FLB 531 that came inservice for the Germans in 1942 was captured in May 1945 by British RAF soldiers in Bergen. It was given the name Robin Hood. It was used as a Minesweeper/clearing vessel as UAM1 Robin Hood. Nowegian army has not registered this vessel as part of the UAM flotila at the time! Here is what we have learned over the years, in the end a Timeline is presented
During the War -
German FL.B 531
02 Oct 1942 the FL.B 531 is launched and FL.B 531 and 530 are assigned to the SNDF 5 (North) upon completion of the “Barchstelze” course. Kadoschub arranges transfer immediatly after completion of the equip,ent with consent of SNDF 5. 16 Oct 1942 new orders are issued, Instead of FL.B 531, FL.B 509 is assigned to SNDF 5 (North)
14 Dec 1943 FL.B 510 and 531 are to be accelerated from Travemünde to Schellingwoude. Boats are subordinate to Insp. See, troop service and administratively Seeflughorst Schellingwoude. Boats are still available for the “Barchstelze” course.
03 June 1944 At the instigation of L.In.16, FL.B 510 and 531 that became vacant in Schellingwoude are to be assigned to SNDF (North) in an accelerated manner, report the start of the transfer.
14 Aug 1944 Seenotflottille 50 (Sea Rescue Flotilla) main port of Tananger/Norway
10 May 1945 captured by RAF in Bergen, Norway
After the war -
Norwegian Navy - UAM 1
FL.B 531 is most likely abandond on or before 10 May 1945 by the Germans. The RAF was helping the Norwegians to take Bergen in the early days. This is also the same day U-977 surfaced near Holsenöy Island, Bergen, Norway to release 16 of the crewmen who wished to return home to their families. She then headed for Argentina. Norwegian collaborator Vidkun Quisling was also arrested on this day. So in short alot is going on in Norway and Bergen on that day.
The RAF crew that captured the vessel, named the vessel “Robin Hood”. It is sad that the name of the ship relates to Squadron Leader Hilary Richard Lionel ‘Robin’ Hood DFC lost 5 Sept 1940. He was the first RAf memeber shoot down and killed in ww2.
The Authors great grandfather Ole Andreassen Kvinge served on the UAM 1 “Robin Hood” as part of the Norwegian Royal Navy. UAM stands for Uskadeliggjøring Av Miner=Disarming Of Mines. He was in the service from 16.Nov 1944 to 31.March 1947. He escaped from Masfjorden (Just north of Bergen) 21.October 1944 to England in one of the Speedchasers, connected to to the Shetlands bus operations. He joined Frederik Kayser when they where meeting up with the rest of the unit that started Bjørn West in October 1944 in Masfjorden and Matre. The four men debarked into History when Ole boarded Hitra and returned with Hitra to Shetland. He was back in Norway 23 December 1944 for a very quick visit also to his familiy before he returened with Hitra once again to Shetland. He moved on to Peterhead, Scotland and was in the Norwegian Navy. His brother Magnus Kvinge was part of the leadership of those operations.
During the service from 16. Nov 1944 Ole Kvinge must have gotten Mine clearing training. He was Quatermaster on board the vessel until he left the Navy 31 March 1947. In this period the vessel was part of the UAM unit and the vessel vas marked UAM 1. “Robin Hood”. The Royal Navy do not have this vessel registered in any documentation found to date, however it is clear that the vessel existed and Ole Kvinge served on board it.
UAM in 1944-45 was part of the Norwegian Royal Navy and trained in secret in Dumbarton, Scotland from 1944. In 1945 all these special units where shut down and regular Navy functions where in full focus. It must have been in this timeperiod he was moved from Peterhead, Scotland into Norway and the UAM service in the Westcoast of Norway
UAM 1 Robin Hood was stationed at Marineholmen in Bergen in late 1940`s, 50`s og 60`s. There are alot of news clippings from the time that refer to the vessel in many different situations. Examples as a news clipping from November 1946, showing referances to UAMS I Robin Hood and UAMII Pegasus, and UAMIII with no name yet. The clipping also mentions that UAMII Pegasus was the only operational at the time, because the two other vessels where in for service/repaires. The unit was under command from Løytnant Sørvig. Pegasus`s officer was Gunnar Hilton at the time.
There are alot of clippings in the years to come on operations to disarm mines on the coast.
Fun fact: in May 1957 a Hollywood film was made in Hardanger, Maurangerfjorden called “The Vikings” with Kirk Douglas in the lead role….UAM1 Robin Hood was used to patrol the area and make sure no marine traffic interfered with the filming. The film premiered in June 1958 in New York with good reviews
The last clipping found from this service is from 1962 where “Robin Hood” was in dock for repares and one that referes to an operation to remove 7 bottom mines (twice as big as horn mines) may 62.
The story continues in UK, where the ship earliest is refered to during the 1980`s. The boat was kept in Bristol (England) before it was sold to the Sullivans. It was named the ‘Blitz’ and had the number ‘372’ on the side. Unfortunatly it was difficult to keep up with the mooring fees for it to be kept in Ramsgate Harbour. Subsequently, the boat was removed from the harbour and placed in a tidal river. The ropes weren’t correctly fastened and when the tide went out, the boat broke its spine and was to never refloat again. She eventually broke into two parts and is now all but gone below the sea floor.
January 1993 an article (Unkown Newspaper) shows the ending of the vessel. In 2020 the son of the previos owner and the author was contacted by an archeologiest researching the vessel. Information was excenged and this is where this story ends for now…….
02 October 1942
FL.B 531 and 530 are assigned to the SNDF 5 (North) upon completion of the “Barchstelze” course. Kadoschub arranges transfer immediatly after completion of the equip,ent with consent of SNDF 5
16 October 1942
Instead of FL.B 531, FL.B 509 is assigned to SNDF 5 (North)
14 December 1943
FL.B 510 and 531 are to be accelerated from Travemünde to Schellingwoude. Boats are subordinate to Insp. See, troop service and administratively Seeflughorst Schellingwoude. Boats are still available for the “Barchstelze” course.
03 June 1944
At the instigation of L.In.16, FL.B 510 and 531 that became vacant in Schellingwoude are to be assigned to SNDF (North) in an accelerated manner, report the start of the transfer.
14 August 1944
Seenotflottille 50 (Sea Rescue Flotilla) main port of Tananger/Norway
01 May 1945
Found in fully intact condition in Bergen harbour on 10 May 1945 by RAF soldiers
Photographed in UK with Marking 372
Article refering to boat sunk in mud.
Documentation of the life of the vessel