Sjøforklaring 1940 - 1945
Informasjonen nedenfor 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.
Appeared Captain Finn Skage ...
The master stated that the vessel was on voyage from Canada to U.K. with a cargo consisting of 719 standards of timber.
All the ship's papers were lost when the vessel went down, but the master produced a written report about the casualty. ...
The master had nothing to add to his report. The vessel was in completely seaworthy condition, the lifesaving equipment was in the prescribed order.
The master considers it as entirely out of the question that the explosion can be attributed to the nature of the cargo or to any fault or defect in the vessel, the engine, boilers or pipe lines.
On being questioned as to the cause of the casualty, the master stated that it must be attributed to a torpedo. The whole of the bulwarks on starboard side had been carried away and the vessel heeled over very quickly.
On being questioned by the assessors the master stated that the speed of the convoy had been fixed at 7 1/2 miles, but that the average speed hardly exceeded 6 1/2 miles.
In all 26 men were landed at Methil, of which 21 formed the "Snefjeld's" own crew, 4 men saved form the Greek s/s "Athelia", and 1 man from the English vessel "Fiscus".
Appeared as the 1st witness, Hjalmar Kornelius Hægland ... chief officer on the s/s "Snefjeld" of Bergen. The witness was on watch when the casualty occurred.
After orders had been given for emergency turn, the course was altered several times and we tried to get away, but did not succeed. Whilst we were occupied with the rescue of 4 men from a Greek vessel the explosion occurred. At that time the witness was in the starboard lifeboat. Both lifeboats, which had been in use for the saving of the 4 men from the "Athelia", were lying on the starboard side as those who were saved had just been taken on board the s/s "Snefjeld". The lifeboats were smashed as the ship was struck in way of the after part of the No. 2 hatch. The witness was flung towards aft and came to the surface again abreast of the No. 4 hatch. The witness got on board again. He tried to open the door of the chart room, but the chart room was completely ablaze.
The witness saw a large hole in the ship's side on the starboard side where the explosion occurred.
Immediately before the explosion occurred the witness saw the outline of a submarine.
The ship was in competely seaworthy condition and the lifesaving equipment in complete order.
There was no fault in the ship, her machinery, pipe lines or boilers.
After they had got into the boats they kept in the vicinity of the ship until about noon. The vessel was blazing the whole time. The witnes saw her going down stern first at dusk.
The 3 or the crew who were injured were taken to hospital at Methil.
Appeared as 2nd witness, Nils Særvold ... chief engineer on the s/s "Snefjeld". The vessel was proceeding at varying speed. The witness also took part in the rescuing of the 4 men from a Greek vessel when the s/s "Snefjeld" was hit by an explosion. During the absence of the witness from the engine room the 2nd engineer had taken over. The donkyman was also in the engine room.
The witness was in the motor lifeboat about 2 boat lengths from the ship's side when the s/s "Snefjeld" was hit. They circled round in the motor boat in order to pick up the men who had fallen into the water.
The witness saw the s/s "Snefjeld" go down after having been on fire the whole time.
Engine, boilers and pipe lines were in complete order.
The engine was stopped at the moment the explosion occurred.
The s/s "Snefjeld" was capable of a speed of about 9 miles. After it had become evident that the convoy had been attacked we tried to force the speed as much as possible in order, if possible, to escape.
Appeared the 3rd witness, John Theodor Berget ... boatswain on the s/s "Snefjeld".
There was rung stopp to the engine as they were to pick up four men from another vessel. We circled round in order to see whether there were any more survivors from the other vessel when we heard a violent report from the s/s "Snefjeld". The witness afterwards saw a large hole in the ship's side.
In other respects the statement of the witness agrees with those of the other witnesses. He saw the s/s "Snefjeld" sink during the morning.
Appeared the 4th witness, Johan Arne Rørvik ... wireless operator on the s/s "Snefjeld".
The witness had taken part in the resuce of some men from another vessel, but had come on board the s/s "Snefjeld" again and was on the boatdeck when the explosion suddenly occurred. Just before, a flare had been sent up which kept hovering astern of the ship. Thereafter, the witness is of opinion that he heard the whine of a projectile which whistled over the ship near the funnel.
Soon afterwards the s/s "Snefjeld" was hit on the starboard side by a violent explosion which in the opinion of the witness must be attributed to a torpedo. The witness received orders to send out a report about the s/s "Snefjeld" having been torpedoed and was sinking. Otherwise, the vessel's radio station was sealed up during the voyage and had not previously been used.