- SS Skallagrimur during the Second World War -
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- Svennson Svenn.
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Svenn Svennson SS SkallagrimurMy husband & I have recently returned from a holiday staying with friends in Iceland. Whilst there, our host, Gudmundur, told us that his grandfather Svenn Svennson was the skipper of an Icelandic trawler who had received a British award for gallantry during WW2.(We think that this must have been the British Empire Medal for Gallantry, although the medal has now been lost.) The act of gallantry involved the rescue of over 300 men from a British boat sunk by a U-boat. Gudmundur showed us a silver cigarette case made by Mappin & Webb which is inscribed with the following words: "From the ships company of HMS Forfar to the crew of SS Skallagrimur in recognition of a gallant deed 15.6.40" Since returning to the UK we have researched HMS Forfar & the SS Skallagrimur on the web. Surprisingly, we have found that HMS Forfar was not the boat involved in the rescue by the Skallagrimur. Instead, the boat involved was HMS Andania. This was sunk by U-boat UA in the early hours of 16th June (not 15th as in the inscription on the cigarette case)in the North Atlantic off the Faroe Islands. All members of the crew of HMS Andania (300+) were rescued and taken on board by the Skallagrimur which must have been seriously overloaded as a result. The Skallagrimur was on its way to Hull with its catch of fish. Gudmundur would like to find out more about this act of bravery as his father, who was a boy of 10 at the time of the rescue, is still alive and can remember his father's award. So, can anyone throw any further light on this? Why did the ship's company of HMS Forfar present a cigarette case to the Icelandic skipper and crew? Were some members of the rescued crew of the Andania transferred to service on HMS Forfar? Was it something that the crew of the Forfar heard about (the ships were involved in the same mission in the North Atlantic)and wanted to recognise? Is there another explanation? Any further information would be gratefully received and will be passed on to Gudmundur and his family.Judy Bell
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