Rounton Grange = 1913 - 1934

non descript
2nd February 2009, 09:14
In an indebted to Duquesa for his advice on the Rounton Grange (I) during his detailed research into the sister ship – [ Oldfield Grange (1913 – 1917) which vessel she was tragically lost with all hands whilst en route from New York to Cardiff on 11th December 1917, after an attack by U-62 ] – and with that background he has kindly corrected an earlier error that occurred in this thread ( where it was wrongly stated that she had been sold for scrap and broken up, whereas she was actually lost at sea. This being so, it seems reasonable for Rounton Grange (I) to have her own thread.

Rounton Grange was ordered by Houlders in 1912 from Northumberland Shipbuilding Company of Newcastle and delivered in 1913. She was 4487 grt and remained in the fleet until 1934 when she was sold to German owners and re-named Elise Schulte. On 10-01-1942 whilst of the west coast of Norway at Tromsoy she was wrecked

The records in Edward Stevens book “One Hundred years of Houlders”, whilst very good and quite accurate, cannot be regarded as gospel; on page 74 he refers to “In 1934 Oaklands Grange and Rounton Grange were sold for break up…. “ – Well, I fear he is only half right, for whilst these two ships were sold in 1934, records indicate that they were both sold for further trading – the Oaklands Grange became Nicolas Paingos and was sunk by enemy aircraft on 31-10-41, whilst Rounton Grange is known to have been sold to Schulte and re-named Elise Schulte in 1934, then on 10-01-42 she is recorded as being “wrecked”.

I am now inclined to also believe the Rounton Grange was not broken up as reported in that book, but was actually wrecked off the coast of Tromsoy. To back up this theory I can offer these pointers:

A) On this site about diving in the eaters off Narvik, we can find:

“Look around across the seabed stretching out before your eyes: You can see not just one wreck but two – the German destroyers Anton Schmitt and Wilhelm Heidkamp - in the distance there are other destroyers as well as several armed cargo ships, the steamships Elise Schulte, Romanby – all forming a silent image, softened by the sea, of the ferocious battle raging here 65 years ago.”

B) On here we find:
Atlas Reederei A.G.; 1911; Cant. Nav. Riuniti; 5,238 tons;
379X51-3x27-7; 335 n.h.p.; triple-expansion engines. On a voyage from Lulea to Emden with a cargo of ore, the German steamship Elise Schulte went ashore on October 8th, 1934, on the Juister Riff and broke amidships.

C) On here we find:
Mystery surrounds the sinking of the Elise on 10 January 1942.

Elise Schulte (Beautiful Elise)
Depth: 8-40m
Position: Finnlandsneset in Dyr°ysundet - under bridge

Mystery surrounds the sinking of the Elise on 10 January 1942. She supposedly hit an uncharted reef, but some reports claim that the Norwegian crew - who were under German command at the time - deliberately ran the vessel aground to spite their invaders. Whatever the intent, the Elise was grounded on the reef with serious damage to the hull. The Germans managed to salvage much of the cargo, but the ship sank at 7am the next morning.

A salvage vessel arrived just in time to see Elise drop below the surface, and a naval diver confirmed the ship was lying at 40m, with a 50-degree list to port. A few years after the war, the bridge and propeller were removed and the rest of the wreck was forgotten… until scuba diving took off in Norway.

Elise is a classic dive. The stern lies on the bottom at 38-40m, with the slope of the reef running perpendicular to the wreck. The wreck is balanced on the ridge with the bow raised off the sea bed altogether. It's a magnificent sight, and the shallowest part of the intact bow rises to within 8m of the surface, making for an easy multi-level dive.

At the stern, you will find an anti-aircraft gun and oak steering wheel, both of which are covered with orange, white and green sea anemones. The railings and protruding buildings also have huge amounts of invertebrate life on them - a signature feature of Norway's super-rich waters. Swimming towards the bow, you can peer down through the skylights and check out the machinery. It's tempting to try to penetrate the wreck here, but I'd recommend strongly against it, as the overlying structure seems quite unstable.

Elise is one of those wrecks that please everyone. If you're not into deep diving, there's plenty to explore down to 20m. All divers should be aware that there is usually some tidal current running though. It's always manageable, though it can be a bit of a pain if you're trying to manoeuvre with lots of camera gear. Above all, diving this wreck is about scale and dimensions - if you visit in early spring or late autumn, the water will be exceptionally clear, with visibility sometimes reaching the fabled 50m mark! ++

So all in all I reckon she was wrecked as in “C” and not broken up..