Født: Lista - 19 april 1912
Bosted: Skollevoll, Lista - Farsund kommune.
Død: 02 desember 1943
Lars Nilsen var 3. styrmann på D/S ”Norlom”, som seilte i alliert fart. Ble drept under et flyangrep på Bari 2. desember 1943.
Kildene forteller:Krigsseilerregisteret skriver:
D/S ”Norlom” sank ved Bari den 2 desember 1943 av skader hun fikk da den amerikanske damperen "John L. Motle" eksploderte under luftangrep fra tyske fly på reise fra Liverpool til Bari med kull. D/S ”Norlom” ble hevet den 3/12-1946 og solgt til italienske opphuggere.
Minnehallen i Stavern skriver:
D/S ”Norlom" lå i Bari, en framskutt alliert base, med forsyninger til de allierte stridskrefter. Den 2. desember 1943 ble D/S ”Norlom”, som et av mange skip, utsatt for kraftige tyske flyangrep. D/S ”Norlom” sank. Den direkte årsak til at D/S ”Norlom” sank, var at de tyske flyene hadde truffet et ammunisjons skip. Dette sprang i lufta inne mellom de tettpakkede skipene som lå til ankers. Olje og bensin fra et tankskip ble antent, og ilden spredte seg raskt ut over hele havnen. Et skip med giftgass sprakk og slapp løs sin farlige last. Livbåter og flåter fra 17 skip kjempet seg til land gjennom flammer og dødbringende luft. Fire ble drept om bord i D/S ”Norlom”, en døde på sykehus og en døde etter krigen som følge av giftgass-skader fra Bari-tragedien.
www.warsailors.com skriver:Final Fate - 1943: On December 2-1943 - S/S ”Norlom” was still in Bari, where several tankers, ammunition ships and supply vessels were at anchor with much needed supplies for the allied armies for their advance up the Italian mainland.
The Liberty ship "John Harvey" (captain Knowles) had a cargo of liquid mustard gas bombs (in case the enemy should resort to chemical warfare) and was guarded by a unit of the 701st Chemical Maintenance Company.
In addition to S/S ”Norlom”, which had not yet unloaded her cargo, the Norwegian Bollsta, Vest, Lom and Salamis were present (see also my page about Hermelin).
About 20 enemy aircraft attacked and one of the ammunition ships was hit and blew up ("John L. Motley"), starting the domino effect of events, with one ship after another catching on fire. The end result was thousands of deaths, many injured and suffering from the effects of the mustard gas. At least 17 ships were sunk.
The external websites that I've linked to below will have more information - see also my page about Bollsta, where a list of ships sunk and/or damaged is available.
2nd Mate Oddmund Hjelde on S/S ”Norlom” reported that he was left on board with the captain and 1st Mate Einar Hansen. He himself had started to experience terrible eye pain by then from the mustard gas, flames were everywhere, on board as well as on the water. He had a flash light in his hands and signalled an S.O.S. in the direction he assumed land to be, and his signal was seen. A military rescue came out and got all 3 of them ashore. 3rd Mate Lars Nilsen, 4th Engineer Agnar Gustavsen and a British gunner had been killed, the captain died at a hospital in Bari a couple of days later, the 1st mate died Dec. 14.
From George Southern, who has written a book about the Bari incident entitled "Poisonous Inferno", I've received the following:
"British Radio Officer Ian Peyman (name given as Fredrick Peyman in the crew list) serving aboard S/S ”Norlom” when in Bari 2 Dec 1943 was watching the S/S ”Norlom”'s gunners playing cards in the mess. When the raid began he followed the others onto the upper deck where he was knocked unconcious and regained his senses to realise he was on a small raft in the harbour. Alongside him was his cabin mate, Radio Operator Halvor Stensrud. The crew of a motor launch had pulled both men onto the raft with the intention of towing it to safety. He asked Halvor if he was all right and he replied he was although Ian says 'we were both too much in shock to know how injured we were'. Of those moments Ian says 'All hell was going on in the harbour, fires on the water and shrapnel falling all over, and when the launch started off to take the raft in tow, perhaps a shade too quickly, both of us having nothing to hold on to, when the raft tipped we were both thrown into the water again'. Ian managed to keep afloat until the launch picked him up once more. 'I must have passed out again for I do not remember being hauled into either boat or the raft'. His shipmate Halvor Stensrud was never seen again". (Note that he's included among the survivors in the crew list).
George Southern adds:
"This is just one short account in addition to many others of survivors from many ships and participants of the raid in my book "Poisonous Inferno", the only published book researched and written by a survivor. At the time, I was serving aboard HMS Zetland, a Hunt class destroyer berthed adjacent to the Lom, Bollsta and the Norlom when the attack began. I was knocked unconcious but recovered to take part all night long in rescue, firefighting on abandoned vessels and also salvage on four other abandoned ships".
George has since told me that he received the news at the end of Dec.-2008 that Ian Peyman had passed away. Lars Kruse (ex Danish) had been set on fire and lost 18 men, while the rest of her crew was injured and taken aboard a Norwegian ship, which according to "Nortrahips flåte" may have been Salamis. However, this Guestbook message says these seamen were taken aboard S/S ”Norlom”, and later rescued by the MTB, together with Norlom's own survivors.
Kilder: Krigsseilerregisteret, Minnehallen i Stavern, Våre Falne og www.warsailors.com
Registernummer London: 32298
Registernummer New York: 26360
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)
Nilsen, ble tildelt Krigsmedaljen Dato for tildeling ukjent