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M/S Gressholm

To Gressholm on the "Ships starting with G" page.

Manager: Brødrene Anda, Stavanger (or Thorleif Johnsen, Stavanger?)
619 gt

Built 1921? 1930? Previous name: Neptun until 1939.

Erling Skjold, Norway posted (among other details) the following info on my Ship Forum a while back, in reply to this query (there's quite a bit of information about the ship in this thread, I've only repeated parts of it here):

Neptun (HCMG, ESFI) Cargo motor vessel with wooden hull, 621 brt - 444 nrt - 49,83 x 10,53 x 4,46 metres - 1 Bolinder 4zyl.2takt Petroleum engine. Probably built in 1921, but the beginning of this ship's history is not clear. First mentioned in Estonian registry in 1930, and in Lloyd's 1932. Rebuilt in 1930 at M. & G. Hohensee, Orajoe as Neptun owned by J. Dicks & Co. Ltd., Pärnu (ES). Owner in 1938 OÜ I Pärnumaa Eesti Laevahituse Ühisus, Pärnu (ES). Became Gressholm for a Stavanger based Norwegian owner 1939. For readers not aware of the magazine Strandgut, it's a private German publication edited by Mr Reinhart Schmelzkopf and is a goldmine for shipping information. (Erling gives an address that can be used to order this publication).

Theo's posting is in German. I understand he believes that the ship had indeed become the Gressholm already before the war started, and had the call sign LKHS. After having stranded on Nov. 15-1938 (?) Neptun was towed to Stavanger in Apr.-1939. It appears she had been named Gressholm by June 15-1939.

Another posting says she had been sold by Brødrene Anda prior to her loss to Skibs A/S Egenes (Thorleif Johnsen), Stavanger.

 Final Fate - 1939 (Norway still neutral): 

Captain Norheim. Struck a mine and sank in 53 35(55?)N 02 55E on Oct. 13-1939 (off the east coast of England, mine laid by U-15?) when on a voyage from Kristiansand (another source says Kristiansund, which is another city altogether) to Antwerp with a cargo of 600 tons sulphite and wood pulp. 3 crew died.

Magne in England says (in this forum posting) that the sinking was front page news in the local newspaper, "Stavanger Aftenblad" on Tuesday Oct. 24-1939. Here's what it said:

"The survivors from the m/t Gressholm of Stavanger which sank in the North Sea have now arrived in Arendal (south eastern Norway) from Rotterdam. Capt. Norheim says the ship left Kristiansand for Antwerp with a cellulose cargo and called at Stavanger to add to its emergency kit. Across the North Sea they had bad weather and heavy seas. The 13 Oct. around 1800 hrs they passed one mine. Around an hour later they struck a second one. The explosion was devastating, taking the entire front end off the ship. At the time of collision seaman Alfred Dahl was on the forecastle as lookout and seamen Ole Andersen and Gustav Foldøy sat below having their dinner. All three were killed.

The aft section of the ship remained afloat and the 8 survivors remained here until they managed to lower a lifeboat. They rowed directly to the Finnish steamer Emmi which was around 6 to 7 nautical miles away. They were Amsterdam bound from Finland with cellulose, but heard the explosion and did not dare to continue until after daylight the next morning. In the Finnish ship the crew was very well treated before being put ashore in Amsterdam Monday lunchtime. None of them managed to bring any of their belongings off the ship and entered the lifeboat only in what they had on. Apart from 2nd Mate Odd Hagerup Nilsen who had a few scratches, none of the others were injured in any way. In Amsterdam the Norwegian consulate looked after the crew and saw to it that they got new clothes. The enquiry was held in Rotterdam. Capt. Norheim was First Mate on the Stavanger steamer Habil when she was sunk by the Germans in 1917. He had then been injured by shrapnel."

Related external link:
Stavern Memorial commemorations
- These names correspond with what is given above.

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