Født: Lesja - 01 juli 1918
Bosted: Kristiansand - Kristiansand kommune.
Død: 29 januar 1942
Hilmar Brænden var matros på D/S ”Bjørnvik”. Omkom 29. januar 1942, da skipet ble bombet og senket utenfor Falmouth på vei fra Newport Mon. til Fowey. Bare 3 mann ble reddet.
Hjalmar Brænden var ombord i M/S "Tancred", 2 november 1940 til M/S "Tancred" ble torpedert 26 september 1940, alle ombord ble reddet. mønstret deretter på D/S "K. G. Meldahl", 04 oktober 1941 og sto ombord til 20 oktober 1941. 23 oktober 1941 mønstret han ombord på M/S "Dagfred" og stod ombord til 18 desember 1941 til han mønstret på D/S ”Bjørnvik”, 21 januar 1942.
M/S "Tancred" ble torpedert 26 september 1940 og sank i konvoi i pos. N 53.32' W 24.55' av tysk ubåt U 32 (Kapitänleutnant Hans Jenisch) på reise fra Liverpool til New York i ballast. Alle reddet.
www.uboat.net skriver:At 08.11 hours on 26 Sep 1940 the M/S "Tancred" (Master Einar Hansen), dispersed the day before from convoy OB-217, was hit on the port side by one torpedo from the german, type VIIA u-boat U-32, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Hans Jenisch, holder of the germN Knights Cross, about 600 miles west-northwest of Valencia, Ireland. The torpedo struck in the middle of #2 hatch and caused the ship to settle by the bow due to the flooding of the forward holds. No distress signals could be sent and within eight minutes the 36 crew members (the ship was armed with one 4in and a Lewis MG) abandoned ship in three lifeboats. The U-boat began shelling the ship with 48 rounds from the deck gun, scoring many hits and then left the area before the M/S "Tancred" sank to chase another ship of the dispersed convoy. The M/S "Tancred" remained afloat and was re-boarded by the master and a few men to recover extra provisions, the ship´s log book and other valuable papers from a safe in the cabin of the master, but found no access to the cabin due to the damage. The lifeboats remained near the ship until it sank and then sailed eastward. The survivors were picked up the next morning by the Norwegian motor merchant Tricolor in 53°52N/23°07W and landed in New York about a week later.
Krigsseilerregistert fortsetter:Januar 1942:
D/S ”Bjørnvik” blir angerpet av fly 28 januar 1942 og synker i kanalen på reise Newport Mon. til Fowey med kull -2,8 n.m. østa av Lizard. 5 personer omkom.
Minnehallen i Stavern skriver:
D/S ”Bjørnvik” var på reise fra Newport til Fowey med 880 tonn kullbriketter. D/S ”Bjørnvik” mistet konvoien og ble 28. januar 1942 ca tre n. mil av Lizard Head helt uventet angrepet av fem tyske fly. Fem bomber traff, og vesle D/S ”Bjørnvik” ble praktisk talt pulverisert. Luker og skjærstokker fløy til værs sammen med en god del av lasten. Styrbord skuteside bulet ut, stormasten gikk over bord, og damp, røyk og flammer sto opp fra båt dekket i det samme som den siste bomben sprengte inn i skutesiden. Tre mann stupte over bord og huket seg fast i en bøye. Etter 17 timer ble de reddet. 11 nordmenn og 4 utlendinger omkom.
De som omkom med D/S ”Bjørnvik”:
Ingvald Rolland - Fyrbøter, Olaf Olsen - Båtsmann, Oskar Alfred Lorentzen - Kokk, Karl August Kristiansen - 1. Maskinist, Gunnar Knutsen - Maskinassistent, Harald Sigurd Olaus Haraldsen - Styrmann, Ingar Henrik Halvorsen - Sjømann, Wictor Esbensen - Skipsfører, Bjarne Andrè Edvardsen - Stuert, Hilmar Brænden - Matros, Jens Beckmann - Maskinist.
Final Fate - 1942:
S/S ”Bjørnvik” (Captain Victor Esbensen) had been separated from Convoy WP 103 in bad weather shortly after having passed Hartland Pt. in the evening of Jan. 27-1942 . She's said to have joined the convoy that morning, and was on her way from Newport to Fowey with a cargo of patent fuel (it'll be noticed, when going to Page 5 of the archive documents, that her departure Newport is given as Jan. 28, while date of loss is given as Jan. 29). This Guestbook message also has some information. Late in the afternoon of the 28th, about 2.8 (5?) naut. miles from Lizard Head S/S ”Bjørnvik” was suddenly attacked by German aircraft. 1st Mate Stephan Meyer, who had just been down for his meal, heard shots from the guns on the bridge and, realizing they were under attack, he ran out on the after deck in order to get to the machine gun there, but was knocked down by the blast before he could get that far.
Five bombs hit and literally pulverized her; 2 in No. 2 hatch, 2 amidships and 1 close to the starboard quarters. The 1st mate threw himself over the rail and started to swim, then caught hold of a hatch, but this was pulled under with the suction with him holding on to it (S/S ”Bjørnvik” sank by the stern in 30-40 seconds). As he came up he saw the forecastle going down. Stoker Ragnar Skauge, who had been in his forward cabin and was knocked down by the blast but managed to get out on deck, and the British gunner (the latter on gun duty on the bridge) also jumped overboard just as the S/S ”Bjørnvik” disappeared from underneath them, then managed to grab a lifebuouy raft which kept all 3 survivors afloat for 17 hours until the Dutch Rika (Captain Snetin) found them and took them to Falmouth. They had attempted to row towards land, but the wind and current prevented them from getting any closer. * According to the 1st mate's statement at the subsequent maritime hearings, permanent watch was kept by the 2 machine guns on the bridge, while the aft gun (normally served by the steward) and a 4th gun on top of the wheelhouse did not have permanent watch. He further stated that the English gunner had told him they started firing a little late, being afraid the aircraft might be British, as they were quite close to an English base. Also, they had seen 2 large English aircraft earlier that day, when off Cape Cornwall. S/S ”Bjørnvik” also had parachute rockets which could be fired from the bridge, but this was not done in this case, presumably because there had not been enough time to do so.
Transcript from Maritime Declarations:
Signed Consul General G. Conradi (Norwegian Consulate General) - Recieved from Billy McGee, England (probably from Public Records Office, Kew).
Year 1942, the 9th February, statements were taken at the Consulate General in London from two of the crew of the S/S Bjørnvik of Oslo, which vessel sank in consequence of bombing attack on the 28th January 1942.
Appeared the 1st witness, Stephan Meyer, born the 29/1 1901 in Oslo, chief officer on the s/s Bjørnvik, 812 tons gross, 386 tons net. The witness was enjoined. The witness produced a report, prepared by himself and R. Skauge, about the catastrophe. The report reads as follows: On Tuesday the 26/1, at 11 o'clock, finished loading. Had taken on board 880 tons cargo, 100 tons bunkers and 40 tons water. In all 1020 tons. Left the briquette work's quay at 14.00 o'clock, at high water, with pilot on board. Passed over the range at Cardiff. The test was satisfactory. Continued to Barry Roads where we anchored for the night (see also Page 5). On Wednesday the 27/1, at 8.30 o'clock, lifted anchor and joined convoy (she's listed in Convoy WP 103 - external link - incomplete listing). S.W. fresh breeze increasing to a gale during the day and veering to N.W. Gradually a fair amount of sea, shipping a good deal of water and violent rolling. As a result of insufficient steam the vessel could not keep her place in the convoy. At 19.00 o'clock, when the chief officer came off watch, the Bjørnvik was (illegible - sailing?) as the last ship in the convoy with the nearest vessel (it now looks like a sentence is missing at the bottom of this page of the report) about 1 nautical mile ahead. We had then passed Hartland Pt. The wind increased to fresh gale from N.W. with rough sea and shipping much water. When the chief officer came on watch again at 0.00 o'clock on the 28/1 (Thursday) the convoy could no longer be seen. We steered the convoy course and proceeded at full speed during the night. In the morning, on Thursday the 28th, there was still nothing to be seen of the convoy. During the chief officer's watch from 8 till 12.30 we got bearings of land and at about noon we were abeam of Cape Cornwall. Two large aeroplanes flew over and the guns were manned. The aeroplanes were found to be English. The guns, which had been exposed to much sea-spray and rain during the night, were greased and overhauled. The wind had moderated and the vessel was making better speed. At 12.30 o'clock the chief officer was relieved and was subsequently not on watch any more. At about 15 o'clock we rounded Longships and with wind and sea on our quarter the vessel was making good speed. The convoy was not carrying baloons on this trip. With afterly wind we were not able to carry a kite either. At 18.00 o'clock passed Lizard at a distance of 5 nautical miles (according to estimate) and course was altered in towards Buoy P outside Falmouth. The weather was fine with light, hazy atmosphere, darkness was beginning to set in. At 18.15 o'clock the chief officer went in for a meal and was on his way out on to the after deck, after having finished his meal, when machine gun shots were heard from the bridge. It was then 18.30 o'clock. The 2nd officer, helmsman, A.B. Seaman Stahl, and an A.A. gunner were on the bridge. The other A.B. Seaman on watch was forward in order to call the watch which had been off duty. At the same time as the cief officer reached the deck the bombs were falling in quick succession. The chief officer was thrown to the deck by the blast, but remained fully conscious and unharmed. 2 bombs struck the No. 2 hatch. All the hatches and the cross-web went up into the air together with a good deal of the cargo. The starboard side was set out and the forward part of the amidship bulkhead was set in. The No. 2 winch and the main mast went over board. The cargo in the hold was immediately set on fire. Forward were 2 A.B. Seamen and boatswain, also 2 firemen and donkeyman, all unharmed. Only fireman Skauge saved himself from there as he immediately jumped over board. At the same time 2 bombs struck amidships and penetrated into the inside of the ship. Violent explosions, steam, smoke and flames rose up from the boat deck. No one managed to save themelves from the engine room, boiler room and cabins. Still another bomb detonated close by the ship's side on the starboard quarter and caused a violent explosion which forced in the ship's side and bottom. All the explosions occurred in succession within a period of a few seconds. Assistant Wiesniewsky and fireman Burdall were in the engine room and stokehold respectively. The vessel sank immediately, stern first, and had disappeared within 30-40 seconds. The A.A. gunner on duty was saved on the buoy-raft by fireman Skauge who was the first to get hold of the raft. Somehwat later the chief officer was also taken up on to this raft. In spite of persistent shouting and searching we heard no sign of life from anyone, in consequence of which the others must be assumed to have gone down with the ship. After having drifted about for 17 hours we were picked up by the Dutch M/V Rika (Captain Sneting) and brought in to Falmouth. Statements were made to the local authorities.
Kilder: Krigsseilerregisteret, www.uboat.net, Minnehallen i Stavern, Sjøforklaringen i London og www.warsailors.com
Registernummer London: 4599,
Registernummer New York: 9189 og 30821
Krigsmedaljen utdeles til norske eller utenlandske militære som på en fortjenstfull måte har deltatt i krig for Norge og til norske og utenlandske sivile som under krig har ydet Norges forsvar tjenester. Krigsmedaljen utdeles post mortem til alle nordmenn og utlendinger som har kjempet i de norske styrker og Handelsflåten og falt for Norges sak. (Wikipedia)
Brænden, ble tildelt Krigsmedaljen Dato tildeling ukjent