Født: Lista - 24 mars 1923
Bosted: Tjørve, Lista - Farsund kommune.
Død: 21 februar 1942
Bernt Brækne Syvertsen var matros på M/T ”Kongsgaard”, og omkom 21. februar 1942, da skipet ble torpedert vest for nord-pynten av Curacao, på reise fra Puerto de la Cruz til Aruba.
Kildene forteller:Krigsseilerregistert skriver:
M/T ”Kongsgaard” av tysk ubåt U 564 (Fregattenkapitän Reinhard Suhren) og sank i pos. 6 n. m. vest av nord spissen av Curacao på reise Puerto la Cruz, Venezuela til Curacao med råolje, 37 personer omkom.
www.uboat.net skriver:At 01.55 hours on 27 Jun 1941, the german, type VIIC U-564, commanded by Fregattenkapitän Reinhard Suhren, holder of the german Knights Cross With Oak Leaves and Sword fired three single torpedoes in one minute intervals at the convoy HX-133 and observed three hits. The Maasdam and Malaya II were sunk and the M/T ”Kongsgaard” was damaged. The M/T ”Kongsgaard” (Master Leif Moen) was torpedoed amidships and caught fire in position 60°N/30°42W. The crew first abandoned ship in the lifeboats, but the master, one mate and nine crew members later reboarded the vessel and managed to extinguish the fire with the help of more men. After picking up the remaining crew, the tanker continued and arrived at Belfast on 2 July. Three days later, a telegram from the First Lord of the Admiralty arrived, congratulating them on bringing their ship safely to port after being torpedoed.
At 15.32 hours on 21 Feb 1942 the unescorted M/T ”Kongsgaard”(Master Leif Moen) was attacked by the german, type IXC u-boat U-67, commanded by Kapitänleautnant Heinrich Bleichrodt, holder of the german Knights Cross, with two torpedoes seven miles west of Noordpunt, Curaçao.
One torpedo was seen by the master and he tried to evade, but one of the torpedoes struck on the port side between the bridge and the poop deck. The cargo caught fire, sending flames high above the entire afterpart. A dinghy was thrown overboard, whereupon two men tried to save themselves in it, but the flames caught up with them. Some men amidships lowered the starboard boat and then rowed away as fast as they could, after having fished some men out of the sea.
At 19.02 hours, the U-boat fired a coup de grâce, which missed and at 19.30 hours a second, which struck the afterpart and caused the tanker to sink about seven miles west of North Point.
The master and seven survivors in the lifeboat were rescued by a fishing vessel three hours later and taken to Curaçao. An ninth survivor was also picked up, he jumped off the afterpart and swam through the flames which had quickly spread on the water after the explosion, until he reached open water.
Minnehallen i Stavern skriver:
M/T ”Kongsgaard” var i juni 1941 ført heldig inn til Belfast etter torpedering, der hun ble reparert for et stort hull i siden. Ble så satt inn i fart igjen. Denne gang var hun på reise fra Puerto la Cruz, Venezuela, til Curacao med 15.600 tonn lett råolje. 21. februar 1942 ble hun torpedert av tysk U-564 (Fregattenkapitän Reinhard Suhren) sju n. mil vest av West Point, Curacao.
Oljelasten ble antent, og flammene sto høyt over akterskipet og og ut over havflaten. Folkene akter hadde ikke store sjaner, men de hadde klart å stoppe motoren. En jolle ble kastet over bord, og to mann forsøkte å redde seg i den. Men oljebrannen på sjøen innhentet dem umiddelbart.
M/T ”Kongsgaard” hadde ikke sunket, og folkene på midtskipet klarte å låre en livbåt klar av flammene. De fikk fisket opp en mann fra sjøen. De sju om bord rodde for livet opp mot vinden. Tre timer senere ble de tatt opp av en fiskeskøyte fra land. De fant også en mann fra akterskipet som hadde klart å svømme gjennom flammene til han nådde åpent vann. Fartøyet sank natt til 22. februar 1942. 37 mann av besetningen omkom.De norske som omkom med M/T ”Kongsgaard”:
Karl Theodor Jensen - Båtsmann, Einar Karsten Kristensen - Maskinassistent, Jon Årset - Matros, Georg Tonning - Motormann, Karl Theodor Thygersen - Båtsmann, Hans Kristian Sørensen - Smører, Bernt Brækne Syvertsen - Matros, Georg Martin Svensen - Matros, Henry Edvard Skotnes - Motormann, Alfred Ingolf Bernh Pedersen - Motormann, Thor Scønang Owren - Smører, Saras J. Partapuoli - Matros, Ottar Normann Olsen - Matros, Reidar Oliver Olsen - 3. Maskinist, Magnus Andreas Müller - 2. Styrmann, Gunnleif Muren - Matros, Einar Lydersen - Donkeymann, Øistein Berg Langeland - Maskinist, Sverre Kurt Karlsen - Lettmatros, Joar O. Igland - Matros, Bjarne Karelius Hansen - Elektriker, Einar Arnold Hansen - Smører, Eilert Severin Gabrielsen - Matros, Thorbjørn Engelsen - Tømmermann, Petter Hjalmar Eltvik - Kokk, Asbjørn Adelsten Elvebakke - Sjømann, Alfred Karl Didriksen - 4. Styrmann, Einar Karsten Christensen - Maskinassistent, Amund Akselsen Berg - Matros, Ole Jahre Andersen - Maskinmester, Aksel Ragnvald Alstad - Stuert.
Final Fate - 1942:
I'm not sure which time zone the captain's report uses. M/T ”Kongsgaard” had arrived Curacao on Febr. 13-1942. From there, she proceeded to Puerto la Cruz, Venezuela on Febr. 14, arriving the next day, departing again on Febr. 20 with 15 600 tons light crude oil for Aruba.
M/T ”Kongsgaard” had been ready to leave on the 16th, but had been held back due to enemy activity in Caribbean waters.
M/T ”Kongsgaard” passed Wilhelmstad, Curacao early in the morning of Febr. 21 and shortly afterwards a Dutch destroyer came towards them and gave them routing instructions and positions and also told them they were to go to St. Nicolaas Bay, so her course was altered accordingly, while she continued to zig-zag, which she had done all along.
At 08:50 she was 2 1/2 miles west of North Point, Curacao, and her course was altered as per instructions from the destroyer (a 90° alteration to port), still zig-zag'ing.
Between 09:10 and 09:15, Captain Moen, who was on the port side of the bridge saw a torpedo heading their way, about 100 yards off (U-67 - Müller-Stöckheim), and ordered hard starboard wheel to avoid other possible torpedoes, while sounding the alarm. At the same time the torpedo struck between the pump room and engine room on the port side, immediately setting the oil cargo on fire, sending flames high above the entire afterpart.
The explosion destroyed all connections between the bridge and poop so no orders could be given. The radio operator was told to send an SOS witht their position but soon had to leave the radio station as the fire was spreading.
1st Mate Wathne, who was trapped in his cabin by the flames managed to get out through the porthole, then ran forward where those who had been on the bridge joined him, except the captain and the radio operator. A dinghy was thrown overboard, whereupon 2nd Mate Müller and the saloon (galley?) boy jumped overboard and tried to save themselves in it, but the flames quickly caught up with them.
The M/T ”Kongsgaard” had now slowed down and was drifting sideways with the starboard side to the wind, so that the flames blew away from that side, enabling those who were still amidships to launch the starboard boat, and after having picked up 2nd Engineer Rosengren from the water, they rowed away as fast as they could. The boat had been sprayed with oil and was extremely difficult to maneuver with the slick oars. A British gunner, George Gurney, who had manned the Oerlikon on the upper bridge was severely burnt, but did what he could to help them get away from the burning oil on the water and they finally succeeded.
3 hours later a small fishing vessel manned with police and Red Cross representatives came alongside. The men in the lifeboat were doing reasonably well, so the rescuers were requested to search for possible other survivors, since the lifeboat was so difficult to maneuver and they were exhausted themselves (those in the lifeboat had noticed earlier that the starboard aft lifeboat had been launched, though they had not seen the boat itself). This fishing vessel had just previously found a man in the water; he had managed to swim through the flames until he reached open water.
This was Able Seaman Magnus Heggø, who with the assistance of the 4th mate had launched the starboard aft boat 1 1/2 minutes after the explosion, but the fore and aft tackles had not been released evenly with the result that the boat fell down very quickly, then capsized. He did not know how many had been in this boat.
At 13:30 another fishing vessel came up to the lifeboat and they were taken aboard. This vessel had also searched the attack area for possible survivors. Additionally, a fast motorboat had searched around the burning wreck as had 3 aircraft, but no more were found. The survivors were subsequently transferred to this motorboat and landed in Bullenbay where ambulances were waiting. 2 were badly burnt and sent to the hospital in Wilhelmstad, as were the others.
M/T ”Kongsgaard” eventually sank during the night leading up to Febr. 22.
The following info from U-67's KTB was sent to me by a visitor to my site: "21.2.42 EC 9379
15h10 viewing tanker
15h32 simple shot tube 1 and 2; 1 hit rear part of the ship immediately on fire
19h02 first shot to dead - missing without explanation
19h30 second shot to dead hit on rear part tanker again in sea of smoke and fire, can see temporarily the stern. Then nothing more. 38 dead 8 survivors"
U-67 was also responsible for the attacks on Nortind, Bayard, Primero, Nidarland and Tortugas - follow the links for dates and more info.
Magnus Heggø had been on M/T ”Kongsgaard” since Jan.-1942. After having spent some time in the hospital he briefly served on President de Vogue, and was on Madrono when this ship was captured by the German raider Thor in July-1942, enduring a horrible time thereafter. He died on May 15-2011. He had joined his first ship at age 15, namely D/S Truth, on which his father already served at the time.
Truth was in the coal and sugar trade between the U.S. and West Indies. When this ship was sold in 1939 he joined Ingerfem, where he was when Norway was invaded by the Germans on Apr. 9-1940. (After the war he served as captain on Westfal-Larsen's Varanger).
"Notraships Flåte", J. R. Hegland - 1976, which says M/T ”Kongsgaard” was 7 n. miles west of North Point, Curacao when the attack took place (time given as 09:12) gives the U-boat as U-502 (Rosenstiel).
I've been told by a visitor to my site that Jürgen Rohwer did indeed list U-502 in the first edition of his book, and U-67 as sinking the American tanker J. N. Pew on the 22nd (German time), but the time of attack by U-502 on M/T ”Kongsgaard” did not match up with the time that M/T ”Kongsgaard”reported, neither did the attack on the American ship correspond with position and time of U-67. I have Rohwer's 1999 edition of the book, which has been corrected to show the U-boat as U-67 for M/T ”Kongsgaard” and U-502 for the American ship (see also this external page).
Det er divergerende informasjon vedrørende hvilken u-båt som senket M/T ”Kongsgaard”.
KRIGSSEILERREGISTERET henviser til U-564, men dette angrepet fant sted 27 Jun 1941 kl: 01.55. Dette angrepet ble ingen senkning og M/T ”Kongsgaard” gikk til havn for egen maskin.
Derimot angrepet fra U-67, 21 Feb 1942 kl: 15.32 endte med senkning av M/T ”Kongsgaard”. Dette bekreftes både av DATO for Bernt B. Syvertsens død og www.uboat.net og www.warsailors.com.
Det benyttes også KRIGSSEILERREGISTERT benytter BREKNE, mens VÅRE FALNE og MINNEHALLEN I STAVERN benytter BRÆKNE
Kilder: Krigsseilerregistert, VG Våre Falne, www.uboat.net, Minnehallen i Stavern og www.warsailors.com.
Registernummer London: 5959
Registernummer New York: 9828
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)
Syvertsen, ble tildelt Krigsmedaljen Dato for tildeling ukjent