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KONINKLIJK INSTITUUT
voor de
MARINE


ROYAL NETHERLANDS
NAVAL ACADEMY


K I M


[Ben Oostdam's
Autobiography
Years 1950-1952]



TRAINING CRUISE on the AIRCRAFT CARRIER "KAREL DOORMAN", part 7

Our visit to Valencia was a historic event, since ours was the first official Naval port call to Spain after the 12 year blockade imposed on the country after Generalissimo Franco had come to power.
The entire population of this historic city had converged on the quays to see the "Doorman" moor - which she did by pulling sideways using the full prop-power of all our planes parked sideways (and well-anchored)on the flight deck.
We enjoyed four solid days and nights of festivities, and especially we, the "adelborsten", were as popular as bull-fighters with our high red collars, white gloves and "ponjaards". (one junior officer actually borrowed a naval cadet's uniform!)
The crew was excited about what all favors the senoritas extended in exchange for a simple roll of King peppermint - which was readily sold out from the ship's store.


After Valencia (Dec.8-12, 1950), things were anti-climactic. We sailed along the ancient Moorish coast back to the Strait of Gibraltar, the exit of "Mare Nostrum". Another remnant of colonialism, Gibraltar (left), offered us Dutch saylors the pleasant memory of long-past historic victories in this case, the Battle of Gibraltar in 1607 (right)


The last entry in my log was on Dec.13, when I complained about lack of confidentiality:
" how can you write about the character of your fellow cadets, or even state what enormously fine blokes saylors Raas, Brouwer, Doorschodt, Saai and Getrouw (Lit.Dull and Faithfull) and Corporal Bakker are, and that you'd have to get even with a certain Corporal Signalmen later in your career?"
We were still on our way home, which we reached before Christmas but - sadly - after the Assaut, the annual four-day festival in Den Helder. Anyhow, this first training cruise was fantastic, and I'll try to translate the anonymous poem published in the "Willemsoord" issue of January 1951 - even though it loses its enchantment in translation.
END OF CRUISE
Greetings to all former crew members, get in touch, please!
If this link does not work, use my E-mail address: boostdam@hotmail.com

to continue to next page: Back at the Institute - 1951.
BLO fecit 5 VII 1998