True History or Monty Python Sketch?
I stumbled upon this recently. The following is a true story, but could just as easily be a Monty Python sketch:
The HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen was a Dutch minesweeper in WWII. Based at Surabaya (Java) when the Japanese attacked, she was ordered to head to Australia along with other Dutch ships in March 1942. Finding herself alone, and with a top speed of 15 knots, odds of escape seemed slim…until the crew decided to disguise their ship. Using assorted jungle foliage and paint, the crew turned the Abraham Crijnssen into an island.
Sailing by night and anchoring close to real islands by day, the Abraham Crijnssen avoided detection and arrived in Australia 20 March 1942, the last Allied ship to escape Java. She served the rest of the war in the Royal Australian Navy, and is today docked at the Dutch Navy Museum.
This story puts a smile on my face every time it crosses my mind. And when I imagine John Cleese as the Abraham Crijnssen’s captain…
Thank you for that fabulous story.
Picture of the island ship:
Nice photo. Bet the stress level was extreme when they heard planes. Sure all the news was bad on the radio.
Good stuff guys : )
I love that photo of the Abraham Crijnssen. For a modern view, pull up Google Maps and go to the Dutch Navy Museum in Den Helder. Switch to Street View just south of the museum and you can see her today, sans foliage.
I didn’t know that. Thank you for sharing.
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