Ships hit by U-boats

Oregon Express

Norwegian Motor merchant

Photo from City of Vancouver Archives, CVA 447-2529

NameOregon Express
Type:Motor merchant
Tonnage3,642 tons
Completed1933 - Odense Staalskibsværft ved A.P. Møller, Odense 
OwnerSigurd Herolfson & Co A/S, Oslo 
Date of attack23 Sep 1943Nationality:      Norwegian
FateSunk by U-238 (Horst Hepp)
Position53° 40'N, 39° 50'W - Grid AJ 9522
Complement45 (8 dead and 37 survivors).
RouteManchester (14 Sep) - Halifax 
History Completed in October 1933 
Notes on event

At 04.14 hours on 23 Sep 1943, U-238 fired two T-3, two FAT and then another T-3 torpedo at convoy ON-202 south-southeast of Cape Farewell. Hepp reported four ships of 19,000 grt sunk and one damaged. However, only three ships, Oregon Express in station #103, Fort Jemseg in station #94 and Skjelbred in station #102 were hit and sunk.

The Oregon Express (Master Ragnar M. Walsig) had been first in position #84 but later moved to position #103 which was the outermost starboard column of convoy. First the ship in front of her was torpedoed, then a ship in the next column and finally a torpedo struck her on the starboard side in the engine room. The explosion killed one man on the bridge and two on watch below and blew some others overboard. The survivors among the 41 crew members and four gunners on board tried to abandon ship in the only two lifeboats that remained intact, but one became filled with water and the other contained only a few men. The most survivors had to jump overboard when the ship broke in two and sank within three minutes. Both lifeboats fished others out of the water until 25 men were in the boats, while eleven rescued themselves on a raft that had floated free, including the injured master. Until 06.00 hours, the British steam merchant Kingman (Master Fredrik Matzen) had picked up 36 survivors and the Norwegian steam merchant Romulus another one, as well as 22 survivors from the Fort Jemseg. In all seven crew members and one gunner were lost. Twelve of the survivors on board the Kingman were injured, some of them badly, but no doctor could be transferred to the ship even as she caught up with convoy in the morning of 23 September due to the danger of an U-boat attack. Finally at noon on 26 September, HMS Richmond (G 88) (LtCdr A.T. Morgan, RNVR) came alongside to transfer a doctor who left the next day after taking care of the wounded. On 29 September, the Kingman arrived at Halifax and the injured were taken to Camp Hill Hospital in ambulances.

More infoMore on this vessel 
On boardWe have details of 45 people who were on board

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