Soemba history

Soemba was a Flores-class sloop

December 24 1924 Soemba is laid down at Mij. Feijenoord, Schiedam
August 24 1925 Soemba is launched
April 12 1926 Soemba is commissioned
June 15 1926 Soemba and Flores depart Holland for the NEI. They arrive in Batavia on August 18
May 10 1940 War with Germany. Soemba is at this time at Poelau Samboe.
August 15 1940 Soemba is engaged in training new personnel from this day onward
December 8 1941 War with Japan. Soemba is at this time stationed in Soerabaja for guardduties
December 15 1941 Soemba covers the minelayers Krakatau and Gouden Leeuw when the latter lay defensive minefields off Soerabaja, in Madoera Strait
January 1 1942 Soemba is stationed in the Riouw archipelago.
January 13 1942 Soemba is attacked by three Japanese aircraft, without sustaining any damage
January 14 1942 Soemba is redirected to Lampong Bay on Sumatra. She arrives there on January 19
January 20 1942 Soemba and other ships cover the liner Aquitania when the latter transfers her troops to smaller steamers in Ratai Bay.
January 21 1942 Soemba is asssigned to the guardforce in Soenda Strait
February 16 1942 The evacuation of Oosthaven on eastern Sumatra is in full progress after the military situation on the island started to deteriorate rapidly. Her captain is in charge of the evacuation, and the ships remains in the vicinity until late February.
February 24/25 1942 Soemba shells Oosthaven during this night.
February 25 1942 Soemba is attacked by aircraft while at anchor near Merak, Java. One rating was killed. This man, sailor 2nd class W.G. van der Wel was later distinghuished for gallantry, as he continued operating the 75 mm-gun although wounded by fragments.
February 27 1942 Soemba receives order to steam to the Veeckensbaai in the Pagai Islands, where the naval tanker Tan 8 ( requisitioned Petronella ) is stationed. She is ordered to refuel there.
March 2 1942 The ship is ordered to rendez-vous with the Dutch steamer Siberg, which was sent to Java to evacuate military personnel. Soemba tries to make contact until March 10, but then changes course to Colombo. Siberg was abandoned in the Wijnkoopsbay after an airattack, and was captured undamaged by the Japanese
March 15 1942 Arrival in Colombo, Ceylon
March 23 1942 Soemba comes under command of Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Fleet.
March 28 1942 Soemba departs for Bombay for repairs.
March 31 1942 In overhaul until April 17. The ship was redirected to Hormuz Strait after completing the repairs, where she becomes part of the "Hormuz Force"
April 22 1942 The sloop is officially assigned to the Hormuz force.
September 1 1942 Soemba is at Basra until the 7th for showing of the flag
December 4 1942 Her stay with the Hormuz Force is discontinued when she makes a convoytrip to Bombay and Trincomalee. After this sortie, she returns to Bombay on January 6 for a lengthy overhaulperiod. She is also painted in Mediterranean-camouflage.
April 25 1943 Commander J.J.M. Sterkenburg takes over command from Commander P.J.G. Huijer
April 30 1943 Soemba departs Bombay for Alexandria via Aden, Suez and Port Said. She arrives in Alexandria on May 16
May 23 1943 Convoyduty between Benghazi and Alexandria until the 30th
June 6 1943 The ship arrives in the Susa Gulf, where it becomes part of Force G.
July 3 1943 Soemba is part of the escort for convoy KWS 16, which departs Alexandria in the evening.
July 5 1943 The British freighter Shahjehan (5454 tons) is torpedoed and sunk by U-453
July 8 1943 Refueling in Tripoli, after which she joins the escort of convoy MWF 36, one of the invasion convoys for Sicily with her sistership Flores
July 9 1943 Soemba is assigned ( with her sistership Flores ) to the invasionforce for sector "Bark East", during the invasion of Sicily. Soemba supports the landings until the 14th.
July 15 1943 To Augusta after a short stop at Syracuse.
July 16 1943 Bombardment of Catania and Mister-bianco
July 19 1943 Bombardment of Catania, during which Soemba downs a Messerschmitt Me-109F. She then steams to Malta, where she remains for boilerrepairs until the 27th.
August 5 1943 Soemba is taken under fire near Pozilla by a German coastal battery as she manouvers to a good bombardmentposition. Unfortuantely, one of the shells hits the bridge, killing the captain, Commander J.J.M. Sterkenburg and wounding three others. The loss of the captain, respected and loved by the crew, is a great blow to the men of the Flores and Soemba. He was awarded the Bronzen kruis with honourable mention. Lt. Cdr. A. van Miert is in command for the time being.
August 6 1943 Commander Sterkenburg is buried at the cemetary of Augusta with full military honours
August 9 1943 Soemba returns to her position for shorebombardments. During the day, she silences a German four-gun battery.
August 10 1943 One of the breakcylinders of a 15 cm-gun accidentally went overboard. A similar part is loaned from the Soemba
August 12 1943 Soemba bombards an enemy battery and silences it.
August 13 1943 With the gunboat HMS Scarab, Soemba bombards an intersection near Taormina.
August 17 1943 Soemba ceases operations off Sicily, as the island is now fully under Allied control
August 25 1943 A defect to the rudder is found, and Soemba is forced to go in drydock in Bizerte on August 27. She therefore cannot participate in operation "Avalanche", the invasion of Italiy near Salerno
August 31 1943 The defect is repaired
September 1943 Lt. Cdr. P.A. de Boer takes over command.
September 28 1943 Soemba escorts a convoy between Bizerta and Palermo until October 4. She remains on escortduty until December 2nd between Bizerta, Gibraltar and Port Said, but then goes into overhaul in Alexandria. The ship later visits Haifa to allow the crew to enjoy a small vacation.
October 28 1943 Lt. Cdr. H.H.L. Pröpper takes over command from Lt. Cdr. P.A. de Boer
December 25 1943 Soemba departs Haifa for La Valetta, Malta with a convoy and arrives there on January 11944
January 22 1944 Flores and Soemba near Anzio as part of the "Peter"-force under rear-admiral T.H. Troubridge. During one of the actions, one of her guns burst, wounding several ratings.
January 24 1944 Soemba bombards targets near Anzio, also on January 25 and 27
January 28 1944 Soemba departs her sector to refuel in Naples. She arrives there on the 30th.
February 1 1944 Soemba departs Naples to bombard positions near Gaeta. She is relieved by Flores, after the foundation for gun 2 cracks and makes the gun useless permanently.
February 4 1944 Soemba returns to Naples and is detached for escort duties between Malta, Tripoli and Gibraltar.
February 25 1944 Soemba and Flores depart Malta for the UK to replace the worn-out guns. They arrived in Portsmouth on March 14, after which they go into overhaul at the navy yard.
March 16 1944 The ship is visited by the Minister of Navy, Vice-Admiral Furstner, and his chief of staff, Rear-Admiral Termijtelen
March 22 1944 Wilhelmina, Queen of the Netherlands, visits the ship and her crew. Some crewmembers were decorated for their distinguished service during the past months.
Late May 1944 Both Soemba and Flores are back service. The ships spend several on artillerypractice.
June 3 1944 Soemba escorts convoys off southern England until June 5
June 6 1944 The invasion of Europe, operation Overlord begins. Soemba is assigned to the American forces in the sector "Utah" with the cruisers HMS Hawkins and Enterprise. Soemba fires on two fortified positions and an AA-battery during the day.
June 10 1944 Soemba bombards enemy coastal batteries during the following days, mostly on intiative of the captain. The Americans have shown little interest in the ship during the week, and Soemba has had little to do from June 6 onwards. This in contrast with other (American) ships assigned to her sector.
June 12 1944 Soemba leaves sector "Utah" for Plymouth to take on ammunition, repair asdic and radar and to build in a shortwave-transmitter.
June 27 1944 Soemba is ordered to relieve Flores in the British sector. She arrives there on the 29th, and remains in bombardmentposition until July 11.
July 8 1944 At 07.30 in the morning, the cruiser Dragon is hit by a torpedo from a German Marder type mini-submarine. Dragon was moored only 700 metres away.
July 10 1944 German aircraft drop a number of mines near the Soemba, 12 of which detonate on hitting the water. The Soemba is however undamaged.
July 11 1944 Arrival in Portsmouth. Inspection reveals that her guns were again worn out, this time without any replacement guns available. Although British guns are considered, it is decided to lay her up.
July 20 1944 Soemba departs Portmouth with a convoy for London. After being detached, she is laid up in Shadwell New Basin, where she remains until May 1945.
August 26 1944 Lt. Cdr. Th. Brunsting takes over command from Lt. Cdr. H.H.L. Pröpper
October 22 1944 Lt. Cdr. S.L. de Jong takes over command from Lt. Cdr. Th. Brunsting
May 1945 The ship departs for Grangemouth via Chatham to be reconstructed as radar-instructionship. The reconstruction was completed in May 1946.
August 6 1945 Lt. Cdr. S.L. de Jong is relieved from command.
June 15 1946 Soemba departs England for Den Helder in the Netherlands.
November 10 1948 Flores and Soemba are awarded the Koninklijke Vermelding bij Dagorder
June 13 1949 The distinction mentioned above is revealed by Prince Bernhard
October 4 1949 Soemba is decommissioned, after which is rebuilt as aircraft-direction-ship
June 1 1951 Soemba is recommissioned
January 1 1956 Soemba is stricken after almost 30 years of service. She became an instructionship for divers shortly after, stationed in Den Oever.
June 9 1985 Decommissioned.
July 12 1985 The ship is towed to the breakers in Antwerp, which bought the hulk for FL. 85.000.


C. Mark "Schepen van de Koninklijke Marine in WO II"
Ph.M. Bosscher "De Koninklijke Marine in de Tweede Wereldoorlog", volumes 2 and 3

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