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M/T Pan Norway
Owner: Skibs-A/S Arnstein
Built by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd., Wallsend, Sunderland in 1931.
Captain: Johan Arndt Bach
Related items on this website:
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.
As can be seen when going to Page 1 of the archive documents, Pan Norway was on her way from Rio to Cristobal when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940. It'll also be noticed that she spent several weeks in New York City at the end of that year. Her 1941 voyages also start on this document and continue on Page 2, which shows that she had a long stay in Boston that fall.
At the end of 1941 she's listed in Convoy HX 165, which left Halifax on Dec. 15 and arrived Liverpool on the 30th. Pan Norway stopped at Belfast Lough on Dec. 28, before proceeding to Avonmouth, where she arrived on Jan. 2-1942.
She left Avonmouth again on Jan. 9 in order to sail to Aruba to load aviation fuel for the U.K., and joined the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 56, which originated in Liverpool on Jan. 12 and dispersed on the 16th. Judging from the listing on Page 2, Pan Norway joined from Belfast Lough. This convoy will be added to my Convoys section, but in the meantime, the ships sailing in it are named in the section listing ships in all ON convoys; the Norwegian Alaska, Andrea Brøvig, Leiesten (sunk - follow link for details), Polarsol, Ringstad (sunk), Solstad, Topdalsfjord and Vardefjell are also included.
As already mentioned, the convoy had been dispersed on Jan. 16, so she was sailing alone when she at about 20:30 on Jan. 26 was shelled by U-123 (Hardegen), approximate position 36 00N 50 40W*. This took place east of Cape Hatteras. Hardegen was on his way home and had no torpedoes left, but plenty of ammunition for his guns. (The British S/S Culebra, from Convoy ON 53, had also been shelled and sunk by him the day before; no survivors).
Able Seaman/Gunner Einar K. Karlsen was hit by shrapnel and fell from the gun platform to the deck, but the remaining 3, Able Seaman/Gunner Arne G. Berntsen, Able Seaman William Jensen and Galley Boy Leif Wanstrøm continued their efforts to defend the ship, only to find that the gun was jammed after a hit from the U-boat.
Pan Norway was already on fire and the men were ordered to the lifeboats. The port aft lifeboat had been lost during a storm on the 19th. The starboard boat was hit by a shell which cut the forward tackle causing the boat to end up hanging from one tackle, which then had to be cut and those who had been in it had to jump into the water. Others had already jumped overboard from the ship. All the rafts were also launched. The radio operator sent out SOS (for 20 minutes), while those who had assembled amidships were trying to take care of the injured 1st mate and 2nd engineer, before both lifeboats were launched and rowed away from the firing line, with 16 in the captain's boat, and 12 in the 2nd mate's boat.
Half an hour had now passed since the attack started. While looking around for the others, a ship was spotted, and at 23:00 those in the captain's motorboat were picked up by the Greek Mount Aetna (Captain Stavros Sotirchos - on charter to Switzerland and sailing under the Swiss flag) which had seen the fire and heard the shooting*. By 11:40 the 12 in the other lifeboat were also picked up, but 12 were still missing. The U-boat now came alongside and informed them that there were more survivors in the water ahead of them, then took off, but 10 minutes later it returned and signalled for Mount Aetna to stop, then asked for a line as it had picked up a man from the water. After he had been transferred to the Greek vessel, the U-boat commander told them he had no time to assist further, then disappeared in a northwesterly direction. About 5 minutes later, thanks to the red lights on their lifesaving suits, the remaining 11 men were found on a raft, 2 of whom were injured (both able seamen).
The 5 injured men were: 1st Mate Robertsen who had been hit by shrapnel in his ancle, 2nd Engineer Severinsen, hit by several pieces of shrapnel in his stomach and hip, Able Seaman Karlsen, shrapnel in his back and hip, Able Seaman Lunde, shrapnel in his side (picked up by the U-boat) and Cook Aasmundsen, hit in the hip.
Mount Aetna was on a voyage from New York to Lisbon with a cargo of wheat, and she landed Pan Norway's men there on Febr. 6. The inquiry was held in Lisbon on Febr. 12-1942 with the captain, the 1st engineer, the 3rd mate (officer on watch), Able Seaman Karlsen (on gun duty), and the radio operator appearing. The captain and crew of Mount Aetna were highly praised for the treatment the survivors received on board.
See also the external link provided below to Uboat.net's account on the attack.
*Here's a Guestbook message from the daughter of Captain Bach, and here's a Guestbook message from his grandson.
**See also this Guestbook message from the son of 2nd Mate Øistein Vollebekk.
Related external links:
Back to Pan Norway on the "Ships starting with P" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Norwegian Maritime Museum, Volume II, and misc. (ref. My sources).