Today: 75 years ago....

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Abbekerk leaves Trinidad for England

15 August 1942.  The empty ship took an astonishing amount of sugar in all its five holds, absolutely full to the top deck. I know the Captain had been in touch with the shipyards in Curacao to find out if...



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Kiel (Germany). U604 sets off on her first patrol

1 August 1942. After 7 months of training in the Baltic Sea U-604 is ready for her first patrol. She leaves Kiel and cruises through Kattegat than skirting the coast of Norway into the North Sea. She cruises around the British Isles...



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Port of Spain, Trinidad. In too deep

23 July 1942. After a three week journey Abbekerk anchors in the bay of Port of Spain, Trinidad. Idyllic and surreal in crystal clear water, white sand beaches and palm trees on the shore. Blue skies and lovely temperatures. Luckily...



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Southern Atlantic. Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothes

9 July 1942. Around noon, Abbekerk’s lookout spots a dot at the horizon. A bit later a large warship on full speed approaches Abbekerk, all guns pointed at the freighter. In the Southern Atlantic we were stopped by a British...



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Cape of Good Hope. Join the Navy and see the world!

3 July 1942. As Abbekerk leaves Durban, there had been no shore leave for the engine room staff … again. After Bunbury to Abadan (where I spent one evening ashore) then to Durban (no shore leave at all) and now to...



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Durban. Blackout and cockroaches

18 June 1942. “And yet again back in Durban” Adriaan Kik writes in his memoires. But Durban has changed dramatically compared to 7 months earlier when it appeared to be a city in peacetime. It changed because of the fear for...



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Mozambique Channel: Near collision with enemy submarine

11 June 1942. Without cargo, Abbekerk now sails at high speed down the African coast, destination Durban, unaware of the Japanese activities around Madagascar. The crew starting to get more worried about German submarines. It was a long distance to...



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Under way along the Horn of Africa

4 June 1942. Walter MacNab (1918-2015) is one of four DEMS gunners on Abbekerk. He and three colleagues man the two Lewis machine guns on the bridge. Being a Gunner was rather boring at times and we were poorly paid but...