Last voyage of the Olivebank 1938/39

Alan Rawlinson
29th August 2010, 09:49
Just finished reading the interesting personal log of Len Townend, a Bridlington boy who sailed on the last voyage of the Olivebank down to the Spencer Gulf to load 4,400 tons of bagged wheat which was discharged in Barry, Wales just prior to the outbreak of WW2. She was in the Ericson fleet, and under the Finnish flag. After leaving Barry she was blown in two by a German mine in the North Sea, and there is an account of the loss when most of the crew drowned, including Capt Granith.

The round trip was relatively incident free via the Cape of Good Hope, and the log with Len's comments is very interesting to ex Bankliners of later generations, familiar with the similar trips made in the post war ships under power.

If anyone wants a copy, I believe it is on Amazon, or please send me a private message as I can pick one up in our local post office.

Cheers

antjon2
29th August 2010, 10:20
Hi! I can remember my father telling me that he had been involved in the discharge of the Olivebank at Barry, and that because hostilaties were imminent the skipper decided to sail for a home port so they ballasted her with sand and they set sail, what caught my attention was the fact that Andrew Wier's SS Olivebank was also in the Port at the same time

Billieboy
29th August 2010, 11:14
Hi! I can remember my father telling me that he had been involved in the discharge of the Olivebank at Barry, and that because hostilaties were imminent the skipper decided to sail for a home port so they ballasted her with sand and they set sail, what caught my attention was the fact that Andrew Wier's SS Olivebank was also in the Port at the same time

You'll remember Fred Halford and Wilf Stocton then? Perhaps you'll have heard of my Aunt, Miss Woodham, at the Dock offices?
Regards

=Bill Woodham=

Alan Rawlinson
29th August 2010, 17:34
Hi! I can remember my father telling me that he had been involved in the discharge of the Olivebank at Barry, and that because hostilaties were imminent the skipper decided to sail for a home port so they ballasted her with sand and they set sail, what caught my attention was the fact that Andrew Wier's SS Olivebank was also in the Port at the same time

Interesting detail - thanks.

The author was saying that he only paid off because the war was starting, and he didn't fancy being in the Baltic Ports in hostilities. As it happened, there were 7 survivors who clung to the topmast and cock billed yard that was left sticking out of the North sea as the hull grounded after the explosion.

Alistair Macnab
29th August 2010, 17:55
An ex-Bank Line officer lead an expedition of scuba divers to the wreck of the "Olivebank" in the North Sea. It is an established sub-aqua club at an English East Coast town, but I cannot remember which. There was an article in one of Brian Lucy's Newsletters some years ago. I cannot find my copy but perhaps someone else can look it up?As this thread relates, the barque sank to the bottom of the North Sea but was still partially above the waterline where the survivors were when rescued.

Alan Rawlinson
30th August 2010, 08:47
An ex-Bank Line officer lead an expedition of scuba divers to the wreck of the "Olivebank" in the North Sea. It is an established sub-aqua club at an English East Coast town, but I cannot remember which. There was an article in one of Brian Lucy's Newsletters some years ago. I cannot find my copy but perhaps someone else can look it up?As this thread relates, the barque sank to the bottom of the North Sea but was still partially above the waterline where the survivors were when rescued.

Just to complete the story, according to the book mentioned in the thread start... The survivors spent 44 hours clinging on in freezing conditions, and were rescued eventually by a Danish fisherman called Captain Soren Hanson. The mate of the Olivebank was a well respected Cape horner and a tough little seaman called Ragnar, and sadly he was last seen drifting away clinging to a lifeboat buoyancy tank .

A great tragedy.

The thing which fascinates me a bit about the old sailing ship
' Olivebank' was famous for her interesting reputation - not for fast passages - but her ability for always eventually turning up , usually very late . This, in an age when it was the norm to eventually go missing, or otherwise come to a sudden end like stranding. She has gone into the maritime history books mainly for this reason.

antjon2
30th August 2010, 09:08
Hi! Billieboy, those names bring back memories of being summoned too the Dock Offices or the Kremlin as we knew it and wondering what we had done wrong, always impressed by the main staircase and the oak panelled Boardroom regards
= Tony Weston=