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M/S Washington Express
Updated Sept. 18-2010

To Washington Express on the "Ships starting with W" page.

Picture received from Bjørn Milde, Norway (from his own postcard collection).

This picture was received (via Neil Carlsen) from Dag Midbøe.
I'm not sure where or when it was taken.

Owner: Skibs-A/S Seattle
Manager: Biørn Biørnstad & Co., Oslo
3643 gt, 2165 net, 3160 tdwt.
Signal Letters: LITE

Delivered in Sept.-1933 from A/B Götaverken, Gothenburg (476) as Washington Express to Skibs-A/S Seattle (Biørn Biørnstad & Co., Oslo) - 338.2' x 47.2' x 21', 2 x 4t single 8 cyl. 550/1000, 4200 bhp diesel engines (by builders) - 16 knots. See also this thread on my Ship Forum.

Fruit carrier, operating for Skibs-A/S Fruit Express Line.

Captain: Alf. M. Bie.

Her voyages are listed on these original images from the Norwegian National Archives:
Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7 | Page 8

Please compare the above voyages with Arnold Hague's Voyage Record below.

  Voyage Record
From May-1942 to June-1945:  

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

Follow the convoy links provided for more information on each.

As can be seen, her 1940, 1941 and early 1942 voyages are not included.

Departure From To Arrival Convoy Remarks
1942 May 23 Cristobal Barranquilla May 24 Independent A. Hague says:
Previously traded west coast USA.
Earlier voyages:
Page 1, Page 2, Page 3 & Page 4
May 26 Barranquilla New York City June 2 Independent
June 19 New York City Liverpool June 30 Independent On to Manchester
(Page 4).
July 3 Liverpool New York City July 13 Independent
July 19 New York City Liverpool July 30 Independent
Aug. 7 Liverpool New York City Aug. 17 Independent Via Belfast Lough
(Page 4).
See also narrative below.
Aug. 22 New York City Liverpool Sept. 2 Independent Missing movements, Page 4.
See also narrative below.
Sept. 15 Liverpool New York City Sept. 26 Independent
Oct. 8 New York City Liverpool Oct. 19 Independent Missing movements, Page 4.
Oct. 28 Liverpool New York City Nov. 8 Independent
Nov. 12 New York City Liverpool Nov. 23 Independent Missing movements, Page 5.
Dec. 2 Liverpool New York City Dec. 17 Independent
Dec. 28 New York City New York City Dec. 28 Independent Put back
Dec. 29 New York City Halifax Jan. 2-1943 HX 221 Returned to Halifax
1943 Jan. 2 Halifax Belfast Lough Jan. 12 Independent See also narrative below
Jan. 13 Belfast Lough Cardiff Jan. 14 Independent
Febr. 1 Cardiff New York City Febr. 13 Independent
Febr. 21 New York City Clyde March 4 Independent Again, see also Page 5
March 24 Clyde ON 175 A. Hague says:
Detached as independent, March 25, after sailing.
Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
March 26 Detached from ON 175 Halifax Apr. 3 Independent
Apr. 14 Halifax Liverpool Apr. 29 HX 234 Missing movements, Page 5
May 10 Liverpool New York City May 25 ON 183 Convoy will be added.
See link above
June 7 New York City Clyde June 20 HX 243 See also narrative below
June 25 Clyde New York City July 5 Independent
July 11 New York City Liverpool July 23 Independent Missing movements, Page 5
July 31 Liverpool New York City Aug. 13 ON 195 Convoy will be added.
See link above
See also narrative
Sept. 11 New York City New York City Sept. 11 Independent Put back
Sept. 14 New York City Liverpool Sept. 25 Independent Missing movements:
Page 5 above & Page 6
Oct. 3 Liverpool New York City Oct. 14 Independent
Oct. 24 New York City Liverpool Nov. 6 HX 263 Again, see also Page 6
Convoy will be added.
See ships in HX convoys
Nov. 13 Liverpool New York City Nov. 24 Independent
Dec. 10 New York City Barry Dec. 25 HX 270 Convoy will be added.
See link above
Missing movements, Page 6
1944 Jan. 3 Sharpness Newport Jan. 3 Independent
Jan. 13 Newport Milford Haven Jan. 14 Independent
Jan. 14 Milford Haven New York City Febr. 3 ON 220 Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
Febr. 12 New York City Clyde Febr. 24 CU 14
March 12 Clyde New York City March 22 UC 15 Convoy will be added.
See ships in UC convoys
* Apr. 16 New York City New York City Apr. 18 CU 21 *Compare dates w/Page 6
Returned, collision Flying Eagle
Apr. 24 New York City Liverpool May 6 CU 22 Missing movements, Page 6
May 18 Liverpool New York City May 28 UC 23 Convoy will be added.
See link above
June 8 New York City Oban June 19 CU 27
July 6 Oban Liverpool July 7 Independent Missing movements, Page 6
July 16 Liverpool New York City July 27 UC 30 Convoy will be added.
See link above
Aug. 3 New York City Swansea Aug. 14 CU 34
Aug. 24 Swansea New York City Sept. 5 UC 35 Via Belfast Lough
(Page 6).
Convoy will be added.
See link above
Sept. 12 New York City Liverpool Sept. 23 CU 39 Missing movements:
Page 6 & Page 7
Sept. 30 Liverpool New York City Oct. 10 UC 39B Convoy will be added.
See link above
Oct. 22 New York City Liverpool Nov. 2 CU 44 Missing movements, Page 7
Nov. 10 Liverpool UC 44B For St. John, N.B.
Detached Nov. 19.
Convoy will be added.
See link above
Nov. 19 Detached from UC 44B St. John, N.B. Nov. 21 Independent
Dec. 19 St. John, N.B. Halifax Dec. 21 FH 148A Convoy available at FH 148A
(external link)
Dec. 21 Halifax Southend Jan. 3-1945 HX 327 See also Page 7
1945 Jan. 19 Southend New York City Febr. 2 UC 53A Convoy will be added.
See ships in UC convoys
Febr. 11 New York City Avonmouth Febr. 23 CU 58
March 1 Avonmouth Milford Haven March 2 Independent
March 2 Milford Haven New York City March 12 UC 58B Convoy will be added.
See link above
March 23 New York City Liverpool Apr. 3 CU 63
Apr. 11 Liverpool New York City Apr. 23 UC 63B Convoy will be added.
See link above
May 3 New York City Liverpool May 18 HX 354 On to Manchester
(Page 7).
Convoy will be added.
See ships in HX convoys
May 24 Liverpool New York City June 3 UC 69 Subsequent voyages:
Page 7 & Page 8
Convoy will be added.
See ships in UC convoys


As can be seen when going to Page 1 of the archive document, Washington Express was on her way from Bellingham to Balboa when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940. Her 1941 voyages start on Page 2 and continue on Page 3 and Page 4. It'll be noticed that she appears to have spent quite a long time in Los Angeles, where she had arrived from San Francisco on Dec. 22-1941. Departure is given as Febr. 28-1942, when she proceeded to Balboa and, after having spent a few weeks there, she continued to Quepos. In the summer of 1942, she started making voyages to the U.K.

 A Rescue & Some Enemy Encounters: 

She was on a voyage Liverpool-New York on Aug. 14-1942 when one of the gunners spotted the 9 survivors from M/S Moldanger who had been on a raft for 48 days (torpedoed June 27-1942). Follow the link for more details. Washington Express arrived New York on Aug. 17 (Page 4).

Later that month, on Aug. 25-1942, when returning to Liverpool, she was followed by what was believed to be an enemy raider. When this steamer, which carried no flag, signalled "what ship" it was not done according to allied rules, so Washington Express did not respond but instead altered course and sailed away at maximum speed (16 knots), while the 76 mm gun was made ready and manned. The mysterious vessel followed and opened fire, but the shots fell short and because of the distance between them Washington Express could not effectively return the fire. Hiding behind a smoke screen she attempted to get away, but the attacker continued to fire. However, due to the smoke screen and approaching darkness nothing further developed and she proceeded at full speed while zig-zagging for 3 hours. (This according to a report by Gunner Oddmund Jensen in "Tilbakeblikk"). She arrived Liverpool on Sept. 2, proceeding to Manchester that same day, heading back to New York on Sept. 15, then went back to the U.K. the following month; the rest of her 1942 voyages are shown on Page 4 and Page 5.

Early in the New Year of 1943 she was attacked by U-441 (Hartmann) when on an independent voyage from New York to the U.K. via Halifax, but escaped, possibly partly due to the fact that the torpedo may have detonated too early, but presumably also due to her ability for speed. With a general cargo and passengers on board, she had initially started out with Convoy HX 221 from New York on Dec. 29-1942, but had been ordered into Halifax for independent routing. The Commodore was in Abraham Lincoln; the Commodore's narrative is also available for this convoy and Washington Express is mentioned under Jan. 1-1943. She had left Halifax again on Jan. 2 (Page 5). The boatswain had seen a periscope on Jan. 7 and a radio message was sent out, but nothing further happened that day other than the fact that a bright light was seen behind them that afternoon, believed to have been some sort of an explosion.

The attack by U-441 took place in the afternoon of Jan. 9 in position 58 39N 22 46W, about 12 minutes after 1st Mate Birger Aanonsen had spotted a shadow passing in front of the ship and sounded the alarm, while at the same time altering course 90° at full speed. One of the gunners then saw the boat on the port quarters, at which time the gunners were ordered to fire. They claimed to have observed several hits with the Oerlikon and the boat was not seen again. When a powerful underwater explosion occurred shortly afterwards, making it feel as if Washington Express was lifted out of the water, they at first thought they had been hit by a torpedo, but when everything was found to be in order, they assumed the U-boat had been sunk instead (while Hartmann, in fact, thought he had sunk the Norwegian ship). On that particular voyage they had encountered a bad storm which had destroyed all the lifeboats and rafts, so they were undoubtedly relieved when they realized they had gotten away from the U-boat. They stopped Belfast Lough on Jan. 11/12, before proceeding to Cardiff, with arrival Jan. 14 (Page 5).

Gunners at that time were: Knud Knudsen, Ragnvald Helland, Rolf I. Hansen. Marius P. Hansen, Ragnvald Larsen, Thorleif Olsen and Oddmund Jensen.

Related external link:

 Misc. Voyages - 1943-1945: 
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; the Commodore's notes are also available for some of them and several Norwegian ships took part.

Washington Express subsequently made an independet voyage to New York and back to the U.K. in Febr.-1943, and in March she's listed, together with Brand, Kaldfonn, Kong Sverre, Norelg and Petter, in the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 175*, which originated in Liverpool on March 24 and arrived New York on Apr. 16. Washington Express, however, is said to have detached from this convoy shortly after departure to proceed independently, and going back to Page 5 of the archive documents, we learn that she arrived Halifax on Apr. 3, having started out from Clyde on March 24/25. She headed back to the U.K. later that month in Convoy HX 234, joining with the Halifax section (convoy originated in New York on Apr. 12). She's named among 6 ships that were detached from the convoy to form a fast portion, escorted by HMS Vimy and HMS Asphodel. Date is not given, but this probably took place shortly before the convoy's arrival (the Commodore refers to the splitting position, Apr. 26). Laurits Swenson served as Commodore Vessel - the Commodore's report is also available for this convoy (Washignton Express is mentioned in the 2nd paragraph). According to the archive document, she arrived Liverpool on Apr. 28, proceeding to Eastham and Manchester that same day.

She returned to New York with Convoy ON 183*, which left Liverpool on May 10 and arrived New York on the 25th and also included Brimanger, Gefion, Laurits Swenson (Commodore Vessel), Noreg, Santos, Tungsha and Vinga. She was scheduled for Convoy HX 242 from New York at the end of that month, but instead joined the next convoy, HX 243, leaving New York on June 7, arriving Liverpool on the 21st. She was bound for Glasgow with general cargo in station 75 and arrived that destination on June 19/20. Having made an independent voyage to New York and back to the U.K. (again, see Page 5), she joined the westbound Convoy ON 195*, again bound for New York; departure Liverpool July 31-1943, arrival New York Aug. 13. Abraham Lincoln (Commodore Vessel), Bajamar, Bañaderos, Christian Michelsen, Duala, Egerø, Gallia, Vav and Velma are also listed. A week later, she was scheduled for Convoy HX 253, but did not sail. According to the archive document she instead left New York on Sept. 11, but put back that same day, leaving again on Sept. 15, arriving Liverpool Sept. 25, Manchester Sept. 27; A. Hague says this voyage was made independently.

Her next voyage to New York, also independent, took place from Oct. 3 to Oct. 14 (see Page 6), and Arnold Hague has now included her, together with Herbrand, Norholm, Villanger, Østhav and the Panamanian Norlys (Norwegian managers), in Convoy HX 263*, which left New York on Oct. 24 and arrived Liverpool on Nov. 8 (the archive document gives her arrival as Nov. 6). She subsequently made another independent voyage back across the Atlantic - she left Mersey on Nov. 13 and arrived New York on the 24th, and according to A. Hague she returned in Convoy HX 270*, which departed New York on Dec. 10 and arrived Liverpool on the 26th. Again, several other Norwegian ships were in company, namely Elisabeth Bakke (Commodore Vessel), Heranger, Herbrand, Høyanger, Martin Bakke and Norholm. Washington Express stopped at Barry Roads on Dec. 25, before continuing to Avonmouth and Sharpness.

In Jan.-1944 she's listed, along with Leiv Eiriksson, Marathon and Nyhorn, in the westbound Convoy ON 220*, originating in Liverpool on Jan. 15, arriving New York on Febr. 4. Later that month, we find her in the fast New York-U.K. Convoy CU 14, together with Elisabeth Bakke, and in March she's listed, along with Mosdale, in Convoy UC 15*, going in the other direction (departure Liverpool March 12, arrival New York March 22). Washington Express joined from Clyde and subsequently remained in New York for a long time. According to Arnold Hague, she joined Convoy CU 21 on Apr. 15, but returned to port following a collision with Flying Eagle, another ship in the convoy. Washington Express is not mentioned in the original Advance Sailing Telegram for this convoy, but A. Hague's details do fit with the info found on Page 6 of the archive documents. She subsequently joined CU 22 on Apr. 24. Mosdale was again in company, as was the Norwegian Hegra. Arnold Hague states she returned to port again but again, this is not mentioned in the Advance Sailing Telegram - she arrived Liverpool on May 6, continuing to Manchester that same day. Together with Elisabeth Bakke, she headed back to New York on May 18 with Convoy UC 23*, arriving New York on the 28th.

What follows is from crew member Dag Midbøe's personal documents (used here with permission), received from Neil Carlsen, Norway. D. Midbøe was on board from May-1944 until May-1945 - see also my page about Leiv Eiriksson. Compare this information with the listing on Page 6 and Page 7 of the archive documents; it'll be noticed that some of the dates are a little different.

On June 8-1944, Washington Express left New York for Loch Ewe in Convoy CU 27, arriving June 18. Due to the Normandie invasion, she remained on standby for a while then headed to Salford to unload her cargo, before departing on July 12 for Oversay. On the 17th of that month, she left Oversay for New York in Convoy UC 30* (with Elisabeth Bakke and Hegra), arrival July 27. Departed New York on Aug. 3 for Swansea in Convoy CU 34, arriving on Aug. 12. Left Oversay on Aug. 27 for New York in Convoy UC 35*, arrived Sept. 5 (California Express and Mosdale are also listed). Returned to Salford on Sept. 12 with Convoy CU 39, arrived her destination on Sept. 23 - compare this information with Page 6 and Voyage Record above. She headed back to New York on Oct. 1, having joined Convoy UC 39B*, along with Mosdale, arrived Oct. 11. Ready to leave again on Oct. 22, Convoy CU 44 and arrived Salford on Nov. 2. Left Salford on Nov. 10 in Convoy UC 44B*, arriving Saint John, N.B. on the 21st of that month. Departed St. John on Dec. 19 in Convoy FH 148A, with arrival Halifax on Dec. 21, then joined Convoy HX 327 that same day and arrived London on Jan. 5-1945 (Commodore for this convoy was in Ivaran). See also Page 7.

She departed England again on Jan. 20-1945, Convoy UC 53A* (with Karsten Wang and Mosdale), arrived New York on Febr. 1, and Dag Midbøe says she joined convoy HX 337 in New York on Febr. 5 and arrived Avonmouth on the 23rd, but it'll be noticed, when following the link, that she's not listed in this convoy, and the dates are a little off. She is, however, listed in Convoy CU 58, which left New York on Febr. 11 and her destination is indeed given as Avonmouth, where she arrived on Febr. 23. On March 2, she headed to New York again in Convoy UC 58B*, arriving March 12, then joined CU 63 on the 23rd, arriving Liverpool on Apr. 2. On Apr. 11, she left Liverpool in Convoy UC 63B* for New York, arrival Apr. 22. Left in Convoy HX 354* on May 3 and arrived Salford on May 19; in other words, VE Day was celebrated at sea - Carl Oftedal, G. C. Brøvig, Noreg, Salamis and Strinda also took part. A few days later, on May 24, she joined Convoy UC 69* and arrived New York on June 3. Dag Midbøe says this convoy was escorted by Martin H. Ray, Dale W. Peterson, Roy O. Hale, Edsall, Daniel and Stewart. Commodore was John W. W. Cumming in the American Monticello. Again, compare these voyages with the info found on Page 7.

Some details on the above mentioned convoys as given by "The Allied Convoy System", Arnold Hague (excluding the ones that are already available in my Convoys section, which I've linked to above):
UC 30 left Liverpool on July 16-1944, arrived New York July 27 - 50 ships.
UC 35 left Liverpool on Aug. 26-1944 and arrived New York on Sept. 5 - 52 ships.
UC 39B departed Liverpool on Sept. 30-1944, arrived New York on Oct. 10 - 16 ships.
UC44B left Liverpool on Nov. 10-1944, arrived New York on the 21st - 18 ships.
UC53A left Liverpool on Jan. 19-1945 and arrived New York on Febr. 2 - 31 ships.
UC 58B departed Liverpool on March 2-1945, arrived New York on the 12th - 13 ships.
UC 63B left Liverpool on Apr. 11-1945, arrived New York on the 23rd - 13 ships
HX 354 departed New York on May 3-1945, arrived Liverpool on May 18 - 65 ships.
UC 69 left Liverpool on May 24-1945, arriving New York on June 3 - 25 ships.

The rest of her voyages are listed on Page 7 (showing a long stay in New York in the fall/winter of 1945) and Page 8 (up to and including Apr.-1946).

*The ON convoys will be added to individual pages in my Convoys section in due course. In the meantime, the ships sailing in them (and escorts) are named in the section listing ships in all ON convoys. The entire HX series will be also be updated and completed (including the already existing convoys - some have already been updated), but for now, see ships in all HX convoys. Additionally, the UC convoys will be added, see ships in all UC convoys.

More details on the other Norwegian ships named on this page can be found with the help of the alphabet index below, or go to the Master Ship Index.


Renamed Augustenburg for H. Schuldt, Hamburg in 1956. Sank following a collision with the Danish M/S Colorado on Apr. 18-1962 (50 16N 00 54W) on a voyage Buenos Aires - Hamburg with a cargo of apples.

Back to Washington Express on the "Ships starting with W" page.

The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, an article in "Tilbakeblikk", "The Allied Convoy System", Arnold Hague and misc. - ref. My sources.


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