Searching for Olaus Johansen: An Update

A couple of months back, I wrote about the search for the grave of Olaus Johansen, a WWII sailor who died and was buried on Abaco after his vessel was sunk by a U-boat.

In mid-March, writer and historian Eric Wiberg, a film crew from a Norwegian TV program, and two of Olaus Johansen’s granddaughters travelled to Abaco to try to locate his final resting place.

bahamas, abaco, olaus johansen, WWII
Norwegian TV film crew interviews Marcus Davis of Crossing Rocks

Though a non-disclosure agreement prevents Eric from sharing details about the outcome of their search until the Norwegian TV program airs later this fall, he recently sent the following report about their experiences while on Abaco.

“On Sunday the 14th of March, in order to fulfill a 6-year search for a Norwegian sailor buried in southern Abaco during WWII, I met with a film crew from Norway at Marsh Harbour Airport.

Over the next five days, we — the producer, a soundman, a cameraman, and two granddaughters of the deceased sailor whose ship had been sunk by a German U-Boat off Abaco in March 1942 — travelled extensively in the area.

The first day we went to interview an old-timer (Mr. Winer Malone) in Hope Town and got some great footage of the WWII monument and beach there.

We located to Sandy Point, near where we thought the men landed, and stayed at Oeisha’s Resort, where we were very well looked after. Again, we obtained amazing footage of fishermen at Crossing Rocks, the old railway and lumber camp at Cornwall 6, Hole in the Wall Light and environs (the cracked bridge), and scenic Sandy Point itself. We even chartered a boat to see Cross Harbour Creek, which was teeming with sea life, including sharks and turtles.

Everywhere we went we were hospitably looked after — within 2 days it seemed that everyone knew what we were doing. Word gets around quickly in these communities. Amazingly we met a Norwegian woman married to a Bahamian, the son of a Norwegian man and Bahamian mother, and several excellent tour guides and naturalists.

Amanda Diedrick and her contacts Jack Lowe and Alton Lowe provided several phone interviews. Patrick Bethel, Donald Pinder, and Oeisha and her sisters were all extremely helpful, as were Siren and Marcus Davis and Mr. McKinney of Crossing Rocks.

Overall I found it a new and very exciting experience to work with a film crew. Fortunately because the camera crew carried their own equipment and generally minded their own business, we did not “stand out” as much as I thought we would, and people were comfortable to let us just do our job.

The Norwegians were great company – good humored and hard working – and we decamped to “Eric’s Pub” in Sandy Point to go over the day each evening, and often swam in the lovely beach opposite Oeisha’s.”

Once the Norwegian program airs, Eric promises to send a link to it (hopefully with sub-titles) and to share with us what, if anything, the search party found.

2 thoughts on “Searching for Olaus Johansen: An Update

  • April 24, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    How very, very sweet that this seems to be coming together towards a joyful resolution for Mr. Johansen’s family.  Also sweet that your support and contributions are being recognized.  Thanks for all that you do for Abaco’s, your family’s and Bahama’s history.  WTG Amanda.  Looking forwarding to seeing you very, very soon!

  • June 8, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    this is my grandfather ,my father is kristian ,very interesting story ,,,


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