Stories: A.W. Kik’s memoires

I am going to try to relate a sea voyage I made some 57 years ago. To be exact from August 1941 till November 1942 from England to England. Mind you, these are memories, which means that some aspects of... Read more.
May 1940, Madras
It was a nice summer’s day in Holland. In the port of Colombo the Captain of the Abbekerk ordered the officers and crew members to the saloon under the bridge. Here he told us that he had received news from... Read more.
July 1940, Belfast
There were already quite a few other ships at anchor and several more were maneuvering to anchor. Suddenly we heard an enormous bang causing everybody including the crews on the other ships to rush to the railings just in time... Read more.
September 1940, London
Yet our trips ashore were spoiled by the regularly recurring air-raid alarms. Often one did not see a single aircraft. Most likely the Germans only flew just over the channel to reconnoiter the area and sometimes to drop a bomb... Read more.
Winter 1940/41, London
At night the Germans came back and had no trouble finding the docks again. The whole dock area was in flames and they just dropped their bombs into the middle of this. The situation on board was such that with... Read more.
– March 1941, London
Months had passed and it was now March 1941 and the repair of the ship had progressed slowly. It is worth mentioning that a cable was installed right around the ship and was meant to demagnetize the ship to prevent... Read more.
– April 1941, Liverpool
PK: In his memoirs (written 50 years after it happened) my Dad ‘forgot’ one entire voyage around the globe in the summer of 1941. I have reconstructed her route but thats about all I have found so far of this... Read more.
– November 1941, Gourock
Early in November 1941 we left the Clyde to form our convoy which consisted of a number of middlesized passenger liners fully loaded with people in army uniforms, a few more freighters, and four destroyers busying themselves to follow the... Read more.
– December 1941, Durban
PK: Although Adriaan Kik speaks of Capetown, I cant find any evidence Abbekerk was there at that time. The whole convoy went to Durban and I guess he was confused with a previous voyage when Abbekerk was in Capetown. In... Read more.
– January 1942, Singapore
At long last we arrived in Singapore where there were already a few ships. This arrival I can remember quite well. When I stepped on deck to go and have a look at the steering machine at the stern, I... Read more.
– February 1942, Oosthaven
While we were still there, there was a very large number of bombers that flew over at high altitude, this time in the opposite direction, away from Singapore. We wondered about their target but luckily we heard no whistling all... Read more.
– February 1942, Tjilatjap
After arriving there 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 on... Read more.
– March 1942, Fremantle
None of the hundreds of refugees in the holds of our ship had any idea that when they put down their tired heads at night they were only inches away from the ammunition we carried. We still had a grenade... Read more.
– March 1942, Bunbury
After the cargo was unloaded at last (thank heaven’s!!) we were directed to Bunbury. Where on earth was Bunbury? Even the most travelled on board had never heard of it and shrugged their shoulders. It turned out that it was... Read more.
– April 1942, Abadan
In the meantime the loading had not stopped either. Slowly but surely the ship was filled with timber, with our heartfelt approval because it improved our ability to stay afloat. I think we spent a fortnight loading after we were... Read more.
– June 1942, Trinidad
After Bunbury and Abadan (where I spent one evening ashore) then to Durban (no shore leave at all) and now to Trinidad. Join the Navy and see the world you would think. The weeks became months with always the same... Read more.
– Aug 1942, Atlantic (1)
The Caribbean Sea with all its islands to hide behind was the playground of the German submarines. Luckily we left the area unmolested and sailed into the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Full steam ahead and of course steering... Read more.
– Aug 1942, Atlantic (2)
Reality was soon restored. There was rowing to be done and calling to the other boat, which brought the two boats together. Also a raft was found and some men found some room on that for we were really a... Read more.
– Autumn 1942, New York
In New York someone had let it be known that a ship with castaways had arrived and that was the reason why a large mobile canteen had arrived on the docks with a foursome of very friendly ladies in uniform... Read more.
– How it continued
Now that I have started, I have decided also to tell the rest of my story. I had to move into a hotel and was barely settled in when I received a telephone call to ask me to come to... Read more.
– Epilogue
This story has become much more than I ever intended to write. I must admit that writing on a computer – after a slow and difficult start – turned out not to be such a problem. I think I proved... Read more.

50 Responses

  1. Jaap van der Boon says:

    Geweldig! Mijn vader was artillerist aan boord van de Abbekerk, Cornelis van der Boon (1917) inmiddels al 32 jaar overleden. Wel wat verhalen van hem gehoord, maar dit is veel meer gedetailleerd.

    Jaap van der Boon

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