World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen (1936)

HMAS/HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen
Name: HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen
Namesake: Abraham Crijnssen
Builder: Werf Gusto, Schiedam, The Netherlands
Laid down: 21 March 1936
Launched: 22 September 1936
Commissioned: 27 May 1937
Decommissioned: 26 August 1942
Fate: Transferred to the RAN
Name: HMAS Abraham Crijnssen
Commissioned: 26 August 1942
Decommissioned: 5 May 1943
Fate: Returned to RNN
Recommissioned: 5 May 1943
Decommissioned: 29 May 1961
Reclassified: Net-defence ship
Status: Preserved as museum ship
General characteristics
Class & type: Jan van Amstel-class minesweeper
Displacement: 525 tons
Length: 184 ft (56 m)
Beam: 25 ft (7.6 m)
Draught: 7 ft (2.1 m)
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Complement: 45

HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen was a Jan van Amstel-class minesweeper of the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNN). Built during the 1930s, she was based in the Netherlands East Indies when Japan attacked at the end of 1941. Ordered to retreat to Australia, the ship was disguised as a tropical island to avoid detection, and was the last Dutch ship to escape from the region. On arriving in Australia in 1942, she was commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) as HMAS Abraham Crijnssen and operated as an anti-submarine escort. Although returned to RNN control in 1943, the ship remained in Australian waters for most of World War II. After the war, Abraham Crijnssen operated on anti-revolution patrols in the East Indies, before returning to the Netherlands and being converted into a boom defence ship in 1956. Removed from service in 1960, the vessel was donated to the Netherlands Sea Cadet Corps for training purposes. In 1995, Abraham Crijnssen was acquired by the Dutch Navy Museum for preservation as a museum ship.


  • Design and construction 1
  • Operational history 2
    • Early service 2.1
    • RAN service 2.2
    • Return to RNN 2.3
    • Post-war 2.4
  • Decommissioning and preservation 3
  • Citations 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Design and construction

Abraham Crijnssen was the third of eight Jan van Amstel-class minesweepers constructed for the RNN during the late 1930s.[1][2] Built by Werf Gusto at their yard in Schiedam, South Holland, the minesweeper was launched on 22 September 1936, and commissioned into the RNN on 26 May 1937.[2] She was named after 17th century naval commander Abraham Crijnssen.

Abraham Crijnssen and her sister ships were 184 feet (56 m) long, with a beam of 25 feet (7.6 m), a draught of 7 feet (2.1 m), and a displacement of 525 tons.[1] The minesweepers were fitted with two Yarrow 3-drum boilers and two Stork triple expansion engines, which provided 1,690 ihp (1,260 kW) to two propeller shafts, allowing the ship to reach 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph).[2] Abraham Crijnssen was armed with a single 3-inch gun, and two Oerlikon 20 mm cannon, plus a payload of depth charges.[1][2] The standard ship's company was 45.[2]

Operational history

Close-up of the foliage used to camouflage the superstructure of the ship

Early service

The ship was based at Surabaya in the Netherlands East Indies when Japan invaded in 1941.[3][4] Following the Allied defeats at the Battles of the Java Sea and Sunda Strait in late March 1942, all Allied ships were ordered to withdraw to Australia.[2] Abraham Crijnssen was meant to sail with three other warships, but found herself proceeding alone.[5]

To escape detection by Japanese aircraft (which the minesweeper did not have the armament to defend effectively against), the ship was heavily camouflaged with jungle foliage, giving the impression of a small island.[4][5] Personnel cut down trees and branches from nearby islands, and arranged the cuttings to form a jungle canopy covering as much of the ship as possible.[5] Any hull still exposed was painted to resemble rocks and cliffs.[5] To further the illusion, the ship would remain close to shore, anchored and immobile, during daylight, and only sailing at night.[2][4][5] She headed for Fremantle, Western Australia, where she arrived on 20 March 1942; Abraham Crijnssen was the last vessel to successfully escape Java, and the only ship of her class in the region to survive.[2][3]

RAN service

After arriving in Australian waters, the minesweeper underwent a refit, which included the installation of new

  • "HNMS Abraham Crijnssen". Retrieved 3 July 2010. 
  • at the Dutch Naval MuseumAbraham Crijnssen (Dutch)

External links

  • "The Abraham Crijnssen". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 3 July 2010. 
  • Liem, Emma (21 July 2015). "That time a Dutch warship pretended to be an island to evade the enemy". We Are The Mighty. Retrieved 30 July 2015. 
  • "HMAS Abraham Crijnssen". Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  • Bastock, John (1975). Australia's Ships of War. Cremorne, NSW: Angus and Robertson.  
  • Carruthers, Steven (2006) [1982]. Japanese Submarine Raiders 1942: A maritime mystery (Revised ed.). Narrabeen: Casper Publications.  


  1. ^ a b c Bastock, Australia's Ships of War, p. 221
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t HMAS Abraham Crijnssen, Royal Australian Navy
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Bastock, Australia's Ships of War, p. 211
  4. ^ a b c The Abraham Crijnssen, Australian War Memorial
  5. ^ a b c d e Liem, That time a Dutch warship pretended to be an island to evade the enemy
  6. ^ Carrunters, Japanese Submarine Raiders 1942, p. 151


In 1995, Abraham Crijnssen was marked for preservation by the Dutch Navy Museum at Den Helder.[2] She was retrofitted to her wartime configuration.[2]

The ship was removed from the Navy List in 1960.[3] After leaving service, Abraham Crijnssen was donated to the Sea Cadet Corps (Zeekadetkorps Nederland) for training purposes.[2] She was docked at The Hague from 1962 to 1972, after which she was moved to Rotterdam.[2] The ship was also used as a storage hulk during this time.[3]

Abraham Crijnssen at the Dutch Navy Museum in Den Helder in 2011

Decommissioning and preservation

Following the end of World War II, the minesweeper was used on anti-revolution patrols of the Netherlands East Indies.[3] She left for the Netherlands in August 1951, and was converted into a boom defence vessel in March 1956.[2]


Abraham Crijnssen was used for mine-clearing sweeps of Kupang Harbour prior to the arrival of a RAN force to accept the Japanese surrender of Timor.[3]

Abraham Crijnssen was returned to RNN service on 5 May 1943, but remained in Australian waters for most of World War II.[3] On 7 June 1945, the minesweeper left Sydney for Darwin, with the oil lighter (and former submarine) K9 in tow.[3] On 8 June, the tow cable snapped, and K9 washed ashore at Seal Rocks, New South Wales.[3][6]

Return to RNN

Abraham Crijnssen, in disguise as a jungle island

While escorting a convoy to Sydney through Bass Strait on 26 January 1943, Abraham Crijnssen detected a submarine on ASDIC.[2] The convoy was ordered to scatter, while Abraham Crijnssen and HMAS Bundaberg depth charged the submarine contact.[2] No wreckage of the suspected submarine was found.[2] A pair of hastily released depth charges at the start of the engagement damaged the minesweeper; several fittings and pipes were damaged, and all of her centreline rivets had to be replaced during a week-long dry-docking.[2]


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.