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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

My first posting here, and I was wondering if I could possibly try and dig out some more info on the MV Donerail, especially any photos of her before she was sunk. My Uncle (Jack Lyons) was onboard as a messman, and was killed by the shelling of this ship, by the Japanese submarine I-10 on or about the 9th of December 1941. He was just three weeks from his 21st birthday when he was killed.

I know the Donerail was originally called the Nordwahl, and was a 4,473 ton motor vessel, originally built in Denmark in 1924 by Burmeister & Wain and originally operated by Brown & Co of Copenhagen. She was taken over by the U.S. Maritime Commission, returned to service, and re-named MV Donerail, and operated by the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand under a Panamanian flag. She was en route to Vancouver, BC, when she encountered the submarine I-10, and was sunk by shellfire on the 9th of December 1941.

I would love to see some photos of the ship, and any further information greatly appreciated, to go with my Uncle's history. (he served with the Australian Merchant navy 1939-1940 before joining the US Merchant Navy and becoming a crew member of the Donerail). I have his two Australian service medals, and his US Merchant Mariner's Medal for being killed in action.).

Many thanks for reading this,

Best wishes

Bob
 

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DONERAIL
4,473g. 2,737n. 380.0 x 53.9 x 25.9 feet.
Two, 6-cyl. 4 S.C.S.A. (23¼” x 35-7/16”) engines by the shipbuilder. 629nhp. Twin screw.
30.4.1924: Launched as NORDHVAL by Akt. Burmeister & Wains Maskin-og-Skibsbyggeri, Copenhagen (Yard No.328) for D/S Norden (P.Brown jr. & Company, managers) Copenhagen.
6.1924: Completed.
1940: To the United States Maritime Commission (Union Steamship Company of New Zealand Ltd, temporary managers).
1941: Renamed NORDHVAL under Panama flag and removed from management.
9.12.1941: Sunk by submarine gunfire at a position 8.00N., 152.00W as per #2 above
 

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Google 'Danish Maritime Museum' and click on image archive. Enter the ship's name as Nordhval and it will show about 60 images of ships of that name. It is likely that your ship is shown as the last images on page 8, the others being later ships of the same name.

Dave W
 

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MV Donerail

Bob,

I am currently researching my cousin's father, Murray Chambers, who was on the Donerail when it was sunk. He was one of the lucky eight who managed to reach Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands after 38 days in a lifeboat full of Japanese bullet holes. Tarawa was already occupied by the Japanese and he managed to escape in another boat and was picked up by a ship from Fiji. I believe the other seven survivors were Norwegian.

Thanks to your discussions, I am now able to send my cousin a picture and line drawing of the Donerail.

Many thanks.

David Henderson
Brisbane Australia
 

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DONERAIL
4,473g. 2,737n. 380.0 x 53.9 x 25.9 feet.
Two, 6-cyl. 4 S.C.S.A. (23¼” x 35-7/16”) engines by the shipbuilder. 629nhp. Twin screw.
30.4.1924: Launched as NORDHVAL by Akt. Burmeister & Wains Maskin-og-Skibsbyggeri, Copenhagen (Yard No.328) for D/S Norden (P.Brown jr. & Company, managers) Copenhagen.
6.1924: Completed.
1940: To the United States Maritime Commission (Union Steamship Company of New Zealand Ltd, temporary managers).
1941: Renamed NORDHVAL under Panama flag and removed from management.
9.12.1941: Sunk by submarine gunfire at a position 8.00N., 152.00W as per #2 above
Apologies should have read renamed DONERAIL in 1941
 

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Location ot the Donerail (Nordhval) sinking?

To all,

In my researching of the sinking of the M.V. Donerail, on 9/10 Dec 1941 by the Japanese submarine I-10, I have found conflicting information regarding its location when sunk.

Most reports put it at 200miles SE of Hawaii, while the only LAT/LONG quoted is 08N 152 W.

However, this LAT/LONG position puts it over 700 miles SSE of Hawaii.

I note however, that a LAT/LONG of 18N 152W would put it almost exactly 200miles SE of Hawaii.

Does anyone have any authoritative information regarding the location of the Donerail when it sunk.

Regards

David Henderson
Brisbane, Australia
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Sorry for my silence, work has had me in it's grip, and only just able
to get a reply going now.

Scorcher, many thanks for that photo, a gem, I tried to get some photos from the Danish site, but my computer skills let me down badly on that !

David, great to know there is still some living memory of the ship, and of one of it's survivors, my father spoke to one of the survivors just after the war, when he was repatriated back to Australia, maybe it was your cousin's father ! (the survivor told dad that uncle Jack was killed in the shelling by the sub). They (the survivors) went through hell !

Thanks too guys, for the other info, David, I will certainly check out that list, and report back,

Thanks again,

Best wishes

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The Australian MN medals and US Merchant Navy Mariner's Medal from my Uncle Jack,
(with a MN Commemorative Medal mounted as well).

The US Medal was awarded by the US for his service on the Donerail, and being killed in the line of duty.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
...and thanks very much David, for the link to the newspaper article, it was great, and had a heap of information contained that I was not aware of. I have passed the info on to my brother and some other family members as well. I really appreciate the effort, thanks !

Bob
 

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Donerail Book

Bob,

Thanks for the photo of the medals.

The other night, I discovered that the Radio Operator on the Donerail, Sigfred K Bruun, wrote a book with Carl Osten about his experiences in the Donerail sinking as well as the lifeboat ordeal and the subsequent escape from Tarawa and their trip back to Fiji on the MV Degai.

The book was published in Danish in 1946 and translated to Dutch in 1949. There is a copy of the Danish version in the Danish Maritime Museum. I managed to find a copy of the Dutch version for sale in an online antiquarian bookshop in Holland and purchased it. It has already been despatched and should be here within 3 weeks.

Then all I have to do is translate it !!!!!

Regards

David
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Great stuff David, I look forward to the updates when you get the book. I will do a couple of photos of Uncle Jack and post them here, one shows him wearing his Merchant Navy lapel pin in a nice portrait shot.


Bob
 

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Jack Lyons

Bob,

I just received from the Fiji Archives the official report submitted by the Registrar of Shipping and Reciever of Wrecks, Suva regarding the sinking of the Donerail.

The report indicates that Jack Lyons was in the starboard boat and was presumed killed by shellfire. The starboard boat was the one which received a direct from the deck gun of the I-10.

Also, there is two videos taken from a do***entary about a cruise by the I-10 in the Indian Ocean in 1943 on You Tube. The links to these are:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuDzqYQVTTE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMygRFouxXg&feature=related

David Henderson
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
David, you are a legend, another fantastic amount of information, I have just passed this along to my family, and thanks very much for continuing to dig ! Very much appreciated at this end ! (Applause)

(also watched the videos, sure wasn't aware of this footage !).


Bob
 

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Hello, my father was Sigfred Bruun, WO of Donerail. I found your correspondance by coincidence. I can probably supply you with more information and I would like to know more of Lyons and Chambers if possible.

Niels
 
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