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TRAWLERS LOST IN
THE NAMSEN FJORD

 

Locations Of The Aston Villa,
Gaul and St. Goran

 
The precise locations of the Aston Villa and Gaul are well recorded. In the mid 50's the bells from both trawlers were raised by a team of private divers from the Namsos area and there they remained in private ownership until May 2001.

The Namsen Fjord - some 30 miles long.
The Aston Villa, Gaul and St. Goran were all lost somewhere in the shaded area as shown in the detailed map below.

In May of 2001, both bells were presented to the town of Namsos and are now displayed in the Namsos Cultural house. All that remains is to locate the St. Goran and raise the bell from this trawler – and the Rutlandshire if indeed the bell is in the Stavanger area. As to the location of the St. Goran, I had previously attempted to determine this from an extrapolation of the movements and position of the St. Goran based on the respective narratives, the topography provided in the narratives, longitude/latitude positions given from the above reports and arrived at the following conclusions:

From the St. Goran report dated 8th May 1940

  • At 0920hrs (Tuesday, 30th April 1940) H.M.T. St. Goran heard aircraft at about 11o 9’ E  64o 32½’ N. This placed the St. Goran just to the north of Matkroken on the northern shore of the fjord.

  • The St. Goran was manoeuvred to a position under the north shore (of the fjord) and at 0940hrs is “….within a few yards of the cliff”.

  •  “The anchor was dropped in the hope that it would hold though the shore was steep….the ship was abandoned at about 1100hrs….and we made for a position about half a mile to the northward where the cliffs were not to steep”. I believe this is the area either between “Steinen” and “Matkroken” or the flat area at “Matkroken”.

  • At 0200hrs (Wednesday 1st May 1940) the seacocks were opened. At 0400hrs H.M.T Cape Passaro accelerated the sinking of the St. Goran by gunfire and she sank at about 0430hrs.

From the Arab report dated 10th May 1940 

  • 1130 – Sighted “St. Goran” alongside cliff at Hamneshuken (coordinates for Hamneshuken are today given as 64o 32’ 0”N 11o 10’ 0”E)

All of the above however, proved inconclusive. In November 2004, Askil Moe, a director of Namsos Dykkerselskap, identified the distinctive fjord shoreline in the background of the photograph shown below, as that of Tjuven. The April 1940 photograph of the St. Goran transferring her wounded to H.M.T. Arab, is superimposed on a photograph taken in May 2005 from almost the same position as that taken from the Arab.

   

From this photograph and it's position relative to the fjord shoreline, it is easy to determine that the above landings were made in the small bay area adjacent to Kjevika.


On the morning of the 20th August 2006, Hans Strom took Martin Hagen, Dean Newman and myself to Kjevika to both locate and confirm the positions of the photographs taken by Lt. Alan Reid on the monring of the 30th April 1940. The above photograph of the St. Goran's crew landing on the fjord shoreline was taken from approxiately the same position.


From this landing position, if you travel half a mile southward along the fjord shoreline (Alan Reid in his report stated ….and we made for a position about half a mile to the northward where the cliffs were not to steep”), you will locate Raudplassen – an ideal location for a trawler to take shelter from an aerial attack.



In the sheltered area immediately under the overhanging rock, we found pieces of broken bottles covered by a thick layer of vegetation. There was also what looked to be the remains of rusted tins. The thickness of the vegetation suggested that the glass and metal fragments had been  here for many years.


 

To the immediate left of the overhanging rock and looking up the face of the fjord wall, it's easy to see where this photograph of 15 of the St. Goran's crew was taken, allowing for the differing growth of vegetation and time of year (April 1940 compared with August 2006). The rock in the foreground with 2 of the crew immediately to the left and right can be seen in both photographs.


 

This photograph was taken ot the immediate loser left of the overhanging rock. All 3 photographs were taken from approximately the same position.


It is in Raudplassen that the St. Goran was attacked and bombed with the loss of 5 of her crew. On the 25th February 2005, the wreck of the St. Goran was found and filmed by Namsos Dykkerselskap, at a depth of 395 metres and at a position of 64o 30’ 46”N 11o 8’ 57”E.


On the left, Lieut. Cdr. William Clarke McGuigan, R.N.R. and on the right, probably Sub-Lieut Hugo Brassey taken 10 minutes before the attack. Photographs taken just outside of Raudplassen, between Raudplassen and Seglgylla. Above and to the right of Hugo Brassey is Kjerringmarkvika and the profile formed by Stabben.

 

In Memory of
 Those Who Died

When the Nazis made an unprovoked invasion of Norway in April 1940, the British and French sent an expeditionary force in an attempt to stem its consolidation. For a variety of reasons, the most significant of which was the Luftwaffe’s practically unchallenged command of the skies, the Allied bid failed; the evacuation from central Norway having been completed by the middle of June. Many died in the campaign, some 12,000 British and French troops embarking from Aandalsnes and Namsos on the nights of the 1st – 3rd May 1940.

Sixty years later, a British memorial was unveiled in Namsos by the British Ambassador to Norway who declared “an anomaly has been repaired at last”; the anomaly being that our French allies had erected a memorial 43 years earlier, but there had been nothing here to record even British participation in the campaign. Now, this historic site of the first ‘Dunkirk’ of the war is marked by three memorials: British, French and Norwegian, the last for those in the Namsos district who were killed during the courageous resistance to 5 years of Nazi occupation and in the blitz on the town.

These few pages are dedicated to those killed and wounded

The British War memorial in Namsos, unveiled by the
British Ambassador to Norway on 17th May 2000 in
memory of the casualties suffered in H.M. Ships Afridi,
Bittern, Maori, Grenade, Arab, Gaul, Aston Villa,
Rutlandshire, St. Goran & Carlisle.

 

In Memory of
HAROLD EDWIN PARSONS
Ordinary Signalman
P/LD/X 3555
H.M. Trawler St. Goran. Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.
Who died on

Tuesday, 30th April 1940, Age 26

Additional Information
Son of Edwin H. and Elsie M. Parsons of
Wallington, Surrey

Commemorative Information

PORTSMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL
Hampshire, United Kingdom.
 

In Memory of
FREDERICK NAYLOR RICHARDSON
MARLOW
Seaman
LT/JX 170590
H.M. Trawler St. Goran. Royal Naval Patrol
Service
Who died on

Tuesday, 30th April 1940, Age 39

Commemorative Information

LOWESTOFT NAVAL MEMORIAL. Suffolk
United Kingdom

In Memory of
THOMAS ARTHUR GLENTON
Second Hand
LT/JX 170718
H.M. Trawler St. Goran. Royal Naval Patrol
Service
Who died on

Tuesday, 30th April 1940, Age 41

Additional Information
Son of Joseph and Kate Glenton, of Hull, husband
of Ethel Rose Glenton, of Gipsyville, Hull

Commemorative Information

LOWESTOFT NAVAL MEMORIAL. Suffolk,
United Kingdom
 

In Memory of
WILLIAM CLARKE McGUIGAN
Lieut-Commander
H.M. Trawler St. Goran. Royal Naval Reserve
Who died on

Tuesday, 30th April 1940, Age 36

Additional Information
Son of John and Isabel McGuigan, of Belfast
husband of Lucy McGuigan of Belfast

Commemorative Information

LOWESTOFT NAVAL MEMORIAL. Suffolk
United Kingdom

 

In Memory of
LIONEL EDWARD SWALLOW
Colour Seargent
CH/22269
H.M.S. Carlisle. Royal Marines
Who died on

Tuesday, 30th April 1940

Commemorative Information

CHATHAM NAVAL MEMORIAL. Kent, United Kingdom

Details from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission of
those crewmen who died during the attack on the St. Goran on
the 30th April 1940. Colour Seargent Swallow later died on
board H.M.S. Carlisle from wounds recieved during the attack.


Please contact f.wilson@royal-naval-reserve.co.uk for further information regarding this site.

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