AlcidesDuring World War 2 the Admiralty secured the services of a number of Norwegian tankers to supplement those under RFA command. These tankers were hired from their owners and placed under RFA management. They retained their Norwegian Masters and crews – which were mainly of mixed nationalities.

 

During World War 2 the Admiralty secured the services of a number of Norwegian tankers to supplement those under RFA command. These tankers were hired from their owners and placed under RFA management. They retained their Norwegian Masters and crews – which were mainly of mixed nationalities.

One of these tankers was the m.v. Alcides and she became under RFA management in 1941. She was 7,634 gross tonnage and had been built by Barclay Curle & Co at Glasgow in 1930.

Alcides

 

From September 1939 before becoming under RFA Management the m.v Alcides made numerous freighting trips around the Indian Ocean, down as far as Sydney, Australia and even up into the Mediterranean usually sailing independently. By early 1943 she was base oiler at Mombasa serving the British fleet there before resuming her freighting duties. 

She loaded a cargo of oil at Abadan for Freemantle and sailed on 11 July 1943 expecting to arrive at Freemantle on the 8 August. On 13 July she stopped at Khor Kuwai to supply the Empire Taj with 500 tons of FFO and other supplies. She sailed the same day.

On 23 July at around 10:30am she was hit by two or three torpedoes at about 3°S 68°E. The ship sank very quickly by the stern. Some of the crew were in the water and were picked up by those who had managed to escape in the ships lifeboats.

The Japanese submarine I.10 (2,919/4,149 tons) surfaced and ordered the life boats alongside her where upon the ships Master – Arne Karlsen, the 2nd Mate – Odvar L Olsen and the Radio Officer – Johan A. Johansen were ordered onto the submarine and taken below. They were imprisoned in a small store room.

Japanese submarine I 10 at Penang port in 1942

Japanese Submarine I-10 alongside at Penang in 1942

The submarine’s crew then opened fire on the rest of Alcide’s crew who were still in their life boats, massacring all of them. Of the crew, three were captive, nine were killed when the ship sank and forty were executed.

The Captain and his fellow officers were landed at Penang, Malaysia and later were taken to Nagasaki, Japan where they were detained in a variety of prisoner of war camps.

I.10 continued its war service until 4 July 1944 when it was sunk by the Fletcher class destroyer USS David W. Taylor (DD551) and the destroyer escort USS Riddle (DE185) 200 miles northeast of the island of Guam – all 114 crew of the submarine were killed.

USS David W. Taylor DD 551 in Mobile Bay in September 1943

USS David W. Taylor (DD551)

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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