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D/S Vespasian
Updated Jan. 6-2012

To Vespasian on the "Ships starting with V" page.

Crew List

Owner: Rederi A/S Vespasian
Manager: Hilmar Reksten, Bergen
1570 gt, 2425 tdwt
Signal Letters: LFFT

Built by Porsgrund Mek. Verksted, Porsgrunn, Norway in 1935. Previous name: Betta until 1940 (Dagfinn Henriksen and Haakon Kierulf, Oslo).

Captain: Peder Johnsen

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

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

Voyage Record
From Jan.-1940 to Jan.-1941:

(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 several voyages are missing.

Departure From To Arrival Convoy Remarks
1940 Jan. 19 Norwegian Waters Methil Jan. 22 HN 8
Febr. 20 Tyne Southend Febr. 22 FS 101 Convoy available at FS convoys
(external link)
March 26 Tyne Methil March 26 TM 33 Convoy available at TM 33
(external link)
See also Page 1
Apr. 7 Tyne Southend Apr. 9 FS 140 Convoy available at FS convoys
(external link)
Missing voyages, Page 1 above
May 23 Tyne Southend May 25 FS 178 Convoy available at link above
Compare w/Page 1
(also, missing movements)
? June 16 Methil Tyne June 16 MT 89 Convoy available at MT 89
(external link)
Compare w/Page 1
(also, missing voyages)
Aug. 15 Sydney, C.B. Liverpool* Aug. 29* SC 1 *Page 1 gives arrival Clyde Aug. 30
(also, more missing voyages)
Oct. 15 Sydney, C.B. Liverpool* Oct. 31* SC 8 *Page 1 gives arrival Clyde Nov. 1
Nov. 8 Clyde Methil Nov. 13 WN 35 Convoy available at WN convoys
(external link)
Nov. 17 Methil Middlesbrough* Nov. 19 FS 337 *Arr. W. Hartlepool Nov. 18
(Page 1).
Convoy available at FS convoys
(external link)
1941 Jan. 11 Methil Oban Jan. 14 EN 55/1 See also Page 1.
Convoy available at EN convoys
(external link)
Jan. 21 Oban OB 276 Convoy available at OB 276
(external link)
Sunk - See "Final Fate" below
(and Page 2).

 Some Convoy Voyages: 

According to A. Hague, Vespasian sailed in Convoy HN 8 from Norway to the U.K. in Jan.-1940, together with several other Norwegian ships - follow the link for more info.

When war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940 she was at The Downs, departing that same day for Rouen, where she arrived Apr. 10. Another voyage was made to Rouen early in May, and later that month she travelled to Nantes - see Page 1 of the archive documents.

From the same document, we learn that she made a voyage from the U.K. to Sydney, C.B. in July that year. I have no convoy information for this voyage, had she sailed independently? Having made a voyage to Chatham, N.B. and back to Sydney, C.B., she headed back across the Atlantic again on Aug. 15 in the slow Convoy SC 1, in which the Norwegian Eva and others were sunk - follow the links for details. Vespasian had a cargo of pit props for Manchester, where she arrived, via various other ports, on Sept. 11. She now returned to Sydney, C.B., with arrival there on Sept. 29 (again, I have no convoy details for this voyage), and the following month, we find her in Convoy SC 8, cargo of pit props for West Hartlepool, where she appears to have remained for quite a long time - again, see also Page 1.

A French visitor to my website has told me that she's still listed as Betta on Nov. 25-1940, at which time she sailed in a convoy from Dakar (at Casablanca on Dec. 5. Sailed from Casablanca on Dec. 14-1940 in convoy. At Oran on Dec. 17), however, this must be a mix up with another ship, possibly the Danish Betta? This ship was requisitioned at Dakar by the Vichy French in June 1940 and renamed Saint Albert, then seized by the Germans at Marseilles in Nov.-1942. Wrecked in a storm at Valencia harbour in Febr.-1943 (broken up in 1946). There also seems to be some confusion over this ship in J. Rohwer's book. He says Vespasian was the ex Danish Betta, but the Danish Betta (ex Betty) was built in 1931, so again, this appears to be a mix up on his part.

 Final Fate - 1941: 

Vespasian had departed Oban on Jan. 21-1941 in ballast for Mackenzie, British Guiana, joining Convoy OB 276, which had originated in Liverpool on Jan. 20 and also included the Norwegian Helle (ref. link in the table above). Vespasian lost the convoy in bad weather on Jan. 23 and was never heard from again.

Believed to have been torpedoed and sunk on Jan. 24 by U-123 (Moehle) in approx. 55N 15W (according to, this was the position in which she had lost the convoy, sinking position is given as 55 57N 21 55W - external link). All 18 died. (Some sources claim she was sunk by aircraft).

U-123 was also responsible for the attack on Pan Norway a year later (but with a different commander). See also Panamanian Norness.

Crew List - No survivors:


Peder Johnsen

1st Mate
Theodor Bengtson

2nd Mate
Olaf J. Olsen

Able Seaman
Arthur M. Stelander

Able Seaman
Nils Ingolf Lode

Ordinary Seaman
Bjarne Wiste

Ordinary Seaman
Torbjørn Olsen

Ordinary Seaman
Albert Nilsen

Ordinary Seaman
John M. Andersen

1st Engineer
Harry Oldrul

2nd Engineer
Dorhald Berg

Olai Hagenes*

Karsten Hansen**

Thorvald Wickstrøm

Joacim Hansen

Ingolf H. K.

Juul Holm

Mess Boy
Harry Larsen

Related external links:
Stavern Memorial commemorations - Please note that the website has recently been redesigned, and since then some errors have occurred and the list of casualties for Vespasian is no longer there; the only way to find them is by going to "Søk 2. verdenskrig" and typing each name in the search field for "Personer". 19 appear to be commemorated; there are 2 names listed at the memorial that do not appear above, namely Donkeyman *Karl Olai Huun and Stoker **Karsten Torp - however, checking with "Våre falne", a series of 4 books naming Norwegians who died during the war, I find that Karl Olai Huun is identical to Donkeyman Olai Hagenes in my list above - in other words, the memorial has listed him twice, as Olai Hagenes here, and as Karl Olai Huun here (note birthdates). Also, I believe Karsten Torp is identical to Karsten Hansen in my list, because "Våre Falne" gives his father's name as Hans Torp (hence the last name of Hansen). The engineer's name is given as Harry Olrup Jacobsen at the memorial and some of the other names are also spelt a little differently.

Operations information for U-123

U-123 | Karl-Heinz Moehle

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

The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "The World's Merchant Fleets 1939", R. W. Jordan, "Axis Submarine Success of World War Two", Jürgen Rohwer, "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume II, Norwegian Maritime Museum - (ref. My sources).


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