Lancashire At War.co.uk
Exploring the hidden history of War sites in Lancashire
Sigurd Simonsen and The Von - a WW2 story needing your help
As England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are four Nations within The United Kingdom, so are Greenland, The Faroe Islands and Denmark - the three nations of The Kingdom of Denmark. Greenland and The Faroe Islands are not members of The EU, Denmark is. Greenland and The Faroe Islands have their own language, culture, gastronomi and traditions. Together we share citizenship, Royal House, Currency, Defense policy and partly Foreign Policy. The rest is in Faroese and Greenlandic hands to rule.
During The Second World War Denmark was occupied by Nazi Germany. The Faroe Islands was fortunally occupied by The British Army and not the Nazi´s. The British Occupation lasted from 12th of April 1940 to the middle of May in 1945.
In 1944, the Vón was rescued by the HMS Destroyer in very harsh weather conditions from crashing against a dangerous cape in Iceland near Snæfellsjøkull west of Reykjavík, the Capitol of Iceland. They had been drifting towards this cape with a broken engine.
ABOVE: A painting of The Von
courtesy of Heri Simonson.
We were contacted by Heri Simonsen from The Faroe Islands with a story of a WW2 rescue linked to Lancashire. And she would like some help and information from anyone reading this, especially people from Fleetwood.
The following words are hers (with some editing):
"My Grandfather, Sigurd Simonsen (1912-1994) sailed with fish to the fishmarket in Aberdeen during the war years 1940-1945. He was the owner and at the same time captain onboard a newly built fishing vessel named the VÓN (pronounced "VOVN"). Vón means "Hope" in english. The Faroe Islands lost 226 sailors during The Second World War due to the dangerous task of sailing fish from Iceland to the british market where fish were in high demand. 29,000 people lived in the Faroe Islands during The Second World War, so this was a Great loss to our tiny nation.
The captain onboard the British Destroyer which rescued the Vón and its crew from losing their lives at sea was from Fleetwood. My grandfather recalled that this British captain was a former fishing vessel captain onboard a Fleetwood fishing trawler prior to WW2.
In gratitude to this heroic Captain from Fleetwood my grandfather and the other crew members onboard the Vón paid an Icelandic female painter to paint a beautiful painting of the Vón and The HMS Destroyer at port in Reykjavík in Iceland.
My grandfather and some other crew members of the Vón went onboard the Destroyer and handed the Captain this painting as a token of their gratitude. The Captain was very moved by this gift, and my Grandfather recalled that The Captain said: "To me this colour painting has more value than several thousand pounds".
We the descendents of Sigurd Simonsen (1912-1994) would like: 1) To share this beautiful story of a True Hero from Fleetwood, and: 2) We are yearning to know if this painting still exists in some home in Fleetwood. Perhaps hanging on a wall in a living room of one of the children or grandchildren of this Fleetwood Captain. We would like to have have a copy of this painting. Such a Copy would be displayed at The World War Two Museum in The Faroe Islands: http://ww2.fo/British_Page.html
Unfortunally my Grandfather had forgotten the name of the Fleetwood Captain but he recalled that the Captain was around the same age as he was. So the hero we are searching for was born around 1912.
ABOVE: Sigurd Sigmonson courtesy of Heri Sigmonson
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