Part of the Acorn Archive

Hearts of Oak






following the attack on the NORMANNA


A story of drama and of treachery against Neutral Merchant Ships.

The NORMANNA was sunk by U21 off the Isles of Scilly.

Some survivors were picked up by a Sloop from the Isles of Scilly.

NORMANNA was a ship owned by Haldor Virik,

a member of the group that eventually

formed the ANCO line of ships.


On 22nd February 1917 a small convoy of seven Dutch merchant ships, EEMLAND, JACATRA, NOORDERDIJK, ZAANDIJK, MENADO, BANDOENG and GAASTERLAND, left Falmouth Harbour, some bound for the Netherlands. They had been sheltering in Falmouth.

It was planned to leave Falmouth as a Convoy, and to reach the 20W safety zone before dispersing to their respective ports.

After negotiations,

the German Government had guaranteed their safety.

The left in convoy at 10 am; and at 15.30 hours

they spotted two boats, on which were survivors of the NORMANNA.

The convoy approached to pick up the survivors.

U-21 surfaced and demanded that

all the ships of the convoy had to be abandoned.

International Law required that a warning be given and

an examination of papers had to be undertaken before any action was taken.

One of the captains rowed towards the submarine,

to show his papers; before he had reached the submarine,

torpedoes had been fired.

The rest of the ships had bombs placed.

The survivors headed towards Isles of Scilly in their boats and were seen by the Bishop Rock Lighthouse keepers, who at once signalled for the lifeboats. The St. Agnes lifeboat CHARLES DEERE JAMES went out and found two boats full of men. A lifeboatman was put in each to pilot them to safety, and she then searched farther afield,

finding one more boat.

More boats saved by trawlers from Scilly,

and others by the St Maryís Lifeboat.

The MENADO was towed back to Falmouth by a trawler.


The Full Story Here



One Norwegian and seven Dutch




February 1917 A cargo of East Indian products for Rotterdam

Steam Freighter

Built 1910Bonn & Mees, Rotterdam

3,769 grt; 5,857 nrt; 9,200 dwt

Triple expansion Engines.




EEMLAND [ Captain L. Maars ]

February 1917 In ballast for New-York

Steam Freighter

Built 1905; Yard Nr 399; Builders Macmillan & Sons, Dumbarton

2,328 grt; 3,771 nrt; 4,188 dwt; 365 ft x 52 ft x 23 ft; 10 knots

Engines Rankin & Blackmore, Greenock; Triple Expansion; 3 cyl

Owners : Holland Lloyd, Amsterdam




GAASTERLAND [ Captain L.Stuut ]

February 1917 In ballast for Sandy Hook

Steam freighter ( 26 passengers )

Built 1903 Sir James Lang & Sons, Sunderland

Launched as the LANGDALE

2,447 grt; 3,917 nrt; 6,275 dwt; 379 ft x 46 ft x 17.5 ft

Engines George Clarke Ltd Sunderland; Triple Exp 3 cyl; 10 knots

1903 James Lang

1909 LANGDALE Furness Withy

1911 BEEKBERGEN Furness Scheepvaart, Rotterdam

1915 GAASTERLAND Holland Lloyd, Amsterdam


Jacatra 1912


JACATRA [ Captain J.W.Flach ]

February 1917 Cargo of grain from Bataviafor Nederlandsche Regeering, Rotterdam

Steam Freighter; Signal Letters PCQB

Built 1912 Wm Hamilton & Co Port Glasgow Yard Nr 232

For N.V. Rotterdamsche Lloyd (Wm. Ruys & Zonen), Rotterdam.

Laid down as the SAINT THEODORE, but launched as JACATRA.

5,373 grt; 9,200 dwt; 420 ft x 53 ft x 26.7 ft

Engines : 3 cyl Triple Expansion; David Rowan & Co

3,500 ihp; 12 knots


Not to be confused with the SAINT THEODORE ON.135461

4,992 g.t., 405.1ft x 52.0ft

Built 1913 by Wm. Hamilton & Co, Glasgow (Yard No.288)

For Rankin, Gilmour & Co, Liverpool.

12th Dec.1916 captured by SMS Moewe in 39.30N 17.30W

on voyage Norfolk - Savona with coal. Used as a collier.

28th Dec.1916 armed as GEIER.

14th Feb.1917 scuttled in 21.02S 31.45W.

More on the Moewe here




MENADO [ Captain H.C.M.van Houten ]

February 1917 A cargo of East Indian products for Rotterdam

Survived the attack, despite a large hole in her side,

there was little damage, and she was repaired.

Steam Freighter; 3,814 grt; 5,877 nrt

Built 1907 Bonn & Mees, Rotterdam; Yard Nr 188

For N.V. Rotterdamsche LLoyd [W. Ruys & Zonen], Rotterdam

22nd October 1931 Sold for scrap while laid up at Rotterdam.

Broken up at Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht by Frank Rijsdijk.




NORMANNA; 2,831grt; 310ft 6ins x 39ft; Built 1885

1911 Rebuilt as a whaling factory [ Norwegian ]
1917 Torpedoed by Uboat U-21, off the Isles of Scilly.

Full Details on the Haldor Virik Ships Page ( ANCO )




NOORDERDIJK [ Captain Koning ]

February 1917 Cargo of grain for Nederlandsche Regeering, Rotterdam

Steam Freighter

Built 1913 Gray & Co, West Hartlepool

4,546 grt; 7,166 nrt

Holland America Line


Zaandijk before her stem was cut straight



February 1917 In ballast for Philadelphia

Steam Freighter

Built 1899 Bartram & Sons, Sunderland; as OHIO; Neptune SNCo

2,609 grt; 4,189 tons

1909 Sold Holland America Line, Rotterdam; Renamed ZAANDIJK



Thanks to Ted Finch for details of the JACATRA

Thanks to the Joe McMillan for information on the MENADO

and for pictures of the Dutch ships from the Joe McMillan Collection


Raymond Forward