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  #1  
Old 30th September 2009, 15:09
Brian Brian is offline
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KG40 & Convoy HX.84 November 1940

Hi guys

Perhaps a naive question but I don't know the answer!

One of the ships in Convoy HX.84 bombed by KG40 was the Swedish freighter Vingaland, damaged on 8 November. She was sunk the following day by an Italian submarine.

The question is - why was this vessel, from a neutral country, sailing with a British convoy?

Cheers
Brian
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Old 30th September 2009, 15:49
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Nick Beale Nick Beale is offline
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Re: KG40 & Convoy HX.84 November 1940

IIRC from books I've read on the Battle of the Atlantic, I don't think that was unique but you could check the composition of convoys of the period at http://www.convoyweb.org.uk/ to see whether it was common practice.
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Old 30th September 2009, 16:38
Tony Kearns Tony Kearns is offline
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Re: KG40 & Convoy HX.84 November 1940

Brian,
It was not unusual for neutral Irish shipping to sail in the Atlantic convoys.
regards
Tony K
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Old 30th September 2009, 17:36
Brian Brian is offline
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Re: KG40 & Convoy HX.84 November 1940

Nick & Tony

Thanks for not laughing at the question!!

OK, so were the 'neutral' vessels requisitioned by the British authorities and crewed by the Merchant Navy? Or was there some other arrangement, particularly with Irish vessels? Did these Irish vessels have 'Eire' painted on their sides, etc? Would they have flown the tricolour whilst in convoy?

The reason I ask is that I am interested in Luftwaffe attacks on neutral shipping in 1940, but assume that such ships could hardly be considered 'neutral' if sailing in a British convoy!

Please enlighten me.

Cheers
Brian
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Old 30th September 2009, 21:26
Stig Jarlevik Stig Jarlevik is offline
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Re: KG40 & Convoy HX.84 November 1940

Brian

Not a naval expert by far, but during WW 2 Sweden was in a tricky situation. To survive we needed to both import and export stuff via ocean vessels. We traded with both Britain and Germany, they were together I believe the two largest trading partners we had. Each arrival and departure had to be negotiated with the two combatant nations. Germany had by that time taken both Denmark and Norway and for us we had to negotiate a safe passage through the so called Skagerak blockade if we wanted to move out into the North Sea and still further away. Then we needed to negotiate a safe passage through British waters as well. Vingaland was part of SOL (Swedish Orient Line) which was a shipping line not connected with Germany and presumably had an easier task negotiating via our Foreign Ministry a safe passage with Britain. These negotiations during the war years never included any promise of a safe conduct, just a permission to pass through certain blockades. Swedish vessels had to take their chances just like every other vessel in a given area.

Already at this early stage it was very much obvious that it was far safer to move a vessel in convoys and I am quite certain everyone concerned did their best to negotiate passage inside such convoys whenever possible.

Large numbers of Swedish vessels were sailing to German ports both in the Baltic and on the Atlantic Coast. Many were sunk as can be seen on Rolf Skiolds home page http://www.mareud.com/

I think if you contact him you can get a far more detailed and comprehensive answer than I am able to give....

Cheers
Stig
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Old 30th September 2009, 22:20
Brian Brian is offline
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Re: KG40 & Convoy HX.84 November 1940

Thanks Stig

May I quote you?

Cheers
Brian
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Old 30th September 2009, 23:18
Tony Kearns Tony Kearns is offline
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Re: KG40 & Convoy HX.84 November 1940

Brian,
Like Stig I too am not a naval expert.Here in Ireland it is said that "we were neutral against Germany".
Irish registered vessels were not requisitioned by the British authorities for the Merchant Navy. Irish Vessels had the word EIRE in white on each side flanked by two tricolours. There were attacks on Irish vessels some with fatal results but I deem them to have been unintentional. On 19 Dec. 1940 the British registered Irish Lights tender Isolda was on route to the Coningbeg Lightship when a Condor approached. It circled the nearby Irish registered vessel Lanahrone (which had the neutral markings) and as it passed overhead it rocked its wings and headed straight for the Isolda and sank it. I have not been able to identify the Condor so far!. Oh and yes the tricolour was flown when in convoys. Perhaps my good friend Martin might come "on board" if he sees your posting.
Regards
Tony K
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Old 30th September 2009, 23:24
Brian Brian is offline
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Re: KG40 & Convoy HX.84 November 1940

Many thanks Tony

Hope to visit Ireland next year so will buy you a pint if we meet!

Cheers
Brian
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Old 30th September 2009, 23:38
Tony Kearns Tony Kearns is offline
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Re: KG40 & Convoy HX.84 November 1940

Brian,
You are welcome. You name the time I will name the pub!!
Best wishes
Tony K
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Old 30th September 2009, 23:58
Brian Brian is offline
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Re: KG40 & Convoy HX.84 November 1940

Hi Tony

I can almost taste that pint of Guinness right now!

In fact, there's a can of the brown liquid in the fridge - my wife is making her Christmas puds in which she includes a drop of Guinness! Must be our Irish ancestors!

Cheers

Brian

PS: send me a pm to let me know where you are.
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