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D/S Fredville

To Fredville on the "Ships starting with F" page.

Picture received from George Robinson, the webmaster of Riversea International
(external link - the pre war details also came from that site).
Another picture is available on this external page (click in it to make it larger).

Manager: Jens A. Mørland, Arendal
1150 gt

Delivered in 1917 from Wilton's Eng. & Slipway, Rotterdam (278) as Agneta for S.M. Leonora (Jos. de Poorter), Rotterdam. Sold in 1921 to Neville Shipping Co. (F. H. Green), London, renamed Fredville. Owned from 1933 by Brynmor Steamship Co., Swansea, from 1934 by Fredavore O/Y, Antti Wihuri, Helsinki, from 1935 by D/S A/S Fredville (M. H. Mikkelsen), Sandefjord, and from 1939 by Skibs-A/S Rikke (A. J. Mørland), Arendal (managed by W. A. Souter, Newcastle[?]).

Captain: Ole N. Johansen

 Final Fate - 1940 (Norway still neutral): 

Torpedoed and sunk on Jan. 11-1940 by U-23 (Kretschmer), position 58 25N 01 10W when on a voyage in ballast (or cargo of timber?) from Drammen to Methil, to pick up coal for Oslo. An explosion had occurred near the ship at 18:15 on the starboard side. The crew took to the lifeboats while the captain remained on board and after a while he recalled his men as the ship appeared to be undamaged. 2nd mate Arthur E. S. Knudsen was sent down to the cargo hold and was able to confirm that there were no serious damages. All the while Fredville was fully lit, with the Norwegian neutrality flag painted on her sides clearly visible in the light.

After further checking the outside of the ship with the help of flash lights the crew started to hoist the motorboat back on board, but had gotten it only about a foot above the water when yet another explosion occurred, barely 10 minutes after the first, this time on the port side, level with the funnel, causing the engine and boiler to blow up, and breaking Fredville in 2 near No. 4 hatch.

Out of the 16 on board, 11 lost their lives, among them the 2nd mate mentioned above and Steward Olaf Olsen Moi. The survivors were picked up by a Swedish vessel and taken to Koppervik.

The following 9 men are commemorated at the Memorial for Seamen in Stavern, Norway:
2nd Engineer Olaf Ellefsen, Jr. Ordinary Seaman Frans Oskar Frantsen, 1st Mate Johan Georg Johannessen, Captain Ole Nicolay Johansen (not sure if he died in this incident or later in the war?), Seaman Karl Tomas Karlsen, 2nd Mate Arthur Elwood S. Knudsen, Able Seaman Trygve Bjarne Lundstrøm, Engineer Christen Albert Møller, and Steward Olaf Albert Olsen Moy.

On Jan. 16 the maritime hearings were conducted in Arendal behind closed doors, at which time the survivors were extensively questioned. They felt the explosions must have been caused by a mine since no vessels had been observed nearby. A boiler explosion was not considered likely, nor was it regarded as likely that a socalled "hell mine"* (correct English term unknown to me) could have been smuggled aboard because the ship had been under strict guard while in Drammen.

* These were small bombs normally placed in pieces of coal smuggled aboard ships. The secret "Wollweber Group", named for the communist sabotage leader Ernst Wollweber operated in many Scandinavian ports, the group's activities being responsible for the loss of several ships.

For info, U-23 was also probably responsible for the loss of Varild later that month - follow the link for details.

Related external links:
Stavern Memorial commemorations - The Norwegian text says she struck a mine and that the forepart stayed afloat. The survivors left their lifeboats several times to go back on board and look for more surviviors. 5 were taken to Kopervik on a Swedish ship. Charles Hocking agrees with the mine theory, adding the position 80-100 miles east of the Orkney Islands. (Mine theory probably based on older findings).

U-23 | Otto Kretschmer

Back to Fredville on the "Ships starting with F" page.

The text on this page was compiled with the help of: Arendal's Seamen's Association's 150th Anniversary Book, Kristen Taraldsen and misc. (ref. My sources).


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