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Old 05-27-2012, 10:10 AM   #1
RedMaestro2
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For Labour Valour,U/N 1955,Senior Engineer,Rescue Of The Norwegian Tanker "Folga"

Vikentii Ksaverevich Blumenfeld was the senior engineer and oldest crew member of the Soviet merchant ship Tartu. On the night of October 11, 1954, the Tartu came to the rescue of the Norwegian tanker Folga, which had struck a mine in the North Sea. For almost four hours, the Soviet sailors battled the blaze that had engulfed the Folga. Blumenfeld led one of the two firefighting teams. His group fought the fire from the deck of the Tartu while the other group, under the leadership of the first mate, boarded the Folga. When the fire was extinguished, the Soviets escorted the Norwegian ship safety to Rotterdam.

The rescue was dangerous, daring, and dramatic, to say the least. (The Folga was essentially an enormous bomb waiting to explode.) The only fatality was a Norwegian killed in the initial mine blast. The sailors of the Tartu were duly rewarded by Soviet authorities and thanked by the Norwegians (the Norwegian ambassador met with Molotov personally to deliver his thanks). The rescue was written about in detail in international and Soviet newspapers and magazines. Here is what I have been able to find:

Pravda 15.10.1954, page 4
Pravda 16.10.1954, front page (Blumenfeld mentioned by name)
Pravda 18.11.1954, front page
Izvestia 15.10.1954, front page (Blumenfeld mentioned by name)
Izvestia 21.10.1954, front page
Izvestia 15.01.1955, page 4
Pioneer magazine, March 1955, pages 38-43 (Blumenfeld mentioned by name)

Utrechts Nieuwsblad 12.10.1954, front page
Utrechts Nieuwsblad 13.10.1954, page 7
De Waarheid 12.10.1954, front page
Glasgow herald 12.10.1954, page 7
The Sydney Morning Herald 13.10.1954, page 2

There is probably more, especially in Norwegian and Estonia papers, but I haven't been able to find those.

I believe Blumenfeld's Valiant Labor Medal was awarded for the rescue of the Folga. I do not yet have specific confirmation, but it seems certain to me.

Enjoy!
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Old 05-27-2012, 10:14 AM   #2
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Re: Valiant Labor Medal,Rescue of a Norwegian tanker 1954

The document. The crew of the Tartu was awarded honorary certificates by the Komsomol Central Committee and various other prizes by the Soviet Merchant Marine almost immediately after the rescue. The Norwegian ambassador delivered his thanks on January 10, 1955. A May 18, 1955 awarding of a Valiant Labor Medal seems to fit the timeline, then.
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Old 05-27-2012, 10:14 AM   #3
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Re: Valiant Labor Medal,Rescue of a Norwegian tanker 1954

Very interesting and a very good example of the sort of indirect research than can be done with labor awards. It remains unfortunate that no one has looked into the relevant archives to expand our research horizons.

Thanks for posting this!
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Old 05-27-2012, 10:24 AM   #4
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Re: Valiant Labor Medal,Rescue of a Norwegian tanker 1954

A photo of the damaged Folga from the Utrechts Nieuwsbald.
Utrechts Nieuwsblad 19541013

Two images from the well-illustrated Pioneer article. Full article here:
������ 1955-03, �������� 42

A man on board the ship "Ebro", which stood nearby but did not aid in the firefighting, apparently took a video of the whole event. This noted near the end of the Pioneer article. I'd love to find that video!

Quote:
Originally Posted by medals73 View Post
Very interesting and a very good example of the sort of indirect research than can be done with labor awards. It remains unfortunate that no one has looked into the relevant archives to expand our research horizons.

Thanks for posting this!
Thanks, Ed :thumbsup
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Old 05-27-2012, 10:38 AM   #5
desantnik
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Re: Valiant Labor Medal,Rescue of a Norwegian tanker 1954

Neat composition!
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Old 05-28-2012, 02:45 AM   #6
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Re: Valiant Labor Medal,Rescue of a Norwegian tanker 1954

Great story! One may treat labor awards as less "heroic" than combat ones, but this one proves that sometimes they mark a greater courage than some of the combat awards.
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Old 05-28-2012, 06:07 AM   #7
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Re: Valiant Labor Medal,Rescue of a Norwegian tanker 1954

Quote:
Originally Posted by Al-muell View Post
Great story! One may treat labor awards as less "heroic" than combat ones, but this one proves that sometimes they mark a greater courage than some of the combat awards.
Took the words right out of my mouth!

Great story Maestro!

Tommy
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Old 05-28-2012, 08:50 AM   #8
GabrielMk3
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Re: Valiant Labor Medal,Rescue of a Norwegian tanker 1954

What a find!

Well, something interesting is that there's nothing mentioned at all in Norway.
All I can give is an old picture of Folga after the incident, and the information provided by the official shipyard records. Translation of the description of the image: "The little motortanker Folga was totalled because of fire and explosion, but was later repaired and relaunched as "Espa".

Folga is supposed to have been steered by captain Sjur Aarsand, which received the War Medal and King Haakon's Liberty Medal for his deeds in the eastern waters during the war.

But something interesting is that the official report from the Norwegian side says that the fire was started by "Cargo exploded in cargo-tank".

1955 MT ESPA (307195502)

Type:
Motor Tanker

Off.no:
5234400

Flagg (flag):
Nor

Havn(port):
Oslo

Byggeår (year built):
1953/02

Bnr (Sno).:
392

Bygger (yard):
Bergens mek. Verksteder, Bergen

Eier (owner):
I/S Espa (Bj. Ruud-Pedersen), Oslo

Klasse (Class).:
DnV +1A1 Tankskip for oljelast.


Tonnasje (Tonnage):
4.275 tdw, 3.096 brt, 1.528 nrt.

Dimensjoner (size):

Loa: 244,8’ – Lbp: 318,0’ - B: 48.7’ - D: 22,04’ - Dypg.: 20’01¼”.

Lastehandterings syst.
(cargo handling.):
2 x 6 lastetanker. 1 pumperom, 2 lossepumper med samlet kapasitet 600m³/h.


Navigasjonsutstyr:

Kommunikasjon (comm.):

Kallesignal (Call sign.):
LANK


Fremdrift (propulsion):
1 x dieselmotor, type Burmeister & Wain, 2-takt/enkv., 6 cyl. Syl. dim: 500 x 1100 mm. 2.100 BHK ved 170 RPM. Bygget av Burmeister & Wains Skibs- & Maskinbyggeri, København
Fart/forbr.(speed/cons.):
12 knop. 402 mt bunkerskapasitet.
Hjelpemaskineri (aux):
2 x dieselgen. hver 212BHK/143kW.
1 x dampgen. 40kW.
Tot.el.kraft (el.power):
326kW/220VDC.
Kjele(r) (boiler):
2 stk dampkjeler, 114 PSI arb.trykk.
Eksoskjel (economiser):
1 stk exh. kjele, 114 PSI arb.trykk.


Bemanning (crew):
pers,



Historikk:
1952 Bygget som MT FOLGA av Bergens mek. Verksteder, Bergen for A/S J. Ludwig Mowinckels Rederi, Bergen. Sjøsatt 05/09.

1953 Ferdigstilt 11/02.

1954 Eksplosjon og brann 11/10 i pos. 51.55N, 03.00E, 40 miles nord for Zeebrugge, på reise Ipswich – Schiedam. Tauet inn til Rotterdam neste dag, erklært total loss.

1954 Desember, innkjøpt fra assurandørene av Bj. Ruud-Pedersen, Oslo, for NOK. 2.200.000.-. Reparasjon foretatt ved NV Boele’s Scheepswerven & Machinefabriek, Bolnes.

1955 August, satt i fart på nytt som ESPA for I/S Espa (Bj. Ruud-Pedersen), Oslo.

1956 Mai, solgt for NOK.7.000.000.- til A/S Mimer & A/S Norfart (Arne Blystad), Oslo. Omdøpt ANNE

1960 Oktober, solgt til Skips-A/S Midgard (Sverre Kuhnle), Bergen. Omdøpt MIDGARD

1968 Mai, solgt til Luzon Enterprise Stevedoring Co., Manila, Filippinene. Omdøpt LSCO ENTERPRISE.

1971 Brant 11/11 i San Fernando, Filippinene, lagt opp.

1975 Hugget i Iloilo, Filippinene.


History:
1952 Build as MT FOLGA by Bergens mek. Verksteder, Bergen for A/S J. Ludwig Mowinckels Rederi, Bergen. Launched 05/09.

1953 Completed 11/02.

1954 Exploded and burned 11/10 in position 51.55N, 03.00E, 40 miles north of Zeebrugge, on a voyage Ipswich - Schiedam, towed into Rotterdam next day, CTL.

1954 December, bougth from the insurer by Bj. Ruud-Pedersen, Oslo, for NOK. 2.200.000.-. Repairs carried out at NV Boele’s Scheepswerven & Machinefabriek, Bolnes.

1955 August, in service under the name ESPA for I/S Espa (Bj. Ruud-Pedersen), Oslo.

1956 Mai, sold for NOK.7.000.000.- to A/S Mimer & A/S Norfart (Arne Blystad), Oslo. Renamed ANNE

1960 October, sold to Skips-A/S Midgard (Sverre Kuhnle), Bergen. Renamed MIDGARD

1968 May, sold to Luzon Enterprise Stevedoring Co., Manila, Philippines. Renamed LSCO ENTERPRISE.

1971 Burned 11/11 at San Fernando, Philippines, laid up.

1975 Broken up at Iloilo, Philippines.
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Last edited by GabrielMk3; 05-28-2012 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 05-28-2012, 12:25 PM   #9
PaulR
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Re: Valiant Labor Medal,Rescue of a Norwegian tanker 1954

This is the first time I have seen a deed attached to this medal.


"Originally Posted by Al-muell
Great story! One may treat labor awards as less "heroic" than combat ones, but this one proves that sometimes they mark a greater courage than some of the combat awards."

I agree. This thread really makes me look at the Labor awards in a different light.
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Old 06-01-2012, 12:39 PM   #10
RedMaestro2
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Re: Valiant Labor Medal,Rescue of a Norwegian tanker 1954

Thanks, All, for the comments! And Gabriel, thank you especially for the Folga's information. :thumbsup Very interesting that the rescue doesn't seem to show up on the Norwegian end. Wish I could find similar data for the Tartu, but that hasn't been forthcoming.

Alex
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