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KONINKLIJK INSTITUUT
voor de
MARINE


ROYAL NETHERLANDS
NAVAL ACADEMY


K I M


[Ben Oostdam's
Autobiography
Years 1950-1952]



1952 Training Cruise on the "van Kinsbergen", to New Guinea, part 1

After the Assaut came our Christmas leave, which I spent in Amstelveen. Having seen how much others enjoyed girlfriends, I decided to try my luck and asked Lony, with who I had been in love for about 3 years. This time she "gave in", on New Year's eve; walking her home after midnight into the New Year we discussed the problem of imminent separation: she was to leave for Scotland and I for New Guinea. The problem of sex was solved by placing a kiss in the air over her fair hair, we were (still) too embarrassed about such things ;o[


The preparations for our unprecedented 3 months cruise to New Guinea culminated in the first week of February, when we loaded 4,000 boxes of 24 "pijpies" of ...beer (a total of 65 ton), stowing them where in the old days ammunition would go. A good thing the Dutch Navy is not "dry" like others, because the crew of the "van Kinsbergen" is going for one and a half years!
We naval cadets were excited about the prospect of double pay at sea and another doubling within the Tropics to follow! Instead of our regular weekly "gagie" of 3.50 Dutch guilders (at that time, less than US$ 1.00) we would ultimately earn 2 guilders a day, less than two US quarters!
A sermon by Rev.Rothuisen gave us the guiding principle for this cruise: "Houdt wat U hebt"("Hold on to what you have"), which did not appear Christian to critical me.

TENTATIVE CRUISE SCHEDULE:

Den Helder - Gibraltar,  1,350 NM
Gibraltar -  Malta,      1,150 NM  Feb.19
Malta    -   Port Said,    800 NM  Feb.22
Port Said  - Aden,       1,350 NM  Feb.27
Aden    -    Colombo,    2,100 NM  Mar.05
Colombo   -  Singapore   1,600 NM  Mar.12
Singapore  - Sorong, NG      * NM  Mar.20
* this distance was kept secret since we had to pass through Indonesian waters and they were not too happy about not having had New Guinea transferred to them...This was also the reason for not taking our Indonesian fellow cadets along on this cruise.
Heartfelt farewells (not for me, though) took place on the morning of February 12, 1952 and we sailed out at noon with a telegram from Prince Bernhard wishing us "Goede reis en behouden vaart!" No such luck, we anchored as soon as we were out at sea to effect engineroom repairs, which delayed our voyage till 8:30 on Valentine Day (Feb.14). Frans and I painted a stairway, did some ropework, took azimuths when it was not too foggy, and learned Spanish; to our surprise, two regular crew were seen scraping the stairway we had barely finished painting.

BLO fecit 14 VII 1998:
(today, France celebrating again,
after beating Brazil 3-0 last Sunday!)
to continue to next page:
1952 Training Cruise on the "van Kinsbergen"
to New Guinea, part 2