A Tribute to the Swedish American Line
The White Viking Fleet - 100 Year Anniversary 2015
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Gripsholm 1925-1954

Gripsholm #1

The ships were painted white from 1931

There were 2 ships named Gripsholm.

Read about the Gripsholm of 1957

Original name:

MS Gripsholm - The first Atlantic motor liner


Armstrong, Whitworth & Co, Newcastle, U.K.





No of passengers:


Delivered to SAL:




Sold to:

Norddeutscher Lloyd




Scrapped in 1966

The Gripsholm of 1925 was the first transatlantic motorship. The original machinery remained in the ship throughout her life.

The Gripsholm made the first cruise in Swedish American Line's history, from Göteborg to the Mediterranean on February 1, 1927. During her service with SAL she carried a total of 321,213 transatlantic passengers and 23,551 cruise pasengers.

During World War 2, the Drottningholm and the Gripsholm were used as repatriation ships and made 33 voyages to exchange prisoners of war, diplomats, women and children, between the warring nations.

Read about the Exchange and Repatriation Voyages during WWII.

This photo is taken before or after WW2. The word Diplomat has been removed.
The Curt Dawe collection.

Pictures from a Gripsholm cruise poster from 1928

Read about a Christmas on board the Gripsholm in 1929

Photos fom a Baltic Cruise in August 1932

Photos from a South America Cruise in 1938

See photos from the bridge.

Read about the Gripsholm as the Berlin from 1954.

New York City welcoming the Gripsholm.

On the bridge of the Gripsholm of 1925

See more photos from the bridge.

Frank Scherer in Hamburg has added the following
information concerning the three photos below:

The first two pictures were made prior to the refit at Howaldtswerke yard in
Kiel/Germany 1949/50, while the last one shows Gripsholm after this refit
with broader funnels to be recognized by eliminating the dubble bunk life boats
on the after deck of Promenade (A) Deck with just 2 boats on each side.

The Gripsholm of 1925
Dawe collection

The Gripsholm of 1925
Dawe collection

The Gripsholm of 1925
Dawe collection

Around South America Cruise 1939 Gripsholm #1

Rolling down to Rio
Ad from The Daily Telegraph, London edition, December 11, 1936
Contributed by David Bell

See an advertisement from 1925

Gripsholm #1 interiors

Post War Services

Updated Feb 11, 2011


From Bombay

Heather Waters Bedford of Canada has contributed six pages of her father's autobiography, describing the family's voyage from Bombay in August 1945.

"My Dad was Moir A J Waters, my Mum was Margaret Waters, my brother JIm was age 4 and me 4 months old, when I boarded the ship and 5 months when I reached New York

Dad was in Bombay for four weeks before my mother, brother and I joined him. Those pages are interesting, how Dad went frequently to the American Express office hoping to get passage home, but I am sending you just the actual trip...

My parents, brother and I left Bombay India in the first part of July 1945 and sailed to New York City landing there Aug 3, 1945. My Dad has written details of our voyage in an autobiography and I could find the exact date.

(According to my notes, the ship left Bombay on June 21, 1945. LH)

My parents were United Church of Canada missionaries and had been in India since February of 1940. My brother was born there in 1941 and I was born Feb 28th, 1945.  During the first part of the journey there was lifeboat drill daily and my mother was to bring a life jacket for me - a four moth old - and use it as a floating devise if the ship went down. We were some time before we were out into the Atlantic and they stopped worrying about sunken mines. Such trying times. My Dad was Moir A J Waters, my Mum, Margaret Waters, my brother JIm age 4 and me 4 months old when I boarded the ship and 5 months when I reached New York. I admire all my parents did to get us to Canada - we arrived by train into Toronto Ontario Aug 4th."

Read the intriguing story from Mr Waters' autobiography here.

Updated March 27, 2011

In the autumn of 1945 my mother, two sisters and I departed New York City aboard the Gripsholm en route to Egypt to join our father who had gone over just before VE Day. Upon arrival in Naples the Gripsholm developed mechanical problems, so we continued on to Port Said aboard the troopship U.S.S. Gen. Meigs.

Vernon T. Hands

A photo of the Gripsholm taken from a
tender transferring us to the Gen. Meigs.

My memories of the trip are a bit hazy, but I remember being excited about
my first ocean voyage.
Vernon T. Hands
New York

John Borrego of Guthrie, Oklahoma has sent us the following information about his parents, who crossed the Atlantic in November, 1945:

"My parents met aboard the Gripsholm in November of 1945, as they traveled to Italy to take up posts in the US Embassy in Rome. My father, Edward C. Borrego, had served in the Mediterranean theater with AFHQ Petroleum Section, and was "lent" by his employers, the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, to the State Department to serve as Petroleum Attache in the Rome embassy. My mother, Maryanne Mohrbacher, had worked in Washington for the State Department, and was eagerly looking forward to her first foreign posting in Rome. Among the other passengers was Episcopal Bishop John Larned, who was going to Europe to re-establish American Episcopal congregations.  He later officiated at their wedding at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Rome."




After the war, in 1946, eight ocean liners served in the Atlantic. Among these were the Drottningholm, the Gripsholm, the Norwegian American Lines' Stavangerfjord, and on October 16, the Queen Elizabeth sailed from Southampton on her maiden voyage, after having served in the war as a troop transport ship.

in 1946, Gripsholm sailed from the USA to Europe, carrying several hundred deportees from American prisons to Naples and Greece. These passengers carried plenty of cash, and organized gambling on board, resulting in knife fights after accusations of cheating.

War Bride on the Gripsholm in 1947

Berthe Jardon
on the far right.

Berthe Jardon, second from the right in the back row.
  Denise has contributed photos from her mother's voyage to America as a war bride. Berthe Jardon, from Verviers, Belgium, came over on the M.S. Gripsholm in 1947. She met Denise's father during WWII, waited, wrote letters, and then bravely sailed over alone. Denise would like to get in touch with other passengers on that voyage, with arrival in New York on January 11th, 1947. Write to: salship@yahoo.com  

The Farewell Dinner Menu from Berthe Jardon's voyage in 1947.

"The Ornäs Cottage, Dalecarlia"

Gripsholm #1 in New York

Gripsholm 23.1.51 Kära Anna.
Vi äro på stora Atlanten. Det är ganska hög sjö.
Gungar gör det må du tro. Vi expeckt to landa
om Lördag. Här ser du dockan and stora skyskrapare i N.Y. hamn. Tack för allt lilla Anna.
Kära hälsningar till er. Edna.
Gripsholm 1.23.51
Dear Anna.
We are on the great Atlantic. The sea is pretty rough,
and rocking the ship, believe me. We expect to land on Saturday. Here you can see the dock and big skyscrapers in N.Y. harbor. Thank you for everything little Anna.
My love to you all. Edna.

The list of officers from a westard crossing,
almost a year after the one mentioned in the postcard above.
Contributed by Eric Sakala.

Snapshots from my father's Gripsholm voyage Göteborg - New York
25 August 1954

Gripsholm had recently been sold to Norddeutsche Lloyd, and was soon
to be renamed Berlin. A transatlantic crossing - a great adventure,
and not quite like the cruise folders' illustrations.

Sun-basking on the Atlantic

Shuffleboard anyone?

Photos by Tage Hemingstam


A long wait to go ashore

The beginning of a new life?


Excellent site!
Don't miss a visit to Henrik Ljungström's and Daniel Othfors' excellent website
The Great Ocean Liners, where you can find lots of information about the SAL liners.



Oct 15
Kjell Smitterberg

Claes Feder
Architect &
Ship Designer

C-O Claesson
On the Bridge
Maurits and Anna-Greta Lindblad
Ship's Doctor and Nurse
Nils Haggård
Gripsholm and Kungsholm
Third Officer Inter

Lars Helmer
Second Engineer
Göran Forsén
3rd Engineer
Leif Vickberg Officer's Apprentice
About SAL
& SAL Timeline
About Us
Life as a Crew Member
Torsten Torstensson's webpage about the Swedish American Line   Exchange and
Repatriation Voyages
During WWII
Rune Dahlstrand
Gripsholm Barber
During WWII

Torkel Tistrand
Sea Personnel Manager
Sune Edensvärd Chief Radio Officer Bridge & Crew Page


Curt Dawe
Chief Purser
Carl-Gustav Kruse
Chief Purser
Hugo Bilén
Chief Purser
Evert Eriksson
Chief Purser
Poul V Lange
Chief Purser
Lennart Angelmo
Second Purser
Jörgen Areskough
Second Purser
Ingvar Torstensson
Second Purser
T Odenlund Cashier L-E Jansson
Information Officer
Asko Salkola
Purser's Office
Pier 97,
New York
The SAL Office in New York The SAL Office in
David Chisling
Cruise Staff
Hanna Owen
Anita Poli Olsson
NK Shop
Anthony Bloomfield
The Entertainers
Dining Room Menues   Stig Lundgren
Chief Steward
Gerhard Kummer
Chief Steward
C-G Quant
Chief Steward
Volker Roloff
Chief Steward
Ingwar Gemzell & Rolf Mayer


Karl-Gunnar Johansson

Karl-Gösta Ekblad
”Kalle Tårta”Baker,
Col Buffet Manager

Franz Havranek
Wine Steward
Juan Martinez
Patrick Zeller
Gustav Weber Petterson

Otto Friedrich, Cabin Steward

Lars Warlin
Assistant Waiter
Tommy Stark
Deck Waiter
Hans "Hasse" Gustafsson
Deck Waiter
C-G Edhardt
Deck Steward
Johan Jarekull
Hyttnisse, Assistant Deck Steward
Håkan Askman
Deck Steward
Björn Wallde
Crew member
Claes Lindstrom
Crew membe
B-G Nilson
and the
SAL Freighters
  Anna Karin

Berit Jacobsson (Svensson)

Lene Mikkelsen
The Women of SAL Lois MacNeil
Lis Brokmose
The Tenders SAL Ads SAL Trivia
FAQ News
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The Passenger Area
    The Hemingstam
Family, Gripsholm and Kungsholm
The Lindholm Family,
The McDonough Family,
The Neilson
Family, Gripsholm and
The Sandholm Family,
The Storck-Petersen Family,
Gripsholm and

Clive Harvey,
Passenger in the Post-SAL Era

More than 250 web pages developed and maintained by Lars Hemingstam ©1998-2023
Hasse Gustafsson and Tommy Stark have interviewed crew members and contributed many of the stories.

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