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Manager: Egil Næsheim A/S, Haugesund
Delivered in July-1910 from Laxevaags Maskin- & Jernskibsbyggeri, Bergen as Otto Sinding to A/S D/S Otto Sinding (Wilhelm Torkildsen e.a.), Bergen. 948 gt, 540 net, 1450 tdwt, 214.3' x 32.2' x 12.7', Triple expansion 115 nhp (Laxevaag). In Europe and Mediterranean service. Sailed through WW I without mishaps. In fruit trade Spain-U.K. 1920/21. Purchased by Egil Næsheim A/S, Haugesund in March-1938 (taken over in Bergen) and renamed Varegg.
Captain: Rolf Iversen (for 15 years).
Her voyages are listed on these original images from the Norwegian National Archives:
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 (please be aware that some of the external listings are incomplete).
Errors do exist, and this could mean that she may not have sailed in all the convoys listed here. Also, several voyages are missing.
According to A. Hague, Varegg sailed in the U.K.-Norway Convoy ON 14 in Febr.-1940. Early in March we find her in the original Advance Sailing Telegram for Convoy HN 17 from Norway to the U.K., bound for Middlesbrough in ballast, and A. Hague has her returning to Norway later that month with Convoy ON 21. At the beginning of the following month she joined Convoy HN 24, which arrived Methil from Norway on Apr. 7; in other words, she got out of Norway just before the German invasion, which took place on Apr. 9. According to Page 1 of the archive documents, Varegg was at Seaham on that date, remaining there for quite some time. On May 3, she proceeded to Rouen, with arrival May 6, making another voyage to Rouen later that month.
The external website that I've linked to at the end of this page has included her in Convoy OA 169, which left Southend on June 17 and was dispersed 2 days later. This convoy was composed of 2 parts, OA 169(1) and OA 169(2), Varegg being in station 25 of Part 2, which had several Norwegian ships (Gulhaug, Lom, Roy, Røyksund and Thorøy are named). Her destination is given as La Pallice; according to the archive document mentioned above, she was bound for Cherbourg (having started out from Hull on June 14), but was diverted to Dublin, where she arrived, via Weymouth Bay, on June 29. Arnold Hague has not included her in OA 169, as will be seen when following the link provided at the end of this page, but it'll be noticed that his listing is incomplete.
In the book "Sjøfolk i krig" by Leif M. Bjørkelund, which is largely based on interviews with seamen 50 years after the war, Captain Iversen's personal account can be found. He says Varegg was in the coal trade U.K. - France until the summer of 1940, enduring several U-boat and aircraft attacks during this period. They also made a trip to Dublin - this must have been the voyage mentioned above (another Haugesund ship, D/S Bokn was there at the same time). Varegg was in for some sort of repairs at Clyde before joining a large convoy for Lisbon in order to load a cargo of props for Liverpool. Note that she's listed in Convoy OG 41*, which departed Milford Haven on Aug. 18-1940; going back to Page 1, we see that her destination is indeed given as Lisbon and she had started out from Clyde on Aug. 19, but she did not go to Lisbon at that time. The captain says she wasn't able to keep up with the convoy speed and lost the convoy after 14 hours. On the second day she was about 400 n. miles west of Ireland when the crew noticed something floating in the sea. It turned out to be a lifeboat with 25 men, the crews of 2 different ships that had been sunk 5 days earlier, according to Captain Iversen. The names of these ships are not mentioned in the captain's story, but Jan-Olof, Sweden has sent me a snippet from the book "Merchant Ship Losses to Axis Submarines 1939-1945" (Tennent) which fits in with this, saying the following with regard to the British Clan Macphee (date, Aug. 16-1940):
"Torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-30 (Lemp), in the Atlantic 350 miles W of North Uist, Outer Hebrides, in position 57 30N 17 14W while on a voyage from Glasgow and Liverpool to Bombay and the coast of Malabar, with 6700 tons of general cargo, part of Convoy OB 197 comprising 54 ships. The Master, Capt. Thomas Philip B. Cranwell, and 66 crew were lost. 41 survivors were rescued by Hungarian Kelet." However, Kelet was also sunk (Aug. 19-1940, by the German UA [Cohausz]) and this book says that 35 of the survivors from Clan Macphee were rescued by Varegg and landed in Galway on Aug. 26. This then, agrees with the information found on Page 1, which says she arrived Galway on that date. The external website that I've linked to at the end of this page has more on these sinkings (saying that Varegg picked up 33 survivors from Kelet in addition to Clan Macphee's 35 survivors).
She was subsequently ordered back to Clyde to join another convoy 3 weeks later. While waiting for the convoy a German U-boat managed to enter, but English destroyers dropped depth charges and they saw no more of the boat. She's listed as bound for Lisbon in Convoy OG 43*, which originated in Liverpool on Sept. 20-1940, but according to Arnold Hague, she joined this convoy at sea on Sept. 24 - from Page 1 we learn that she had left the Clyde anchorage on Sept. 21. This time she reached Lisbon without mishaps (Oct. 3), then continued to Gibraltar (but not until Oct. 23). While there, an Italian submarine entered the harbour and fired a torpedo but no ships were hit, though the sub was hit by fire from the canons at Gibraltar. Only 3 of her crew were rescued. Varegg's voyage back to Liverpool in a convoy consisting of 40 ships, many of which were Norwegian, took 19 days as opposed to the usual 6. They were forced to sail in various directions, and at one point they were as far as the Azores. The captain must be referring to Convoy HG 46 from Gibraltar to the U.K., in which she's listed (but it had more than 40 ships). This convoy left Gibraltar on Oct. 31-1940 and arrived Liverpool on Nov. 19. Varegg's destination is given as Manchester, cargo of pit props. Follow the link for names of other ships taking part.
While in Liverpool in Nov.-1940 they were under heavy air attacks, and while in London during Christmas that year the city endured one of the worst attacks of the war, with enormous destructions in the city and harbour.
At the beginning of 1941, Varegg entered the coal trade between Blyth and London (see Page 2 and Page 3), again under threat of aircraft and also E-boats. At the end of that year, she was in Reykjavik with various war materials (see Page 4 - convoy info in Voyage Record above) when a hurricane which lasted for 12 hours caused 5 large steamers to drift ashore with bad damages resulting. 7 ships drifted into Varegg and caused some damages, which were repaired in Liverpool for 2 months. (According to Page 4, she had arrived Liverpool on Jan. 31-1942, leaving again on March 14 - it'll be noticed that she had also spent 3 weeks in Reykjavik).
After having been repaired she was put into service on the coast of England* and was attacked several times by aircraft and E-boats. The captain says on one occasion an aircraft dropped a bomb which landed so close it resulted in more damages to the ship, but he says the aircraft was on fire and crashed in the sea after Varegg's gunners had fired back. She continued in this coastal service until the Normandie invasion, arriving there on June 17-1944. Her cargo was unloaded at the mouth of a river at low tide, but when it came time to tow her out again, she struck the wreck of a ship and was damaged yet again. After temporary repairs she was able to sail for a few weeks until she could get space at a yard for proper repairs.
As can be seen, when going to the various archive documents, she occasionally had long stays in port, with a particularly long stay at North Shields (Tyne) in the fall of 1943 - see Page 8.
According to Page 15, she went home to Norway in Nov.-1945, and again in Dec.-1945; in fact, it looks like she may have spent Christmas there that year. See also Page 16, which shows that she headed to Bergen in Febr.-1946.
Sold in Febr.-1960 for breaking up in Tønsberg, having been laid up in Haugesund since 1958.
Related external links:
Here is a chronological list of
The attack on Clan Macphee
Back to Varegg on the "Ships starting with V" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Våre gamle skip", Leif M. Bjørkelund & E. H. Kongshavn and misc. as named within above narrative - (ref. My sources).