Alberto Johannes Fredrick Collasius

May 28, 2010


My name is Don Collasius and I am writing to you in regards to a tale my Father told me 40 years ago. He died 15 years ago and none of his contemporaries survive that I know of. His name was Alberto Johannes Fredrick Collasius.

He grew up in Santé Fe Argentina to German parents who immigrated there around 1900 as best I can say at this time. He left Argentina in the thirties on a merchant ship at a young age. He continued as a seafarer until his retirement in the late 70's. I had documented the story with ships name and dates many years ago but alas the notebook that  contained that information has been lost.

Now granted my father was a bit of a story teller. At age 7 he told me my Grandfather was the Apache chief Geronimo and I shared that information with my first grade teacher. But the fact is, he ended up in Norway during the occupation and met my Mother there. He went to Engineering School there and was later on a small coastal freighter named Scamstad that was ferrying around 200 or so very young German soldiers trying to hide from the British torpedo planes that would eventually hit it 3 times. The ship managed to run up in a shallow area where the crew minus one casualty and the surviving soldiers went ashore. I have a photo of my father and the Norwegian crew ashore on Pigs Island (translated) and have confirmed the disabling and subsequent salvage of that ship. After the war my family
moved to the US and here I am.

But that's not the story I am looking for information on.

This is:

Shortly before the Japanese invaded China during WW2, Shanghai specifically, my father ended up here on a freighter. Amazed by how far his money would go there and the abundance of women no doubt he decided to stay a while and enjoy himself. He soon realized he had made a big mistake as there were no jobs booking out other than that on tankers and no one wanted those as they were viewed as floating bombs. Out of desperation and fear of the impending invasion he eventually took a job on an outbound Norwegian flagged tanker. A few days out the ship was taken by a German Raider. The ships fuel was pumped out, ballast water pumped in and the decks loaded with mines to use to mine entrances to Australian ports. The ship eventually sailed to France where my father was briefly interred in a POW camp.

Speaking fluent German and being an Argentine citizen he eventually talked his way out of prison and was allowed
to go anywhere in "Greater Germany". Norway being occupied was part of that and as he had monies in the bank of Oslo that's where he went. After school he was impressed and stationed on a small tug that was part of the Tirpitz battle group that was hiding in a fiord. He said a small British sub came in under water tender and detonated a bomb on Tirpitz's stern that put a hefty crack in her. A cofferdam was built around her stern and she was welded up right there. Sometime after that she was capsized by British planes that bombed her.

Some of these details I can readily confirm. I have his diploma from the school in Norway that I have seen. I have been to the Seafarers Museum in Bergen and confirmed the Scramstad information. I am pretty sure he met my Mother. He spoke fluent German. I don't know how he would have had access to all of the detail he came up with for this tale as information was not available as it is today. I have looked about your website and a few others but see no mention of my father on any ship's crew list. This does not convince me his story is false as this guy could talk an Eskimo into buying a refrigerator.

He actually immigrated to the US from Venezuela as the quota at the time from Argentina was full. Don't ask me how. A false name would not be beyond him when his life was jeopardized and documents to boot.

Anyway if any of this is of interest to you and you can shed some light on it I would be much appreciative. I do not however discount that it could be a tale and there is much I may have misunderstood or altered with time in my memory.

Thank you,
Don C. Collasius


Quite a story. The tanker your father sailed in was no doubt Storstad captured by the German Raider Pinguin renamed Passat and used as a mine layer. She eventually returned to Germany where her prisoners were sent to POW camp.


From http://www.warsailors.com/raidervictims/pinguin.html

SOME FACTS ON PINGUIN: M/S Pinguin (HSK V SCHIFF 33), commanded by Ernst Felix Krüder was formerly Hansa's Kandenfels, built in 1936, measuring 7766 gt with a top speed of 17 knots. She sank or captured 28 ships with a total tonnage of 136 551 gt. Also, 4 ships (total of 158 256 tons) were sunk by mines laid by Pinguin, with the help of Passat (which was the captured Norwegian Storstad). Pinguin caused more damage to the Norwegian fleet than any other raider, largely due to the capture of the whaling fleet in Jan.-1941. She went out in June-1940. Was eventually sunk by the British cruiser Cornwall on May 8-1941. Krüder, 18 of his officers and 323 crew went down with her, as well as more than 200 prisoners, the majority from India. Only 57 ratings, 2 doctors, 1 prize officer and 22 prisoners were saved. Pinguin had been disguised as the Norwegian Tamerlane at the time.

Six 5.9 inch, one 75 mm, one twin 37 mm, four 20 mm, two twin 21 inch torpedo tubes, 300 mines. Two Heinkel 114 aircraft (spare fuselage and wings), later one Arado 196.

Ships sunk or taken by Pinguin (in chronological order):

June 15-1940/May 8-1941
Domingo de Larrinaga, Filefjell, British Commander, Morviken, Benavon, Nordvard, Storstad, Nowshera, Maioma, Port Brisbane, Port Wellington, Ole Wegger, Pol VIII, Pol IX, Pol X, Torlyn, Solglimt, Pelagos, Star XIV, Star XIX, Star XX, Star XXI, StarXXII, Star XXIII, Star XXIV, Empire Light, Clan Buchanan, British Emperor.

Sunk by mines: Millimulmul, Nimbin, Cambridge and City of Rayville (the latter 2 sunk by mines laid by Passat, the captured Norwegian Storstad).

Related external links:
Pinguin - Ship 33 – "Mac's Web Log", which has a detailed description of Pinguin's travels and captures. Also has a picture of a disguised Pinguin.

Map showing Pinguin's cruise - (On the website Arsenal of Dictatorship, which also has a section about the German raiders).

German Raiders of the Pacific - Includes many pictures (keep clicking on "next section" at the bottom of the page). From New Zealand Electronic Text Centre. Here's a table of contents.

Here are some of the ship's details including a crew list, but you will note no mention of your Father, certainly not
under the name Collasius:

From: http://www.warsailors.com/raidervictims/pinguin.html


M/T Storstad

Owner: Skibs-A/S Sommerstad
Manager: A. F. Klaveness & Co. A/S, Oslo
Tonnage: 8998 gt, 13 460 tdwt.
Call Sign: LCZF.

(Click on Storstad above to go to that ship on the Ships starting with S page).

Her voyages prior to being captured are listed on this original document received from the National Archives of Norway.

There's a picture of a ship named Storstad on this external page, and on this page (the last one was taken in 1933).

Captain: Egil Wilhelmsen.

Departed Miri, Borneo for Melbourne on Sept. 30-1940 with a cargo of 12 000 tons diesel oil and 500 tons bunkers oil, and was captured by Pinguin on Oct. 7. Storstad had no armament on board. Her complement consisted of 30 Norwegians and 1 Dane. 25 were transferred to Pinguin, while the rest were forced to stay on board Storstad to help with the work, namely the 2nd and 3rd engineers, the assistant, 2 mechanics and the carpenter. 1200 tons of her oil was transferred to Pinguin that same night. Kapitänleutnant Erich Warning was given the command of the ship along with 2 officers, 9 subordinate officers and 19 crew in addition to the 6 Norwegians. She was renamed Passat and was in the subsequent months used partly as minelayer (laid 70 delayed action mines, Banks Strait and Bass Strait between Oct. 29 and 31), partly as replenishing depot for several of the German auxiliary cruisers in The Indian Ocean, before being sent to Bordeax with 405 of Pinguin's prisoners on board (from Nowshera, Maioma, Port Brisbane and Port Wellington). After a meeting with the raider Atlantis on Dec. 8, when she supplied this raider with fuel and took on board some of her prisoners the total number had been increased to 524, whose voyage became quite an ordeal under terrible conditions. En route to France, in position 27S 12W on Jan 6-8-1941 Storstad met with Thor, Admiral Scheer and her prize Duquesa, and Nordmark, and transferred 6500 tons diesel oil to the latter, for use by Scheer, prizes and raiders, and in turn she received some provisions from the captured Duquesa, which had 3539 tons frozen meat and 15 million! eggs on board. Storstad reached the Gironde inlet on Febr. 4-1941.

Admiral Scheer had attacked Convoy HX 84, escorted by the well known Jervis Bay in Nov.-1940 (see D/S Hjalmar Wessel). It was after this incident that Admiral Sheer continued on south, sinking or capturing a number of British ships, one of them being Duquesa. British Naval forces searched in vain for the culprit, and in Jan.-1941 Admiral Sheer headed for the allied shipping routes off West Africa (M/T Sandefjord).

Storstad's Norwegian crew was interned in Germany (I would assume Marlag und Milag Nord) for about 4 weeks before being sent back to Norway. Some of them later escaped to England, 1 of whom, Kristen Møller Johansen, who escaped via Sweden in 1943 joined D/S Freidig as a gunner, but died when she sank in bad weather north of Cape Wrath in Febr.-1944. Erling Holtane also managed to get out of Norway. (One of my sources also lists Asbjørn Eltvik., but he may have been from another ship?).

Crew List - No Casualties:

The Norwegians were eventually repatriated to Norway - The Danish seaman was probably sent home to Denmark(?).

Egil Wilhelmsen
1st Mate
Thomas Karlsten
2nd Mate
Bård Myklebust
3rd Mate
Åge Hansen
Even Evensen
Ragnar Eriksen
Able Seaman
Paul Mølback
Able Seaman
Sverre Støen
Able Seaman
Arne Andersen
Jr. Ordinary Seaman
Thoralf Tørresen
Jr. Ordinary Seaman
Sverre Kristiansen
Jr. Ordinary Seaman
Erling Holtane
Deck Boy
Thorbjørn Karlsen
Deck Boy
Magne Kristiansen
1st Engineer
Gunnar Veberg
2nd Engineer
Halvard Stensholt
3rd Engineer
Kristen Hansen Orstad
Erling Andersen
Odd Meland
Egil Nordahl
Arne Støldahl
Pump Man
Oscar Fredriksen
Olaf Jørgensen
Gunnar Gundersen
Kristen M. Johansen
Thorleif Borgersen
Eigil Nilsen
Harald Andersen
Rolf O. Holth
Galley Boy
Roy Hansen
Mess Boy
Jens Thorvaldsen

Storstad, or Passat as she was now called, was attacked by Allied aircraft on Sept. 2-1942 and sunk off St. Nazaire. She must have been raised, because I have information that she was broken up in 1949.

There's a message about Storstad on my Ship Forum, the text is in German. The poster (Theodor Dorgeist) says among other things that 80 died in the attack on Sept. 2-1942 and also mentions several other incidents in which she was heavily damaged, for instance in St. Nazaire on March 29-1942 when the Campeltown exploded, and was also hit on Apr. 18-1942. He says she was scuttled in Nantes on Aug. 11-1944, later raised and broken up.

Krüder on Pinguin, meanwhile, had made his way to the Bouvet-South Georgia region, a move which was to prove disastrous to the Norwegian whaling fleet. 3 Norwegian whale factories and their catchers were on the herding grounds that season, having arrived in Nov.-1940.

I guess that's it.

With my best regards.


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