For all things grey, or relating to War
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Post by riverman » Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:05 pm

Was doing some reasearch into the Tribal Class destroyer HMS SOMALI as my father served on board her at the beginning of the war. She was to intercept and capture the first German merchant ship of the war which was only 2 hours old!
The HANNAH BÖGE departed Shediac, New Brunswick bound for Germany on 1st. September 1939 with a cargo of wood pulp. She was stopped by HMS SOMALI and taken as a prize in position 63.20N 16.35W. At the time of her capture she was in the process of disguising herself although still flying the German flag. She was escorted to Kirkwall arriving on the 5th. September. Taken over by the MOWT she was placed under the management of Christian Salvesen of Leith and renamed CROWN ARUN which was later sunk by U-99, (Otto Kretschmer) while carrying a cargo of pit props from Gaspe, Quebec destined for Hull. The crew were rescued by HMS WINCHELSEA and landed at Liverpool.

HMS SOMALI was not to survive the war being torpedoed in the ER, by U-703 (Heinz Bielfeld) although she did not sink she was taken under tow by HMS ASHANTI and while under tow broke her back in heavy weather. Of the 102 men on board only 35 were rescued from the Arctic waters. Fortunately my father was not on board at the time as he had been posted to a Tank Landing Craft base at Bo'Ness

Owner:- Reederei Johann M. K. Blumenthal GmbH, Stella Haus, Rodingsmarkt 52, Hamburg 11 ( Company still going strong today, but now in the Palmaille, Hamburg.)
Built:- AG Neptune, Schiffswerft und Maschinenfabrik, Rostock.Completed March 1938.

Similar to my Uncle who boarded the German tanker BISCAYA (John T. Essberger, Hamburg and still going strong) at least he got the Chief Officers Leica camera out of it!
paul hunter


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