Født: Kristiansand - 19 desember 1901
Bosted: Kristiansand - Kristiansand kommune.
Død: 15 juni 1940
Henry Erling Beckstrøm var motormann om bord i M/T ”Italia”, og omkom da fartøyet ble torpedert underveis til Manchester, 15 juni 1940.
Kildene forteller:Krigsseilerregistert skriver:
Våre Falne skriver:
Seilte i alliert fart under krigen. Var motormann på M/T ”Italia” og omkom 15. juni 1940 ved den engelske kyst da skipet ble torpedert.
15 juni 1940:
M/T ”Italia” ble torpedert av tysk ubåt U 38 ( Fregattenkapitän Heinrich Liebe) i pos. 50.37 N, 08.40 V S av Fastnet, på reise fra Port Arthur, Texas - Manchester (Konvoi HX.48) med bensin. 19 mann omkom. De overlevende ble tatt opp av HMS FOWEY og landsatt i Plymouth.
At 01.01 and 01.05 hours on 15 June 1940, the german, type IX u-boat U-38, commanded by Fregattenkapitän Heinrich Liebe, holder of the german Knights Cross, fired torpedoes at convoy HX-47 about 60 miles west of the Scilly Isles and sank the M/T ”Italia” and Erik Boye. The Italia (Master Johan Karsten Hallén) was struck by a torpedo between hold #10 and the engine room, setting the afterpart on fire immediately, with the flames spreading forward and across the water at a tremendous speed and killing almost the entire engine crew. Eight men jumped overboard and another managed to get out through the porthole of his cabin. Boats were lowered and lifebelts thrown out from the bridge to those in the water. The officers amidships waited as long as they could in the hope that more people from the afterpart would be able to come forward, but had to abandon ship when the seas started to wash over the main afterdeck. The ship finally sank in 50°41N/08°52’30W in shallow waters with the bow visible over the water. In the afternoon the survivors were picked up by HMS Fowey (L 15) (Cdr H.B. Ellison, RN) and taken to Plymouth.Minnehallen i Stavern skriver:
M/T ”Italia” gikk i konvoi lastet med 13.000 tonn bensin for Manchester. Fartøyet ble angrepet av tysk ubåt U38, 15. juni 1940 i posisjon 5037N og 0844W på vei opp St. Georges Channel. Torpedoen traff maskinrommet, dører og skott ble sprengt opp, og gang og lugarer fylt av gass og røyk. Skipet sto øyeblikkelig i lys lue. Flammene spredte seg med voldsom fart på dekk og ut i sjøen. Flere hoppet over bord, livbelter ble kastet ut, og livbåter kom på vannet i all hast. Det ble søkt etter overlevende, og under søket ble ni mann reddet. De ble landsatt i Plymouth. 19 mann omkom. De norske som omkom:De norske som omkom ombord på M/T ”Italia”:
Halvor Aabakk - Smører, Wilhelm Wilhelmsen - Motormann, Lars Ragnvald Ugland Torjussen - Smører, Georg Jørgensen Salvesen - 2. Maskinist, Knut Langtveit Olsen - Byssegutt, Georg Severin Olsen - Båtsmann, Karl Nilsen - Matros, Andreas Emil Møller - Tømmermann, Frank Scott Magnussen - Maskingutt, Lorentz Lauritzen - Maskinist, Olaf Karlsen - Motormann, Gerhard Rudolf Fuchs - Messegutt, Knut Waldemar Diebitsch - Dekksgutt, Martin Ingolf G. Boger - Maskinist, Erling Henry Beckstrøm - Motormann, Tor Aune - Maskingutt, Henry Nils Johan Alstad - Maskinmester.
Final Fate - 1940:
M/T ”Italia” left Port Arthur again on May 21-1940 with a cargo of 13 000 tons petrol (aviation fuel?) and some general cargo, and arrived Bermuda on May 27 to wait for a convoy. M/T ”Italia” left again on May 31 with Convoy BHX 47, the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 47. M/T ”Italia” was initially bound for Milford Haven, but was later informed by the escort that there had been a change of destination and she was to proceed to Manchester. According to an excerpt of M/T ”Italia”'s log the ships that were going to the west coast were detatched from the convoy south of Ireland in the afternoon of June 14, and headed towards St. Georges Channel with only one escort. Shortly afterwards, word came that a straggler had been torpedoed and the escort departed to assist, so it looks like the ships had no escort when U-38 (Liebe) attacked. Italia was hit in the early hours of June 15 (23:50, June 14 ship's time) by a torpedo from this U-boat, position 50 37N 08 44W, off the west coast of England. M/T ”Italia” was struck between tank No. 10 and the engine room, immediately setting the after part on fire, with the flames spreading forward and across the water at a tremendous speed. 8 men jumped overboard; the electrician managed to get out through the porthole of his cabin and swam for life to get away from the flames. Amidships, boats were partially lowered, and lifebelts thrown out to those who were in the water. The officers amidships waited as long as they could in the hope that more people from the after part would be able to come foreward, but had to abandon ship in the already lowered boats when the seas started to wash over the main after deck; the captain, the 3rd mate, the helmsman and lookout (Able Seaman Olaf Eikland) in the port boat and the 1st mate, steward and radio operator in the starboard motorboat. A 3 hours search for survivors found the 9 men who had jumped overboard, but 19 were gone, including almost the entire engine crew. Some had survived the initial attack, but had died in the flames after having jumped overboard. A few hours later a French trawler was seen, and some of the men who had no clothes on boarded, but when it turned out the trawler's crew had no clothes to give up, it was decided to go back to the lifboats and wait for a British warship that was seen steering their way. When they left the trawler they spotted a lifeboat with all the survivors from Erik Boye, which had been torpedoed shortly after M/T ”Italia”. They took this boat in tow, then steered towards the British HMS Fowey which picked up the 16 survivors from M/T ”Italia” as well as Erik Boye's survivors (this ship had no casualties). They were landed in Plymouth on June 16 and were later accommodated at the Royal Sailors' Rest in Devonport. J. Rohwer and some other sources say this ship, as well as the Canadian Erik Boye were torpedoed and sunk while in Convoy HX 48. This is incorrect (HX 48 would not have reached that area on that date; it arrived Liverpool on June 20). Rohwer also disagrees slightly with the tonnage I've entered above, saying Italia was 9973 gt, as does Charles Hocking, who gives the position for her sinking as "about 60 miles west of the Scilly Isles". Roger Jordan says M/T ”Italia” sank in position 50 41N 08 52W. The position given in my own text above is from an excerpt from M/T ”Italia”'s logbook.Kilder: Krigsseilerregisteret,Våre Falne, www.uboat.net, Minnehallen i Stavern og www.warsailors.com