Daily Event for January 19, 2010

Kapitänleutnant Reinhard Hardegen and his U-123 were very busy off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina on Jan. 19, 1942, three ships were sent to the bottom and a fourth was damaged, the first ship lost was the SS Norvana. She had been built in 1920 as Lake Gatun (she was laid down as Lake Eaglerock, but completed under the new name) and after a series of names and owners came to be the possession of Merchants & Miners Transportation Company of Baltimore, Maryland, but had been turned over to the U.S. Government in October of 1941 and was under the management of North Atlantic & Gulf Steamship Co. of New York.

On Jan. 19, 1942 she was en route from Cuba to Philadelphia carrying iron ore when a single torpedo hit amidships, after that it is a sad short story. She sank in a minute or two taking all twenty-nine men with her. At this time in the war ships traveling along the U.S. coast were unarmed and unescorted and it made them easy targets for the U-boat men. One of Norvana's lifeboats was the only thing ever found of the ship, the damaged boat washed up somewhere near Wimble Shoals on the outer banks a few days later. The loss of Norvana was not confirmed by the Navy until March.

The next ship torpedoed by U-123 a few hours later did not fare much better, the City of Atlanta carried forty-six people, only three survived her loss. Next hit was Malay, she survived, but five of her crew died in the attack. The last ship sunk by U-123 that dreadful day was Ciltvaira, she was damaged, but was taken in tow and therefore almost all of the thirty-one crew survived, sadly two men were killed and the ship sank before she made port.

U-123 also survived until the end of the war being scuttled in Lorient, France in 1944, she was raised and commissioned into the Marine Nationale as Blaison and served until 1955. Reinhard Hardegen received the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross on Jan. 23, 1942 and survived the war, in total he sent 22 ships to the bottom, sinking over 115,000 tons of Allied shipping.

© 2010 Michael W. Pocock

Roll of Honor
In memory of those who lost their lives in SS Norvana
"As long as we embrace them in our memory, their spirit will always be with us"

Bridges, Francis W.
Clarke, Leonard A.
Chief Engineer
Coltrain, Dennis R.
3rd Engineer
Daughtry, William D.
Davis, Jesse J.
DeLa Cruz, Pablo
Divers, Lawrence W.
Edwards, David
Edwards, Lawrence
Able Seaman
Gibbs Jr., Joe
Ordinary Seaman
Henry, Edward
Irons, William C.
3rd Mate
Johnson, Henry C.
2nd Mate
Kelly, John H.
2nd Engineer
Kendrick, Clarence J.
Lagoyianis, Peter P.
Able Seaman
Lassus, Nickole A.
Lewis, Thomas D.
Mackie, Alexander C.
Chief Mate
Maloney, William J.
Ordinary Seaman
Nixon, Josephus N.
Paige, Clifton
Papatolos, Nicholas
Storaa, Sofus E.
Able Seaman
Thompson, Ernest J.
Waugh, John
Able Seaman
Wechsler, Meyer E.
Radio Officer
Wright, Meldrim E.
Wynn, Cecil I.
1st Engineer

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MaritimeQuest received the following message on Mar. 8, 2010

I am trying to find information on Clifton Paige who was on the SS Norvana. In particular I am trying to find out the state he enlisted in or signed up from. Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you,
Angela Davis

2005 Daily Event
2009 Daily Event