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The “Bergholm” Arrives in Yarmouth Harbour, June 23, 1940 On Sunday, June 23, 1940, the two-masted schooner, Bergholm flying a tattered Norwegian flag sailed into the harbour at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia after a fifteen day crossing of the Atlantic. The crew had encountered fog, head-winds, and storms during the voyage had crossed the Atlantic "roaming west," with only the thought in mind of reaching some point in America. Provisions of food and water had run out and the schooner had just enough fuel to make Yarmouth. The 68 foot fishing trawler was caked with dirt and the paint was peeling from its sides. Capt. Bernt Hague, a 40-year old seafarer, had been in command of a Norwegian mine-sweeping fleet operating on the west coast of Norway between Haugesund and Bergen, when Germany invaded Norway. The Bergholm had been converted from a fishing vessel into a mine-sweeper operating along the Norwegian coast. On May 1, 1940, the Norwegian government ordered him to surrender, but when he refused the government ordered him to leave the country. The crew captured some German prisoners who had been released from Norwegian prison camps and took them on the Bergholm to the Shetland islands in Northern Scotland. They crossed under cover of darkness, only two hours long with German planes dropping bombs. After reaching the Shetlands, Hague was flown to London where he received orders to take the Bergholm to Lerwick, in Norway, to aid in the evacuation of British troops. He left the Bergholm at Lerwick and returned to London. Wanting to go back and fight for his country, Captain Hague boarded the Monarch of Bermuda which had 2,000 British troops aboard, bound for Narvik. The Monarch of Bermuda left Glasgow on May 22 and went to Clyde, but on May 26 orders were received to disembark the troops. From there Hague went to Johnstown, Scotland, and finally received orders to take the Bergholm, that had been brought to Boukie in Scotland. On May 31 the Bergholm set out from Boukie in Scotland for the Faroe Islands, located approximately halfway between Norway and Iceland where provisions, fuel, and water were obtained. On June 7 they headed for Tromsoe, Norway with the plan to go back and join the Norwegian battle. Two days out they heard over their radio that all resistance to the Germans had ended. Unsure of where to go they decided to head west to America. They had no charts on board, only a small English atlas as an aid. Fifteen day later, the Bergholm was off Yarmouth, N.S. and came into the port for supplies and provisions. On Tuesday, June 25, the Bergholm departed Yarmouth for the United States. It arrived in New York on Saturday June 28th. Notes: The 1940 shipping records of New York show that the Bergholm, a Norwegian M/Cutter arrived on June 28, 1940. In 1941 it was cleared for Canso N.S. with a crew of seven.
A Yarmouth Connection to World War II
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The “Bergholm” Arrives in Yarmouth