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Nederlandse versie

COMMEMORATION OF THE GREATEST DISASTER IN DUTCH MERCHANT NAVY HISTORY

 

 

Wednesday April 27 - 2011

 

 

THE DUTCH MERCHANT NAVY DURING WORLD WAR II

 

In the years ’40/45 The Second World War kicked a big hole in the Rotterdam Lloyd fleet. Many people on board lost their lives in several disasters. 21 ships (in total 31 ships = 68%) did not reach the liberation in 1945. Three of the famous Rotterdam Lloyd passenger ships were torpedoed or shelled and sank at the end. Every sinking underlined an enormous tragedy.

One disaster was conspicuous because of the very high number of victims (983)consisting of Rotterdam Lloyd crew members, allied troops and crew members of the two British destroyers involved. After persistent attacks this proud passenger ship was sunk in the Mediterranean Sea by the Luftwaffe. There were many casualties and it was only possible to inform the home front of this tragic disaster by coded messages, six months after the event. Of course the Dutch themselves were suffering and had their hands full with their own war problems. For these reasons this terrible disaster was in danger of falling into oblivion. It will never be possible to describe the full extent of this disaster without expressing boundless admiration and deep compassion for the many people on board the British destroyers HMS WRYNECK (D-21) and HMS DIAMOND (H-22) in their uneven and unsuccessful struggle to save those on board the SLAMAT. The Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Museum feels that it is its moral duty to once again bring the SLAMAT/WRYNECK/DIAMOND story to people’s attention so that:
 

We will know .......
We will learn from it .......
We will never forget!

It was early in 1941, during “Operation Demon”, that the SLAMAT, converted as a troopship under control of the British Ministry of War Transport, was deployed in the evacuation of 60.000 allied troops from Greece. British, New Zealand and Australian troops were involved.


On her way to Greece the convoy was shelled by the Luftwaffe. At that time the SLAMAT, with its two impressive funnels, was by far the largest ship and, apparently, a popular target for the German Luftwaffe. A heavy shell was successfully contained and did not affect Slamat’s seaworthiness. Once lying at anchor in the Bay of Nauplia (Greece), as planned, British, Australian and New Zealand troops came on board. The troops were hastily boarded because Captain Tjalling Luidinga was intructed to leave the port before dawn. Although not all troops were on board, the SLAMAT weighed anchor on April 27, at 04.00 hours and left in convoy, sailing South. At that time the SLAMAT had 600 allied troops and 217 crew members on board. Three hours later, at daybreak, the convoy was attacked off Leonidion by nine Stukas of the German Jagdgeschwader-77. The unfortunate SLAMAT sustained a direct hit between the navigation bridge and her front funnel.

The heroic crew made desperate attempts to keep the fierce fire under control, but the Stukas continued with their attacks. To make it even worse the water pipes, used for extinguishing fires, were damaged and soon it was not possible to avoid certain disaster. The fire took such a hold that Captain Luidinga ordered the immediate evacuation of his ship. The remaining life-boats and life-rafts, (those not damaged by the explosion or destroyed by the subsequent fire) were launched. The disembarkation took place under constant fire from the attacking Stukas. Many more allied troops and crew members lost their lives. The Stukas pitilessly continued to attack the crammed life-boats and rafts and took even more lives of both troops and crew.
 

The Britsh destroyer HMS Diamond trying to help the Slamat out of distress!


The other ships in the convoy and the accompanying warships tried to escape from this hell, leaving the British destroyer HMS DIAMOND with her Commander, Philip Alexis Cartwright, (Royal Navy) to single-handedly protect the Slamat and chase the Stukas, while saving the drowning SLAMAT victims. Most who survived the murderous attacks were taken on board the destroyer Diamond and the cruiser HMS Calcutta.

THE BRITISH DESTROYERS: HMS WRYNECK AND HMS DIAMOND
Before departing, HMS DIAMOND gave the SLAMAT, which was on fire from front to back, a "coup de grace". One torpedo was enough to sink this beautiful vessel. One hour later the destroyer HMS WRYNECK with her commander, Robert Henry Douglas Lane (Royal Navy) arrived to assist HMS DIAMOND at the scene of the disaster. Just two hours later both destroyers were sunk by enemy aircraft. Sailing away at full speed the DIAMOND and the WRYNECK disappeared, within minutes, into the waves. The crew and survivors on board had very little chance of survival.
 

One of the life-boats from HMS WRYNECK was lowered, saving the lives of three Dutch crew members. Twenty British soldiers and one Dutch crew member managed to cling to several rafts. Meanwhile, the other survivors, on their boats and rafts,were constantly harassed by young German pilots, killing many more people. The following night, the British destroyer, HMS Griffin was still able to save some survivors from the water, including the Rotterdamsche Lloyd sailor, Pieter Broos and the British soldier, George Dexter who was also on board the SLAMAT.

 

THE SLAMAT/DIAMOND/WRYNECK VICTIMS 

The crew of the SLAMAT consisted of a mixed group of 74 Dutch, 84 Goanese, 24 Chinese, 10 Australians and 1 Norwegian crewmember. Attached to the Slamat crew: 13 Australian of the Royal Australian Navy (Anti Aircraft team) and 8 New Zealanders of the New Zealand Army, 2e NZ expeditionary force.

 

Only 10 crew members of the Rotterdam Lloyd survived the disaster, among them 6 Goanese and 4 Dutch.

SLAMAT Crewmembers: 214, Victims: 203, Survivors: 11.

ss SLAMAT

Victims of the British V&W-class destroyer (D-21): HMS WRYNECK

WRYNECK Crewmembers: 106, Victims: 79, Survivors: 27.

HMS WRYNECK

Victims of the British D-class destroyer (H-22): HMS DIAMOND
 

DIAMOND Crewmembers: 166 , Victims: 146, Survivors: 20.

HMS DIAMOND

Victims of allied soldiers (British, Australian and New Zealand):

Soldiers: 500, victims: 492, survivors: 8

  VICTIMS IN TOTAL : 983

SURVIVORS IN TOTAL: 66

 

PHOTOGRAPHS OF VICTIMS

Unfortunately we are not in the possession of just a few photographs of the victims. We encourage family members of victims to add possible pictures from their loved ones to this list!

HMS Diamond

ss Slamat

HMS Wryneck

 

DIAMOND CREW

 

 

Ltd.Commander Philip Alexis Cartwright

SLAMAT CREW (Victims)

Captain: Tjalling Luidinga

WRYNECK CREW

 

 

Commander Robert Henry Douglas Lane

Samuel de Boo  Administrateur

 

G.H. Brand, Ships' Doctor

G. Borsboom, Ass. Chief Steward

David Bruggeman  Quartermaster

 

Martinus Diekerhof, 1st Engineer

H. Doornkamp Sailor

   

A. Gramsma        3rd Engineer

C. ten Have, 2nd Engineer

W.J. Klijn  1st Officer

   

G. van Langeveld 4th Engineer

A.N. Lokkerbol Chief Steward

J.H. Lindeman Radio Officer

 

J. Meeuwsen, Cook-Patissier

Jan Nieweg, Sailor

F.J. de Reus        4th Engineer

C. J.M. Schraven Quartermaster

   

A. van der Sjouw, 3rd Cook

Ph. Sluijter  Boatswain

J.M. Weber Barkeeper

   

J. Pille, Apprentice Officer

 

ALLIED SOLDIERS (Victims)
 

Doctor Lennox Douglas (NZ) Surgeon attached to the Slamat crew

Edwin Lewis Wealthy (UK) Gunner Royal Artillery

  Walter Scott  (UK)Lieutenant Royal Army, attached to the Slamat crew

Henry Lawrence Kilvert (UK), Gunner 106th Lancashire Hussars, Royal Artillery 

Alfred Charles Randell Driver Royal Army Service Corps (UK)

     

 

SOME(supposed)SURVIVORS
Johannes M. Trijsburg (Dutch) Restaurateur       ss Slamat  † 21 februari 2002 Jasper de Jong (Dutch) Slamat sailor George Dexter (UK) Soldier Royal British Army. Still living (december 2013) Fredrick Hill (UK)Sailor HMS Diamond
Wilfrid J. Ferrall (UK)sailor HMS Diamond  † 4 april 1996      

 

 

Phaleron Commonwealth Cemetary in Greece (Picture: A. Randell)

 

EYE-WITNESS REPORT OF A HMS WRYNECK SAILOR

SINKING OF HMS DIAMOND and HMS WRYNECK on 27th APRIL 1941
with thanks to Gary Clarke

On the 7 February 2011, Gary wrote to say "We have recently found in a relatives possessions a 7 page hand written letter with detailed drawn map (but see below) from a sailor on HMS WRYNECK detailing how they were ordered to assist picking up of survivors from a sinking ship, states how on arrival HMS DIAMOND was already there, and describes how after picking up survivors they were attacked by Junkers 87 dive-bombers. He describes jumping overboard , the sinking of both destroyers, and how he was picked up and survived but never wanted to go to sea again." This letter was probably written by Gary's wife's uncle, Eddie Gray, now deceased, one of seven brothers, but the only one to become a sailor.
 

Following is the original letter - 7 pages

click to enlarge (in construction!)

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

 

TJALLING LUIDINGA, MASTER OF THE ss SLAMAT DURING HER SINKING ON APRIL 27, 1941
                    
Below we show you the letter of Her Majesty, Queen Wilhelmina of The Netherlands addressed to the widow of Captain Tjalling Luidinga.

A letter of Queen Wilhelmina addressed to Tjalling Luidinga's spouse

Tjalling as 4th officer in 1908

Tjalling as 2nd officer in 1923

 

DVD SLAMAT COMMEMORATION NOW AVAILABLE

PRICE PER DVD (Inclusive DVD-Box, VAT and shipping costs):

€ 12,- per DVD,

ORDER
Via email: krl-museum@kpnmail.nl or via mail: KRL-Museum, Rozenbergswijk 4a, 8413 CW  Oudehorne, The Netherlands.

Please send € 12,- per DVD to RABOBANK - THE NETERLANDS BIC: RABONL2U  IBAN: NL25 RABO 0144 2999 09 KRL-Museum,Rozenbergswijk 4A, 8413 CW Oudehorne - The Netherlands.

 

Press reports after the Commemoration

A: TELEVISION

A-1: NOS YOURNAL

 

 

 

A-2: RADIO TV RIJNMOND

 

 

B. NEWS PAPERS

"Schakel" - 5 mei 2011

U-TUBE: "Slamat Song", Source: Ton Kellner

please click text below for playing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYmh-VypCRk

 

U-TUBE: "We'll meet again", Source: Ton Kellner

please click text below for playing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q76RzjJsVcA

 

 

 

A FEW PICTURES OF THE COMMEMORATION

 

Frans Luidinga interviewed by Radio Rijnmond

Chairman, Ed van Lierde discussing the ceremony with the HMS Diamond crew

Ed van Lierde discussing the ceremony with Commander HMS Diamond, Ian Clarke

The coffee corner with arriving commemoration guests

Coffee plus "petite four"

Exposition HMS Diamond with a part of the crew

Member of the Board, Kees Amsterdam talking with the Australian Military Attaché, Major Leichsenring

Briefing of our Museum volunteers

Interview Chairman, Ed van Lierde by RTV-Rijnmond

Eight members of the Ruys family (Royal Rotterdam Lloyd founders) walking to their seats for joining the ceremony

Speech Chairman, Ed van Lierde

Speech Commander HMS Diamond, Ian Clarke

Speech Frans Luidinga about his Slamat book

 

The very impressing  video of the last living Slamat/Wryneck victim, George Dexter

Speech by Rotterdam Mayor, Ahmed Aboutaleb

Het Slamat/Diamond/Wrynech monument unveiled by Anje ten Have (daughter Slamat victim) and Rotterdam Mayor,  Ahmed Aboutaleb

The flower ceremony in front of the Slamat monument

The end of the flower ceremony

A British Royal Navy sailor is photographing the Slamat plague

Die Maeze Sanghers giving their great performance

HMS Diamond crew plus British Military Attaché, Captain Lambourn, Frans Luidinga and Ed van Lierde

Commemoration dinner - Master of ceremonies, Nico Guns just finished his opening speech

Commemoration dinner - 'Dames Danzi' in their musical setting

Commemoration dinner

Commemoration dinner - Words of gratitude by Chairman, Ed van Lierde

The "beseeching hand" of the Slamat monument with the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd flag (Oudehorne - Friesland)

Alexandria/Egypt - Flower wreath on the grave of Slamat-3rd Officer, G. van der Woude, laid by the Dutch War Graves Foundation on behalf of the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Museum

Athens/Greece -  Flower wreath with military honor on and aroud the grave of Slamat-Apprentice officer, J. Pille, laid by the Dutch War Graves Foundation on behalf of the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Museum

 

 

COMMEMORATION PROGRAMME - APRIL 27, 2011

 

 

MUSICAL SUPPORT DURING THE COMMEMORATION

 

CONTRIBUTION OF THE BRITISH ROYAL NAVY TO OUR SLAMAT/DIAMOND/WRYNECK - COMMEMORATION.

The Dutch never returned thanks to the British for the rescue attempts of the Slamat crew and allied troops on board the Slamat by the HMS Diamond and HMS Wryneck crew members. On April 27, 2011 we made an end to this negligense and invited Commander Ian Clarke and seven crew members of the modern HMS Diamond to be part of the official ceremony.

HMS Diamond on "zig-zag"-course

Commander Ian Clarke

During the Commemoration the 'Coat of Arms' of HMS Diamond (shown down below) was presented by PO Tanja Berry to the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Museum. A great reason and a good moment to present the Slamat model (scale: 1 - 1250) which will sail from now on with the modern HMS Diamond.

 

The old HMS DIAMOND

The HMS WRYNECK

The representatives of the Royal British Navy with Frans Luidinga (Son of the Slamat Captain, Tjalling Luidinga - 5th from right) and Ed van Lierde (Founder and Chairman of the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Museum - 4th from right).

Captain Lambourn, British Defence Attaché to The Benelux (3rd from right)

Commander Ian Clarke Commanding Officer HMS Diamond (2nd from right)

Lt. Commander Allen (1st from right)

PO Morris

PO Berry

LS James

LET Barnes

LET Chadwick

LSC Meggeson

 

PARTICIPANTS TO THE COMMEMORATION CEREMONY

 

RELATIVES OF OUR VICTIMS (58)

 

VIPS (18)

1. United Kingdom: Captain Peter Neil Lambourn, British Defence Attaché to the Benelux  2 t/m 9. United Kingdom: Commander Ian Clarke, Commanding officer of HMS Diamond plus 7 crew members 10. Greece: Mr. Yannis Ioannidis "Cultural Attaché of the Greek Embassy to The Netherlands 11. New Zealand: His Excellency George Troup, New Zealand Ambassador to The Netherlands 12. Norway: Commander S.G. Torre Andersson, Norwegian Defence Attaché to The Netherlands 13. Portugal: Mr. Jorge Silva Lopes, Minister-Counsellor and Chargé d' Affaires of the Portuguese Embassy to The Netherlands 14. The Netherlands: Commodore Ir. C.H. (Kees) Boelema Robertus "Director of Operational Support of the Commander Royal Netherlands Navy 15. The Netherlands: Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of Rotterdam.

FAMILY-RUYS:
- Mr. B.E. Ruys (Son of Willem Ruys B.zn. shot down by the Germans in World War II),
- Mrs. W.P. Barones van Pallandt-Ruys (Daughter of Willem Ruys B.zn.),
- Ir J.D. Ruys (Son of Willem Ruys B.zn.),
- Ir D.P. Ruys (Son of Ir J.D. Ruys),
- Drs L.A. Ruys en Mrs. C.L.M. Mertens (Son and Daughter-in-law of Ir L.P. Ruys, who lived in London during World War II),
- Drs C.T. Ruys en Mrs. E.M.F. Ruys-de Gaay Fortman (Son and Daughter-in-law of Ir L.P. Ruys).

SPONSORS (39)

FORMER ROYAL ROTTERDAM LLOYD PERSONNEL  (84)       

 

OTHER PERSONS INTRESTED  (75)

 

DIE MAEZE SANGHERS (70)

TOTAL NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS TO THE CEREMONY: 344

 

PARTICIPANTS OF THE COMMEMORATION DINNER

 

 185 dinners have been served by the fantastic Catering team of Rob Swagemakers at Tilburg

 

PRINTED MATTER OF THE COMMEMORATION DINNER

 

 

THE MENU OF THE COMMEMORATION DINNER

 

De menukaarten en naamkaartjes zijn gratis ter beschikking gesteld door:

WORK IN PROGRESS !

 

Coffee and 'Petite four'

 

1. THE LOCATION OF THE COMMEMORATION

The Laurens Church at Rotterdam

The Laurens Church is situated in the city center of Rotterdam. The atmosphere, situation and flexibility makes this beautiful church a very suitable location. We have made a reservation for Wednesday April 27, 2011 but, dependent on the succes of the fund raising, the Slamat Commemoration will indeed take place on this important spot.

In May 2010 it was exactly 70 years since the inner city of Rotterdam was flattened by German air raids. After bombing, the Laurens Church was one of the few buildings left standing. One year later German Stuckas bombed the Slamat in the Mediterranean. She and most of her crew and allied soldiers did not survive! This makes the Laurens Church, in many respects a great and impressive place for this commemoration .........!

 

2. THE SLAMAT MONUMENT

 

Why a SLAMAT monument?
The only existing Slamat monument is situated in Birmingham-England. The last living Slamat survivor, George Dexter initiated this monument. In spite of the fact that the SLAMAT drama  still is the greatest disaster in Dutch Merchant Naval history, the Netherlands itself never had a SLAMAT monument. With a SLAMAT monument the Dutch could give the family members of the Slamat victims an important place for remembrance. Besides some exceptions the Dutch are not aware of what happened at sea in World War II, a SLAMAT monument itself and extensive publicity around the Slamat monument could change that (awareness of history and culture). With a SLAMAT monument located in the Netherlands the Dutch Government and the Dutch people could also honour the victims of HMS WRYNECK and HMS DIAMOND. (Crewmembers of both British destroyers paid with their lives in protecting the SLAMAT). The well known Dutch sculptor, Nicolas van Ronkenstein was so impressed by the SLAMAT story that he made this monument for free!! Picture left: Nicolas van Ronkenstein and Ed van Lierde talking about the monument in flooded Reuver.

 

3. THE SLAMAT SONG

  

Die Maeze Sanghers 

 

The association: ”DIE MAEZE SANGHERS” (80 men and 3 women) from Maassluis, The Netherlands are performing a repertoire of English, French, German, Spanish, Swedish and Dutch sea songs en shanties and will be accompanied by a small ship’s orchestra.

During the SLAMAT Commemoration (formal part) this seamen’s choir performed a song dedicated to the SLAMAT drama and their victims. Especially for this occasion this song is composed by them. Also in the formal part they sang the song: ”Roll out the Barrel”. The brave Royal British Navy crew members (from HMS WRYNECK and HMS DIAMOND) will be honoured in those two songs too. During the informal part the choir performed several 'suitable' songs from their repertoire.

SEE AND HEAR U-TUBE-RECORDING SLAMAT SONG FAR ABOVE

 

4. SLAMAT STREAMER AND FLAGS OF HMS WRYNECK AND HMS DIAMOND

                                                               

 

Since the sailing ships of our founder, Mr. Willem Ruys, ships of the Rotterdam Lloyd were flying their so called; “streamer” on the first or second mast. The red streamer features the name of the ship and in fact its form was a long equilateral triangle. Measurements about: hight: 100 cm., lenght: 500 cm. Above shown streamer (a replica) will be shown during the SLAMAT Commemoration.

The Company "Shipmate" at Vlaardingen-The Netherlands will also produce the flags of HMS Diamond and HMS Wryneck. Steamer and flags will of course play an important roll during the Commemoration.

 

 

5. RENEWAL SLAMAT BOOK

At the SLAMAT Commemoration a revised edition of this book written by Frans Luidinga will be published. The intention right now is to edit a Dutch and an English version. As far as Frans Luidinga concerns the Slamat Commemoration of 2007 was a good reason to rewrite his Slamat book. Another subjects to be added are: Several pictures, an eye-witness report of the Slamat disaster, German archive records and a New Zealand contribution from Slamat surgeon, Lennox Douglas.

At the Commemoration the first book (in Dutch language) was presented by Frans Luidinga to the organiser of the 'Great Slamat Commemoration', Ed van Lierde.

Frans Luidinga

 

 

6. SPECIAL COMMEMORATION PUBLICATION OF THE  MUSEUM MAGAZINE: "LLOYD-KOMPAS"

The magazine of the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Museum normally is meant for people who signed on to our Museum and for members of our Committee of recommendation. Especially for the Slamat Commemoration a special, extra thick, publication was made. This Special is written in the English language and is designed and destined for foreign and Dutch Commemoration guests. One can find the following subjects: Preparation of the Commemoration, the disaster itself, the victims, the ships involved, the participants, several projects within the Commemoration and of course the Commemoration Programme, etc. etc.

We are very glad to inform you that the Rabobank-Rotterdam will support us by financing the printing costs of this Commemoration-Special.

THIS COMMEMORATION SPECIAL IS STILL AVAILABLE FOR 3 EURO (excl. forwarding-charges).

 

 

7. MINIATURE MODEL OF THE ss SLAMAT

Especially for the Commemoration small models will be made (scale:1-1250 - lenght: 13 cm) of the ss Slamat. Interested people can order those scale models by enrolment. which means that there is no financial risk for the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Museum. The pricing will be kept low and until the day after the Slamat Commemoration the Slamat model will be sold exclusively by The Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Museum.

 

 

8. EXPOSITIONS DURING THE COMMEMORATION

Specific expositions in the Laurens church were organised by:
 

1. 

Our own organisation: the "Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Museum Foundation"
2.  The British Royal Navy
3.  Merchant Navy Personel 1940-1945 Foundation
4.  Damen Schelde Naval Schipbuilding BV
5. Frans Romeijnsen with Oil-paintings of Lloyd ships, especially the Slamat

 

 

9. THE 'SECRET' PROJECT

At December 2010 the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Museum Foundation commissioned a foreign artist to paint an oil-painting of the German air attack on the ss Slamat and HMS Diamond. Because real pictures of the disaster are not available our Museum thought it desirable to visualize the attack artisticly. One week before the commemoration the Oil-painting arrived from far abroad. See above to witness the surprising result of this secret mission.

 

10. THE OIL-PAINTING SUPPORT-PROJECT

 


 

Painter, Frans Romeijnsen sold an oil-painting from his 'Paiting-support-project' during the Slamat Commemoration. The buyer is a member of the Rotterdam Lloyd founders family-RUYS, he bought an oil-painting of the flagship 'Willem Ruys'

 

 

11. THE SLAMAT DOCUMENTARY

Status: Not definitive

As you most probably know our team is already quite a while busy with fundraising for the Slamat Documentary. In December 2009 the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Museum and Frans Luidinga made, together with a professional film crew, a Video-interview of the last living survivor of the Slamat/Wryneck, the former British soldier George Dexter. This interview took place in Birmingham-UK. At this moment we raised some funds for the Slamat Documentary but not enough to get the Slamat Documentary ready before the Commemoration day. This means that we have to raise more funds before and after the Commemoration.

THE END

 

 

 

 

 


LAST SLAMAT COMMEMORATION

Saturday September 22 

2007


 

HISTORY IN A NUTSHELL

On April 27th, 1941, the Dutch passenger ship Slamat sank after severe German air raids. At that time she was sailing in Greek waters as part of “Operation Demon”. Almost 1000 crew members and allied troops (British, Australian and New Zealand) lost their lives. Only 10 Rotterdam Lloyd crew members (6 Goanese and 4 Dutch) survived the continuous German attacks. The sinking of this beautiful, two funnelled passenger ship Slamat was the most dramatic disaster in Merchant Naval war history.


For a more detailed account of Slamat’s last days, view the complete text of Frans Luidinga’s lecture!

 


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COMMEMORATION PREPARATION AND INVITED PERSONS


On September 22, 2007 a commemoration meeting was organized by the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Museum at Oudehorne. Frans Luidinga, maritime writer and son of Slamat Captain, Tjalling Luidinga, played an important roll in the organization. On the commemoration day itself he gave an extensive lecture, detailing the exact course of events during this catastrophe.

 
Many invitations were sent to family members at all known addresses. Invitations were also extended to former Royal Rotterdam Lloyd crew members and to special guests: The New Zealand Ambassador to the Netherlands Her Excellency, Ms Rachel Fry and her husband; the 1st Secretary of the British Embassy Mr Bob Fairweather; former Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Managing Director Mr B.E. Ruys; the representative of the KRL/WRZ association; former Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Captain Mr L.C.J. Welter and the Harbourmaster of Rotterdam Mr J. Lems, both with respective spouses.

 


 


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NAMES OF THOSE ON BOARD THE SLAMAT WHO LOST THEIR LIVES ON APRIL 27,
 

                      

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LIST OF DUTCH VICTIMS

            
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LIST-A OF FOREIGN VICTIMS
         

           
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LIST-B OF FOREIGN VICTIMS
         

          
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ALLIED TROOPS ON BOARD THE SLAMAT
SOME PICTURES OF SLAMAT VICTIMS


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NAMES OF DUTCH CREW MEMBERS SURVIVING THE DISASTER
 


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ARTICLE IN THE PAPER: “ROTTERDAMS DAGBLAD”
SEPTEMBER 20, 2007

 
 


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If you wish to read the speeches or the lecture,  please make your choice below by clicking on the pen.

 

 

   Opening speech by Ed van Lierde

             
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Lecture by Frans Luidinga

 
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Ceremony speech by Ed van  Lierde

 
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Speech by the New Zealand  Ambassador

(and letter of Mary Saxton)

  
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Speech by Captain     

Leendert Welter

  
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IMPORTANT MESSAGES FROM ABROAD

Hundreds of allied troops, on board the Slamat, lost their lives as a direct result of the lasting German air attacks, leaving many wives, partners, sons and daughters in a state of complete shock and deep sadness. Some of the foreign family members, known to Frans Luidinga sent messages to the participants of the Slamat commemoration:

 



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Message from Catherine Robbins, eldest   daughter of the New Zealand surgeon, Lennox Douglas (Medical team attached to the Slamat).

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Message from Mary Saxton,youngest daughter of the New Zealand surgeon, Lennox Douglas (Medical team attached to the Slamat).


 

THE COMMEMORATION ON SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2007

It is so difficult to put into words how beautiful this commemoration and, especially the ceremony, was. From the pictures below we can only show you what it looked like, but the atmosphere at “Rumah Rimbu”, during these beautiful hours, and the total involvement of all the 83 persons present was really indescribable. You had to be there to feel it!


Very striking was the fact that the week before the commemoration the weather conditions were bad and tuned even worse after the commemoration. The commemoration day itself was blessed with beautiful weather……… it would seem that the Angels were watching over us!


Family members of the Slamat victims, special guests, former crew members of the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd and interested parties gathered around the swimming pool and the ceremony table. Behind the table the New Zealand, Dutch, British and Australian flags flew at half-mast. Four family members attended. Drawn together by their sadness and their involvement, everyone felt energised. The red roses floating in the water of the swimming pool did the rest. Let us hope that this commemoration will give all family members the peace and the closure they so need and desire.


We hope you find the pictures below absorbing .......
 


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PICTURES ARRIVAL GUESTS
 

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PICTURES OF THE SLAMAT EXPOSITION

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PICTURES OF THE LECTURE BY FRANS LUIDINGA
 

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PICTURES OF THE CEREMONY
 

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PICTURES OF GUESTS VISITING THE MUSEUM
 

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PICTURES OF THE INFORMAL PART OF THE COMMEMORATION

 

GIFTS TO THE KRL-MUSEUM

   
As recognition for organizing the Slamat commemoration the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Museum was proud and happy to receive irreplaceable items.
 

From Ms A. ten Have, daughter of C. ten Have, 2nd Engineer of the Slamat we received his WAR REMEMBRANCE CROSS with the inscription: “WAR SERVICE-MERCHANT NAVY: 1940-1945” and the inscription: “MEDITERRANEAN: 1940-1945”, his diplomas, some picture and letters to his wife.

 

 

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From Ms J.G. de Reus, daughter of J. de Reus, 4th Engineer of the Slamat; we received his WAR REMEMBRANCE CROSS with the inscription: “WAR SERVICE-MERCHANT NAVY: 1940-1945”and the inscription: “MEDITERRANEAN: 1940-1945”.



 

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From Mr M.A.J. Trijsburg, son of J.M. Trijsburg, assistant Restaurateur of the Slamat and one of the four Dutch survivors of the disaster, a beautiful old picture of the Slamat, in its original frame, sailing in the waters of Venice.



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Again we would like to express our heartfelt thanks for the
incredible gifts presented by the above named family
members of the Slamat victims. Your gifts already have a
special place in the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Museum!

We also like to thank our British friends
John and Judy Manners for correcting our English translations!

 
 


MINI COMMEMORATION FOR THE DAUGHTER OF F.J. DE REUS, 4th ENGINEER OF THE SLAMAT, ON OCTOBER 14th,2007.

 

The two page article in the “Rotterdam Daily” had a tremendous impact! Some family members of the Slamat victims were, unfortunately, not on our address list so we were not able to invite them. Thanks to the article in the “Rotterdam Daily” they were able to make enquiries, at the very last moment, about the commemoration on September 22nd. Unfortunately it was already too late for other family members to attend and these same family members were greatly saddened to have missed this commemoration.

We spontaneously decided to organize a Mini Commemoration for Joke de Reus, her husband and two special friends. Immediately Frans Luidinga joined the initiative of the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Museum and gave a lecture about the Slamat that day.
 

Below you will find some pictures of this Mini Commemoration. Please click the pictures for enlargement.

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JOKE DE REUS SUDDENLY DIED 

 

Joke and her husband, Jan together at the Mini-commemoration

 

To our dismay and unbelief we received the sad tiding of the sudden death of Joke de Reus. 1½  months after the Mini-commemoration, we specially organized for her, she died on Wednesday November 28th 2007 due to a cardiac arrest.

We hope and trust that Jan, the children and close friends will get the power to cope with the terrible loss of this remarkable woman.

                   Ed van Lierde and Josje van Lierde-Olivier

 

 

             

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ARTICLE IN DE NEDLLOYD PENSION MAGAZINE
September/Oktober 2007

   

               

 

 

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A great encounter with two Slamat-"daughters"

December 2008/January 2009

By founder and chairman, Ed van Lierde

 

 

New Zealand - South Island / Hampden-Oamaru

 

On December 18th I, together with my wife, Josje travelled from Christchurch to the "vibrating" city of Hampden.  This  quiet hamlet is situated on the East coast of New Zealand's South Island (one hour's drive from Dunedin). Besides our great involvement we delivered pictures and video material and an envelope from Frans Luidinga (Son of the Slamat captain). At that great place in the most beautiful country in the world we were welcomed by Mary Saxton and her husband Bill. The main reason for this emotional overseas encounter was Mary's father, the New Zealand surgeon, Captain Dr. Lennox Douglas. We all know Mary from the Slamat commemoration on September 22, 2007 at the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Museum. On that occasion the New Zealand ambassador to the Netherlands, Ms. Rachel Fry read out a letter written by Mary and addressed to the family members of the Slamat victims.

 

Lennox Douglas

 

Captain Dr. Lennox Douglas was Chief of the New Zealand medical team (9 persons)attached to our ss Slamat. In fact those team members were attached to the crew and thus our old Rotterdam Lloyd colleagues! On April 27, 1941 Dr. Lennox was one of the 558 persons aboard the Slamat who did not survive the continuous  air attacks of the Germans. Only one member of the Medical team survived this greatest disaster in Dutch merchant navy history!

 

Youngest daughter, Mary Saxton-Douglas

 

In Hampden Josje and I were extended a very warm welcome with a glass of fantastic New Zealand wine. In spite of the fact we four met each other for the first time in our lives, our mutual commitment to the Slamat disaster caused a hit from the start and of course this mutual denominator inevitably became the dominant subject of our conversation. The Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Museum website was consulted and all the Slamat pictures were downloaded from my external hard disk to Mary's computer. The conversation caused laughter and moved us to tears!

 

A collective glance at the museum website

 

On the last day of our call we visited the "Garden of Memories" in nearby Oamaru. In this beautiful memory garden with lots of red roses the North Otago servicemen who lost their lives in WW II are commemorated. They not only gave their lives for their country but also for our sake. I consider it very remarkable that soldiers from such a beautiful and peaceful country, so far from home, came to fight for our freedom!

 

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New Zealand - South Island / Ashburton

 

On January 13, Mary organised an encounter with her sister, the eldest daughter of Lennox Douglas, Catherine Robins and her husband, Mark. They live in Ashburton (between Christchurch and Timaru).