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Remembering World War II
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Name: Rank: Service: Date of Death: Age at Death: Cemetery: Reference:
Oskar Charles Swendsen
Oskar Charles Swendsen Second Engineer SS William S. Thayer Canadian Merchant Navy April 30, 1944 26 Halifax Memorial Panel 23 Commemorated on Page 236 of the Merchant Navy Book of Remembrance Displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on May 10, October 7, and December 12 Oskar Charles Swendsen was the husband of Annie Swendsen, of Gabarus Lake, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. The SS William S. Thayer, an American Steam Merchant Ship, part of Convoy RA-59, was sailing south of Bear Island in the Barents Sea. At approximately 9:00 pm the ship was hit by two torpedoes fired from U-Boat 307. The explosions d broke the ship in three sections. The forward part sank in about 30 seconds and the midships section within several minutes. The stern section remained afloat and was scuttled by HMS Whitehall. Survivors were rescued by the American Liberty ship Robert Eden and HMS Whitehall of the Royal Navy. The eight officers, 33 crewmen, 28 armed guards and 165 Russian naval personnel passengers were unable to launch lifeboats and abandoned ship on six small square floats. Of the 234 on board, 43 were lost including Second Engineer Oskar Charles Swendsen and Able Seaman Peter Paul Hashem of Nova Scotia.
Halifax Memorial