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M/T Vanja
Updated Jan. 14-2012

To M/T Vanja on the "Ships starting with V" page.
A picture is available on this external page (click in it to make it larger).

Manager: Halfdan Ditlev-Simonsen & Co.,Oslo
6198 gt, 9580 tdwt., 11 knots.

Built in Gothenburg in 1929.

Captains: Johannes Amundsen, except for a period of 14 months between Oct.-1942 and Dec.-1943 when she was commanded by Arne Andreassen, formerly of Dagfred (sunk by Japanese cruisers on Apr. 6-1942). Captain Amundsen returned on Nov. 1-1943.

At the time of the invasion of Norway on Apr. 9-1940 Vanja had a complement of 31, but at the end of the war she had 45 (with the war came the addition of gunners and others).

Other Halfdan Ditlev-Simonsen ships:
M/T Vav
M/T Velma
M/T Vera
M/T Vilja
M/T Vivi

The company also had a ship named Vildfugl, which was seized by the Germans.

Her voyages are listed on these original images from the Norwegian National Archives:
Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6

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

Voyage Record
From Apr.-1940 to Nov.-1945:

(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.

Departure From To Arrival Convoy Remarks
1940 Apr. 7 Aruba Houston* Independent *Page 1 gives arrival Havana Apr. 11
(on to Aruba Apr. 13)
Apr. 18 Aruba Kingston Apr. 21 Independent
May 2 Kingston Matanzas May 5 Independent
May 7 Matanzas Kingston May 10 Independent
May 13 Kingston Aruba May 16 Independent
May 18 Aruba Cienfuegos May 22 Independent
May 23 Cienfuegos Aruba May 27 Independent
May 29 Aruba Matanzas Independent Page 1 gives arrival June 2.
June 4 Matanzas Aruba June 8 Independent
June 9 Aruba Nuevitas June 15 Independent
June 15 Nuevitas Aruba June 18 Independent
June 19 Aruba Havana June 24 Independent
June 27 Havana Aruba July 2 Independent
July 3 Aruba Nuevitas July 6 Independent
July 9 Nuevitas Aruba July 13 Independent
July 14 Aruba Nuevitas July 17 Independent
July 21 Nuevitas Aruba July 25 Independent
July 25 Aruba Cienfuegos July 29 Independent
July 30 Cienfuegos Aruba Aug. 3 Independent
Aug. 5 Aruba Nuevitas Independent Page 1 gives arrival Aug. 7.
Aug. 9 Nuevitas Aruba Aug. 12 Independent
Aug. 13 Aruba Matanzas Aug. 18 Independent
Aug. 23 Matanzas Houston Independent Page 1 gives arrival Aug. 26.
Aug. 28 Houston Havana Aug. 31 Independent
Sept. 6 Havana Houston Sept. 9 Independent
Sept. 12 Houston Nuevitas Sept. 17 Independent
Sept. 21 Nuevitas Houston Sept. 26 Independent
Sept. 28 Houston Nuevitas Independent Page 1 gives arrival Tarafa Oct. 3
(to Nuevitas Oct. 6).
Oct. 7 Nuevitas Curacao Oct. 10 Independent
Oct. 12 Curacao New York City Oct. 19 Independent
Nov. 27 New York City Trinidad Dec. 5 Independent
Dec. 7 Trinidad Halifax Dec. 19 Independent
1941 Jan. 1* Halifax Reykjavik Jan. 12 HX 100 *Page 2 gives departure Dec. 30-1940
Jan. 17 Reykjavik Scapa Flow Jan. 20 Independent
Jan. 27 Scapa Flow Loch Ewe Jan. 29 EN 62/1 Convoy available at EN convoys
(external link)
Jan. 31 Loch Ewe OB 280 Dispersed Febr. 3.
Convoy available at OB 280
(external link)
Febr. 3 Dispersed from OB 280 Trinidad Febr. 24 Independent
Febr. 28 Trinidad Bermuda Independent Page 2 gives arrival March 6.
March 7 Bermuda Halifax March 10 Independent
March 27 Halifax Liverpool Apr. 15 HX 117 See also narrative below
Apr. 23 Liverpool OB 314 For Curacao.
Dispersed 61 05N 35 25W, Apr. 30.
Convoy available at OB 314
(external link)
Apr. 30 Dispersed from OB 314 Curacao May 16 Independent
May 17 Curacao Halifax May 27 Independent
May 28 Halifax St. John's, N.F. May 31 Independent Again, see also narrative below & Page 2
June 23 St. John's, N.F. New York City June 27 Independent
July 2 New York City Halifax July 5 Independent
July 12 Halifax Halifax July 12 Independent Put back, engine defects.
See also narrative below
July 16 Halifax Londonderry July 30 HX 139
Aug. 12 Londonderry ON 6 Dispersed Aug. 24.
Aug. 24 Dispersed from ON 6 Curacao Sept. 4 Independent
Sept. 6 Curacao Freetown Sept. 27 Independent
Sept. 28 Freetown Gibraltar Oct. 9 Independent
Oct. 11 Gibraltar Boston Oct. 29 Independent
Nov. 26 Boston New York City Nov. 28 Independent
Dec. 6 New York City Halifax Dec. 9 Independent
Dec. 15 Halifax Reykjavik Dec. 26 HX 165
1942 Jan. 4 Reykjavik ON 52 Joined from Iceland Jan. 5.
Dispersed Jan. 11.
Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
Jan. 11 Dispersed from ON 51 New York City Jan. 22 Independent
Jan. 29 New York City Halifax Jan. 31 Independent
Febr. 7 Halifax Londonderry Febr. 21 HX 174 For Londonderry
Febr. 27 Londonderry Liverpool Febr. 27 Independent
March 10 Liverpool ON 75 For Trinidad.
Dispersed 42N 46W, March 19.
Convoy will be added.
See link above
March 19 Dispersed from ON 75 Trinidad March 30 Independent
Apr. 3 Trinidad St Michaels Apr. 17 Independent
Apr. 21 St Michaels Trinidad May 3 Independent
May 31 Trinidad Freetown June 17 Independent
June 25 Freetown Londonderry July 16 SL 114 For Londonerry, in Collision June 30.
Convoy available at SL 114
(external link)
July 26 Londonderry ON 116 For NYC.
Dispersed off Boston Aug. 12.
Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
Aug. 12 Dispersed from ON 116 New York City Aug. 13 Independent
Sept. 17 New York City Gitmo Sept. 24 NG 306 Convoy available at NG convoys
(external link)
Sept. 24 Gitmo Trinidad Sept. 30 GAT 8 Convoy available at GAT convoys
(external link)
Oct. 3 Trinidad Gitmo Oct. 8 TAG 10 Did not sail.
Convoy available at TAG convoys
(external link)
Oct. 6 Trinidad Gitmo Oct. 11 TAG 11 Convoy available at link above
Oct. 15 Gitmo New York City Oct. 24 GN 12 Convoy available at GN convoys
(external link)
Nov. 1 New York City Londonderry Nov. 18 SC 108 See also narrative below
Convoy will be added.
See ships in SC convoys
Nov. 27 Londonderry ON 149 Detached Dec. 6.
Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
Dec. 6 Detached from ON 149 Gitmo Dec. 15 Independent
Dec. 18 Gitmo Trinidad Dec. 25 GAT 30 Convoy available at GAT convoys
(external link)
Dec. 28 Trinidad Gibraltar Jan. 14-1943 TMF 1 Convoy available at TMF 1
(external link)
See also narrative below & TM 1
1943 Jan. 18 Gibraltar Oran Jan. 20 KMS 7 Convoy will be added.
See ships in KMS convoys
Febr. 6 Oran Gibraltar Febr. 8 MKS 7 Oran to Gibraltar.
Febr. 22 Gibraltar New York City March 12 GUS 4 Convoy available at GUS convoys
(external link)
March 14 New York City Baltimore March 15 Independent
Apr. 14 Baltimore New York City Apr. 15 Independent
Apr. 26 New York City Boston Independent Page 3 gives arrival Apr. 27.
Apr. 28 Boston Halifax Apr. 30 BX 47 Convoy available at BX convoys
(external link)
May 2 Halifax Belfast Lough May 20 SC 129 See also narrative below
May 20 Belfast Lough Milford Haven May 21 BB 291 Convoy available at BB convoys
(external link)
May 21 Milford Haven Devonport May 22 To Plymouth same day
(Page 3)
May 26 Devonport* Milford Haven May 27 PW 344 *From Plymouth
(Page 3).
Convoy available at PW 344
(external link - incomplete)
May 31 Milford Haven New York City* June 15 ON 187 *Arr. Halifax, June 15?
See Page 3
Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
July 19 New York City Boston Independent
July 26 Boston Halifax July 28 BX 65 Convoy available at BX convoys
(external link)
July 30 Halifax Loch Ewe Aug. 12 SC 138
Aug. 13 Loch Ewe Methil Aug. 14 WN 466 Convoy available at WN convoys
(external link)
Missing movements, Page 3
Aug. 19 Methil Loch Ewe Aug. 20 EN 270 Convoy available at EN convoys
(external link)
Aug. 21 Loch Ewe New York City Sept. 4 ON 198 Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
Sept. 12 New York City Hampton Roads Sept. 16 UGS 18 See also Page 3
(and narrative below).
Convoy available at UGS convoys
(external link)
Later arr. New York Sept. 25
(Page 3).
Oct. 1 New York City Boston Independent
Oct. 3 Boston Halifax Oct. 6 BX 76 Convoy available at BX convoys
(external link)
Oct. 11 Halifax Clyde Oct. 26 SC 144 See also Page 3 & Page 4
Nov. 10 Clyde Londonderry
Nov. 14 Londonderry New York City Nov. 29 ON 211 Escort Oiler.
Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
Dec. 10 New York City Boston Dec. 10 Independent
1944 Jan. 10 Boston Halifax Jan. 12 BX 91 Convoy available at BX convoys
(external link)
Jan. 14 Halifax Loch Ewe Jan. 31 SC 151 Escort Oiler
(See also narrative below)
Jan. 31 Loch Ewe Methil Febr. 2 WN 539 Convoy available at WN convoys
(external link)
Febr. 3 Methil Southend Febr. 5 FS 1351 Convoy available at FS convoys
(external link)
Febr. 10 Southend Methil Febr. 12 FN 1263 Convoy available at FN convoys
(external link)
Compare w/Page 4
Febr. 12 Methil Loch Ewe Febr. 14 EN 345 Convoy available at EN convoys
(external link)
Febr. 14 Loch Ewe New York City March 2 ON 224 Escort Oiler
March 3 New York City Baltimore March 4 Independent
May 11 Baltimore New York City May 12 Independent
May 19 New York City Clyde June 3 HX 292 60 Spare depth charges
Missing movements, Page 4
June 10 Clyde New York City June 28 ON 240 Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
July 3 New York City Loch Ewe July 17 HX 298
July 18 Loch Ewe Methil July 20 WN 609 Convoy available at WN convoys
(external link)
July 20 Methil Southend July 22 FS 1519 Convoy available at FS convoys
(external link)
Again, see Page 4
July 26 Southend Methil July 28 FN 1430 Convoy available at FN convoys
(external link)
July 29 Methil Loch Ewe July 31 EN 414 Convoy available at EN convoys
(external link)
Aug. 2 Loch Ewe ON 247 Detached Aug. 10.
Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
Aug. 10 Detached from ON 247 Curacao Aug. 21 Independent
Aug. 25 Curacao Gitmo Aug. 27 Independent
Aug. 31 Gitmo New York City Sept. 6 GN 154 Convoy available at GN convoys
(external link)
Sept. 16 New York City Southend Oct. 3 HX 309 Spare depth charges
See also Page 5
Oct. 6 Southend ON 258 Detached Oct. 16.
Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
Oct. 16 Detached from ON 258 Corpus Christi Nov. 1 Independent
Nov. 2 Corpus Christi Texas City Nov. 3 Independent
Nov. 6 Texas City Corpus Christi Nov. 6 Independent
Nov. 7 Corpus Christi Port Neches Nov. 7 Independent
Nov. 9 Port Neches Brownsville Nov. 10 Independent
Nov. 12 Brownsville Texas City Nov. 13 Independent
Nov. 16 Houston New York City Nov. 24 Independent
Nov. 27 New York City Galveston Dec. 6 Independent
1945 Jan. 12 Gulf Port New Orleans Jan. 24 Independent A. Hague says:
Voyage data unknown
(Page 5 indicates via Charleston).
Jan. 27 Corpus Christi Boston Febr. 4 Independent
Febr. 7 Boston New Orleans Febr. 15 Independent
Febr. 19 New Orleans Baltimore Febr. 25 Independent
Febr. 27 Baltimore New Orleans March 6 Independent
March 9 New Orleans Boston Independent Page 5 gives arrival March 18.
March 19 Boston Beaumont March 30 Independent
March 31 Beaumont Philadelphia Apr. 7 Independent
Apr. 12 Philadelphia Port Arthur Apr. 19 Independent
Apr. 20 Port Arthur Key West Apr. 24 Independent
Apr. 25 Key West Philadelphia May 1 KN 382 Convoy available at KN convoys
(external link)
May 4 Philadelphia Galveston Independent Arr. Hampton Roads May 4, on to Galveston May 6
(Page 5).
May 15 Galveston Philadelphia May 24 Independent
May 27 Philadelphia New York City June 12 Independent A. Hague says:
Voyage data unknown
(but see Page 5)
June 17 New York City Jacksonville June 21 Independent
June 23 Jacksonville New York City July 10 Independent A. Hague says:
Voyage data unknown.
Page 5 indicates Houston.
July 14 New York City Puerto la Cruz July 22 Independent
July 23 Puerto la Cruz Baltimore Aug. 1 Independent Notional sailing date
Aug. 2 Baltimore Houston Aug. 10 Independent
Aug. 11 Houston Portland, Maine Aug. 20 Independent
Aug. 21 Portland, Maine S Brewer Aug. 23 Independent
Aug. 24 South Brewer Baltimore Aug. 27 Independent
Sept. 18 Baltimore Galveston Sept. 26 Independent
Oct. 7 Houston Baltimore Oct. 14 Independent
Oct. 17 Baltimore Corpus Christi Independent Page 6 gives arrival Oct. 25.
Oct. 26 Corpus Christi Swansea Nov. 20 Independent Subsequent voyages, Page 6 above

Misc. Voyages: 
For information on voyages made in between those mentioned here, please see the documents received from the National Archives of Norway and A. Hague's Voyage Record above. Follow the convoy links provided for more details on them; several Norwegian ships took part.

It'll be noticed that some of the dates in this narrative are slightly different from those given on the archive documents. I've left them as they're given in the original source, which is named at the bottom of this page. The information in the narrative has been supplemented with details from various other sources, including my own convoy pages.

When Norway was invaded on Apr. 9-1940 Vanja was en route from Aruba to Havana, having departed Aruba on Apr. 6, arriving Havana on the 11th (see also Page 1), unloaded cargo and left again on Apr. 13 (she was chartered by American charterers for 6 months for West Indies trade). Arrived St. Nicholas, Aruba on Apr. 17, picked up a cargo of fuel oil and departed Apr. 18, with arrival Kingston, Jamaica on the 21st. Left May 2 for Matanzas, a voyage which took 3 days, and the day after arrival she left for Aruba again, via Kingston where she remained for 3 days, then arrived Aruba May 16. She continued voyaging between Aruba and Cuba until Aug. 23 (11 voyages with cargoes to Cuba), and on that date she went from Matanzas to Houston, Texas whereupon she made a few voyages with cargoes from Gulf ports to Cuba.

In Oct.-1940, she took a cargo from Curacao to New York, and at the end of that month she was docked. At this time the 6 months time charter was completed. Repairs were finished on Nov. 26; degaussing had also been installed. She left New York to pick up a cargo in Port of Spain, departed Trinidad alone for Bermuda on Dec. 8, joined a convoy(?) for Halifax, then left Halifax in Convoy HX 100 for the U.K. on Jan. 1-1941 (it'll be noticed, when going to Page 2, that her departure is given as Dec. 30, which is the date of departure for the Bermuda portion - voyage info on Page 1 says Bermuda for Clyde, but I'm not entirely sure she went to Bermuda at all at this time. Besides, she is included in the Halifax portion for this convoy). Vanja received a signal from the Convoy Commodore on Jan. 9 that her cargo was to be unloaded in Iceland. Realizing that she was not prepared for this the Commodore asked her captain if he would be willing to go to Reykjavik without a map if another ship, the British Standella, would lead the way. She arrived Reykjavik on Jan. 12-1941 and the next day part of her cargo was unloaded, while the rest was taken to Scapa Flow, with arrival Jan. 20. Her cargo was transferred to various warships there.

On Jan. 26, she continued to Loch Ewe to meet a westbound convoy in order to head back across the Atlantic on the 31st. In fact, she's listed, together with Bjørkhaug, Kaia Knudsen, Ringhorn, Ringstad and Sandar, in Convoy OB 280, which had originated in Liverpool on Jan. 31 and dispersed Febr. 3, Vanja arriving Port of Spain on Febr. 24 - see the external link provided within the Voyage Record. (The convoy is said to have been attacked by German aircraft on Febr. 2, or is this a memory lapse or a mix-up with another event at another time?). Having loaded a cargo, she proceeded alone to Bermuda like last time(?), then on to Halifax again. According to Page 2, she left Bermuda on March 7 and arrived Halifax on the 10th. She's listed as bound for Clyde in the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 114 on March 9 (Hidlefjord was sunk, Kaia Knudsen damaged - follow the links for details), but is crossed out on the form. This time her stay in Halifax was a little longer because she had a gun installed (the preparatory work for this gun had been done while in dock in New York in Nov.-1940), then on March 26 she departed in convoy, arriving Liverpool on Apr. 15. This voyage had been made in Convoy HX 117. (According to J. Rohwer the Dutch Prins Willem II became a straggler and was torpedoed and sunk by U-98 on Apr. 9, and the British Armed Merchant Cruiser Rajputana was torpedoed and sunk by U-108 on Apr. 13 - follow the link to my page about this convoy).

Vanja left the U.K. again in convoy for Curacao on Apr. 23, with arrival May 16. (She had sailed in Convoy OB 314, which had been dispersed on Apr. 30 - again, ref. link in the Voyage Record; Ferncastle, Grado, Velox and Ørnefjell are also named). She was ready to leave already the next day, May 17, but as 2 crew had not come back on board the rest of the crew, with the exception of officers, refused to depart. However, the 2 were brought back to the ship with the help of policemen and she could take her leave. May 17 is a very important date to Norwegians (Norway's Constitution Day, which is usually celebrated with fervour), so I would imagine the longing for home and family was even more intense than usual, this affecting the morale on board. The missing seamen may have been out celebrating.

Vanja now proceeded directly to Halifax then on to St. Johns, N. F. where several warships received some of her cargo. She also paid a visit to the British battle ship Repulse, which was at Belle Island, but after having replenished her, she returned to St. John's to finish replenishing some destroyers, corvettes etc. She was not the only Norwegian ship there at the time. One day, on June 15, the Norwegian Ingerfem drifted into Vanja causing some damages in her side, but it could not have been too serious because Vanja left for New York on June 23, took on more cargo there and was ready for her next voyage across the Atlantic (having proceeded to Halifax), but developed engine problems and had to return (Convoy HX 138). Having been repaired she left Halifax again on July 16-1941 with Convoy HX 139 (see also the Commodore's report), this time bound for Londonderry, heading back in the other direction the following month in Convoy ON 6, which she appears to have joined from Londonderry. She arrived Curacao on Sept. 5, the convoy having been dispersed on Aug. 24 - Page 2 of the archive documents has further dates for the voyages mentioned here, as well as info on her subsequent voyages (as can be seen, she had quite a long stay in Boston that fall). Christmas that year was celebrated while in Convoy HX 165, which departed Halifax on Dec. 15. Several other Norwegian tankers also took part in this convoy. According to the archive document, Vanja arrived Reykjavik on Dec. 26.

(She continued in this service - U.S. -West Indies-U.K. - until Dec.-1942, with Johannes Amundsen as captain until Oct. that year).

As mentioned above, Vanja had arrived Reykjavik from Halifax at the end of 1941. She left again on Jan. 4-1942, joining the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 52*, which had started out in Liverpool on Dec. 31-1941 and dispersed Jan. 11-1942, Vanja arriving New York on Jan. 22. Montbretia and Rose are name among the escorts - see ON convoy escorts. The following month, we find her in Convoy HX 174 from Halifax, together with the Norwegian James Hawson (returned), Athos, Fernwood, Høegh Giant, Thorsholm, Beth and Anderson (lost - follow the link for details), as well as the Panamanian Norvinn (Norwegian managers - returned). Rose is again named among the escorts, as is Acanthus. Going back to Page 2, we learn that Vanja again stopped at Londonderry, proceeding to Liverpool about a week later. She now joined the westbound Convoy ON 75*, departing Liverpool March 10, dispersed March 19, Vanja arriving Trinidad March 30. From there, she later continued to St. Michaels, then back to Trinidad, where she had quite a long stay, before heading to Freetown, where she arrived June 17.

According to the first external website that I've linked to at the end of this page, Vanja had been scheduled for Convoy SL 113 from Freetown on June 15 (together with Thorhild, Thorshavet and Fagerfjell), but instead joined the next convoy, SL 114, which departed Freetown on June 25 and arrived Liverpool on July 17. Vanja is listed as sailing in the fast portion of the convoy, cargo of fuel oil for Londonderry, where she arrived July 16. A. Hague says she had been involved in a collision on June 30; I have no further details on this. The Norwegian Belnor, Norholm, Solfonn and Villanger also took part in SL 114, as did Norbris (Panamanian flag), while Sveve was scheduled but did not join (sailed in the next convoy). From Londonderry, Vanja subsequently joined the westbound Convoy ON 116*, which had started out from Liverpool on July 25 and dispersed Aug. 12, Vanja arriving New York the next day, remaining there for over a month. Her subsequent voyages are shown on Page 2 and Page 3 of the archive documents, while convoy information is available in the Voyage Record.

On Oct. 24 that year Captain Amundsen allowed himself a break and on the 30th, while in New York, Captain Arne Andreassen replaced him. Vanja then headed for Londonderry again with her cargo; she had been scheduled for Convoy HX 213 from New York on Oct. 26, but instead joined the slower Convoy SC 108*, which departed New York on Nov. 1-1942 and arrived Liverpool on the 19th; Vanja arrived Londonderry on the 18th, and 9 days later she headed back towards the U.S. in Convoy ON 149* (originated in Liverpool Nov. 26, arrived New York Dec. 12), but south of New Foundland she was ordered to leave the convoy and go on alone to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. On Dec. 13 a suspicious vessel, believed to be an enemy sub was spotted; the alarm was sounded and guns manned. The gunners were ordered to fire, but fortunately this order was withdrawn at the last minute when the sub turned out to be an American one. Vanja arrived Guantanamo Bay on Dec. 15, then joined a convoy there for Trinidad (see Voyage Record), with arrival Dec. 25.

She left Trinidad again (with cargo) in Convoy TM 1 for Gibraltar on Dec. 28, escorted by a destoyer and 3 corvettes. At that time she had a Canadian priest as Radio Operator. TM 1 was the first direct convoy from Port of Spain; the tanker convoys started to go straight from Trinidad, without first going to Halifax at this time, thereby saving valuable time when bringing much needed supplies to the Allies in North Africa. The Norwegian Albert L. Ellsworth and M/T Minister Wedel were sunk in this convoy, as was M/T Norvik (Panamanian flag). Follow the first 2 links for more details (see also my page about TM 1 and the external link provided in the Voyage Record, as well as the link at the end of this page for more info). After Minister Wedel had gone down on Jan. 9-1943 the gunners on Vanja were on duty 24 hours a day for the last part of the voyage. According to the captain's report she barely avoided a torpedo herself on Jan. 9. He says he was on the bridge with the 3rd mate and the 1st mate when he suddenly heard the 1st mate command "hard port wheel", having observed a torpedo coming towards them from the port side. For a while it looked as if it would hit them, but their evading manoeuver saved them. They also saw the U-boat about 500 meters away and fired at it, but this didn't succeed in anything other than making the escorts aware of its position. The ocean around them was an inferno of flames so it was difficult to manoeuver, and debris was "raining" all around them when the flames reached the ammunition on the sinking ships, causing further explosions.

Vanja was now 1 of only 3 ships left of the convoy of 9 tankers, escorted at that time by 2 of the corvettes as the others stayed by the torpedoed ships. On Jan. 11, another destroyer and 2 corvettes were sent by the British to reinforce the escort. By then the ships had arrived within the reach of the aircraft patrols, so the attackers finally withdrew, but when Vanja reached Gibraltar on Jan. 14, only 1 other ship was with her, namely the British Cliona. In addition to the Norwegian ships mentioned above, the British Empire Lytton, Oltenia II, British Dominion and British Vigilance had been sunk. On arrival Gibraltar the surviving officers from all the ships were called to the battle ship Renown where they were questioned about the voyage.

At that time it was believed that Vanja had successfully finished off one of the U-boats attacking Convoy TM 1. The captain says about 200 machine gun shells had been observed hitting the tower of the U-boat, but the 4" aft gun had a better result. According to a gunner's report they fired 4 shots, the 1st one missing, the 2nd hitting right below the tower resulting in a greyish smoke, followed by a whistling sound. The 3rd shell went in front of the boat and the 4th hit exactly where it had just submerged, with the smoke from it continuing for quite a while. The Admiralty was cautious in its comments after the report had been submitted, saying "The attack by Vanja on 10th January, 1943, has been assessed as U-boat present, insufficient evidence of damage", and "The Admiralty consider that the efficiency displayed by the Vanja is most praiseworthy". Those on Vanja who had already received Krigsmedaljen, were awarded a star for their medals after this incident (follow the link for an explanation of what that means). This took place in Glasgow on arrival there on a later voyage in Oct.-1943.

They were:

Captain Andreassen, 1st Mate Ragnar Henningsen, who had been on Vanja since Nov.-1937, and 2nd Mate Eilert Eilertsen, who had also been on board since before the war.
The following were awarded Krigsmedaljen:
3rd Engineer Rolf Larsen, Boatswain Magnus Pedersen, Able Seamen Kaare Kristoffersen and Arthur Nilsen, as well as Arnt Andreassen, and the gunners Reidar Berntsen and Waldemar Lund (see also O. A. Knudsen - according to this external page, Waldemar Lund did not join Vanja until June-1943, and if this is correct, he was not on board on the voyage to Gibraltar).

From Gibraltar, Vanja continued to Oran on Jan. 18 to unload her cargo, arriving Jan. 20 (Convoy KMS 7*, according to A. Hague), enduring a hefty German air attack that evening but was not hit. After having unloaded her cargo of fuel oil she returned to Gibraltar with Convoy MKS 7 (scroll down a little in my table for this convoy) - see also Page 3. Gibraltar in those days was not exactly a resting place for worn out nerves, because every 5 minutes, all through the night, depth charges were dropped in order to keep possible midget submarines at bay. Vanja remained in Gibraltar until Febr. 22 at which time she headed for New York in a convoy consisting of 45 large ships, all in ballast, escorted by 6 American destroyers with a large American(?) naval tanker as Commodore Vessel (according to A. Hague, this voyage was made in Convoy GUS 4, which started out in Oran on Febr. 19 and arrived New York March 12 - see external link in the Voyage Record). "The story of 19 Oslo ships during WW II" claims that 2 of the American destroyers were torpedoed that same day, about 10 n. miles northwest of Cape Spartel, and Thorsholm also received a torpedo in the foreship. These details appear to be erroneous; please see my text under the heading "Some Detective Work" on my page about M/T Thorsholm for an explanation. From New York, Vanja proceeded to Baltimore for repairs on March 14. When she arrived the dock it turned out she had several leaks, believed to have been caused by all the depth charges that had been dropped on the Trinidad-Gibraltar voyage.

The repairs were completed a month later and Vanja returned to New York where it was decided she was to go to a yard again, this time for the installation of an extra deck to enable the transport of aircraft. (Vanja had originally been scheduled to sail to the U.K. in Convoy HX 235 from New York on Apr. 18). On Apr. 26-1943, she departed New York for Boston in order to join a convoy for Halifax, with departure Boston Apr. 28 (convoy info in Voyage Record), and on May 2, she headed to the U.K. in the slow Convoy SC 129 from Halifax. The British Antigone (with a cargo of grain, general and MT) and the Norwegian Grado, cargo of lumber and iron were torpedoed on the port side of the convoy on May 11. From Vanja they could tell that the British ship received the torpedo in the engine room, the boilers exploded and she sank immediately. Jürgen Rowher gives the culprit as U-402 for both, as does Arnold Hague who adds that Antigone had 3 dead. My page about Grado has some more details. The Norwegian James Hawson and Grey County are also listed in this convoy. Vanja arrived Belfast Lough on May 20 and the following day she joined a convoy for Milford Haven, then continued to Plymouth with arrival May 22. Having unloaded her cargo there she left the U.K. again on May 31 in a large convoy for New York. This must have been Convoy ON 187*, in which she's listed. The convoy originated in Liverpool on June 1-1943 and arrived New York on June 15 (Vanja had started out from Milford Haven on May 31, and according to Page 3, she arrived Halifax June 15, though it looks as if an attempt has been made to erase the word Halifax). On this voyage she had some problems with her machinery so in New York she went to a yard again.

The repairs took about a month, whereupon she picked up a cargo of diesel oil and via Boston and Halifax she again headed across the Atlantic, having joined Convoy SC 138 from Halifax on July 30. According to the source mentioned earlier, this convoy encountered heavy fog, resulting in a Liberty ship becoming a straggler and receiving a torpedo, but again, I believe some of this info might be erroneous (or a simple memory lapse). On checking with Rohwer, I find only 2 Liberty Ships sunk or damaged on a date that remotely fits this, nameley Richard Caswell and John A. Poor. The former was sunk on July 16 in a different area completely (plus the date is too early to fit), so that can be ruled out. The latter could be the ship referred to in the Norwegian source; however, she was not torpedoed but damaged on July 26-1943 after striking a mine laid by U-119 on June 1 ( has more details on this, external link). This ship was en route from Boston to Halifax in Convoy BX 65, but had lost touch in fog; Vanja had also been in this convoy to Halifax, before she joined SC 138. Evanger, Norse Lady, Norsktank and Solsten are also named in the BX convoy (ref. link in the table above), all of which, except Norse Lady, subsequently joined SC 138 (Norse Lady sailed in the next convoy).

Vanja unloaded her cargo in Grangemouth, before leaving for Methil Roads and Loch Ewe on Aug. 18, heading back to the U.S. in Convoy ON 198*, which had originated in Liverpool on Aug. 21. According to the Norwegian source mentioned, this convoy was also attacked by U-boats that same afternoon but no ships were lost; note that Rohwer reports no attacks on this convoy. In New York, where she had arrived on Sept. 4, Vanja loaded fuel oil and a deckload of 13 aircraft, before heading to Lynhaven, then departed in convoy on Sept. 15 for the Mediterranean (see link to UGS 18 in the Voyage Record - also, Page 3). However, due to engine failure she had to return to Norfolk for repairs, which were completed on Sept. 23, at which time she was sent to New York again in order to continue from there to the U.K. The original aircraft were taken off while in New York and replaced by 13 new ones before she left on Oct. 1, via Boston and Halifax for Glasgow, where her cargo was discharged (with sun fuel and aircraft, she's listed in station 22 of Convoy SC 144 from Halifax on Oct. 11, and arrived Glasgow on Oct. 27).

She subsequently went to Greenock for the installation of equipment that would enable her to replenish the escorts at sea. While there, Captain Amundsen returned on Nov. 1; he had served in the Navy for a year. Vanja departed for New York again on Nov. 14; according to Page 4, she sailed from Londonderry on that date, and she joined Convoy ON 211*, serving as Escort Oiler, with arrival New York Nov. 29 (Commodore was in Elisabeth Bakke). Captain Andreassen came with them on this voyage but left the ship in New York on Nov. 30. Vanja left New York again on Dec. 10 for Boston, remaining there for a month before proceeding to Halifax in order to join a convoy back to Loch Ewe. She had been scheduled for Convoy SC 149 from Halifax on Dec. 15, but is crossed out on the form (she was still in Boston at that time) and does not show up again until Convoy SC 151 on Jan. 14-1944; she served as Escort Oiler again, and arrived Loch Ewe on Jan. 31 (Commodore was in Para). Eglantine and Rose served as escorts for this convoy for a while (see SC convoy escorts). Vanja's cargo was discharged in Shellhaven.

On Febr. 14-1944, she left Loch Ewe with destination Baltimore in Convoy ON 224 (Escort Oiler), then went to a yard in Maryland and was not ready to sail again until the middle of May - again, see Page 4. In New York, she took on board 60 depth charges, as well as a deck cargo of 43 tons of aircraft, joining convoy Convoy HX 292 for the U.K. on May 19. A couple of voyages were now made between New York and the U.K. with oil and aircraft: In June, we find her in station 43 of the westbound Convoy ON 240*, originating in Liverpool on June 10 (Vanja sailed from Clyde that day), arriving New York on the 28th (Vice Commodore in Høyanger), and in July, she's listed in Convoy HX 298 from New York. Vanja arrived Loch Ewe on July 17, proceeding to London the next day. She left London again on July 26 for Curacao, via Methil and Loch Ewe, joining Convoy ON 247*, which sailed from Liverpool on Aug. 2 and arrived New York on the 15th; Vanja, which had started out from Loch Ewe on Aug. 2, parted company with the convoy en route in order to proceed to her destination Curacao, where she arrived on Aug. 21. Via Guantanamo Bay and New York, she later headed back to the U.K. (London) on Sept. 16 in Convoy HX 309, for which Laurits Swenson acted as the Vice Commodore's ship. According to Page 5, Vanja arrived Shellhaven on Oct. 3. She was subsequently ordered to Corpus Christi, where she arrived on Nov. 1, having crossed the Atlantic in Convoy ON 258*, which had left Southend on Oct. 6. A. Hague says she had been detached from the convoy on Oct. 16 (ON 258 arrived New York Oct. 24).

This was followed by some short voyages in somewhat safer waters than her previous ones. On Nov. 16, she departed Houston for New York with arrival Nov. 25. After having removed depth charges and the equipment for replenishing the escorts, as well as her cargo, she was sent to Galveston where she was docked from the beginning of Dec.-1944 until the middle of Jan.-1945. For the last part of the war, Vanja was in service between U.S. ports in the Gulf, with an occasional voyage to Boston and Philadelphia. On May 3-1945, she departed Philadelphia for Port Arthur and was at sea between Cape Hatteras and the Florida coast when Germany capitulated. Having loaded a cargo in Port Arthur, she left for Philadelphia on May 15; no convoy was necessary and all lights were lit for the first time in many years. (Compare with the details found on Page 5 - see also Page 6).

* These ON convoys, which included several Norwegian ships, will be added to individual pages in my Convoys section in due course, along with further details on each. In the meantime, the ships sailing them (and escorts) are named in the section listing ships in all ON convoys. The entire SC series will also be updated and completed, including the already existing convoys, but for now, please see ships in all SC convoys for the names of other ships sailing in SC 108. See also Ships in all KMS convoys.

More information on all the other Norwegian ships named on this page is available via the alphabet index below, or go to the Master Ship Index.


According to this external page, she was owned from 1946 by Skibs A/S Nordheim (H. Ditlev-Simonsen & Co), Oslo, no name change. From Dec.-1948, she sailed as Kvint for A/S Ranella (Jørgen P. Jensen), Arendal. In March-1950 managers became Einar Christiansen, Arendal, same name. From June-1952, owned by A/S Jensens Rederi V (E. Christiansen), Arendal. From 1955, A/S Jensens Rederi I (E. Christiansen), Arendal. From 1958, A/S Jensens Rederi I (Marlow Wangen & P. Christiansen), Arendal. Sold to Spain for breaking up in Sept.-1961.

External links related to text above:
SL / SL/MKS convoys - As can be seen, Vanja is mentioned in Convoy SL 113 (but joined the next convoy).

Back to Vanja on the "Ships starting with V" page.

The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "19 Oslo-skips historie under verdenskrigen, fra April 1940 til krigens slutt i 1945" (The story of 19 Oslo ships during WW II), Harald Nicolaisen - 1945, "Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two", Jürgen Rohwer, "The Allied Convoy System", Arnold Hague and misc. - (ref. My sources).


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