Født: Farsund - 22 mai 1908
Bosted: Farsund - Farsund kommune.
Død: 27. mars 1942
Gunvald Gundersen var 1. styrmann på en amerikansk oljetanker D/S "Equipoise" og omkom ved torpedering i mars 1942 utenfor kysten av New Jersey.
Kildene forteller:Krigsseilerregistert skriver:
Ble D/S "Equipoise" torpedert og senket 27 mars 1942 av den tyske type IXC, ubåten U 160, med sjef Korvettenkapitän Georg Lassen, innehaver av Ridderkorset med eikeløv, i pos. N 36.36', W 74.45'-ca 60 n.m. SE av Cape Henry på reise Rio de Janeiro til Baltimore med mangan malm. Av en besetning på 54 mann omkom 41(14 norske)
On 17 Jan 1942 the S/S "Equipoise" had left New York with a load of general cargo stopping at Norfolk on 19 and leaving there on 23 January. She arrived at Rio de Janeiro on 25 February and left on 5 March.
At 02.38 hours on 27 March 1942 the unescorted and not zigzagging S/S "Equipoise" (Master John Anderson) was hit by one torpedo from the german, type IXC u-boat U-160, commanded by Korvettenkapitän Georg Lassen,holder of the german Knights Cross With Oak Leaves, about 60 miles southeast of Cape Henry. The torpedo struck on the starboard side between #1 and #2 hatches, blowing out the bottom of the S/S "Equipoise", causing her to sink within two minutes.
The 54 crew members, which were trained to use the 4in gun on the stern and the four machine guns on the bridge and stern, launched two lifeboats and two rafts. One lifeboat capsized when it hit the water and the other was launched without men in it. Nine survivors climbed aboard the empty boat, but the badly injured master died shortly thereafter and was buried at sea, leaving the third mate as the only surviving officer.
Two days later, 13 survivors and one body were picked up by USS Greer (DD 145) and taken to the Norfolk Naval Base, arriving the next day. Seven survivors had to be hospitalized. The crew was made up of seamen of many countries, including Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Brazil, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Denmark and USA. One of the survivors said the confusion after the torpedo hit was very intense among the crew. They could not understand one another and orders were misunderstood or disregarded.
Minnehallen i Stavern skriver:
D/S "Equipoise" gikk under Panamas flagg og ble torpedert i Atlanterhavet, utenfor New York, 27. mars 1942. 14 nordmenn omkom i torpederingen.
De norske som omkom ombord på D/S "Equipoise":
Leif Gunnar Valen - Matros, Lars Taraldsen - Styrmann, Håkon Sørensen - Radiotelegrafist, Hallvard Noddeland - Matros, Petter Johan Mulelid Eliassen - Tømmermann, Karl Oskar Kristiansen - Fyrbøter, Thorbjørn Jensen - Radiotelegrafist, Hjalmar Marinius Berg Hovden - Sjømann, Erling Andreas Gundersen - Båtsmann, Gunvald Gundersen - 1.Styrmann, Rolf Christian Damsleth - Maskinsjef, Haakon Marius Bringeland - Sjømann, Olav Ediam Bjerke - Maskinsjef, Karl Johan Andreassen - Fyrbøter.
Våre falne 1939 - 45 skriver:
Sønn av Alfred Gabriel Gundersen og Thora f.Thorsen Gift 1939 i Curacao, Hollandsk Vestindia med Astrid Johanna Fotland f.1914 i Bergen. Middelskole, styrmanns- og skipperskole. Gikk i 18 års alderen til sjøs med "CAROLVORE". Senere seilte han lenge i Brøvigs Rederi Var 1.styrmann på amerikansk oljetanker D/S "Equipoise" under Panamas flagg og ble torpedert i Atlanterhavet , utenfor New York, 26. mars 1942. Skipet hadde i hovedsak norsk besetning. 14 nordmenn, deriblant 1.styrmann Gundersen omkom i torpederingen. (Forlisdato i mars varierer).
S/S "Equipoise" Home Port: Panama, R.P. Company: International Freighting Co. Master: John Anderson (51) (Lost) Built: Genoa 1906 Former Names: (a) CHANDA (b) PIETRO CAMPANELLA
The S/S "Equipoise", ex Italian flag freighter PIETRO CAMPANELLA, was a coal burning ship, delivered to the War Shipping Administration, by Executive Order, on September 11, 1941 at 1200 hours in the port of Baltimore. The WSA assigned the ship to the IFC to be operated under a GAA agreement in the port of Baltimore at 1201 EST on October 6, 1941. She was changed to Panamanian registry on October 25, 1941. The S/S "Equipoise", a Panamanian flag, coal burning freighter, was torpedoed by the German U-160 (Georg Lassen) at 1834 EWT on March 26, 1942 in position 36-36 N./74-45 W. (about 60 miles Southeast of Cape Henry), while en route from Rio de Janeiro to Baltimore with a cargo of 8000 tons of Manganese ore. The ship was sailing alone and not zigzagging. The S/S "Equipoise" had left New York on January 17, 1942 with a load of general cargo stopping at Norfolk on the 19th and leaving there on the 23rd. Arrived at Rio de Janeiro on February 25th and left on March 5th.
On board was a merchant crew of 54 men including the Master. The ship was armed with a 4" gun on the stern plus two machine guns on the bridge and two on the stern. There was no Navy Armed Guard aboard. The members of the crew had been trained to man these guns. Of the 54 men aboard only 13 survived. Among the crew were 8 American seamen. None of the eight Americans survived.
One torpedo struck the ship on the starboard side between #1 and #2 hatches, blowing out the bottom of the ship, causing her to sink in about 2 minutes. Also the nature of the cargo added to her rapid sinking. The two starboard boats went down with the ship.
Two port lifeboats were launched plus 2 rafts. Lifeboat #2 capsized when it hit the water. The aft boat, #4 boat, was launched by the 3rd Mate and another seaman. After it was launched, they could not reach it and had to jump overboard. The 3rd Mate, who was the only surviving officer, said he was in the water for 2 hours before he could finally climb aboard this boat. When he got in the boat, he found 7 men. One of them was the Master. He was badly injured and not coherent. The 3rd Mate said he always spoke English on the ship but at this time he spoke in Swedish. The Master died the next morning and was buried at sea. Another seaman got aboard the boat soon after the 3rd Mate. After the Master died, there were 8 survivors in the boat.
For two days the boat and two rafts floated aimlessly on the open sea before help came in sight. Those in the boat were picked up first at 1630 EWT on March 28th by the USS GREER (DD-145). On the same day, between 1700 and 1800, those on the rafts were rescued. There were 4 men on one raft. On the other raft was one man and the body of the Carpenter. The survivors were taken to the Norfolk Naval Base arriving there at 0200 on the 29th. Seven of them had to be hospitalized. The crew was made up of seamen of many nations including Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Brazil, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Denmark and the United States.
One of the survivors, a Fireman, said the confusion after the torpedo hit was very intense among the crew. They could not understand one another. Orders were either misunderstood or disregarded. Most of the men lost went down with the ship.
Kilder: Krigsseilerregisteret, Våre Falne, Minnehallen i Stavern, www.armed-guard.com og www.uboat.net
Registernummer London: 1982
Registernummer New York: 11164