Monthly Archive: February 1942

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Oosthaven, Sumatra. A brief rest

6 February 1942 Abbekerk has been anchored for four days at the Oosthaven, Lampoon Bay in the south of Sumatra. The tranquility after the chaos of Singapore is surreal. We anchored between a couple of islands in the bay. Here it...

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War catches up with Abbekerk

15 February 1942. Singapore has fallen. This news is met with perplexity. Followed by information of Airborne troops landing at the refineries of Palembang not even 300 km north Oosthaven on Sumatra. Dark smoke emerges from behind the mountains as the...

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Tjilitjap, Java’s last port

After arriving at Tjilatjap we found the harbour brimful of ships. Large freighters, a couple of small passenger ships and a number of Navy vessels of differing nationalities. This time no anchorage a long way from the action but right...

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The Tjilatjap Exodus: evacuation ship

25 February 1942. The following week Abbekerk and her crew find themselves in the middle of what later will be known as the “Dunkirk of the Dutch East Indies “ and the “Tjilatjap Exodus”. In these desperate and chaotic days...

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Tjilitjap evacuation: “We were human cargo”

26 February 1942. More and more troops from all over the island arrive at Tjilatjap, uncertain of what is to come and anxious to leave the island. They are not impressed with the ship that will be taking them. When...

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300 miles south of Java: Abbekerk under attack!

28 February 1942. With over 1700 people on board Abbekerk sails due south, alone on an empty sea. With calm weather and not even half loaded her two large diesel engines power her to a speed of over 19 knots. She...