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D/S Rogaland
Det Stavangerske Dampskibsselskab, Stavanger

(Norwegian Homefleet WW II)

Back to Rogaland on the "Homefleet Ships starting with R" page.

Received from Bjørn Milde, Norway (from his postcard collection).
Are these one and the same ship? (they don't look the same - or does one of them show her post war, after she had been rebuilt? - see post war details at the end of this page).

 Pre War History: 

Delivered in Sept.-1929 from Stavangers Støberi & Dok, Stavanger as Rogaland to Det Stavangerske Dampskibsselskab, Stavanger, steel hull,187.2’ x 31.2’ x 19.9’, 902 gt. Engine: 4cyl compound ( Nyland, Oslo) 144nhp 900ihp, 13 knots. She had a refrigerated hold and 2 fish tanks enabling transport of 1000 kg live fish in each. Placed in Hurtigruten service Stavanger-Oslo, with passengers, cargo and mail, later in coastal service Bergen-Oslo.

 WW II: 

When the Germans approached Bergen on Apr. 9-1940 Rogaland was among several ships en route to this city. 9 vessels were stopped south of Bergen by Norwegian patrol boats and sent elsewhere (the others were Neptun, Stensaas, Haardraade, Tindefjell, Hellesund, Vestra, Jarl, and Bjønn. D/S Force was also en route to Bergen, and proceeded into port - follow the links for more details on each ship - see also San Miguel). Stensaas, Tindefjell, Haardraade, Hellesund and Rogaland were asked to turn around and proceed to Leirvik, Stord (Rogaland landed her passengers in Fanafjorden first), while Bjønn went to Haugesund. The 5 ships that were sent to Leirvik were later ordered to Hardangerfjorden on Apr. 16. Rogaland served as transport for the Navy for a while, before she was laid up in Lofthus (near Odda) on Apr. 26.

On Sept. 21-1941 Rogaland was heavily damaged by a mine in inner Oslofjord, and was beached at Hovedøya. Later towed to Nylands Verksted, Oslo for repairs.

On Apr. 20-1944, while Rogaland was at Bradbenkhopen in Bergen, the Dutch ship Voorbode, with a cargo of 120 tons explosives meant for Hammerfest exploded in Bergen harbour (she had arrived Bergen for some minor repairs). The explosives had apparently self-ignited in some way, possibly from the oven, with the aid of primers stored within the vessel. The results were devastating over a wide area; fires erupted, buildings were destroyed, over 150 people were killed, including more than 50 German soldiers, while almost 5000 were injured (these numbers vary according to source - see also the last external link provided at the end of this page, which gives a list of those who were killed in the explosion). Rogaland, being very close to Voorbode, was heavily damaged and sank alongside the quay that day. She was subsequently condemned and taken over by the insurers, but was re-purchased "as is" by Det Stavangerske Dampskibsselskab in 1944. Raised in the summer of 1944 by Bjergningsselskapet (salvage company) on a "no-cure-no-pay" basis, towed to Ølesund, Ryfylke and laid up while waiting to be repaired. Again, see the last external link at the end of this page for info on her salvage.

From the Jennie Erwick collection (external link - several more pictures are shown), used here with her son's permission
(a similar picture, showing more of Rogaland, is available at the last external link below).

Some more details on Voorbode:
Through misc. correspondence and forum postings I’ve learned that this was a Dutch fishing vessel (fishing number VL103) requisitioned by the Germans on March 19-1943. Built in Rotterdam in 1903 (176 gt). She was converted to cargo-vessel in Langesund. The anchor of Voorbode still lies high up in the mountainside in Bergen.

Other ships affected by this explosion:
Krosdøl, 177 gt (completely destroyed – 1 died), Aalvik, Stord, Ullensvang, Brandasund, Rapp II, Nordfjord, Kong Haakon/Kong Sverre, Musca - several other vessels were damaged or sunk. Kora, Vela, and Firda were also present, but escaped serious harm. (All these ships are listed on this website under their respective letters of the alphabet - see the index at the end of this page).

I've come across a mention of this explosion in an old book I have, "Norge under Haakon VII, 1905-1945", Odd Hølaas (1945), which has a collection of newspaper articles covering those years. In the section for 1944 it says:
"April 21 - Enormous explosion at Bergen and Vågen at 8 o'clock this morning. An estimated 130 were killed, 500 seriously injured, 3700 with minor injuries. Indescribable horrors followed the accident. It started when a German ship, with a cargo of explosives collided with a tanker which caught on fire. The flames spread with tremendous speed and reached the ammunition vessel, which blew up with a huge detonation. A great amount of ships in the harbour sank, among them the passenger ship Rogaland. The explosion caused terrible damage to bussinesses and private buildings. Bergenske Dampskibsselskab's large building, and valuable historical buildings, like Bergenhus, with Haakonshallen and the Rozenkrantz Tower and Nykirken became victims of the flames. 2 smaller ships were thrown onto the quay by the big wave that the explosion caused. An estimated 130 have been killed, 500 have been admitted to a hospital, and 3700 have returned to their homes after having been treated for injuries, but numerous Germans must also have been killed. More bodies are expected to be found as the rescue operation proceeds. The accident was caused mainly by the carelessness of the Germans, who in spite of the strict regulations bring ammunition and explosives into city areas".

Please note that not all statements in this article are 100% correct. For one thing it was written before all the details were known. Also, I believe it must have been originally published in London, otherwise it wouldn't have been so obviously anti-German (Norwegian newspapers were under German control, and would not have allowed the wording found in this article).

Pictures of wrecked ships from the above article, Bergen Harbour:

This is Det Bergenske D/S's tug Musca
The Dutch barge Schute.


By 1947 Rogaland had been repaired and rebuilt (825 gt), then reentered coastal service Bergen-Oslo that year. She was converted to motor vessel in 1950 (16cyl 2tev General Motors 1200bhp [1943]), also got a new funnel. Rebuilt again in 1957, 851 gt. Renamed Tungenes in 1964 (not sold). Sold in 1965 to Nika Invest A/S, Sandefjord, Norway, and renamed Stauper. Converted in 1966 to sand blasting vessel at Kristiansands Mek. Verksted, Kristiansand (851 gt). An article written by Helge Bolstad (sent to me by a visitor to my website) states that Rogaland was found at City Varvet in Gothenburg by veteran ship enthusiasts from Stavanger. She had been in use as accommodation ship, and before that she had spent many years as a sand blasting vessel (Stauper) at various shipyards. Subsequently sold in July-1989 to Fritz Morland, Stavanger, and in Febr.-1990 she was owned by Stiftelsen Veteranskipslaget Rogaland (Jan Welde, later Einar Sæter, Kristiansund N), Stavanger (Veteran Ships Association). Renamed Gamle Rogaland (Old Rogaland) on May 10-1990, and after having been restored and made seaworthy again she was put into use on fjord cruises in the Ryfylke fjords. The intention is to install a steam engine and restore her interior to her old 1929 condition.

When I saw her in Stavanger Harbour in May-2003 she had the name Rogaland painted on her side again, and Trygve Eriksen, Norway tells me she had been renamed in Dec.-2002.

Related external links:
Stavern Memorial commemorations - Dagmar S. Olsen was a waitress on board, I believe she was Rogaland's only casualty of the explosion, in addition to 5 people from shore who were doing some work on board at the time, according to this site. There's also an able seaman listed here, Hildor Martin Johansen - according to "Våre falne" (see my sources) he had previously been Able Seaman on board Haakon Jarl until Jan.-1944, then became a "ship cleaner" and lost his life in the explosion - he must have been 1 of the 5 from shore. (His brother Håkon Johansen died on Svein Jarl).

Old Rogaland Homepage - (text is in Norwegian).

The explosion in Bergen - A section of Bergen City Archives - text in Norwegian only; see also this page and click on the various bullet links for further info. There's also a picture of Voorbode.

Another exhibition - This one is on the website of the National Archives. There's also a separate page with info on Voorbode, and a picture of Rogaland after the explosion and reports on her salvage (Norwegian text). Additionally, the Archives holds a list of 98 of those who were killed, starting here.

Back to Rogaland on the "Homefleet Ships starting with R" page.

(Several misc. sources, including "Handelsflåten i kirg", Book 5, "Hjemmeflåten - mellom venn og fiende", Lauritz Pettersen, other sources mentioned within above text, E-mails received from visitors to my site, and some info received from T. Eriksen, Norway).

Det Stavangerske D/S had previously had another Rogaland, built 1878, renamed Kvitsøy when the new Rogaland was delivered in 1929.

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