A Tribute to the Swedish American Line
The White Viking Fleet - 100 Year Anniversary 2015
25 Years on the Internet


Captain Torkel Tistrand

Torkel Tistrand was a captain in the Swedish Army Maintenance Corps (Trängkåren). He served on the Gripsholm's repatriation voyages during World War II, until 1944.

During WWII, more than 300 foreign aircraft crashed or made emergency landings in neutral Sweden. After leaving Gripsholm, Tistrand, at that time Lieutenant, was stationed as commander of an internment camp for American flight crews in Rättvik, Dalecarlia.

The internment camp in Rättvik, and the fate of an American bomber crew, are described in the Swedish book "Anrop Red Dog", ("Call Signal Red Dog"), by Jan-Olof Nilsson and Bengt-Arne Karlsson, in which Torkel Tistrand is mentioned on several pages.

Captain Tistrand is also described as "a Swedish Kilroy" in the book "Krigsmans Erinran, Beredskapen 1939-1945." av Åke Williams. Göteborgs-Posten, Tre Böckeer, 1989. ISBN 970290180 "En svensk Kilroy" Sid 164-270.
Thanks to Kungsholm Information Officer Lars Erik Jansson for this information.

One member of a flight crew has written:
RÄTTVlK - the sign at the train station read as we disembarked. We were met by a tall, handsome, strict Swedish Army officer. He was most certainly a very distinguished looking individual, and he presented himself in a uniform, which was, at the very least, impeccable. This very impressive looking officer was Lt. T.E. Tistrand. "Jimmy", as he became known to his friends and other people.

The flight crews received their normal salary from the American Embassy in Stockholm. An American pilot earned more than a Swedish colonel. The "camp" consisted of a few tourist hotels, and the internees moved freely among Rättvik's restaurants and shops. The Americans called Tistrand "Jimmy", which was also the nickname used by his wife. He was used to getting along with Americans, and made life long friends among the flight crews. Later, he headed the Swedish Red Cross activities in Essen, Germany, under the supervision of Count Folke Bernadotte.

After the war, Captain Tistrand returned to the Gripsholm, became a purser, and later transfered to the SAL Head Office in Gothenburg, where he managed the Sea Personnel Department for many years. He was a key member of the SAL organization.

Captain Tistrand passed away in 1999.


Per Tistrand, son till chefen för SALs Sjöpersonalvdelning, Torkel Tistrand,
har hittat en inspelning med hälsningar från Gripsholms besättning från 1943,
då Gripsholm var upplagd i Hudsonfloden, i väntan på nya uppdrag.

Lyssna på inspelningen: Gripsholmskvartetten och Torkel Tistrand


Captain Torkel Tistrand.
Collage made by Mrs. Birgit Tistrand, who was
employed as an illustrator by the camera
manufacturer Hasselblad in Gothenburg.

Birgit and Torkel Tistrand in 1947.

Many thanks to Captain Tistrand's son, Per Tistrand, for contributing the photos above.

D-270. Gripsholm officers in the late 1940's or early 1950's.
Front row, second and third from left, Curt Dawe and T Odenlund.
Rune Dahlstrand and Per Tistrand have identified Torkel Tistrand seated second from right.
The U.S. Merchant Marine ribbon bars on Odenlund's and Tistrand's jackets show that
they served on the Gripsholm during WWII.
From the Dawe collection

D294. Curt Dawe and fellow officers. Torkel Tistrand in the center.
From the Dawe collection

D289. Torkel Tistrand on the right.
From the Dawe collection

First Day Cover sent to Torkel Tistrand in Yonkers in 1944.
Conitributed by Per Tistrand.



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