My Navy Time 01



Notification from Roel Rijks.

I am looking for seamen from Squadron 5 (Hr. Ms. Karel Doorman, Hr.Ms. Groningen and Limburg) during the so-called Flag Display in New Guinea (27-7-1960 to 15-10-1960) who did not receive veteran status or New Guinea Remembrance Cross for this.

Are you this person or do you know someone? Then please put them in touch with me, Roel Rijks, e-mail:


At the age of 16, after leaving high school early, I wanted to go sailing. I actually wanted that since childhood. My father wouldn't let me go to the merchant navy because that was a free-spirited gang according to him. But when I said that I wanted to go to the Royal Navy, he had no objection because there was discipline there according to him. He was confident in that. In a way, of course, he was right. I never betrayed his trust. Unfortunately he was not allowed to experience my further naval career. Unfortunately, he passed away before I was a sergeant. That is why I also dedicate this Naval story to him.

Naval Attendance Center Voorschoten and Naval Training Camp Hilversum

Wapenschild Marine Opleidingskamp

On August 16, 1960, after being inspected at the Naval Attendance Center at Voorschoten, I entered into a voluntary commitment to the Navy for six years as a 3rd class warehouse manager. The train journey to Voorschoten was my first train journey where I had to travel alone because before that time I always traveled by train with my parents when we went on holiday, for example. I then lived in Bergen op Zoom, where I was born and raised. Quite an undertaking, but it all went well.

Subsequently, the first military training (I was assigned to barge 247, I will return to this later in my story at my management training) and followed the first professional training in the Naval Training Camp in Hilversum. In the middle of the woods and no sea to be seen.

The professional training was immediately followed by the basic course ABCD (Atomic, Biological, Chemical, Damage (average)) on January 7, 1961. This course lasted one week and was given at the Amsterdam Marine Barracks. Part of the practical part was given on Zeeburgereiland, which used to be a naval air base for seaplanes.


Mine Counter-Measures Services 

From January 1961 to May 1961 I received my first posting with the Mine Counter-Measures Services. That was a shore placement while I was hoping to get a sailing placement, a small disappointment but luckily (small consolation) I was placed within the Mine Counter-Measures Services at the Minesweepers Conservation Service. So I regularly came on board a ship, although not a sailing ship, but still....... in April of that year I was allowed to spend a month with the HMS. "Sittard" sailing along. The ship had to be taken out of conservation by reservists and then they had to go (trial) sailing

with it. Thanks to my then divisional chief (the Lieutenant at sea of professional services second class oldest category Straatsma) I was allowed to sail for a month. That suited me fine. I had to work there as a assistance (helping the cook and the cafeteria manager), but also as a helmsman and lookout on the bridge. I liked the last 2 jobs the best. Nice in the open air. I have not been seasick. I've never had any trouble with that, by the way.

Images and additional information

(Most images can be enlarged by clicking on them.)

De familie Claesen.

The Claesen family

The sailor cap

Mijn val dood plaatje

The warehouse manager's service insignia plus my "drop dead" plaque.

Uitleg van het MOKH wapenschild
Uitdraai van mijn eerste dienstverband

Some photos taken during my First Military Training in Hilversum. Top left a class photo of "bak" 247, next to that two photos during an exercise lesson on the parade ground, next to that two "state photos". In the bottom row on the left some boys from my "bak", next to it the concrete training ship the "Noordbrabant" for practicing ship tasks and related matters, next to that sloop rowing and sailing on the Loosdrechtse Plassen and the last picture a mural in the canteen "De Witte Olifant" . The painting was made by the Dutch painter Rien Poortvliet and depicts "getting the kitten". Rien Poortvliet served as a conscript (milicien) in the navy.

NBCD practical training, fire fighting.

For explanation of "bak" click here

On that page, it is explained in the right column.

Uitleg van het wapenschild van de Sittard

HMS. "Sittard" (M830) belonged to the Dokkum class coastal minesweepers

length                             46,62 m

Beam                               8,75 m

Draught                            2,28 m St. displacement            373 tons Vermogen geleverd door              2 Werkspoor/                2500 pk  Man diesel engines

Speed                                  14 kn Crew                                        38


40 mm machine guns Bofors      2

The ship was built at the shipyard Niestern Scheepsb. Union in Hellevoetsluis. The wooden ship was put into service on December 19, 1956 and was taken out of service on November 23, 1997 and is now a training ship for the Sea Cadet Corps Harlingen.

Some photos taken at the Minesweepers Conservation Service and my bed at the Mines Service Barracks.

© 2000 PCL