The Last Voyage: week by week

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North Atlantic, 500 M west of Ireland

The Dutch merchant freighter MV Abbekerk is sailing the last leg of a  5 months voyage that took her all around the world. She sailed from England, loaded with war materials and ammunition, via Capetown to Suez to supply troops...

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The Clyde, Glasgow, at anchor

Abbekerk has delivered her cargo at Liverpool then sails to  Glasgow and anchors in one of the sheltered bays of The Clyde, awaiting her next voyage. Now repairs, needed after half a year voyage, are conducted. Looking at the ship...

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The Clyde, Glasgow, still at anchor

English sergeant Walter MacNab recalls boarding Abbekerk for the first time. As a so called DEMS gunners he and three colleagues are assigned to strengthen the ship’s defense capability. But, as the rest of the ship’s crew, he is not...

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Gourock, at the quay, loading cargo

Thousands of bombs are hoisted into the holds of Abbekerk by large harbor cranes. Some of the crew return from a short leave and find their ship at the quay at Gourock being loaded with the least wanted cargo a...

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Irish Sea, the formation of convoy WS.12z

11 Ocean liners, packed with soldiers, depart from different ports along the east coast of England and rendez vous in the Irish Sea. Four heavy loaded freighters are also on their way, including Abbekerk. A few days later we sailed...

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Hamburg, Blohm und Voss shipyard

In Hamburg yet another U-boat is launched, one of 224 build by this shipyard during the war. German U-boats were only given a number, not a name. This boat, one of the most build type VIIc, is U-604. U-boats are...

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Atlantic Ocean, steaming south at 14 knots

Yesterday the battleship HMS Royal Sovereign has joined the convoy. This World War I veteran is accompanied by five destroyers. Four destroyers from the existing escort now leave the convoy. England can only continue the war effort if she can...

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Near Cape Verdi Islands, course south-east at 14 knots

At night showers of sparks erupted from the funnel illuminating the convoy, by day the funnel emitted a thick blue-grey smoke, visible from tens of miles away. The convoy was not amused. Obviously something was wrong with our engines. Ass....

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Freetown, Sierra Leone. At anchor

The stopover in Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone, is a necessary evil. It is the only port in the region the British can use. Even though this natural harbour – not much more than a place to drop anchor- is...

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Gulf of Guinea, again sailing south at 14 knots

Aboard Abbekerk are 16 troops of the 35th Light Anti Aircraft Regiment. The rest of the regiment is aboard the troopship Empress of Japan, also within the convoy, but all their equipment, including the Bofors anti aircraft guns and ammunition...