From passenger on the Volendam
Your entire site,
I've been led to it now on two occasions .. this last looking up the Wilhelm Gustloff .. I can shed no tears for this ship .. I was on the Volendam (which I know you saw), and was listed as being on the City of Benares .. both of which were plainly marked as "Red Cross" ships with no cargo, carrying "innocents" .. also my cousin and her father were to travel on the Athenia .. Uncle was visiting for his parents' golden wedding .. came home one July afternoon and announced "we're going home NOW" .. he and Addie were on the next ship .. he at one end of the boat .. Addie with strangers at the other end, but they arrived home in one piece ..
No .. I shed no tears for the Gustloff ..
Coverage of the sinking of evacuee ship "The City of Benares" by a Nazi submarine, Illustrated London News. 1940 - September 28th
City of Benares sunk by U-48 on the 19th. of September 1940
An interesting one from Eloise, the Volendam she refers to was a torpoedoed ship being towed stern first, we passed her when I was in Australia in 1940, in the Atlantic. Of course, Athenia was the first victim of the U-Boat war when WW2 started. Given the way Nazi Germany treated them and other occupied nations, she has a point about the Wilhelm Gustloff, the largest loss of life in one ship when torpedoed by a Russian submarine in 1945 as the Germans were fleeing from Eastern Europe in the face of the advancing Russian armies.
Incredible how with the passage of 64 years when I saw Volendam, and now, when Eloise finds AHOY, and reads about her ship. I have asked her to fill out the details of how she came to be in the ship etc, I hope she responds.
I was on the Volendam on the night of August 30 .. we should have been gone much earlier, but we were delayed for several weeks outside Liverpool because of some infection which seemed to recur in another person at the end of the incubation period .. I think it extended two or three times .. long enough to make that difference .. I was going to Canada to stay with my father's brother at Niagara Falls, Ontario .. the uncle who was booked on the Athenia was with CNR in Manitoba.
One thing I've noticed is that the three captains who "messed with us" all had none too great ends to their careers .. the captain who sank the Athenia is the one who allowed the Enigma to fall into allied hands, the captain who sank the Volendam must have thought he was really riding high when he was given command of the U-2511 (and then when his finger was on the button was told the war had ended .. and the captain who sank the City of Benares was on the submarine taking the Uranium, etc. to Japan .. which was captured .. divine justice for all of them.
You survived .. that's good .. there IS a God in heaven!
These survivors set off in a second ship, City of Benares, and suffered the same fate, being torpedoed in mid Atlantic, many children perished, Eloise indicated in her first message she was listed in the City of Benares.