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D/S William Hansen
Manager: Aksel Molvig, Oslo
Built by Nylands mek. Verksted, Oslo in 1939.
Captain: Johan A. Skille.
It'll be noticed, when going to Page 1 above, that William Hansen had quite a long stay in Philadlephia in the fall of 1940. Her 1941 voyages also start on this document.
William Hansen was on charter to transport military stores from Hoboken, New Jersey to the newly established American naval base in Argentia, N. F., and was on a voyage from Argentia to St. John's, escorted by a minesweeper, when she was torpedoed on Jan. 21-1942 by U-754 (Oestermann), 46 56N 52 47W. According to Page 3, she had left Argentia that same day; estimated arrival St. John's was midnight, the torpedo hit at 22:00 that evening. The minesweeper was not seen afterwards.
8 had managed to get into the starboard lifeboat, but 3 died shortly afterwards (2nd Engineer Fredrik Magnussen, 3rd Engineer Anton Weber and the Estonian Able Seaman Leo Orula). Another 10 Norwegians and 1 Swede were nowhere to be seen. The survivors, most of whom had been in the water, covered themselves with the sail for protection against the ice cold wind and snow as they were scantily clad, most of them only wearing their pyjamas, and that's how they spent the night, in a lifeboat full of oily water, 3 dead and 5 survivors. When day dawned they tried to bail the boat, but it was useless as the seas kept filling it again. They could see land but their attempts at rowing the heavy water filled boat against the wind, with oars slippery with oil also proved useless.
Later that day, they were picked up by the Canadian corvette Algoma, which searched for other survivors but none were found. They were landed at St. John's on the 22nd and taken to a hospital, where the city's locals often visited them, bringing them fruit, clothes and loving care. After 4 weeks, a British ship took them to Halifax, and they were ready to join other ships.
An inquiry was held in Halifax on June 26-1942 with J. Ytrøy appearing, being the only one in Halifax at the time. The following day, Boatswain Klausen arrived Halifax on board Helgøy, and he was also questioned.
For info, U-754 was also responsible for the attack on Belize - later sank Kollskegg - follow the links for more details. The U-boat was sunk with all hands in July that same year - ref. link at the end of this page.
Related external links:
Canadian Flower Class Corvettes - Algoma is listed.
Back to William Hansen on the "Ships starting with W" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, and "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume II (Norwegian Maritime Museum) - ref. My sources.