Daily Event for June 12, 2015

The 9th Submarine Flotilla of the Royal Navy was based at Dundee, Scotland in World War II and comprised mostly foreign boats. Submarines which escaped the Nazi advance across Europe and made British ports. Norwegian, Dutch, French and Polish submarines operated with British boats against the Germans. One of the boats was the Dutch O-13. She was built at De Schelde in Vlissingen in 1929 and was an O-12 class boat of 610 tons.

O-13, along with several other Dutch vessels, left the Netherlands just as the Nazi war machine occupied the country in May 1940. She arrived at the Downs on May 11th and then proceeded to Portsmouth. She conducted a three day war patrol in the English Channel in support of the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from France after which she was ordered to Dundee to join the 9th Submarine Flotilla.

On June 12, 1940 HNLMS O-13 sailed from Dundee for a patrol in the North Sea near the Skagerrak. On June 19 she was ordered to return to Dundee, but the signal was not acknowledged by O-13. When O-13 failed to arrive by the 21st as expected she was presumed lost with all hands for unknown reasons on June 25th. According to the information I have been able to find in published accounts the last time O-13 was heard from was June 13th. However I do not have any official documents that confirm this.

On June 25th another of the foreign boats of the 9th, ORP Wilk, returned to Dundee and reported that she had been damaged on the 20th in a collision with a submarine. Her bows were slightly damaged, but her propellers were badly damaged, most of the blades were found to be missing when she was drydocked. While the Poles claimed ramming a submarine, specifically a German submarine (later thought to have been U-122), a report written by the British stated that the boat may have been damaged by a mine or by hitting a submerged submarine. With damage to the bow and the propellers it seems clear that Wilk did indeed hit something and whatever it was scrapped along the bottom of the boat and then was hit by the props.

Over the years two theories have surfaced as to the fate of O-13. One is that she was the submerged submarine reportedly hit by Wilk. The other is that she hit a mine, either German or British. There were minefields laid by both nations in the area. On the 13th a British acoustic station picked up the sound of an explosion, perhaps in the area where O-13 was operating, this could explain her loss and why she was not heard from since that date. If she had received the signal ordering her to return to base on the 19th, it is not very likely she would still be so far out to sea on the 20th when Wilk was in collision.

We will not know for sure how O-13 met her end, none of the thirty-four man crew survived and to this day her wreck has not been found. There have been several expeditions to locate her, but none have met with success. I would not be surprised if she has been found by an oil exploration survey, but went unnoticed. After so many years underwater submarines don't look much like they did in the war. She will be found by accident some day and maybe we will then be able to put to rest the story of O-13.
© 2015 Michael W. Pocock

Roll of Honour
In memory of those who lost their lives in
"As long as we embrace them in our memory, their spirit will always be with us"

Albregts, Hubertus J. S. M.
Matroos 1e klasse
Ausum, Willem
Sergeant Machinist
van Battum, Antonius S.
Buijs, Jan A.
Officier Marinestoomvaartdienst 2e Klasse
Cadot, Julianus J. A.
Korporaal Torpedomaker
Dam, Thomas
Korporaal Konstabel
Drijver, Jan
Stoker-olieman ZM
van Elswijk, Antonius P.
Korporaal Monteur
van Gend, Cornelis L.
Matroos 1e Klasse
Greswell, Brian E.
Royal Navy
Havenaar, Cornelis A.
Heikamp, Gijsbert J.
Korporaal Machinist
van Hilst, Franciscus J.
Matroos 1e Klasse
van den Hoff, Willem
Majoor Machinist
Laan, Lodewijk
Matroos 2e Klasse
Lutter, Petrus L.
McDonald, Hugh P.
Leading Telegraphist
Royal Navy
Middelink, Antonie
Korporaal Telegrafist
de Moel, Willem A.
Korporaal Machinist
Mooldijk, Jan J.
Nagelhout, Johannes D.
Matroos 2e Klasse ZM
Nieuwenhuis, Jacobus O.
Luitenant ter zee 3e Klasse
Reijtenbach, Hendrikus
Sergeant Torpedomaker
Rienstra, Friedrich H.
Matroos 3e Klasse
Schaatsbergen, Dirk
Korporaal Machinist
Selderbeek, Cornelis
Sergeant Monteur
Sillevis, Johannes A.
Luitenant ter zee 3e Klasse
Snijder, William J.
Luitenant ter zee 2e Klasse KMR OV
Spettigue, James H.
Royal Navy
van der Veer, Cornelis
Matroos 2e Klasse
van der Vliet, Jordanus A.
Korporaal Monteur
Vorster, Edward H.
Luitenant ter zee 1e Klasse
Commanding Officer
Vukkink, Herman
Sergeant Machinist
Wahlers, Willem A.
Korporaal Torpedomaker

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