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THE DUTCH SUBMARINE Hr.Ms. O13



The history of the dutch submarine Hr.Ms. O13:

Below I have summarized some information to be found on the internet. Dutch readers can find a rather complete picture of its history in my pre-war dutch papers archive with articles as well as photo's.

The history of the Dutch submarine Hr.Ms. O13 has also been pictured very well on the excellent dutch submarines site where you can find a lot of information relating to all the dutch submarines during World War II.


    Hr.Ms.O13 in 1932,
before its departure from Den helder 
with Prof. Dr. Ir. F.A. Vening Meinesz, B.Sc. 
(klick for enlargement)
  1. From 5 July to 14 August 1932 the O13 makes a trip to the Azores, with Prof. Vening Meinesz on board for conducting gravity measurements.

  2. At the end of may 1937 the "Panzerschiff 'Deutschland'" had been attacked by two Republican aircraft flown by Russian pilots. The hits caused a fire with 23 crew members being killed, 19 seriously injured and 64 slightly wounded. The medical facilities on the ship were quickly found unable to cope and the ship visited Gibraltar, where the killed and 53 of the wounded were taken to the Military Hospital.
    On 1 June also the O13 was moored in the harbour of Gibraltar. A detachment of some service men of the Dutch Submarine O.13 walked at the rear of the funeral procession with detachments from all British ships in the Harbour, the USS Kane and the Turkish destroyer Kocatepe.

  3. Since 1937 some O-boats had to serve in West Indies and so the O13 left for the West in april 1939, but she returned very soon again (reason?).
    On August 26 1939 the brand new Dutch naval ship "Van Kinsbergen" leaves Den Helder to meet the Dutch submarine O 13, which was on her way to Holland from the West Indies. August 28 1939 The ships meet in the English Channel.

  4. The Dutch minesweeper "Jan van Gelder" damaged October 8 1939 by own mines off Terschelling. After initial repairs at the Rijkswerf Willemsoord in Den Helder, she received a new stern at Gusto, Schiedam, after which she was recommissioned on April 17 1940. Not yet added to her old division, she escorted the Dutch submarine O-13 to England on May 10 1940.

  5. The other day both ships arrive safely at the Downs in the south of England. Because of German activities its not safe to stay there and in convoy with other dutch ships, including two other escaped submarines, the new but almost finished O21 and the O22, sail to Portsmouth where they arrive on 12 May. Those days even more subs managed to escape somehow to England. Also the old O9 and O10 and the nearly finished O23 and O24 with a lot of trouble, arrived safely in England, making a total of 7 subs for the dutch Navy in England.

  6. The O13 was ordered to patrol in the English Channel near Dunkirk to protect the evacuating troups.
    So, on 29 May she left Portsmouth for her first war patrol for just a couple of days. She returned safely to Portsmouth in the evening of June 1.
    There are rumours that the O13 perceived another submarine which should have been the German U9 patrolling somewhere in the Nordsee. Others (uboat.net) doubt this as they write:

    "At 0100 hours HrMs O 13 sighted 'what was thought to be' an enemy submarine in position 4954'N, 0046'W. This submarine was seen to fire two White Very lights. O 13 dived but did not attack. [No German submarine was operating in this area, if it was a submarine it was more likely an Allied one as several were operating in the English Channel, so far we have been unable to match one.]"

  7. But also in Portmouth it became too dangerous because of German airplanes dropping mines and bombs.
    Therefor the O13 was ordered to leave for Dundee in Scotland at June 3. It arrived there on June 6 and some weeks after its arrival in England in May 1940 the dutch submarine Hr.Ms. O13 was added to the internatinal 9-th submarine Flotilla in Dundee Schotland.
    Later that year another six O boats (O21, O22, O10, O23, O24, en O14) followed.
    See here on "Dundee International Submarine Memorial" for some historical pictures of the O14 in Dundee.

  8. Then on the 12th of June on its second and final war patrol the O13 sails to the Denmark coast area near Skagerak to patrol the area on a search for German ship movements and eventually sinking ships. She was ordered to return on the 19th of June but she failed to return. Since then she is still on patrol and never found back. All other lost dutch submarines have been found but not the O13.


    Hr. Ms. O13 te Ponta Delgada 1939.


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(This page was last updated 11 november 2005 and more recently on 9 october 2014).