Ships hit by U-boats


Norwegian Steam merchant

Photo courtesy of State Library of New South Wales

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage6,029 tons
Completed1917 - Sir James Laing & Sons Ltd, Sunderland 
OwnerWilh. Wilhelmsen, Oslo 
Date of attack31 May 1941Nationality:      Norwegian
FateSunk by U-38 (Heinrich Liebe)
Position6° 52'N, 15° 14'W - Grid ET 5386
Complement31 (13 dead and 18 survivors).
RouteHaifa - Table Bay - Freetown - UK 
Cargo6719 tons of general cargo, including cotton balls 
History Launched as Norwegian Sjoa for Wilh. Wilhelmsen, Oslo. Requisitioned by Britain and completed in December 1917 as Appelby for Norfolk & North American Steam Shipping Co Ltd (Furness, Withy & Co Ltd), Liverpool. In June 1920 returned to the Norwegian owner and renamed Rinda.

In June 1938, the Rinda was forced to enter Ceuta during the Spanish civil war, but was released soon thereafter. In September 1939, she was mined off Terschelling, brought into port and repaired. 
Notes on event

On 00.24 hours on 31 May 1941 the unescorted Rinda (Master Niels Olsen) was hit by two torpedoes from U-38 off Liberia. The torpedoes struck at hatch #4 and #5 and blew off the funnel and the entire after deck. Four men on deck and the master and another seaman on the bridge were killed. The survivors attempted to lower the lifeboats but the ship sank before they were free and the men were pulled down by the suction, drowning some of them. Only one lifeboat with one man hanging on to it and four rafts floated free. A few survivors rightened the boat and picked up others during the night in the light of burning cotton. Finally, it contained 18 survivors (four of them badly burnt) and set sail for Freetown. On 1 June, they were picked up by HMS Pict (FY 132) (LtCdr W.N.H. Faichney, RNR) after being located by aircraft and taken to Freetown, where the wounded men were taken to a hospital ship.

Bernt Gustavsen, who had been seriously burnt stayed in the hospital for 11 months after the sinking. He then joined the Norwegian Navy and died when HNoMS Montbretia (K 208) was torpedoed and sunk by U-262 (Franke) on 18 Nov 1942.

Among the survivors of Rinda was also the cat, that was found swimming in the ocean by the lifeboat during the night. She remained on board of the armed trawler that rescued the survivors and was renamed Rinda.

More infoMore on this vessel 
On boardWe have details of 31 people who were on board

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