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MS Sloterdijk

March 8 2014 at 8:49 AM
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Tom  (no login)

Does anyone know on what date the merchant ship Sloterdijk put into Tjilatjap in February or March 1942?

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Re: MS Sloterdijk

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March 25 2014, 4:44 PM 

I have her arrive in Tjilatjap on 2 March 1942

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Thanks Felix (N/T)

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March 28 2014, 3:39 AM 

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April 10 2014, 10:37 AM 

SLOTERDIJK was a modern twin-screw motor cargo ship of 9 230 GRT completed in early 1940 for the Holland America Line. At the time of her building she was identified for possible conversion to an armed merchant cruiser. (see the Armed Merchant Cruiser section on this site) and provision was made for strengthening of her decks where guns were to be placed.

Very little is known of her wartime career but for the following: On Saturday 23rd of March 1940, SLOTERDIJK was sighted westbound in the North Atlantic, South of Iceland (War Diary, 18th Cruiser Squadron, RN), on what was probably her maiden voyage to New York. The Straits Times of Singapore reported during March 1940 that SLOTERDIJK and her sister SOMMELSDIJK were to be employed on the Java-New York line via the Cape of Good Hope (the Suez Canal/Mediterranean route was no longer an option) with scheduled stops at Singapore.

SLOTERDIJK was probably still on this run when she made her final voyage to the NEI with 10 Brewster 339-23 Buffalos and 7 Curtiss Wright CW-22B Falcons aboard. Since both aircraft manufacturers were situated in the vicinity of New York, I suspect that the planes were loaded there and she sailed directly to the NEI with a likely stopover at Cape Town. I've read somewhere that SLOTERDIJK was at some point under the control of the British Ministry of War Transport before being taken over by the (US) War Shipping Administration but that was probably only for a short period around mid-1942. Prior to her being taken over by WSA there is no mention of SLOTERDIJK in any convoy - she always sailed independently.

According to Peter Boer's "The Story of the Douglas DB-7", she was in port at Tjilitjap on 1 March 1942 and off-loaded ammunition but not the aircraft. With TJIBESAR and TABIAN, SLOTERDIJK departed for Albany, Australia on the 2nd or 3rd where the trio arrived safely later that month. However, the date of her being in Tjilitjap on the 1st is somewhat contradicted by the following report from the RAN website which states:

"At 1252 on 1 March Bendigo entered Tjilatjap Harbour. Shortly afterwards she was ordered to proceed to sea in company with Burnie to search for the Dutch ship Sloter-Dijk, which had been reported attacked by a Japanese submarine. Unable to locate the merchant ship Bendigo returned to harbour."

Here is a photo of M.S. SLOTERDIJK during the war years (in USN Measure 14 camouflage?)

[linked image]

And repainted in her HAL colours just after WW2 but still with gun tub (no gun) visible forward and a large number of stacked life rafts.

[linked image]

And lastly,with a fresh coat of paint, the gun tubs removed but the rafts still in place, at the time in the service of the Dutch government for transporting military personnel to the NEI.

[linked image]

She reverted back to HAL service in 1948 and was finally scrapped in 1966. Can anyone explain why her name was changed to SLOTERDYK with a "Y"?



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Her Name Was Always Sloterdyk

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April 11 2014, 12:21 AM 

According to K.W.L. Bezemer in his 2-book series, "Geschiedenis van de Nederlandse Koopvaardij in de Tweede Wereldoorlog" her name was always Sloterdyk. Most people always just write it Sloterdijk. As I'm sure you already know, the letters "y" and "ij" (pronounced "eh") are pronounced the same in Dutch.

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Y it is!

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April 11 2014, 9:13 PM 

Yes Tom, at first I thought nah, it can't be, there are thousands of references to Sloterdijk on-line and in virtually all cases it is with an "ij" which I believe is the proper Dutch spelling. In my home language Afrikaans, we use a "y" and maybe it was a mistake made when the ship was painted in Cape Town. It wasn't and you are 100% right!

Traditionally HAL Passenger ship names end with "dam" and cargo ships used the "dijk" suffix early on but it appears that sometime after the First World War it was changed to "dyk".

Here is a photo of M.S. SOMMELSDYK in 1939 (under Danish flag), her name on the hull clearly spelt with a "Y":

[linked image]

Many more photos of HAL -DYK and -DAM ships and the story of Captain "Kees" Haagmans here:


Incidentally, Kees Haagman mentions being on board M.S. SLOTERDYK in New York during early January 1941, at the time when the Buffalos and Falcons were probably loaded.



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Jan Visser
(Login Visje1981)

Re: Y it is!

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April 12 2014, 10:33 AM 

It has more to do with the changes in the use and official spelling in the Dutch language over the years (and there have been quite a few). The use of "Y" instead of "IJ" appears to be preferred up until a few decades ago, and could also have been the correct spelling according to Dutch "language rules" for that era (not sure about that last one).
Nowadays, no one will use "Y" where "IJ" is intended.

What I know about Afrikaans is that traces its roots back to Dutch, but developed very differently over the centuries (which I learnt the "hard" way when I was on vacation in South Africa in 2012. I couldn't understand Afrikaans, because grammar is very differently from Dutch and well, because of the thick accents, but the Afrikaners could understand Dutch perfectly!).

On a sidenote, there are instances where the "Y" is intended to be pronounced as "ie" instead of "ij". An example is Generaal Verspyck, which is pronounded Verspieck instead of Verspijck. Also notice that nobody uses "ck" anymore, but only "k" (except when used in surnames).


This message has been edited by Visje1981 on Apr 12, 2014 10:57 AM

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April 13 2014, 10:22 AM 

"...early January 1941, at the time when the Buffalos and Falcons were probably loaded."

"The ship went into dry-dock and I was transferred to the m.s. Sloterdyk, a sister ship of the Sommelsdyk for port duty until Jan. 7th, 1942."- not 1941.



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Re: Y it is!

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April 13 2014, 10:31 AM 


Looks like you and I swopped continents for a while there in 2012...except that my vacation was ridiculously expensive (exchange rate) and I expect that yours was a bit more affordable! I can tell you that my experience w.r.t. languages was similar to yours - I find Dutch easy to read but very difficult to understand when spoken. On the other hand Flemish, as spoken in the Brugge region (of Belgium) is very similar to my native language and quite easy for me to follow.

Delving deeper into the site that I mentioned in my previous post, I came across this in part 2 of the HAL history:

"A note in regards to the spelling of the names of the ships; in 1923 Holland America went from Dutch spelling to English spelling and so the ij became the y. Hence the Rijndam of 1900 was spelled Ryndam after 1923. The Ryndam of 1951 started her life with the Y. Although you will find publications once in a while where this is still muddled up."

I suppose for international marketing HAL (the ever-considerate Dutch!) used the "Y", same as the Dutch sports car maker Spyker, which changed from the original name "Spijker". (Not contradicting your explanation, of course)



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Looking for more info on the MS Sloterdyke

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June 22 2014, 3:14 AM 

Hey I sure hope there is someone out there who can help me. I take care of a 93 year old WWII Marine veteran of the Peleliu battle in the pacific theatre. He remembers getting loaded up onto a transport ship leaving Peleliu and going to Pavuvu, the MS Sloterdyke, on 30 Oct 1944. He was the last of the F/2/7 marines leaving the island. He remembers fondly the apologetic captain explaining to the troops that the only thing on board to eat was steak, and for that he apologized. These guys hadn't eaten a real meal or had a peaceful night's rest in 45 days. So anyway if I could find any information to take to him I would be most appreciative.

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Jim Broshot
(Login JimBroshot)

Re: Looking for more info on the MS Sloterdyke

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June 22 2014, 5:07 AM 

I have a copy of the THE OLD BREED A HISTORY OF THE FIRST MARINE DIVISION IN WORLD WAR II but there's no mention of MS Sloterdyke.

But in USMC Historical Monograph "The Assault on Peleliu" (1950), there is a mention of this ship:

-The 2d Battalion, [7th Marines] which had been engaged
in some patrolling in the northeastern islands,
did not commence loading until 26
October. The men thereupon ran into unexpected
complications of a somewhat bizarre
nature, which the battalion commander
describes as follows:

- The Sloterdyke was a Dutch merchantman (under
a Dutch captain with a polyglot crew) leased by
the Army with an Army TQM and a Navy armed
guard aboard and was carrying a skeleton Marine
infantry battalion and a Marine artillery battalion
(4/11). By dint of the Marines manning the
winches and booms, we were able to load and depart
on the 30th.-

The good ship Sloterdyke (or Sloterdyck,
or Sloterdyk sources vary as to the spelling)
with her colorful complement arrived
"home" at Pavuvu on 7 November in the
convoy bearing the 5th Marines and its reinforcing

This combat team had been organized as
a task force under Brigadier General 0. P.
Smith, assistant division commander, attached
operationally to the 81st Division.
The force was not employed in the active
fighting, however, the several battalion units
remaining in the defensive positions previously
described, except for a few minor
changes, until 26 October. On that date
81st Division Field Order No. 23 directed
their relief by Army elements, which was
accomplished by 1200. On the 27th trucks
became available and began shuttling the
troops from northern Peleliu to Purple
Beach. Lack of suitable shipping delayed embarkation.
No regular personnel transports were
available, and most of the freighters which
were used as resupply ships lacked both
accommodations for troops and the loading
devices necessary to handle some of the
heavy equipment. Even after an adequate
ship had been found (transport Sea Runner),
loading out was seriously complicated
by rough seas. In the end it proved necessary
to leave some of the equipment behind
with a detail of men to take care of it.87
Not until 30 October did the weary Marines
see the last of that island for which they
had fought so long and so bloodily.
Some sour punster dubbed it "Nothing
Atoll".' pp.169-170

The monograph can be viewed at Hypewar:


Hope this is of some help

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doug holmes
(Login dickerson41)

Personal diary of Sloyterdyk 1945

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July 15 2015, 6:28 PM 

My father, a naval reserve officer, served aboard the Sloyterdyk from Jan, 1945 to Oct, 1945. His diary gives a detailed
account of destinations, crew and the personnel they transported to and from the Pacific battle zone. His diary was to my mother.
There are 96 pages with some poorly reproduced black and white photos. I can provide you with information of what
transpired during those months.


Doug Holmes

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(Login MarkOverstreet)

Commodore Lee Overstreet

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January 28 2016, 6:11 AM 

My father, Commodore Lee Overstreet was stationed on the HMS Sloterdijk during WWII. He was in the United States Navy, 2nd Class Electricians Mate.

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Unusual Rank

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January 29 2016, 8:53 AM 

Hi Mark,

First off a small correction - "HMS"(His/Her Majesty's Ship) is a prefix used for commissioned (British) Royal Navy ships. "MS" as in "M.S. Sloterdyk" (correct spelling) stand for "Motor Ship" as opposed to "SS" for "Steam Ship". The Sloterdyk remained a Dutch ship under the US War Shipping Administration with a complement of US Navy personnel on board.

It is interesting that your father was (perhaps started off as) an Electricians Mate 2nd Class and attained the rank of Commodore, presumably in the US Navy. The rank was more or less abolished after WW2 and in later years became more of an honorary title. Do you have more information about his naval career?



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Harold Biebel jr
(Login Hmbiebel)

Info on Sloterdyk

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April 23 2016, 1:16 AM 

Hi Doug:

Late 1944 or early 1945 I boarded the MS Sloterdyk at San Francisco, CA. My memory of the movement to Manilla PI is foggy at best. My oldest son is trying to recap my WW2 experiences. I would very much appreciate you help in providing what ever information you have. I am 90 years old and my 2 oldest sons just took me to the ww2 museum in New Orleans.

Thanks in advance. Harold Biebel. Hjbiebel@bellsouth.net

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Bill Breeding
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Father-Leslie Breeding-Water Division/Medical

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May 28 2017, 2:18 AM 

My father passed away in 2003 and recently got to his story on his WWII experiences. Could not find all of his papers but have some information from 1943 to 1945 on the M.S. (USAT) Sloterdyk (Sloterdijk) movements if there is any interest.

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(Login Raylehman)


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December 27 2017, 10:35 PM 

In my father's possessions was a card that he loved showing. It is titled "Ancient Order of the Deep" . It is dated 28 Jan 44. I believe it was from his return voyage to the US after the war from somewhere in the South Pacific. He became a "Trust Shellback" having crossed the equator at longitude 175 West on that date. The ship was the USAT Sloterdyk. The card is Attested by Capt Bernard R Heller (that is the best I can do to read the signature)

I would love to get any other info about that voyage. Date of departure and port of departure and arrival.

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