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M/S Siljestad
Updated Febr. 23-2010

To Siljestad on the "Ships starting with S" page.

Crew List

Owner: Skibs-A/S Siljestad
Manager: A. F. Klaveness & Co. A/S, Oslo
4301 gt, 2519 net, 7870 tdwt
Signal Letters: LCXO

Built by Burmeister & Wain's Maskin & Skibsbyggeri A/S, Copenhagen in 1927.

Source for all pictures: Historical Department, MAN B&W Diesel, Copenhagen.
(Size and quality have been reduced to save space and to reduce download time of this page).
Another picture is available on this external page (click in it to enlarge).

Captain: Nils Kaltenborn

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.-1940 to May-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
1940 Apr. 11 Alexandria Jaffa Independent See also Page 1
Apr. 15 Jaffa Haifa Apr. 15 Independent
Apr. 16 Haifa Beirut Apr. 16 Independent
Apr. 17 Beirut Tripoli, Syria Apr. 17 Independent
Apr. 20 Tripoli, Syria Morphou Bay Apr. 21 Independent
Apr. 26 Morphou Bay Marseilles May 3 Independent
May 9 Marseilles New York City May 26* Independent *Page 1 gives arrival May 28.
June 6 New York City Philadelphia June 8 Independent
June 20 Philadelphia Baltimore June 20 Independent
June 24 Baltimore New York City June 27 Independent
June 27 New York City Lisbon July 11 Independent
Aug. 1 Lisbon Philadelphia Aug. 15 Independent
Aug. 18 Philadelphia Baltimore Aug. 18 Independent
Aug. 20 Baltimore New York City Aug. 22 Independent
Sept. 2 New York City Tampa Sept. 8 Independent
Sept. 12 Tampa Capetown Oct. 16 Independent
Oct. 22 Capetown Beira Oct. 31 Independent
Nov. 5 Beira Durban Nov. 10 Independent
Nov. 12 Durban New York City Dec. 15 Independent
Dec. 21 New York City Baltimore Dec. 23 Independent
Dec. 30 Baltimore Houston Jan. 7-1941 Independent
1941 Jan. 12 Houston Cristobal Jan. 20 Independent
Jan. 22 Balboa Los Angeles Febr. 3 Independent
Febr. 4 Los Angeles Yokohama March 12 Independent
March 14 Yokohama Osaka Independent
March 21 Osaka Hong Kong March 28 Independent
Apr. 8 Hong Kong Iloilo Apr. 14 Independent Via Cebu - See Page 1
Apr. 20 Iloilo Los Angeles May 19 Independent
May 20 Los Angeles Balboa June 2 Independent
June 3 Cristobal New York City June 11 Independent
June 18 New York City Boston June 19 Independent
July 24 Boston Halifax July 26 Independent
Aug. 1 Halifax Liverpool Aug. 18 HX 142 Convoy will be added.
See ships in HX convoys
Sept. 1 Liverpool ON 12 Dispersed 53 34N 36 14W, Sept. 14
Sept. 14 Dispersed from ON 12 Philadelphia Sept. 23 Independent
Sept. 23 Philadelphia Hampton Roads Sept. 24 Independent
Oct. 3 Hampton Roads Sydney, C.B. Oct. 8 Independent
Oct. 11 Sydney, C.B. Loch Ewe Oct. 26 SC 49 Convoy will be added.
See ships in SC convoys
Oct. 27 Loch Ewe Methil Oct. 30 WN 198 Convoy available at WN convoys
(external link)
Oct. 31 Methil Middlesbrough Nov. 1 FS 635 Convoy available at FS convoys
(external link)
Nov. 16 Middlesbrough Methil Nov. 17 FN 553 Convoy available at FN convoys
(external link)
Missing movements, Page 2
Nov. 22 Methil Oban Nov. 25 EN 10 Convoy available at EN convoys
(external link)
Dec. 1 Oban Freetown Dec. 21 OS 13 Convoy available at OS 13
(external link)
Dec. 28 Freetown ST 11 Dispersed Dec. 30.
Convoy available at ST 11
(external link - incomplete listing)
Dec. 30 Dispersed from ST 11 Takoradi Jan. 3-1942 Independent
1942 Jan. 14 Takoradi Forcados Jan. 17 Independent
Jan. 20 Forcados Lagos Jan. 21 Independent
Jan. 29 Lagos Takoradi Jan. 31 Independent
Jan. 31 Takoradi Freetown Febr. 5 Independent
Febr. 9 Freetown Liverpool March 6 SL 100 Convoy available at SL 100
(external link)
Apr. 4 Liverpool New York City Apr. 20 ON 83 Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
May 6 New York City Independent Sunk - See "Final Fate" below

 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.

Judging from the information found on Page 1 of the archive documents, Siljestad was in Alexandria when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940. Her 1941 voyages also start on this document; it'll be noticed that she appears to have spent quite a long time in Boston that summer, before proceeding to Halifax, and Tony Cooper, a visitor to my website has told me that she joined Convoy HX 142* on Aug. 1 (station 76), together with the Norwegian Nyholt (56), Kristianiafjord (86) and Morgenen (124). The Norwegian Corvus was also initially in this convoy but was sent to SC 39* because she was too slow for HX 142. According to Tony's information 63 ships sailed from Halifax in this convoy, 8 from Sydney, C.B. Kirkpool and Scottish Musician had engine defects and were sent back to Halifax. Like Corvus, the Dutch Hercules was also sent to join SC 39 because of her slow speed. Rotterdam, Murena, Hjelmaren and Narragansett went missing in the fog (from HX 142). Empire Sailor did not join HX 142 till Aug. 6. Perth was the rescue ship.

The Commodore says:
"Delayed in sailing by fog which persisted during the whole convoy. First count was on August 4th when four ships were missing. On Aug. 5 Sydney portion of 8 ships and SC 39 of 27 ships joined HX 142. SC 39 parted company with HX 142 on Aug. 13".

The following month, Siljestad joined the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 12, which left Liverpool on Sept. 1 and dispersed on the 14th. Her destination is not given, but from Page 2 of the archive documents, we learn that she arrived Philadelphia on Sept. 23, proceeding to Hampton Roads that same day. From there, she later sailed to Sydney, C.B. in order to join Convoy SC 49* back to the U.K. on Oct. 11. The convoy arrived Liverpool on Oct. 27, but Siljestad, cargo of steel and tobacco, stopped at Loch Ewe on the 26th, continuing to Methil Roads and Middlesbrough the next day.

In Dec.-1941, she's listed in station 84 of Convoy OS 13, together with the Norwegian Finnanger, K. G. Meldahl and Velox (L.A. Christensen was scheduled, but did not sail). Siljestad was on a voyage from Oban to Freetown with general and war stores, having departed Oban on Dec. 1. The convoy originated in Liverpool on Nov. 30 and arrived Freetown on Dec. 20.

In Febr.-1942 we find her going in the other direction with Convoy SL 100, which left Freetown for the U.K. on Febr. 9. Her cargo is given as W. A. produce, station 73. K. G. Meldahl was again in company; follow the links provided within the Voyage Record for more info on these 2 convoys. Siljestad arrived Liverpool on March 6, remaining there for almost a month. She left the U.K. again in the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 83*, which departed Liverpool on Apr. 4 and arrived Halifax on the 17th. Siljestad, however, was bound for New York, where she arrived on Apr. 20 (again, see Page 2).

* Convoy ON 83 will be added to an individual page in my Convoys section in due course, in the meantime, the ships sailing in it (and escorts) are named in the section listing ships in all ON convoys. The entire HX series and the SC series will also be updated and completed (including the already existing convoys - some have already been updated), but for now, see ships in all HX convoys and ships in all SC convoys, based on Arnold Hague's database. It'll be noticed, that A. Hague has also included the Norwegian Sama in Convoy HX 142, and has the ships in different stations from what is given in my narrative; for instance, he has Siljestad in station 115, cargo of scrap and steel.

More info on the other Norwegian ships named here is available via the alphabet index at the end of this page, or go to the Master Ship Index

 Final Fate - 1942: 

With a general cargo and war materials, Siljestad departed New York again for Alexandria (via Cape Town) on May 6-1942.

At 21:30 on May 14*, when about 420 n. miles northeast of Barbados she was struck on the port side below the bridge by a torpedo from U-156 (Hartenstein), blowing a large hole in her side, wrecking the bridge and the radio shack. At the time of attack she was on a course 161° true (not zig-zagging), sailing at a speed of 10 1/2 knots in calm seas and good visibility, wind east/southeast force 2-3, no other ships in sight - no distress signal was sent. She was armed and the gun crew were on watch aft, but no counter offensive was offered.

3rd Mate Bjerkseth was on watch on the bridge at the time, with Able Seaman Haugland at the wheel, while Able Seaman Svellingen was on lookout in the starboard pillbox. The 1st and 2nd mates were asleep in their cabins; both managed to get out through the rubble, the 2nd mate through the wall to the adjacent cabin. The captain, who was in his office, was hit by furniture and wall panels, injuring both his legs as well as his hand. His door was blocked, but he was eventually able to get out through a porthole. As he came out on the lower bridge the forward starboard boat was about to be launched, the last to leave the ship, and he and the 2nd mate joined the other 16 in it. The forward port lifeboat had been split in 2 in the explosion. Able Seaman Ellefsen and Ordinary Seaman Johansen jumped overboard from the stern section of the ship after having thrown a small raft out, but the latter did not make it to the raft.

The 1st mate and others lowered the aft starboard boat, while the 3rd mate and some others launched the aft port motorboat. However, the motorboat was found to be damaged, so those who were in it were transferred to the 1st mate's boat, holding 13 in all. The motorboat's occupants had seen Ordinary Seaman Schüller lowering himself down the side of the ship, but he did not jump when encouraged to do so, as the motorboat was immediately filled with water.

About half an hour after the torpedo had struck, the ship went straight down by the bow. At this time the U-boat surfaced to ask the usual questions about ship and cargo etc., and after having given them the course and distance to Barbados it disappeared again. The survivors proceeded to transfer supplies from the rafts and the damaged motorboat, whereupon the 2 boats headed for land. They were picked up the next morning* (May 15) by the Yugoslavian D/S Kupa which kept both lifeboats hoisted up to her starboard side, while taking care of the survivors and supplementing their lifeboat contents. The intention was to continue in the boats later on, as Kupa was bound for Cape Town, but while the Norwegians were still on board this ship was also torpedoed and sunk by U-156 (port side in No. 1 hatch). She sank by the bow in about 20 minutes - Siljestad's crew were able to get back in their own lifeboats and continued towards Barbados, with 20 in the captain's boat, 11 in the 1st mate's. Kupa's crew members were in 2 lifeboats.

The captain's boat lost contact with the others in the course of the night, but on May 18 they spotted a ship with all her lights on (rather an unusual sight for that time). This turned out to be the Las Palmas bound Italian M/T Arcola, which with her clear nationality markings on her side could sail without danger from the German U-boats. Here's something I don't quite understand, the ship is said to have had a British "control crew" on board (why? enlighten me, please!). 3 young British seamen from Siljestad were transferred to the Arcola, while Captain Kaltenborn and 16 others preferred to continue to Barbados, after having been given plenty of food and water. They reached Bridgeport, Barbados in the afternoon of May 20.

The 11 men in the 1st mate's boat landed at Guiria on May 23, having been towed in by a patrol boat from the Venezuelan Coast Guard. They were later taken to Trinidad on May 28. The survivors from Kupa reached Barbados, after having sailed for 10 days.

The maritime inquiry into Siljestad's loss was held in New York on July 7-1942 with the captain, the 3rd mate, and Able Seamen Haugland and Svellingen appearing.

* The date and time in the second paragraph above have been taken from the captain's report, which adds that Siljestad had been in position 16 56N 53 14W at noon that day. J. Rohwer gives German time 02:54, May 15 (sinking position 15 20N 52 40W), and the time for Kupa's sinking is given as 20:57. Another sinking report for Siljestad, based on statements by survivors (my sources are listed at the end of this page), gives the attack time as 01:00 GCT, May 15, agreeing with Rohwer's sinking position, adding she was seen to sink at 01:30 GCT. (Page 2 of the archive documents also gives the date as May 15). The latter report states that Siljestad's survivors were picked up by Kupa at 13:00 GCT, May 15.

Crew List:
* These 3 men went on board Arcola.
** This name also appears in the crew lists for Heina and Stigstad - same person? If so, he had been torpedoed just a few months before the loss of Siljestad, and a third time the following year (follow the links for more details).
The 2nd mate also served on
Stiklestad. See also Corneville.
Leif Haugland also served on Sommerstad and Bronxville.


Nils Kaltenborn

1st Mate
Kjell Markussen

2nd Mate
Karl Pettersen
3rd Mate
Abraham Bjerkseth
Ole Dekke Clementz
Birger Lund
Able Seaman
Frank Fredriksen
Able Seaman
Olaf Ellefsen
Able Seaman
Peder Svellingen
Able Seaman
Oddvar Jensen
Able Seaman
Leif Haugland
Able Seaman/Gunner
Nils Georg Nilsen
Ordinary Seaman
Arne Håland
Ordinary Seaman
Osvald Kvalsund
Deck Boy
James Mallins*
1st Engineer
Mikael Mikkelsen
2nd Engineer
Arne Lyster
3rd Engineer
William Engvoldsen**
Karl Kristiansen
Harald Nestby
Ingvald Johansen
Karl Karlson
Erik Hansen
Gustav Jonassen
Jens Pedersen
Harry Andersen
Engine Boy
Benjamin Pratt*
Josef Lie
Henrik Pettersen
Galley Boy
Bernhard Smith
Mess Boy
Malcolm Harrison*

Ordinary Seaman
Frank Schüller

Ordinary Seaman
Sigvart Johansen

Related external links:
Stavern Memorial commemorations

U-156 | Werner Hartenstein - also has an account on the attack on Kupa, as well as a page about Siljestad. Note that the latter states that Siljestad had been spotted at 17:20 the day before, and had been missed with the first two torpedoes at 20:45 and 01:55 (all times here are German time).

Back to Siljestad on the "Ships starting with S" 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). Summary of statements by survivors (in a memorandum dated June 19 and signed by U.S.N.R. Ensign A. J. Powers) was received from Tony Cooper, England.


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