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D/S Bill
Updated Apr. 4-2011

To Bill on the "Ships starting with B" page.

Crew List

A picture is available on this external page (click in it to enlarge).

Owner: A/S Bill.
Manager: L. Gill-Johannessen, Oslo
2445 gt, 1444 net, 4020 tdwt.
Call Sign: LKBZ.

Built by A/S Moss Værft & Dokk, Moss in 1939.

Captain: Christian Hartvig Evensen

Her voyages are listed on these original images from the Norwegian National Archives:
Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3

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

Voyage Record
From Dec.-1941 to July-1942:

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

As can be seen, several voyages are missing from this record.

Departure From To Arrival Convoy Remarks
1941 Dec. 3 St Thomas New York City Dec. 10 Independent Earlier voyages:
Page 1 & Page 2
Dec. 17 New York City Hampton Roads Dec. 18 Independent
Dec. 21 Hampton Roads Pernambuco Jan. 8-1942 Independent
1942 Jan. 14 Pernambuco Bahia Jan. 16 Independent
Jan. 19 Bahia Pernambuco Jan. 21 Independent
Jan. 22 Pernambuco Ceara Jan. 24 Independent
Jan. 25 Ceara St Thomas Febr. 3 Independent
Febr. 4 St Thomas New York City Febr. 12 Independent
Febr. 15 New York City Baltimore Febr. 16 Independent
March 10 Baltimore Hampton Roads March 11 Independent
March 22 Hampton Roads Trinidad March 31 Independent
Apr. 2 Trinidad Pernambuco Apr. 13 Independent
Apr. 21 Pernambuco Bahia Apr. 23 Independent
Apr. 29 Bahia Ceara May 3 Independent
May 5 Ceara Trinidad May 14 Independent
May 15 Trinidad New York City May 25 Independent
June 2 New York City Hampton Roads June 4 Independent
June 7 Hampton Roads Bermuda June 12 Independent See also Notes below
June 14 Bermuda Bahia July 3 Independent
July 17 Bahia Ceara July 21 Independent
July 22 Ceara Independent Sunk - See "Final Fate" below


As will be seen when going to Page 1 of the archive documents, Bill was on her way from Trinidad to Mobile when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940. Her 1941 voyages also start on this document and continue on Page 2, which also shows a few 1942 voyages. It'll be noticed, that she had quite a long stay in Baltimore, where she had arrived from New York on Febr. 16-1942. Departure is given as March 10 - see Page 3.

On June 11-1942, she rescued 31 men from the torpedoed Norwegian M/S L. A. Christensen and landed them in Bermuda on the 12th. From Page 3, we learn that Bill had left Hampton Roads on June 7.

 Final Fate - 1942: 

Torpedoed port side afterdeck by U-155 (Piening) on July 29-1942 and sunk in 11 58N 55 02W while on a voyage from Brazil to New York (via Trinidad) with general cargo - she had left Ceara on July 22, according to Page 3. The Brazilian messboy was killed, and Bill went down in 4 minutes. The captain was ordered aboard the U-boat, which took off after having given the crew in the lifeboats the course for Barbados.

Captain Evensen was later taken to a German hospital in Rennes where he died of heart trouble on Nov. 27-1942. After the war, the 3rd mate of M/S Siranger, which was torpedoed by U-155 in Oct.-1943, wrote a book about his own experiences as a prisoner aboard this U-boat before being sent to Milag & Marlag Nord (more details of his experiences while in the boat can be found on my page about Siranger). In it he mentions meeting an English captain in the camp who had also been a prisoner on the same boat. This man told him that the captain of Bill had been there at the same time and during a bombing attack gas had leaked into the U-boat. The English captain had been able to wet a handkerchief to hold over his mouth and nose, while the Norwegian captain did not have anything similar on hand and therefore later died from the effects of having inhaled the gas. I've since learned that the British captain was Frederick Tate who was prisoner aboard U-155 after the sinking of his ship Empire Arnold in Aug.-1942; my page M/S Breñas / Captain's Report has more details. Empire Arnold had been in Convoy E 6 (external link), from which the Norwegian Mirlo was sunk - follow the link for details. Survivors from the British ship were picked up by the Norwegian Dalvangen.

For info, U-155 was also responsible for the attacks on Sama, Baghdad and Lysefjord, in addition to Siranger, already mentioned - follow the links for details.

Related external links:
Stavern Memorial commemoration - Captain Evensen is commemorated (the memorial also lists Captain Evensen among the casualties for Store Bill, this is an error).

The attack on Empire Arnold

 An Eye Witness Account: 

In "Tilbakeblikk" there's a detailed article about the sinking of Bill, extremely well written by A. R. Thurson (identical to Arnfinn Torkildsen in the crew list below - here's a Guestbook message from him) who joined the ship in Norfolk, Virginia in March 1942, after having completed a gunnery course at Camp Norway, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. He had not yet turned 18, and was the only gunner on board. (This book was sent to me so that I could make use of the articles in it - see My Sources page for details on the book). He says that what first caught his eye when he saw her was a large V for Victory painted in red, blue and white stripes on the ship. She had just had a gun installed (stamped with the year 1896) which resembled a harpoon, effective enough to "scrape the paint off the conning tower of a U-boat", but the most important thing for the seamen was that they had something that would result in a respectable bang; at least they weren't totally defenseless. They departed for Brazil the following day then returned to the U.S. without incident (again, see Page 3). When 300 miles past Bermuda on their next trip south, they encountered the 3 lifeboats from L. A. Christensen, but when these survivors heard they were en route to Brazil they didn't want to come on board, with the result that Bill had to take them to Bermuda, delaying her passage by 4 days.

Around July 17 Bill was in Bahia, Brazil ready for departure when an interlude was observed on the quay. A young lady with a child in her arms was in a tearful conversation with José B. Cardoso, a young Brazilian who had just joined Bill as a messboy. It was evident that she was begging him not to sail, perhaps she had an intuition? As it later turned out, he was the only one who was lost when Bill was sunk. On the day of the sinking (the gunner gives the date as Sunday July 27 - the article was written 36 years after the war - it might also be a simple misprint in the book) she was about 400 miles northeast of Trinidad where they were headed for bunkers. That morning an American Catalina PBY patrol aircraft came overhead, waving its wings in greeting, giving them all a sense of security, especially at the sight of the clumps of bombs underneath it. That afternoon the gunner was watching José Cardoso, who was on deck feeding the ship's dog some scraps from the midday meal, when suddenly a large column of water stood up on the port side of the ship, and when he again looked towards the deck, the messboy and the dog were gone. Water started coming in over the welldeck and No. 4 hatch, the captain came running from his cabin and up to the bridge, then people started running to the 2 lifeboats amidships. Still, no U-boat could be seen, all he saw were some sacks of Soya beans floating out from the side of the ship, while the manganese ore cargo pulled her further and further down.

The engines were stopped and the gunner joined the others in launching the lifeboats. As they rowed away they saw 2 crew members a couple of hundred meters away behind the ship and started to row towards them, but just then the U-boat approached. After a few questions had been answered the commander pointed to their swimming shipmates, so they rowed over to pick them up. They also found the dog, sitting on a sack of beans, but Cardoso was nowhere to be seen. Bill was now vertical in the water and as she sank the line to the steam whistle tightened, howling a sad goodbye to them. When they returned to the other 2 boats they learned that the captain had been taken aboard the U-boat, but not without protest. They were told by the others that he had cursed the Germans in no uncertain terms, and had even hit one of the officers. As the survivors distributed themselves in the lifeboat the dog was completely wild with joy at being reunited with his friends, wagging his tale, licking their hands and faces and running back and forth in the boat. This must have inspired the next, utterly unexpected incident; one of the younger officers suddenly let his pants drop, whereupon he "waved his bare stern part towards all the directions of the compass", releasing some of the tension and resulting in a lot of laughter. Sails were set, it was time to head for land so that they could find other ships and continue sailing.

According to "Nortraships flåte" the 3 lifeboats were separated but all reached land near Trinidad on the 2nd, 10th and 15th of August. A visitor to my site has told me that according to British records she was en route from Ceara to Trinidad with a cargo of 750 tons manganese and general, with a crew of 24 when the torpedo hit in No. 3 hold on the port side. These records state that 8 survivors landed at Grenada on Aug. 3, 7 were rescued by West Durfee on Aug. 1 and landed at Port of Spain, while 7 other survivors landed at St Vincent.

The maritime hearings were held in New York on Sept. 3-1942 with the 1st mate, 3rd mate, 3rd engineer and Ordinary Seaman Henriksen appearing. Position is given as "170 miles southeast of Barbados", voyage Ceara-Trinidad.

Crew List:
* According to Lillesand Sjømannsforening (external link), Harry T. Sævik had previously served on Fernmoor and Braconda, then served on 2 Swedish ships before joining Bill in Jan.-1942. He subsequently joined Besholt, Bralanta, Vanja, Roald Amundsen, Beau and Vito. A. Torkildsen had previously served on Arosa, Mosfruit and Alaska (the latter 2 very briefly). After the loss of Bill (which he had joined in March-1942), he joined Pan Scandia, later Emma Bakke and Høegh Scout.

Christian Evensen
(Prisoner - later died)
1st Mate
Johan J. Sperre
2nd Mate
Alf Berg Jensen
3rd Mate
Jørgen Jærnes
Odd Fjeldkaarstad
Able Seaman
Nils Bernt Breines
Able Seaman
Walter Johannesen
Able Seaman
John O. Svendsen
Able Seaman
Ants Laidlo
Ordinary Seaman
Joseph Russel
Ordinary Seaman
Olav Henriksen
1st Engineer
Olaf Larsen
2nd engineer
Paul Pedersen
3rd Engineer
Ragnvald Skjeldbred
Jakob A. Larsen
Birger H. Ahlgren
Johannes Fanebust
Jacobus Kruyt
Waldemar A. Costa
Kjell H. Andreassen
Harry T. Sævik
Mess Boy
José B. Cardoso*
Arnfinn Torkildsen

Helper (Mess Room?)
Aurelino Alves de Quieroz*

* According to the gunner's article, it was the Mess Boy José B. Cardoso who lost his life.

Related external links:
Camp Norway

U-155 | Adolf Cornelius Piening

Back to Bill on the "Ships starting with B" page.

Fred. Olsen had also previously managed a ship by this name, built in Brevik 1922, managed by Fred. Olsen from 1923, returned 1926; to whom is not clear.

The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flate", J. R. Hegland, the book "Tilbakeblikk", and "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume I (Norwegian Maritime Museum) - ref. My sources .


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