The motor vessel Sofie Bakke was built for Hilda Knudsen Skibs A/S of Haugesund at the yard of Gotaverken A/B, Gothenburg and launched on 22nd January 1938. She measured 435.9′ x 58.8′ x 26.0′ and weighed 5461 gross tons, 3268 net tons She was powered by a 6 cylinder 2SCDA diesel engine delivering 1236 net horse power built and installed by Gotaverken.
Delivered to her owners in March 1938 the Sofie Bakke was to have a short pre-war career operating out of her home port of Haugesund. At the outbreak of war she continued to operate in the increasingly dangerous Atlantic waters leaving her home country for the last time in March 1940. She was docked in Curacao in the Caribbean on the 9th April when the Nazis invaded Norway. For some months she worked back and forth across the South Atlantic between various ports in Africa/South America and the Caribbean before heading north from Bermuda to join Atlantic convoy HX55 with 7400 tons of general cargo for French ports and a large consignment of nitrates bound for the ammunition factories of London. She was under the command of Captain Bernhard Barene and had a crew of 36 aboard. The convoy, consisting of 40 merchant ships and 7 destroyer escorts, left Halifax on the 3rd July 1940 and safely crossed the Atlantic. As they entered the North Channel the Sofie Bakke left the convoy and arrived in Belfast Lough on the 17th July for degaussing before she continued her voyage planned round the north of Scotland and down the east cost to her final destination. On 20th July she arrived in the Clyde to join convoy WN4, a convoy of 35 merchant ships which departed 1st August, on the last leg of her long voyage to London. Contemporary records don’t record much detail but the Sofie Bakke was not to complete this last part of her journey as she was sunk in collision on 4th August with the SS Lima which was heading north in convoy OA193. Thankfully the crew were rescued and there were no fatalities in the accident.
The wreck of the Sophie Bakke lies in position 57°23.585’N, 001°41.582’W in a depth of 68 metres with a least depth of 56 metres. The wreck, which was identified by the recovery of some Knudsen crested crockery, lies oriented 125°/305°. The impressive wreck is in two major pieces with the stern section and propeller pointing to the surface. Forward the massive diesel engine is clearly visible among the wreckage of the superstructure and, although the bow end is more broken, the outlines of the forward holds are still apparent.