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Re: Dutch Sommeldijk - from old forum
Posted by: Siri (IP Logged)
Date: November 13, 2001 08:40AM

Posted by Billy McGee on September 18, 2001.

Could anyone give me the history of a Dutch ship called Sommeldijk, before, during, and after WWII. Thanks in advance.


Posted by Th. Dorgeist Marine - Doku - Zen. Th. on September 18.

Hallo Bily !

Es müßte sich um das Motorschiff SOMMELSDYK der Holland Amerika Lijn handeln.

9227 BRT 1939 in Odense gebaut

05.1940 Bei der Besetzung der Niederlande durch Deutschland ist SOMMELSDYK in New York und blieb dann wohl dort im Einsatz der Niederländischen Regierung.
1942 in San Francisco zum Truppentransporter umgebaut
25.12.1944 Im Golf von Leyte vor Samar durch einen japanischen Flugzeugtorpedo schwer beschädigt und sechs Monate später zur Reparatur nach New York geschleppt.
1946 an die Reederei zurück gegeben und in Holland zum Frachtschiff zurück gebaut.
1965 in Spanien abgewrackt.

Posted by Billy McGee on September 18.

Please forgive my ignorance, I only know English, if you could translate your message about the Sommeldijk. Thank you
Posted by Roger W Jordan on September 19.


Sommelsdijk was completed by Odense Staalskibsvaerft ved AP Moller, Odense, Denmark, in September 1939 and was intended for the Holland-Amerika Lijn service from Rotterdam to the Netherlands East Indies.
When the dangers of the war in Europe became apparent, Sommelsdijk, and her sistership Sloterdijk, were transferred to the HAL service from New York to Java, a service from which the company had withdrawn during the slump in 1931.
When Germany invaded the Netherlands in May 1940 the vessel was in New York, and came under Allied control. In 1942 she was at San Francisco and was converted into a troop and war materials transport for service in the Pacific, and she commenced this in May 1943, based at San Francisco.
During 1944 she made four voyages across the Pacific to war zone locations including Noumea and Eniwetok and on Dec 23 that year was one of 70 US and Allied ships anchored in Leyte Gulf. She had on board 2500 "Seebees" and trucks and construction equipment. On Dec 25, she was hit by a torpedo from a Japanese aircraft; six people were killed and fires started in Nos 1 and 2 holds. HMAS Gascoyne and USS Buttonwood took off the Seebees and Gascoyne pumped water into the holds throughout the following night in a successful effort to extinguish the fire. The bow of the vessel was aground and the propellers were out of the water. The hole in her side measured 20 ft by 30 ft. After unloading her cargo, she was patched up by the US Navy at Leyte. On June 30 1945 she arrived at New York for permanent repairs.
When the war in the Pacific ended, she was involved in New York to Europe voyages, still for the US military, and on Dec 22 1945 arrived back at New York at the end of this service.
She was released from trooping in Jan 1946 and returned to her Netherlands owners. She restarted commercial service in 1947 after a refit.
She later had a slight change of name to Sommelsdyk.
In 1965 she was sold to the Spanish shipbreaker JM Varella and renamed Somme for her delivery voyage from Rotterdam to Burriana (see below).

Here are some example postwar voyages that may be of interest:
Left Marseilles Nov 1 for Hampton Roads (military service); arrived New York Dec 22.
Left Houston Aug 9 and left New York Sept 3, for Macassar (left Oct 24) and Soengei Gerong
Left Rotterdam June 1 for Montreal
Left Djakarta Feb 21 for Colombo (left March 12) for New York
Left Semarang Nov 28 and left Djakarta Dec 2 for New York
left Charleston Aug 22 for Rotterdam and Hamburg
Left Hamburg Jan 22 for New Orleans (arrived Dec 2) and Galveston
1965 (final commercial voyage):
From Rotterdam, and Antwerp (left April 5), for Houston (arrived May 1) and Galveston;
Under the name Somme, arrived Burriana, Spain, on June 11 to be broken up by JM Varella.
Roger W Jordan

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