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 my memory are somewhat vague while others I remember very well. I cannot remember all facts and dates exactly but I will try to give a fair story.
Why no diary? Well, life on board is pretty monotonous. Each day is the same: you stand your watch: four hours on, eight hours off. In your free time you eat three times with the same crew members, read, sleep and have a drink with your mates; nothing exciting to write about. It never occurred to me to write a diary.
The ship I made this voyage on was “ms ABBEKERK” from the V.N.S. (United Dutch Shipping Company). She was just over one year old and was a Motor Vessel, an unusual type of ship but it gave her a speed of 17 nautical miles, very fast for a freighter at that time.
My job was assistant engineer and I was allocated the ‘Dog watch’ 4-8 am seven days a week every week for over a year- not very exciting, is it ? Before I start on the long journey let me tell you what happened before that.
Peter: My father started writing about only one voyage of Abbekerk (its final voyage) but in the end he added chapters from voyages before that and from his time ashore in New York and on the SS Maaskerk, after Abbekerk was sunk. Since he actually didn’t consider the story finished yet he never rewrote the forword before he passed away.
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