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To Bosphorus on the "Ships starting with B" page.
Manager: Fred. Olsen & Co., Oslo.
Built in Oslo in 1934.
Captain: Nils L. Hansen
Other crew members are named within the text further down on this page.
Related items on this website:
In the Norwegian magazine "Krigsseileren, Issue No. 1 for 1975, I came across a letter written by Edward Driscoll, who sailed on board Bosphorus at some point. I mentioned this, in case any of his relatives should happen upon this website, looking for information. A visitor to my website saw this note and has since located him in Wales. He also sailed on 7 other Norwegian ships, namely Frode, Fjordheim, Sola, Skotaas, Daghild, California Express and Cetus, all listed on this website except Sola (I believe this should be Solør). Edward has now sent me his WW II sea story, which I've added to my Warsailor Stories section. If any of his old shipmates should see this and would like to get in touch, I'd be glad to pass on his contact information. My address can be found at the bottom of this page
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.
Errors may exist, and some voyages are missing.
There seems to be general agreement with regard to this ship in my various sources (which is unusual). Here is what they say about Bosphorus:
"Nortraships flåte" states she was interned in Algiers on June 22-1940. Renamed Ste Mathilde when requisitioned by the Vichy French, but was not used by them. She was still in Algiers upon the Allied invasion and was returned to Nortraship's register on Dec. 4-1942.
"Sjømann - Lang Vakt" by Guri Hjeltnes agrees she was interned in Algiers at the end of June 1940, renamed Ste Mathilde in March-1941. She had a Norwegian crew of 26 who stayed on board for two years(?), 1 was female, 13 escaped. Those who were left got to experience the Allied invasion of Algiers, where several Norwegian Merchant ships also took part. Guri Hjeltnes adds that Bosphorus had taken on board 21 crew members from M/T Regina and 22 from M/T Langanger on July 21-1941, which would indicate that those 2 ships were requisitioned around that time.
Roger W. Jordan's "The World's Merchant Fleets 1939" also agrees she was seized in Algiers in June-1940, but says she was renamed Ste Mathilde that same year (incorrect), recaptured by the allies in Nov.-1942, sailed under her original name and the Norwegian flag from 1943.
Again, if you read Norwegian, see also my Warsailor Stories section for more on the internment (includes pictures of crew members of Bosphorus, Regina and Langanger).
In the book "Tilbakeblikk", published in Nov.-1995 by the Norwegian Gunners' Veterans Association, there's a very long and interesting article about this ship's internment written by a crew member, Arne Thommessen. He says that before she was interned she was generally in service between Norway and Mediterranean ports with fruit and general cargoes, then carried cargoes of oranges from Palestine to Dieppe and London during the winter months. When Norway was invaded on Apr. 9-1940 she was en route from Haifa to Norway with oranges and proceeded to Gibraltar for further orders. See also Page 1 of the archive documents. A day later, she was sent in convoy to London where the oranges were discharged (she's listed as bound for Falmouth in station 53 of Convoy HGF 26, leaving Gibraltar on Apr. 10 - she arrived Falmouth Bay Apr. 17, proceeding to London Apr. 20, arriving Apr. 22), whereupon she came under French charter and headed for Dunkirk, then to Cherbourg, where she arrived May 17.
Shortly thereafter, she carried an unknown cargo to Casablanca*, where a new cargo was taken on for Marseilles, and she was en route to that port when the news of Italy's entry to the war was received on June 10 (again, see also Page 1, wich mentions a stop at Safi on June 2 - arrived Marseilles June 12). Just before the capitulation of France, she departed Marseilles in a convoy for Oran, escorted by French naval vessels. Thommessen says that K. G. Meldahl, Tønsbergfjord, Favør and one of Fearnley & Eger's ships were also in this convoy (this must have been Fernhill). Since Bosphorus and Favør had some cargo belonging to France, they went all the way to Oran, while the others were allowed to leave the convoy and head for Gibraltar. After about 2 days in Oran, Bosphorus was ordered to Algiers, where she was subsequently interned. Unlike most of the Norwegian ships in Marocco, whose crews were sent to camps, Bosphorus' crew stayed on board for the duration.
A. Thommessen describes 5 escapes from the ship, the first one taking place on July 1-1941, when 6 men got away in one of the lifeboats that had recently been fixed up. They were 1st Mate Sverre Samuelsen, 3rd Mate Knut Kristiansen, Steward Antonius Hagen, Able Seaman Hilmar Økland and Motormen Arne Borgen and Håkon Kristiansen. They arrived Gibraltar safely 9 days later. This escape is also described in "Tusen norske skip" by Lise Lindbæk, who had an interview with the 1st mate in New York later on. While in Gibraltar, he was requested by the Admiralty to take a French ship to the U. K. (given as D/S Isac), and manned it with 26 Norwegian escapees before heading to Swansea. According to A. Hague, Isac sailed to Swansea in Convoy HG 72 (external link) at the beginning of Sept.-1941, and arrived Swansea Sept. 16 - this may have been the voyage referred to by the 1st mate? A. Hague adds that Isac had been taken as prize ca. July 21 that year.
The second escape from Bosphorus took place in a stolen fishing vessel during the night leading up to July 31. The only crew member from Bosphorus taking part in this get-away was deckboy Gunnar Heitmann, while the other 5 were from Regina and Langanger, whose crews had been placed on Bosphorus in July that year following the requisitioning of their own ships. (According to "Sjømann, lang vakt" by Guri Hjeltnes, Bosphorus had taken on board 21 from M/T Regina and 22 from M/T Langanger on July 21-1941, as already mentioned further up on this page).
This escape was also successful, so on Aug. 16 another 6 men disappeared from the ship in a stolen boat. From Bosphorus' own crew Motorman Willy Strøm came along, while the other 5 were again from Regina's and Langanger's crew. (This external page has the story of Motorman Helge Emanuelsen from Regina who is said to have escaped on Aug. 17-1941 - perhaps he was among those who came along in this stolen boat from Bosphorus?).
On Sept 23, Oiler Trygve Gundersen from Bosphorus, Einar Grønning, who had arrived from Olaf Fostenes on Jan. 1-1941 and had been hired as deckboy, and 3 from Regina and Langanger took off in another stolen boat.
Only 5 days later, on Sept. 28-1941, 12 men escaped in a boat stolen from a French tanker in the harbour. From Bosphorus' own crew, Electrician Birger Torleif Larsen, Ulerik Aanes and messboy Odd Kjell A. Pedersen came along, with the other 9 being from the "visiting" crews from Regina and Langanger.
This meant that 35 men were now able to get back into allied service. Additionally, before the crews from Langanger and Regina had arrived Algiers, 12 men from those ships had gotten away while still interned in Bone, prior to their own ships being requisitioned. Some details can be found on my page about Regina.
Out of Bosphorus' original complement of 26, only 14 were now left, namely Captain Nils L. Hansen, 2nd. Mate Viggo Trosdahl, Carpenter Anton Melbye, Boatswain Johan Holten, Able Seaman Anton Askildsen, Able Seaman Endre Søreide, 1st Engineer Magnus Svendsen, 2nd Engineer Rolf Welgaard, 3rd Engineer Torgrim Henriksen, Motorman Johny Eliassen, Motorman Arne K. Thommessen (author of the article), Cook Hilmar Storhaug, Galleboy Georg Ness and Saloongirl Valborg Reistveit (who was married to R. Welgaard - again, see my Warsailor Stories section, which has several pictures from their time in internment). They got to experience the Allied landings in Algiers close up. The boatswain was shot and injured at this time, but it proved not to be serious. A. Thommessen describes what it was like during those first few days, and how they felt at the sight of D/S Bergensfjord arriving on Nov. 9-1942, the day after the Allied landings (it'll be noticed, when following the link to my page about Bergensfjord, that this does not agree with her Voyage Record for this period). That evening they were invited to the Norwegian ship for the first decent meal they had had in a very long time, because one of their biggest problems all along had been the food situation while interned (this problem is further discussed, in Norwegian, at the link to my Warsailor Stories section above).
In those early days following the Allied landings it could be quite nerve racking at times, because they found themselves right in the firing line, but after a while things settled down and Bosphorus was taken to dock, whereupon she could head out in a convoy to Gibraltar on Dec. 4-1942 (according to Thommessen), after 895 days in internment. On board were also survivors from D/S Selbo (follow the link for details on what had happened to her). From Gibraltar, Bosphorus joined another convoy for the U. K., arriving Greenock on Dec. 23-1942 - see the second table on my page for Convoy MKS 3; she's listed in the portion which A. Hague refers to as MKS 3Y, together with the Norwegian Brisk, G. C. Brøvig and Kong Sverre.
Bosphorus subsequently remained in the U.K. for quite a long time (Page 1), probably in need of an overhaul after such a long time in internment.
A. Thommessen paid off in Jan.-1943 after 4 1/2 years service, and joined the Norwegian gunnery training camp at Dumbarton, Scotland in March that year. He later served on Kong Haakon VII, Belnor and Topdalsfjord.
Follow the links provided in the table above for dates and more details on the convoys mentioned here - several Norwegian ships are listed in them.
Bosphorus, meanwhile, continued in allied service. She's listed in Convoy OS 45 in March/Apr.-1943, voyaging from Liverpool to Bathurst with coal. Again, see Page 1 of the archive documents. In June, she can be found in Convoy SL 130 / MKS 14, going in the other direction, back to the U.K. The SL portion of this convoy had left Freetown on May 30 (Bosphorus joined from Dakar), joined up with the MKS convoy off Gibraltar on June 11, and arrived Liverpool on June 21. Bosphorus had a cargo of groundnuts, voyage Kontaour/Dakar-Belfast. In July, she appears in Convoy OS 51 / KMS 20, voyage Milford-Bathurst in station 103 with patent fuel/coal. Her voyages in this period are shown on Page 2, and as can be seen, she subsequently had quite a long stay in Bathurst.
She later returned to the U.K. in Convoy SL 135 / MKS 22, voyage Dakar-Loch Ewe, cargo of groundnuts, mail and 4 passengers. SL 135 had departed Freetown on Aug. 14, joined up with MKS 22 from Gibraltar on the 26th and arrived Liverpool on Sept. 6. Bosphorus had sailed from Dakar on Aug. 17 and arrived Loch Ewe Sept. 4, before proceeding to Methil Roads, then Hull, where she remained for 3 weeks (Page 2). The following month, she joined Convoy OS 56 / KMS 29, voyage from Oban back to Dakar with general cargo in station 127. She subsequently returned with Convoy SL 141 / MKS 32; voyage is given as Bathurst-Mersey with general cargo and mail. The SL portion of this convoy had departed Freetown on Nov. 23, joined up with the MKS convoy from Gibraltar on Dec. 4, and arrived Liverpool on Dec. 17. Bosphorus joined the SL convoy from Dakar (the archive document gives her arrival Liverpool as Dec. 15).
In Jan.-1944, she made a voyage from Liverpool to Freetown in station 81 of Convoy OS 64 / KMS 38, carrying stores and general, serving as Commodore Vessel for the convoy, which split up on Jan. 15, the OS convoy arriving Freetown Jan. 26. She went back to the U.K. with Convoy SL 149 / MKS 40, voyage Sherboro-Mersey. SL 149 left Freetown on Febr. 11, joined up with the MKS convoy from Gibraltar on the 22nd, and arrived Liverpool on March 7. Bosphorus had a cargo of palm kernels and groundnuts, also carrying mail, and again served as Commodore Vessel. Later that month, she served as Commodore Vessel for Convoy OS 72 / KMS 46, voyage Liverpool-Freetown/Bathurst with general cargo in station 71, completing her voyage to Bathurst with Convoy SL 156 from Freetown on Apr. 21, and arrived Bathurst Apr. 25. In May, she joined Convoy SL 157 / MKS 48 in order to head back to the U.K., cargo of groundnuts and 9 passengers (joining from Dakar - again, see Page 2).
She also sailed in Convoy OS 81 / KMS 55 in June, voyage Aultbea-Dakar with cement and general. Page 3 has her voyages in this period. In July, we find her in Convoy OS 82, which had started out from the U.K. as the combined Convoy OS 82 / KMS 56 on July 1 and split up on July 11, the KMS portion arriving Gibraltar on July 13, while the Freetown portion (OS 82) arrived there on July 21. Note, however, that Bosphorus was not present from the U.K., but joined OS 82 from Dakar. From Freetown, she later joined Convoy SL 166 on July 30, W.A. produce and 3 passengers. This convoy joined up with MKS 57 from Gibraltar on Aug. 9, the combined convoy arriving Liverpool on Aug. 20 - the archive document gives her arrival Liverpool as Aug. 18 and she did not leave again until Oct. 15, when she joined Convoy OS 92 / KMS 66, which split up on Oct. 25, Bosphorus arriving Port Said on Nov. 5.
Again, follow the links provided in the table above for further dates and more info on these convoys - other Norwegian ships are also listed. Her subsequent voyages can be found on Page 3 (showing occasional long stays in port).
The KMS and MKS convoys mentioned on this page will be added to my own Convoys section in due course. In the meantime, the ships sailing in them (and escorts) are named at ships in all KMS convoys and ships in all MKS convoys. As will be seen, Bosphorus appears in Convoy KMS 66 in Oct.-1944 (bound for Port Said - again, please see the Voyage Record).
Bosphorus was lost by fire in 1950. See also the end of this page in my Warsailor Stories section.
Back to Bosphorus on the "Ships starting with B" page.
Fred. Olsen had another ship by this name after the war, built at Stord in 1956, sold in 1973 to Ophelia Shipping, Cyprus.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: Misc. sources as named within the above narrative - see also My sources.