Netherland Line MS Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, sold to become the TSMS Lakonia

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With Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian, Author, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer and Maritime Lecturer

Please Note: All ssMaritime and other related maritime/cruise sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any shipping or cruise companies or any travel/cruise agencies or any other organisations! Although the author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960, although is now retired but having completed well over 700 Classic Liners and Cargo-Passengers Ships features I trust these will continue to provide classic ship enthusiasts the information they are seeking, but above all a great deal of pleasure!

“Memories of the JVO 

m.s. Johan van Oldenbarnevelt

My Voyage to Canada

By Laszlo Pal

The Johan van Oldenbarnevelt seen in the Maas River Rotterdam

“I am writing this to add to the saga of the fine ship which brought me to Canada from Amsterdam on May 20, 1957, landing in Halifax on May 29. I turned 12 years old the day after arrival so I remember the date. We came originally from Hungary and were guests of the Dutch Government as refugees. The world was very amazing from the behind the Iron Curtain experience, even though I was young, but my memories are still very clear.

We were destined for Australia, but the ship was damaged in a severe storm on her return from Australia and instead of heading back there, she was partially refitted and sent on a shorter voyage to Canada with Hungarian and Jewish Refugees. The Dutch Government chartered the ship for migrant for several years.

I was the only one in my family who was not seasick, my parents three sisters and an uncle hardly left the cabin until we were near the Canadian shoreline. I recall we experienced a severe storm in the North Atlantic, and many passengers were very ill. I enjoyed the whole trip, eating my face off with foods, which I have not experienced before even taking some back to the cabin to feed the sick! As I was looking at the photographs on the Webpage, I recalled a lot of experiences like sliding in the deckchairs in the storm on the wet deck as the ship heaved all over the place. Going to the engine room with an agreeable crewman, I never imagined engines that big! The ship was really a wonder! Although she may not have been fitted out at the time for luxury travel, but all of her original first class lounges and dinning room remained in their beautiful old form. Being an artist, I guess my young eyes observed the great craftsmanship in the glass and the masses of delicately carved woodwork.

The Statesman Lounge

Author’s private collection

The great forward timber staircase was a real temptation for sliding! I know one thing, the swimming pool was CCCold, but we loved it.

Strangely, it has taken me 52 years to look up the ship, but I have never forgotten the name nor the adventures I had aboard her. I did not know how special and how famous she was. But it was so sad to learn that she sank in such an undignified way because of carelessness, but the real paradox is that she sunk so near to her sister ship, the “Marnix van Sint Aldegonde.” An amazing story indeed!

Regards, Laszlo Pal.”

An early colour photograph of the JVO

 

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Read the - Harold Heasman Story

Covering his service on the JVO from March 1942 to August 1943

 

Go to the - JVO Index

 

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“Blue Water Liners sailing to the distant shores.
I watched them come, I watched them go and I watched them die.”

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Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are either by the author or from the author’s private collection. In addition there are some images and photographs that have been provided by Shipping Companies or private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors, however, there are some photographs provided to me without details regarding the photographer or owner concerned. Therefore, I hereby invite if owners of these images would be so kind to make them-selves known to me; my email address can be only be found at www.ssmaritime.com in order that due credit may be given.

 

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