Sjøforklaring 1939 - 1945

Informasjonen nedenfor vedr. skip i Nortraships flåte er direkte avskrift av orginalkilden "Sjøforklaringer fra andre verdenskrig (1940 - 1945)". Informasjonen her er fra sjøforklaringer holdt under og rett etter krigen og kan derfor avvike noe fra den øvrige kvalitetssikrede informasjonen i Krigsseilerregisteret.

22. april 1940
The Downs
1991 tonn kull
Tyne - Rouen
15 [15]
  • Referat

    9. mai 1940
    Konsul Gregg
    5 franske vaktmenn omkommet, 1 reddet - navn ukjent


    Appeared the chief officer, Arnfin Bentsen, ...


    The vessel sank on the 22nd April at 2 o'clock in the afternoon in the Downs after an explosion.

    The vessel sank so quickly that the clothes and personal effects of every one were lost, likewise all the ship's papers and books.

    The president produced (1) a written statement, "Report about the sinking of the s/s "Bravore" on the 22nd April 1940" which chief officer Bentsen had handed in to the Consulate General on the 6th May and which was signed by chief officer Bentsen and counter signed by chief engineer Fredrik Thoresen.


    The presiedent further produced (2) scrap notes made by the chief officer concerning the distribution of the cargo in the holds. This paper had been delivered to the Receiver of Wrecks, Dover.


    The appearer stated that it was he who kept the log book on board.

    The produced report is based on information which the appearer had received from the 2nd officer, also the chief engineer and the cook, and otherwise prepared according to memory.

    The appearer was relieved on the bridge at 12.30 o'clock. After the convoy had been split up at 11.15 o'clock at the mouth of the Thames there was steered according to sailing instructions received on departure from the Tyne.

    At 1 o'clock the appearer had lain down to sleep in his cabin and was awakened by being flung up into the cabin top. The appearer did not find his life belt, tried in vain to get out through the door, and does not remember anything in particular as to what subsequently happened to him. He was sucked under, but came up to the surface.


    Appeared the 1st witness, Fredrik Eugen Thoresen ... chief engineer on th s/s "Bravore"...

    The witness was shown the produced report which he declared he had signed. The report is based on information from the others who were saved and otherwise according to memory.

    The witness was relieved at 1 o'clock, was lying asleep in his cabin, was awakened by being flung up into the cabin top, he opened the door and encountered steam coming from the engine, kept his arm in front of his face, ran aft to the poop and stood there by the life saving raft, together with the cook, until they were taken off by a motor boat from shore.

    The witness wishes to add that those saved were well cared for by the Englishmen who rescued them, and that the witness and the cook were treated by the greatest kindness by the authorities and by private people at Deal.


    Appeared the 2nd witnes, Reidar Antonius Vistung, ... cook on the s/s "Bravore"...

    The witness was sitting on a chair alone in his cabin amidship on the vessel, noticed a muffled - not particularly loud report, felt the vessel being thrown up in the air, managed to ged hold of the door handle and open the door. He then came straight out into the sea, was carried by the sea towards aft past the engine room door as the vessel was sinking with the bow first, got one leg over the rail as he wanted to get away from the ship, but was thrown down on to the after deck by the suction, got up into the rigging on the after mast, the vessel having heeled over to port. Got on to the poop by sliding down the derrick hoist. Stood on the poop together with the chief engineer until they were picked up by a motor boat from the shore.

    The life saving raft had become jammed in the corner on the port side.

    The witness did not see anything of any of the others.


    Appeared the 3rd witness, officer Leonard Mikal Aasheim, ... 2nd officer on the s/s "Bravore"...

    The witness came on the bridge at 12.30 o'clock relieving chief officer Bentsen. The helmsman Knut Gunnersen, 4 of the French guard, and the captin were on the bridge. Deck boy Ryan was on the forecastle. A.B. Seaman K. Ellingsen was at work aft. The others of the crew were in their cabins. The men's berths were forward.

    The witness cannot state the hour of the explosion. The witness was standing on the starboard side of the bridge by the telegraph, was knocked through the window of the bridge side shelter so that the explosion must have occurred on the port side. Was flung perhaps 30 metres, anyhow so far that he came clear of the suction. The witness came up quickly. He had received a blow from a hatch cover or similar object and could not use his legs, it felt like a knife being stuck in his back when he tried to use his legs.

    When the witness came up the stern and a little of the bridge could be seen of the ship; the bow was under water.

    The captain was lying some distance away. The witness was carried by the sea towards him. The witness saw that the captian's face was covered with blood, he had blood on his jacket across the chest and one of is hands had been torn off. The witness caught hold of him from behind, but had to let go his hold. The witness had a small piece of planking to hold on to, but did not have the strength to retain his hold. Subsequently the captian went unde without the witness seeing it. 'After a while the witness caught hold of a lifebuoy.

    The witness saw one of the French guard go under, perhaps 20 metres away. Otherwise, the witness saw a patrol vessel which was trying to save somebody, but there was trouble with the lifeboat. This was (probably) chief officer Bentsen.

    The witness was saved by a Dutch vessel after having been lying in the water for perhaps half an hour. At the hospital at Ramsgate the witness was ex-ray photographed the same day and was lying in the hospital until the 14th May, but was then not quite well in the back where 4 ribs were broken and 2 vertebrae injured. Otherwise, the witness got his left hand injured by the glass of the window in the bridge side shelter, likewise the left arm and legs. A dental bridge broken.

    The convoy was split up at the mouth of the Thames a little before the witness came on the bridge. Thereafter the vessel proceeded in convoy under escort to the Downs up to the last buoy, namely the buoy outside Ramsgate.

    The sailing instructions terminated at this buoy and in the instructions it was stated:- later according to orders. The vessel was waiting for such orders. The order-boat had come along to one of the two French vessels which were proceeding ahead.

    A little to starboard we had en English vessel with electric protection cable, which vessel cut across the "Bravore's" course. The witness believes that that English vessel proceeded over the mine, but was saved by her electric cable.

    The lifeboats, life buoys and belts were in prescribed order and life saving vests had been distributed to the crew at Rouen, no doubt on the vessel's previous trip there.

    At the hospital the witness spoke to some survivors from an English vessel, which had been lying at anchor in the Downs when the "Bravore" sank, but which had been blown up by mine on the following day. These men had seen the "Bravore" sink. They saw that the "Bravore" went down extraordinarily quickly.