Født: Nord-Audnedal - 29 oktober 1912
Bosted: Lyngdal - Lyngdal kommune.
Død: 22 april 1940
Oskar Emil Gjærdal seilte i alliert fart som donkeymann. Omkom 22. april 1940 da D/S ”Bravore” gikk på en mine mellom Frankrike og England på vei fra Tyne til Rouen.
Kildene forteller:Krigsseilerregisteret skriver:
Ble D/S ”Bravore” minesprengt den 22/4 - 1 n.m. syd av Gull Buoy. The Down på sørkysten av England på reise Tyne til Rouen med kull. 20 personer omkom.
Minnehallen i Stavern skriver:
D/S ”Bravore” var under veis fra Tyne til Rouen med kull da hun 22. april 1940 kl. 1350 gikk på en mine 4 n. mil utenfor Ramsgate i Den engelske kanal. 11 nordmenn omkom, pluss tre briter, en polakk og fem franske soldater. Besetningen var på 19 mann, og kapteinen, Otto Tjørve, ble den første av Nortraships kapteiner som falt.
De norske som omkom med D/S ”Bravore:
Paul Karsten Skodjevåg - Matros, Ole Ingemann Olsen Seveland - Stuert, Otto Emil Pedersen - Skipsfører, Lauritz Kvalheim - 2. Maskinist, Johan Albert Jansson - Matros, Fridtjof Petter Hofstad - Fyrbøter, Wilhelm Hille - Jungmann, Knut Bendik Gundersen - Lettmatros, Oskar Emil Gjærdal - Donkeymann, Asbjørn Fintland - Sjømann, Elling Kristian Ellingsen - Sjømann.
Våre Falne skriver:
GJÆRDAL, OSKAR EMIL, sjømann, Lyngdal. Født 29. oktober 1912 i Nord- Audnedal, s. av Lars Gjærdal, f. 1879 i Kvinesdal, og Amanda f. Jakobsen, f. 1890 i Lyngdal. Framhaldsskole. Seilte under krigen i alliert fart som donkeymann. Omkom 22. april 1940 da D/S ”Bravore” gikk på en mine mellom Frankrike og England, på vei fra Tyne til Rouen.Referat, Sjøforklaringen, 9. mai 1940, London, Administrator Konsul Gregg.
Merknad 5 franske vaktmenn omkommet, 1 reddet - navn ukjent
Appeared the chief officer, Arnfin Bentsen,
The S/S ”Bravore sank on the 22nd April at 2 o'clock in the afternoon in the Downs after an explosion. The S/S ”Bravore sank so quickly that the clothes and personal effects of every one were lost, likewise all the ship's papers and books.
The president produced (1) a written statement, "Report about the sinking of the S/S ”Bravore” on the 22nd April 1940" which chief officer Bentsen had handed in to the Consulate General on the 6th May and which was signed by chief officer Bentsen and counter signed by chief engineer Fredrik Thoresen.The presiedent further produced (2) scrap notes made by the chief officer concerning the distribution of the cargo in the holds. This paper had been delivered to the Receiver of Wrecks, Dover.The appearer stated that it was he who kept the log book on board. The produced report is based on information which the appearer had received from the 2nd officer, also the chief engineer and the cook, and otherwise prepared according to memory.
The appearer was relieved on the bridge at 12.30 o'clock. After the convoy had been split up at 11.15 o'clock at the mouth of the Thames there was steered according to sailing instructions received on departure from the Tyne.
At 1 o'clock the appearer had lain down to sleep in his cabin and was awakened by being flung up into the cabin top. The appearer did not find his life belt, tried in vain to get out through the door, and does not remember anything in particular as to what subsequently happened to him. He was sucked under, but came up to the surface.
Appeared the 1st witness, Fredrik Eugen Thoresen chief engineer on th S/S ”Bravore
The witness was shown the produced report which he declared he had signed. The report is based on information from the others who were saved and otherwise according to memory. The witness was relieved at 1 o'clock, was lying asleep in his cabin, was awakened by being flung up into the cabin top, he opened the door and encountered steam coming from the engine, kept his arm in front of his face, ran aft to the poop and stood there by the life saving raft, together with the cook, until they were taken off by a motor boat from shore. The witness wishes to add that those saved were well cared for by the Englishmen who rescued them, and that the witness and the cook were treated by the greatest kindness by the authorities and by private people at Deal.
Appeared the 2nd witnes, Reidar Antonius Vistung, ... cook on the S/S ”BravoreThe witness was sitting on a chair alone in his cabin amidship on the vessel, noticed a muffled - not particularly loud report, felt the vessel being thrown up in the air, managed to ged hold of the door handle and open the door. He then came straight out into the sea, was carried by the sea towards aft past the engine room door as the vessel was sinking with the bow first, got one leg over the rail as he wanted to get away from the ship, but was thrown down on to the after deck by the suction, got up into the rigging on the after mast, the S/S ”Bravore having heeled over to port. Got on to the poop by sliding down the derrick hoist. Stood on the poop together with the chief engineer until they were picked up by a motor boat from the shore. The life saving raft had become jammed in the corner on the port side.The witness did not see anything of any of the others.
S/S ”Bravore departed Tyne in the evening of Apr. 20-1940 in Convoy FS 151 (ref. link above), bound for Rouen with a cargo of 1991 tons coal. According to "Nortraships flåte" she had a crew of 19 and 5 French soldiers on board.At the mouth of the Thames on the 22nd the convoy was split up, with some of the ships heading for London, while S/S ”Bravore and 4 others continued to The Downs (2 of these ships were French, possibly Monselet and Senneville, which are both listed in FS 151, one of them was British). Captain Tjørve became the first Nortraship captain to die when S/S ”Bravore struck a mine about 4 naut. miles off Ramsgate that day (this message on my Ship Forum says it was an aereal mine laid by 9th F.D.). They had procceeded up to the buoy outside Ramsgate and were waiting for further orders from the "order-boat" when a tremendous explosion occurred, probably on the port side near No. 2 hatch forward of the bridge, causing all the hatches on the after deck to fly into the air. Eye witnesses stated that the S/S ”Bravore was lifted high, then went down in 15-20 seconds. On the bridge were the captain, the 2nd mate, the helmsman (Ordinary Seaman Gunnersen) and 4 French soldiers. Deckboy Ryan was on the forecastle and Able Seaman Ellingsen was at work aft. Out of this group only the 2nd mate survived. He was in an open area on the starboard side when the explosion occurred and was flung through the window of the bridge side shelter and into the water about 30 meters, far enough to get clear of the suction. When he came up, only the stern and part of the bridge could be seen of the ship. He saw the captain some distance away and as the sea carried him towards him, he could see that the captain's face was covered in blood and that one of his hands had been torn off. He tried to get a hold of him from behind but had to let go because he only had a small piece of planking to hold on to and didn't have the strength to hold on. He later caught hold of a lifebuoy. He also saw one of the French guard go under, and observed a patrol boat trying to save somebody (this was probably the 1st mate). The 2nd mate was picked up by the Dutch Badzo shortly thereafter. He remained in a hospital in Ramsgate until May 14, having broken 4 ribs and injured 2 vertebrae in his back, in addition to other injuries caused by flying through the glass. The first engineer and the cook, who had been in their cabins, had managed to get out. The first engineer had been asleep, but had a rude awakening when he was flung up to the ceiling of his cabin. When he opened the door, he encountered steam coming from the engine room, but kept his arm in front of his face and ran aft to the poop, where he waited with the cook until they were both picked up. The cook had gone straight into the water when he opened the door of his cabin, and was carried by the sea towards aft, past the engine room door, as S/S ”Bravore was sinking by the bow, got one leg over the rail and was thrown down on the after deck by the suction, got up into the rigging on the after mast, then slid down the derrick hoist to the poop (the water was so shallow that the poop remained above water after the ship had sunk). A small motorboat from shore later rescued them both and took them to Deal.
The 1st mate and a French soldier were asleep in a cabin on the lower bridge, but somehow managed to get out, although the cabin was completely destroyed. When the 1st mate came to the surface, all he could see of the ship was part of the funnel. After half an hour he too was picked up by Badzo, as was the French soldier who had come across one of the lifeboats that had previously been on deck. They were both given first aid, and were later taken to a hospital in Ramsgate.
A visitor to my website has told me that "Shipwreck Index of the British Isles" gives the position as 1 mile south of Gull Stream Buoy, Goodwin Sands, mine laid by U-boat. However, according to the message on my Ship Forum, posted by Roger W. Jordan, it appears S/S ”Bravore had struck a mine that had been laid by aircraft of the 9th Fliegerdivision. She was one of three ships (the others were British) sunk on mines laid by the 9th F.D. The minefield in which S/S ”Bravore sank consisted of a total of 26 mines. The position of sinking was 51 18 38N 01 30 54E. Mr. Jordan adds: "I do not have the identity of all three ships that sank on these mines, but one of the two British ships was Rydal Force (note that this ship is also listed in Convoy FS 151), which struck about 370 metres south of Gull Buoy. This would be about 0.75 miles north of the position in which S/S ”Bravore struck". In fact, the 2nd mate says that while he was in the hospital he spoke to some survivors of a British ship that had been at anchor in the Downs when S/S ”Bravore struck the mine. This ship had struck a mine the following day.
From the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, dated April 29-1940: "The Farsund ship S/S ”Bravore's loss – 1st mate and 2nd mate, 1st engineer and the cook rescued. As announced earlier the Farsund ship S/S ”Bravore, 2300 tons, has been lost in the North Sea, probably after striking a mine. The news of the accident was reported through the radio on Apr. 23, while the shipping company, Stray & Sønn, Farsund has no further information on the incident. A later radio report announced that the following 4 were rescued:
1st Mate Arnfinn Bentsen, Herad - 2nd Mate Leonard M. Aasheim, Haus, Nordhordland - 1st Engineer Fr. Thoresen, Oslo and Cook Reidar Vistung,
Oslo. Christiansands Tidende (another newspaper) has received a crew list from the shipping firm, but the company warns that there may have been changes to this list, due to the signing on/paying off of crew members abroad. The last contact the shipping company had with S/S ”Bravore was a letter from Captain Tjørve at the beginning of March." Some of the names below were initially taken from this newspaper article, but the list has since been compared with what can be found in "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume I and adjusted accordingly. The maritime hearings were held in London on May 9-1940 with all the Norwegian survivors appearing.MERKNAD:
Krigsseilerregisteret oppgir fødested FARSUND og fødselsår 1911. De benytter også GJERDAL som etternavn.
Våre Falne oppgir fødested NORD-AUDNEDAL og fødselsår 1912. Benytter GJÆRDAL som etternavn.
Minnehallen i Stavern oppgir fødselsår 1912 og benytter GJÆRDAL som etternavn.
Sjøhistorie oppgir fødselsår 1911.Vi har valgt å benytte Våre Falne som ledende kilde.
Kilder: Krigsseilerregisteret, Sjøhistorie, Minnehallen i Stavern, Våre Falne og www.warsailors.com
Registernummer London: 1760.
Krigsmedaljen utdeles til norske eller utenlandske militære som på en fortjenstfull måte har deltatt i krig for Norge og til norske og utenlandske sivile som under krig har ydet Norges forsvar tjenester. Krigsmedaljen utdeles post mortem til alle nordmenn og utlendinger som har kjempet i de norske styrker og Handelsflåten og falt for Norges sak. (Wikipedia)
Gjærdal, ble tildelt Krigsmedaljen Dato for tildeling ukjent