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Norway/Norwegian Merchant Navy 1940-1942

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Question
Dear Roy
I note from a previous post that you were able to help someone with a query about a seaman in the Norwegian Merchant Navy.
Do you think you would be able to help me?
I am looking for information on Hugh Matheson who joined the Norwegian Merchant Navy around 1940. I believe the ship that he was on was called "Hardanger", or something similar. I don't know whether or not the ship was commissioned for the War effort.
Hugh was born in Scotland on 18th February 1924. He took ill and died on 7th May 1942 when the ship was located at Sierra Leone. He was 18 years old. It has been reported that he was buried at sea. How can I prove this to be true?
None of the family has a death certificate for Hugh although apparently some compensation was received in relation to Hugh's death.
Is it possible that the ship's log would have survived or is there a list of merchant seamen who died or were buried at sea?
I would be most grateful for any advice you may be able to give me.
Many thanks. Sandra.

Answer
If he was drafted into the war effort, there is probably some traces of him, although not many since he was not a norwegian citizen. But the archives regarding details are not publicly available yet. They will be in another 13 years though, when 80 years have passed since the end of the war.


Depending on what section of the war effort government agency Nortraship that handled the ship he was on, your relatives details would be registered in either the London or New York office of Nortraship. The crew lists and personal details of crew and ship can be found here:

http://arkivportalen.no/arkivportalen-web/side/arkiv/detaljer?arkivId=no-a1450-0
http://arkivportalen.no/arkivportalen-web/side/arkiv/detaljer?arkivId=no-a1450-0

It is possible to come to Oslo and search trough these archives by hand. But in a few years I believe they will be electronically searchable and public. It may be that these have allready been scanned, but you'll have to ask the archives about that. You'll need a special permit to see them. (Not difficult, searching for a relative is good enough reson.)

There is a tramp ship called the "Hardanger" though that is duly recorded in the London Archives. You can order port of call details and ship memorandum here:
http://www.arkivportalen.no/arkivportalen-web/side/arkiv/detaljer?arkivId=no-a14

You can order hardcopies of this material, as they are not yet digitized.

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Roy Helge Rasmussen

Expertise

I live in the southern part of norway and can find my way around most of the country. I will answer questions about social life, culture, language and politics to the best of my knowledge. I am not so good at travel tips outside the south-eastern parts, although I will try to answer.

Experience

I live here and have been guiding members of my family around when they visit from abroad for years.

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