Back in the day: SS Skagerak Explodes After Hitting Mine Near Trimley

On August 24th 1941, The British steamship SS SKAGERAK, on a voyage from the Tyne to Ipswich with coke, struck a mine in the River Orwell.

It’s estimated tens of thousands of mines were laid along Suffolk’s coast.

The sea mines (usually the round ones covered in horns) carried 100-500lbs of explosive

The defensive sea mines were laid to protect British shipping channels, while the Germans were trying to lay offensive mines in those channels and at the entrances to ports.

A sea mine is a self-contained explosive device placed in water to damage or destroy surface ships or submarines.

Unlike depth charges, mines are deposited and left to wait until they are triggered by the approach of, or contact with, any vessel.

Sea mines were still being cleared well into the late 1950s and inevitably some will still be out there.

Odd ones will pop-up from time to time, which is an ongoing concern for companies developing offshore wind farms and dredging.

Seventeen of the SS SKAGERAK’s crew of 24 and the pilot were lost.

People on board People on board SS SKAGERAK

1. CORDSEN, ERIK , Fireman & Trimmer, SS Skagerak, Merchant Navy, †24/08/1941, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial

2. ENJOLFSSON, HELGE STEPHAN (24), Steward, SS Skagerak, Merchant Navy, †24/08/1941, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial

3. FRANCE, FREDERICK (27), Able Seaman (no. C/JX 265699), SS Skagerak, Royal Navy, †24/08/1941, Son of Arthur and Annie France; husband of Hilda France, of Sheffield, Memorial: Chatham Naval Memorial

4. HANSEN, KRISTEN (41), First Mate, SS Skagerak, Merchant Navy, †24/08/1941, Memorial: Ipswich Crematorium

5. JENSEN, GEORG JOHAN (58), Steward, SS Skagerak, Merchant Navy, †24/08/1941, Memorial: Harwich Cemetery

6. JOHANSSEN, ERLAND AUGUST (47), Second Engineer Officer, SS Skagerak, Merchant Navy, †24/08/1941, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial

7. JORGENSEN, ALFRED HAAGENLUND (36), Fireman & Trimmer, SS Skagerak, Merchant Navy, †24/08/1941, Son of Kai A. Jorgensen, of Aalborg, Denmark, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial

8. KANSTRUP, NIELS PETER (47), First Engineer, SS Skagerak, Merchant Navy, †24/08/1941, Son of Soren Peter and Karoline Jensigne Kanstrup; husband of Meri Anna Kanstrup, of Snekkersten, Denmark, Memorial: Shotley (St. Mary) Churchyard

9. KNUDSEN, EGDIN (18), Ordinary Seaman, SS Skagerak, Merchant Navy, †24/08/1941, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial

10. NORRING, HOLGER VIKTOR (35), Second Officer, SS Skagerak, Merchant Navy, †24/08/1941, Son of N. P. and Karen Norring; husband of Esther Norring, of Aalborg, Denmark, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial

11. SANDBERG, SAREN M. (49), Donkeyman, SS Skagerak, Merchant Navy, †24/08/1941, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial

12. SELBY, ROBERT DOMINIC (39), Fireman & Trimmer, SS Skagerak, Merchant Navy, †24/08/1941, (served as REMINGTON, Rex). Husband of Mary Selby, of Belfast, Northern Ireland, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial

13. SORENSEN, HEINE (20), Cook, SS Skagerak, Merchant Navy, †24/08/1941, Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial

14. THEJSEN, CHRISTEN (45), Master, SS Skagerak, Merchant Navy, †24/08/1941, Memorial: Ipswich Crematorium Read

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