5.5.1928: launched by Kockums Mekaniska Verkstad, Malmö, yard number 155. Measured 8945 grt / 6592 nrt / 13,440 tdw. Twin-screw vessel powered by two 6-cyl. Kockums-MAN oil engines, service speed 10 kn.
21.6.1928: delivered to Trelleborgs Angfartygs Nya A/B, Trelleborg.
28.4.1931: suffered an engine room fire SW of the Azores, towed to Eriksbergs Mekaniska Verkstad, Göteborg for repairs, 25.7.1931 again put into service.
9.1939: CASTOR requisitioned by the Swedish government to carry fuel oil from Mexico to Sweden.
7.9.1939: CASTOR rescued the entire crew of 25 of the British steamer GARTAVON (1777 grt / 1921), sunk that day in 47°4'N 11°32'W by the German U-Boat U-47.
21.5.1940: CASTOR ordered to meet 4 former Italian destroyer escorts in Portugal, recently bought by Sweden, and to supply them with fuel oil for the voyage home. Tanker arrived at Lisbon, carrying 14,495 ts fuel oil, the half amount of it diesel oil.
8.7.1940: despite being a neutral vessel, CASTOR bombed by British aircraft E of Faroes Islands, trying to prevent the arrival of the 4 destroyer escorts in Sweden. Great Britain freared the warships could be handed over to Germany. CASTOR near missed by 4 bombs, sprang leak but arrived safely in Sweden on 10.7.1940, followed by 3-month repair.
12.3.1941: left Port Arthur, TX and New Orleans with 12,000 ts fuel oil and benzole for Göteborg via Faroes Islands. Cargo destined for Swedish government.
31.3.1941: at 57°58'N 30°31'W at 1033 h hit by 1 torpedo from German U-Boat U-46, 430 miles ESE Cape Farewell, Greenland. Highly flammable cargo immediately caught fire, master David H. Julin and 14 crewmen were killed instantly in the forward part of ship, remaining 21 crew members left CASTOR in two lifeboats. U-46 surfaced, identified the ship and left the area without questioning the survivors. CASTOR continued to burn fiercely with a heavy list.
2.4.1941: CASTOR still afloat with fires out, some crew members reboarded wreck and gathered various useful articles and provisions. Engine room, most of superstructre consumed by fires.
3.4.1941: at 57°59'N 32°8'W at 1200 h wreck of CASTOR encountered by British motor vessel OTAIO (10,289 grt / 1930), all 21 survivors rescued 1230 h and taken to Curacao. The drifting CASTOR foundered overnight 3./4.4.1941.
Photo: CTK (UPI Pressans Bild)
Text: Sebastian Boreck