Request for help with Dutch ship`s log.

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by 379/101 HAA, Jan 18, 2021.

  1. 379/101 HAA

    379/101 HAA Ubique

    Hi everyone,

    I`m wondering if the forum has any native Dutch speakers who are familiar with Dutch WWII ship`s logs and who might be kind enough to assist with a little translation to English?

    I`ve been able to do most of the obvious stuff, co-ordinates and so-on, but what I`m really interested in are the comments and some help with the abbreviations being used. I`m pretty familiar with Royal Navy logs and can see, in a similar vain to these, that there is a lot of abbreviated jargon being used. The other problem is that the log is written by various people so, unless you can read Dutch, anything like Google translate is useless.

    There aren`t many pages, approximately 4 to 5, and there`s not a great deal of text.

    Any help would be grately appreciated.

  2. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member


    Why not post them here, I'm not a Dutch speaker, but between us all we can work them out
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Post them as Roy says, we have several members from Holland so they should be able to help out,

  4. 379/101 HAA

    379/101 HAA Ubique

    Test.jpg [Why not post them here, I'm not a Dutch speaker, but between us all we can work them out

    Roy ex MD Smit International Singapore[/QUOTE]

    I did consider that but the file size upload is a bit limiting for what I believe is a sufficient resolution to read, but I maybe wrong. I also felt it might be better to try and find someone who had specific knowledge of abbreviations in Dutch Naval war diaries, rather than someone who could just speak Dutch, and I mean no offence when I say this, I just know from experience that R.N. war diaries contain all sorts of specialist jargon and I didn`t want to waste too many people`s time with second guessing.

    Here`s a little trial of one area but just keep in mind that there are about four such entries on five pages so when I upload the complete page it may become hard to read due to the limit in file size.

    Thank you.
    PS: A very rough translation of the above by me provides: "Continued course ..????? formation a.v. (other vessels?). ??? convoy Asdic - Radar ???? DG. ...????.

    This is a Dutch minesweeper escorting a small convoy.
    CL1 likes this.
  5. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member


    Vervolgen koers en vaart in formatie ... Zigzaggen voor
    het convooy. Asdic - RADAR bezet DG bij. Bij
    Afgaande wacht g.b.

    Pretty difficult to read (can't read the "..." parts). Translates something like (piece between "{ }" is not part of translation):

    Continuing course and speed in formation ... Zigzagging ahead of
    the convoy. Asdic - RADAR taken {litterally "occupied"} DG at. At
    Ending watch g.b.

    I don't pretend to understand very much of the meaning of this translation! Hopefully some other Dutchman will be able to fill in the missing parts...
    CL1 likes this.
  6. 379/101 HAA

    379/101 HAA Ubique

    Thank you very much for that and for taking the time to reply.

    As you say, quite difficult to read and some of the abbreviations I suspect need "prior knowledge", i.e. D.G. I think the abbreviation after "formatie" is a.v. and I suspect this may indicate "ander vaartuigen" of other vessels, so - Continuing course and speed in formation (with the) other vessels", perhaps?.



    Vervolgen koers en vaart in formatie ... Zigzaggen voor
    het convooy. Asdic - RADAR bezet DG bij. Bij
    Afgaande wacht g.b.

    Pretty difficult to read (can't read the "..." parts). Translates something like (piece between "{ }" is not part of translation):

    Continuing course and speed in formation ... Zigzagging ahead of
    the convoy. Asdic - RADAR taken {litterally "occupied"} DG at. At
    Ending watch g.b.

    I don't pretend to understand very much of the meaning of this translation! Hopefully some other Dutchman will be able to fill in the missing parts...[/QUOTE]
    CL1 likes this.
  7. 379/101 HAA

    379/101 HAA Ubique


    I`m managing to slowly but surely translate most of the pages but one particular writer (the one I posted earlier), has a very stylised hand writing which I`m really struggling with. I wonder if you would be so kind to take a look at this second example and see if you can translate a little more for me. I know it begins:

    "Continuing (Continued?) course and speed in formation a.v. (other vessels). Zigzagging ...... (later states).....Made contact (with) Catalina 08:50 ..

    As per the earlier message it looks as though it ends in a similar manner when leaving the watch with the status of the Asdic and RADAR etc.

    Many thanks for any help.

    John Test2.jpg
  8. Hello John,
    Indeed, very difficult. At this moment in time I can only make out the following for you, and only then with a certain amount of assumption and SWAGing:
    Starting from fifth word after "RADAR" and assuming what looks like lower-case "h" are in fact lower case "k" [otherwise I can't make sense of it]
    ...Convooy blijkt volgens [illegible] in koers veranderd te hebben [illegible] ongeveer 320 deg. --> Convoy appears to have changed course according to/following [illegible] to [illegible] around 320 deg. ...
    0830 Kom [?] vliegtuig -> Arrival [?] airplane
    0845 Wissel [?] herkenningssein met escorterende Catalina --> Exchange [?] recognition signals with Catalina escort

    Hope it helps all the same.
    Darron in a curfewed NL
    CL1 likes this.
  9. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Apart from two parts (words), I believe this must be the full text and rough translation:

    “Vervolgen koers en vaart in formatie a.v. Zigzaggen voor convooy
    Houden contact met convooy d.m.v. RADAR peiling i.v.m. zware
    mist. Convooy blijkt volgens peilingen koers veranderd te hebben
    tot ongeveer 320⁰. 0830 Horen vliegtuig. 0845 Wisselen
    verkenningssein met escorterende Catalina. Zien con-
    vooy wederom na optrekken mist in koers 320⁰… . Asdic
    bezet – Radar bezet … na optrekken mist. D.G. bij 1200
    Schaften. Bij afgaande wacht g.b.”

    “Continuing course and speed in formation a.v. Zigzagging ahead of convoy
    Keeping contact with convoy through RADAR sounding because of heavy
    fog. Convoy appears according to sounding to have chaged course
    to about 320⁰. 0830 Hearing aeroplane. 0845 Exchanging
    intelligence signal with escorting Catalina. Seeing con-
    voy again after fog lifts at course 320⁰… Asdisc
    accupied – Radar occupied … after lifting of fog at 1200
    Lunch. At end of watch g.b.”
  10. 379/101 HAA

    379/101 HAA Ubique

    Darron & 8RB,

    Thank you both very much indeed for taking the time to help, it`s very much appreciated.

    This particular section was particularly hard to read, although for a non-native Dutch speaker like myself, it`s all rather a struggle. To make matters worse the log is written by four different people and the handwriting is very poor and often heavily abbreviated. Having said all this, apart from the passage above, I`ve now managed to translate almost all the remaining pages thanks to Google Translate and another website which provides Dutch to English word translation. My only quest now is to find out what the "watch" abbreviation letters stand for as it seems that Dutch Naval ships have a different "watch system than Royal Navy vessels. From what I can tell the times and abbreviations appear to be as follows:

    H.W. 04:00 - 08:00?
    D.W. 08:00 - 12:00?
    V.M. 12:00 - 16:00 ?
    A.M. 16:00 - 20:00?
    P.V. 20:00 - 24:00?
    E.W. 24:00 - 04:00?

    Unlike Royal Navy ships there appear to be no "Dog Watches", but I`ve seen a Dutch Naval site which I`ll contact shortly for advice unless someone here knows?

    Thank you again for you kind assistance.

  11. Hello John,
    No problems and as a non-native Dutch speaker [who happens to live in NL], understand the challenge.
    Regarding the watch system, I believe our friends at Wiki have an answer:
    Wacht Tijd Dag 1 Dag 2 Dag 3
    Eerstewacht 20.00-00.00 Team 1 Team 2 Team 1 [so. E.W?]
    Hondenwacht 00.00-04.00 Team 2 Team 1 Team 2 [ so, H.W?]
    Dagwacht 04.00-08.00 Team 1 Team 2 Team 1 [so, D.W?]
    Voormiddagwacht 08.00-12.00 Team 2 Team 1 Team 2 [so, V.M?]
    Achtermiddagwacht 12.00-16.00 Team 1 Team 2 Team 1 [so. A.M?]
    Platvoetwacht 16.00-20.00 Team 2 Team 1 Team 2 [so, P.V?]
    Scheepswachten - Wikipedia
    I note that the timings don't correspond, but the coincidence of the abbreviations and the above appear to be so close I'd be surprised if they referred to anything else
    Good luck,
    8RB likes this.
  12. 379/101 HAA

    379/101 HAA Ubique

    Hi Darron,

    That`s great. I Googled this several times so I`m surprised it never came up, but thanks for taking the time to look for this.

    I must confess I wasn`t sure of the times so this is really helps as I can now go back and look at the log and compare the timings. Some of the names look obvious, First Watch, Day Watch, Before Midday Watch etc., and I`ll Google Translate the rest.

    Many thanks,


  13. 379/101 HAA

    379/101 HAA Ubique


    Sorry about this but I`ve been going back over one section of my translation and I`m not happy with what I`ve come up with and wonder if someone might be so good to give a second opinion. Here`s the section:

    What I think it says is:

    Vervolgen koers en vaart a.v. (ander vaatuigen), formatie a.v. 16:20 wijzigen koers in 352° N.W, 19:00 id. ?? 332° N.W. 18:20 ship-to-shore leren mer? P.W.S.S. (Piloot or Port Wireless Ship-Shore) Cochin. 19:10 O.T.N. Bezetten Radar. DG Bij. Asdic bezet. Bij afg. (afgannde) wacht g.b.(goed boot?)

    Which I think says:

    Continuing course and speed (with) other vessels, (in) formation with other vessels. 16:20 changed course to 352° N.W, 19:00 ? ? 332° ?.W. 18:20 ship-to-shore learn more? P.W.S.S. (Piloot or Port Wireless Ship-Shore). 19:10 O.T.N. Radar active (working). DG (Degaussing) on. Asdic active (working). At the end of the watch g.b.(good boat?)

    What I can see is going on here is that the ship is getting a radio message from the port of Cochin, India, but I`m wondering if this is in the context of a ship joining because of the word id. which appears to mean the same in English, i.e. - identification.

    I can`t figure the section - 1900 id. ??? 332° ?.W - then after the words ship to shore whether it actually states - Leren meer, like I think it does and if my translation of that is correct as it doesn`t seem to mean "meesage" . I`ve put this through various translators but it doesn`t make any sense so I think I`ve interpreted something wrong.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.


  14. Just a question. Where was the ship at this time? The Port War Signal Station (PWSS) at Cochin would have been communicating with ships in the Cochin port area. It could possibly been by radio or more usually by visual signals.
  15. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    I think "id." might mean "idem" or "same", in English, so changing course again.
    Instead of "leren meer", I think it might read "lessen met", which would mean something like they were given lessons in the use of P.W.S.S. through ship to shore contact?!

    Please let me know if this makes any sense...:wacko:
  16. 379/101 HAA

    379/101 HAA Ubique

    William / 8RB,

    Thank you both very much for your help.

    William - Thank you for clarification of the meaning of P.W.S.S. Going by the ship`s log she would have been directly abeam the port of Cochin at 18:20, about 10 miles off shore so I don`t know if visual signals would be possible, especially as the log also states the weather was hazy around this time.

    At this time HNLMS WILLEM VAN DER ZAAN was escorting convoy MB39 to Bombay and according to, the oil carrier EMPIRE TROPHY was part of this convoy. Checking the latter`s movement card she shuttled to-and-fro ports in Iran to Cochin carrying heavy oil and sure enough, left Cochin on the 29 June and arrived Bombay 2 July, the same day as MB39. However, there is no mention of this in the escort`s log but there is this rather intriguing exchange with Cochin on 29 June which made me wonder if it was related in some way? Very often, in R.N. ship`s log`s it will state "ship(named)" joined at sea, but I note in the WVDZ`s log there isn`t mention of any vessels, even the one`s she`s escorting, so it might be a security issue. If not, someone may have made an assumption about the EMPIRE TROPHY joining at sea. I have even found a Catalina report for this date which escorted the convoy and annoyingly the composition isn`t mentioned.

    8RB - Many thanks for you input again. I appreciate the help considering how difficult this handwriting is to read. Even worse is that the writer has jumped all over the place with the timeline 16:20, 19:00, then back to 18:20 and on to 19:10. I`ve had a look at it again based on what you`ve said and I don`t really know,. I can`t really figure out - 19:00 id. vol or vor? 332° at all. I`m pasting in these two sections in closer detail for you to have a look at, but please don`t waste too much time on this, you`ve already given me a great deal of assistance. If it remains a mystery, so be it.


    Thank you both again for your replys.


  17. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Looking at the whole line (also the text just prior to this), I'd say it reads:
    "1620 wijzigen koers in 352° r.w., 1900 id. tot 332° r.w."
    Translating into something like:
    "1620 changing course to 352° r.w. 1900 same to 332° r.w."
    In which "same" would mean "changing course again". Only meaning of "r.w." I can think of would be "ruim west" or "richting west", so something to do with a westerly direction.

    This part I believe reads:
    "...lessen met P.W.S.S Cochin.", so "...lessons in R.W.S.S. Cochin."

    Again, not sure if it makes much sense...

    Getting a bit curious: what are you looking for or working on?
  18. 379/101 HAA

    379/101 HAA Ubique

    Thank you for the additional explanation 8RB.

    Just working on my Grandfather`s "passage to India".
    8RB likes this.

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