at a point north of the Azores. Others, including Ravnefjell, had the U.S. as their destination. Captain Knudsen of Fana and Peder Kr. Nilsen both say the convoy was attacked on Christmas Eve, but other sources indicate the first attack took place on Dec. 27. Nilsen says they approached the position in which the Africa bound ships were intended to leave the convoy on Dec. 27, but according to Fana's captain their departure from the convoy was delayed due to the U-boat attacks. Rescue ship was initially Toward, but when she had picked up 164 survivors from the various torpedoed ships, she was ordered by the Commodore to refrain from further rescue work, whereupon other ships in the rear of the convoy were ordered to take over as rescue vessels, Norse King being one of them. Ravnefjell was moved from her original station of No. 31 to a new station in the rear that evening, also for rescue purposes.
Nilsen describes the sinking of several ships, and also mentions seeing James Hawson at the rear, as well as another Norwegian ship which they at the time simply referred to as "Merry Christmas" because she had come alongside on Christmas Eve to wish them a merry Christmas in Norwegian (No. 2 in the column). He mentions the Commodore ship going down, then the Vice Commodore ship, as well as all the other ships in the front, including "Merry Christmas". Not sure which ship this could be; as far as I can tell no Norwegian ship was lost from this convoy other than Norse King. It's possible that the ship was actually British, but had some Norwegian crew members on board. By this time, James Hawson had advanced to the very front, one position at a time, replacing the ships in front of her as they were hit and sunk. Only 2 ships were now left in the 3rd column, namely Ravnefjell and one of the Cunard Line ships. He says all the ships in the port column (Africa bound) were still intact at that time, but not for long, as one after the other got its final blow, and being as most of them had ammunition in their holds there wasn't much need for rescue operations. Fana was eventually the only ship left in that column. By the time the remnants of the convoy reached New York only 10 ships were left (Fana had gone on to Bathurst).
The websites that I've linked to at the end of this page describe this convoy battle and also give the names of all the ships sunk, so I won't go further into that here.
I posted a query to my Ship Forum with regard to Fana and Ravnefjell a while back, which produced several responses, one of which said the following (compare with the archive documents posted to my pages about Norse King and Fana):
Some of Ravnefjell's crew (she had a complement of 20):
As mentioned, Ravnefjell had arrived New York on Jan. 12-1943. After this voyage, she had to go into Bethlehem Steel Drydock in Brooklyn for various repairs, and wasn't ready to sail again for 3 weeks, so the crew got a rest from the terrifying Atlantic crossings for a while, before again heading out on Febr. 23-1943, with TNT in her holds, joining Convoy SC 121, in which the Commodore Vessel Bonneville and several others were sunk. Ravnefjell's sistership Harpefjell was also in this convoy, also with ammunition. Nilsen wrote a several pages long report to the authorities about this voyage in 1943 and this is included in the book in its entirety. I will try to write up a summary of it and post it here. In the meantime, follow the link to this convoy, as well as to my page about Bonneville for a detailed description of events. An analysis of attacks is also available. Ravnefjell arrived Liverpool safely on March 14.
I might add here that in my opinion the book "Ravnefjell" is a marvellous little book, and highly recommended (if you understand Norwegian), ISBN 82-05-05940-3 or 82-05-05941-1. Ref. my Books page for links to antiquarian bookstores on the Internet where it might be available.
With Askepot, Astrid, Harpefjell, Ingerfire (sunk - follow link for more info), Norhauk and Suderøy, Ravnefjell subsequently joined the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ONS 2*, which departed Liverpool on March 28 and arrived Halifax Apr. 19; Ravnefjell, however, was bound for New York, where she arrived on Apr. 22. She headed back to the U.K. on May 11 in Convoy SC 130 from Halifax, later returning to the U.S. again with Convoy ONS 10*, departing Liverpool on June 8, arriving Halifax on the 27th; she was again bound for New York, arriving there June 30 (Page 4). Acasta, Cetus, Fjordheim, Grey County, James Hawson, Mathilda, Novasli, Sirehei and Titanian are also listed. A month later, she can be found in Convoy SC 138 from Halifax. This time, she was bound for Reykjavik, where she arrived Aug. 10, later joining the westbound Convoy ONS 16* from there on Aug. 23. She arrived Boston on Sept. 3, remaining there until Sept. 19 (convoy had originated in Liverpool Aug. 19 and arrived Halifax Sept. 1). She had again been in the company of several other Norwgian ships, namely Ferncliff, Fjordheim, Heimgar, Henrik Ibsen, Lago and Sommerstad.
Her subsequent voyages are listed on Page 4; as will be seen, she now made a voyage to Greenland, and did not go back to the U.K. for the rest of the war. See also Page 5 (which shows a long stay in New York at the beginning of 1944), Page 6 and Page 7 - convoy information is available in the Voyage Record above.
Ravnefjell collided with the American passenger vessel S/S City of Cleveland III in thick fog off Harbor Beach, Michigan, in Lake Huron on June 25-1950, resulting in the loss of 5 lives and extensive damage to the American ship, and minor hull and equipment damage to Ravnefjell. She was on a voyage from Sarnia, Ontario to Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the time. The captain's name was Thorsen. Ravnefjell was temporarily repaired in Chicago. There's an 11 page, downloadable report from the court hearings in Pdf format at this (external) website. Enter "Marine Board of Investigation Marine Casualty Reports" in the "Search" field, click on the link to "MARINE BOARD OF INVESTIGATION MARINE CASUALTY REPORTS", then on the page that comes up, scroll down almost to the end of the page to "Collision involving the SS CITY OF CLEVELAND III and SS RAVNEFJELL (Norwegian) off Harbor Beach, Michigan on 25 June 1950 with loss of life" and click on the link to download the collision report.
Ravnefjell was sold in 1954 to Birger Ekerholt, Oslo and renamed Ringstein. Sold to Panama in 1959. According to this external page, she was renamed Altair for Talamanca Cia. (Cia. Marittima Italiana, Genova), Panama. Ran aground on Sept. 11- 1966 near Achowa Point, Ghana, when on a voyage from Messina, Italy to Nigeria. See also this external page.
Related external links:
Battle of the Atlantic - Convoy ONS 154 - Barbara & Gordon Mumford's website which describes the battle in great detail. There's also a section for ONS 154 Memorials, listing the names of casualties from the ships in this convoy, including Norse King (on this page). Again, see also my own page about Norse King.
ONS-154, 26-30 Dec 1942 - Uboat.net's account of the battle, with names of ships sunk.
Other Olsen & Ugelstad ships (including 3 by the name Ravnefjell).
Back to Ravnefjell on the "Ships starting with R" page.
Norway had previously had another Ravnefjell, which became D/S Far in 1937.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, and misc. others as named within the above narrative.