Member of Class
O 16
Boat
O 16
Sister Ships
none

 

O 16 in Den Helder, note the opened doors of the external-traversing torpedo tubes (beam) and the net cutter (bow).

O 16 in Den Helder, note the opened doors of the external-traversing torpedo tubes (beam) and the net cutter (bow).

For additional photos and information please check the 'related pages list' at the bottom of this page.

 

1933

30 Oct 1933- ?: D.C.M. Hetterschij (stationed in Rotterdam) has the military and nautical supervision of the construction of the O 16.

28 Dec 1933: O 16 is laid down at the K.M. De Schelde shipyard in Vlissingen.

New techniques are used during the construction of the O 16, i.e. 49% of all riveting is replaced by welding.

1936

27 Jan 1936: O 16 is launched.

26 Oct 1936: O 16 is commissioned to the Royal Netherlands Navy.

26 Oct 1936 - 1937: O 16 is under the command of Ltz. I  C.J.W. van Waning.

1937

11 Jan - 6 Apr 1937: O 16 makes a voyage to North America by way of a route via Horta, Bermuda, Norfolk and Washington during which Prof. Dr. F.A. Vening Meinesz, B.Sc. conducts gravity measurements. The O 16 returns via  the Azores and Lisbon. The gravity measurements have to be broken off (the Prof. is put ashore) during the return voyage because the O 16 is send from Lisbon to Spanish waters (Gibraltar) for convoy duties.

For more information about gravity measurements and the Professor's submarine voyages read the book Meinesz - East Indies 1931.

Feb 1937: O 16 arrives in Washington.

9 July 1937: His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands makes a voyage on the O 16.

Bridge of O 16 Bridge of O 16

1938

? 1938 - 20 Apr 1939: O 16 is under the command of ?

1939

The O 16 is attached to the submarine division in the Dutch East Indies.

20 Apr - 29 July 1939: O 16 is under the command of Ltz. II  P.A. Mulock van der Vlies Bik.

10 Jul 1939 - 9 Nov 1940: The Cdt Submarine Division I, J.A. de Gelder, is stationed on board the O 16.

10 Jul 1939 - 16 Feb 1941: The Cdt Submarine Flotilla, J.A. de Gelder, is stationed on board the O 16.

24 Apr - 5 Jun 1939: O 16 sails from Nieuwediep (Den Helder) to the Dutch East Indies. She takes the rout via the Suez Canal.

29 July 1939 - 24 Mar 1941: O 16 is under the command of Ltz. I  L.J. Jarman.

1940

4 Jan 1940: O 16 collides with the Witte de With. No damage for the O 16 is documented, but the Witte de With has a damaged screw.

10 May 1940: Germany attacks the Netherlands.

15 Sep 1940: K XVII and O 16 depart from Tandjong Priok (Batavia/Jakarta). K XVII escorts the merchant SS Lematang, heading for Durban (South Africa), and O 16 escorts the tanker Olivia, which is heading for Lourenço Marques (Mozambique). The merchants are escorted because there are reports of a German raider operating in the area.

1941

20 Sep - 15 Dec 1941: O 16 is under the command of Ltz. I  A.J. Bussemaker.

Ltz. I  A.J. Bussemaker Lieutenant Commander A.J. Bussemaker

15 Nov 1941: K XVII and O 16 are at/off Soerabaja.

24 Nov 1941: K XVII and O 16 are at/off Soerabaja.

28 Nov 1941: K XVII and O 16 are ordered to Sambas (north-west Borneo). The boats are expected to arrive in the area on the 6th of December. In order to be available to C-in-C China.

29 Nov 1941: K XVII and O 16 are ordered (#2 1129-0535) to 04º00N-104º30E (off Malacca) for a possible unexpected action. They are expected to remain unseen and proceed with a speed of 12 knots

29 Nov 1941: K XVII and O 16 are ordered (#5 1129-0951) to go to maximum speed.

1 Dec 1941: Submarine Division I is placed under British (C-in-C China) operational control.

K XVII and O 16 are ordered to Singapore.

Early Dec 1941: K XVII and O 16 arrive in Singapore

6 Dec - 15 Dec 1941: K XVII and O 16 are ordered to patrol the South China Sea. Patrol area 7º30N-103ºE / 8ºN-103ºE. Several attacks are made. During this patrol the O 16 and all of her hands, except for one crewmember, will be lost.

6 Dec 1941 at 14:30: K XVII and O 16 depart from Singapore.

7 Dec 1941: The USA declares war on Japan after Japanese forces attack Pearl Harbour. Approximately 7 hours after the attack the Netherlands also declares war on Japan.

7 Dec 1941: The CZM radios (#109 1207-2215)  that "War with Japan has broken out".

8 Dec 1941Two ALMR (Alle Marine Radiostations) messages (#126 1208-533 and #127 1208-535) report details on enemy forces in the Gulf of Siam and off Kota Bharu.

8 Dec 1941: O 16 attacks the Japanese invasion forces that are invading north east Malaya.

9 Dec 1941:  C-in-C Eastern Fleet orders (#154 1413 9Dec'41) Submarine Divisions I and II (O 16, K XVII, K XI, K XIII, K XII) to form a line N180ºE, distance between the submarines should be 20 miles. O 16 should be 40 miles South of the Poeloe Obi Light at 08º26'N-104º50'E. At Dec 10 at 23:30 MTG, but not sooner, the boats have to sail a general course of N260ºE between Kota Bharu, Malacca and Singora, Thailand. This because a large number of transports has been spotted off the coast 05º30'N and 07º30'N (#156 1209-2045).

10 Dec 1941: O 16 damages the Japanese troopship Ayatosan Maru (9788 t) or Sakura Maru (7170 t). See also 12 Dec 1941.

We are still looking for a photo of the Ayatosan Maru and the Sakura Maru. Do you have one ? Then please contact us at webmaster@dutchsubmarines.com.

12 Dec 1941: At midnight (not confirmed) the O 16 attacks several Japanese ships in the Bay of Soengei Patani (east coast of Malaya, and only 9m deep). The ships are torpedoed while the submarine is surfaced.

O 16 sinks the Japanese troopship Tosan Maru  (8666 t). Some source report the troopship as Tozan Maru, which is incorrect. One Japanese source reports the ship is attacked while at anchor, is grounded to prevent sinking, and is salvaged later. Tosan Maru was towed to Hong Kong in April 1942.

The Japanese Tosan Maru (Photo: © Collection Hasashi Noma) The Japanese Tosan Maru (Photo: © Collection Hasashi Noma)

O 16 sinks the Japanese troopship Asosan Maru (8812 t). One Japanese source reports the ship is attacked while at anchor, is grounded to prevent sinking, and is salvaged later.

We are still looking for a photo of the Asosan Maru. Do you have one ? Then please contact us at webmaster@dutchsubmarines.com.

O 16 sinks the Japanese troopship Kinka Maru (9306 t). One French source report the ships name as the 4980 t Kinkasan Maru. One Japanese source reports the ship is attacked while at anchor, is grounded to prevent sinking, and is salvaged later.

An unsuccessful attack by O 16 on Sakura Maru (7170t) is also reported. John Aldens book 'US Submarine attacks during WWII including Allied submarine attacks in the pacific theatre' reports that the attack on Sakura Maru is probably the same attacks as the attack on the Kinka Maru.

We are still looking for a photo of the Kinka Maru. Do you have one ? Then please contact us at webmaster@dutchsubmarines.com.

O 16 damages the Japanese troopship Ayatosan Maru (9788 t) or Ayata Maru. See also 10 Dec 1941.

We are still looking for a photo of the Ayatosan Maru and the Sakura Maru. Do you have one ? Then please contact us at webmaster@dutchsubmarines.com.

Due to a serious shortage of ships later during the war, the vessels Tozan Maru, Asosan Maru, and Kinka Maru which were all sunk in shallow waters, where salvaged and recommissioned under their own name. Tozan Maru for example was towed to Hong Kong in April 1942.

According to several sources, including John Aldens book 'US Submarine attacks during WWII including Allied submarine attacks in the pacific theatre' 2nd edition, K XII torpedoes and sinks or damages the Japanese freighter ms Toro Maru (1939t) on the 12th of December 1941. Position: Off Kota Bharu, 06°N-102°20'E (or 06°08'N-102°16'E according to other sources). But he also quotes sources that credit O 16 with this attack. Dutch sources do not credit either of these subs with the sinking of ms Toro Maru.

The Japanese Toro Maru (Photo: © Collection Hasashi Noma) The Japanese Toro Maru (Photo: © Collection Hasashi Noma)

 

13 Dec 1941: The O 16, with only one torpedo remaining, returns to Singapore.

13 Dec 1941: : C-in-C Eastern Fleet reports (#283 1213-0741) 100 transport vessels have been spotted off the Indochina coast at 12:13 in the morning.

13 Dec 1941: C-in-C Eastern Fleet orders (#290 0620/13Dec'41) K XVII, K XI, K XII and O 16) to proceed to Singapore at best speed. He also reports that large convoys are spotted sailing SSW from approximately 011N-109E p.m. 12 Dec or a.m. 13 Dec.

13 Dec 1941: C-in-C Eastern Fleet orders (#312 ) O 16 to return to Singapore East Sanctuary during daylight of 16 or 17 December. Staying submarines are to take positions at best speed between Anambas and the Malaya shore, on a line of bearing 310º from Mangkai light, 20 miles apart in the sequence K XII, K XIII, K XI, K XVII. K XII is to be 20 miles from Mangkai light.

14 Dec 1941: C-in-C orders/reports (#340 0821/14Dec'41) that a force of 2 battle ships and 6 cruisers was reported in position 7º32'N-106º18'E at 0654z 14 December. O 19 and O 20 are to endeavour to gain on a position covering the advancing enemy, should they pass between position assigned to K XVII and the shore.

15 Dec 1941 about 02:30 hrs: O 16 is struck by a mine while she is exiting the Gulf of Siam during her homebound voyage to Singapore. The submarine is nearly broken in half and 41 men are lost. Only one crewmember, boatswain Cornelis de Wolf, survives. O 16 sailed right into a Japanese line of mines, this line of mines also sunk the submarine K XVII. Because the wreck of the O 16 is regarded as a war grave the exact coordinates of the wreck will not be displayed on this site. 

The names of the lost crew members are listed on the Lost Dutch Submarine Service Personnel page.

Check out the specials the story of Cor de Wolf, sole survivor of O 16 and Dutch officers find their fathers lost submarines, or read the books O 16 and Hr.Ms. O 16 for more information.

1995

Oct 1995: A wreck, located off Tioman and reported years before by fisherman, is identified as the Dutch submarine O 16. Approximate position of the wreck is 3º10'N-104º19'E.

Check out the special locating the Hr.Ms. Submarine O 16 for more information.

1998

18 Aug 1998, from "The Strait Times", by Chang Ai-Lien: Dive expedition to film W.W.II submarines:

A Singapore team will film two sunken Dutch submarines (O 16 and K XVII) on the Pulau Tioman seabed and offer the footage to the Singapore History Museum.

A Singapore dive expedition is preparing to film and document two Dutch submarines lying on the seabed off Pulau Tioman in Malaysia. The O 16 and K 17, relics of World War II, are the watery tombs of about 70 officers who drowned when the submarines were sunk in the South China Sea by Japanese mines. Both submarines were based in Singapore under the British eastern fleet command when they were sunk in December, 1941.
The O 16, which was responsible for sinking several Japanese ships, was struck by Japanese mines as she exited the Gulf of Siam.
The K 17 hit the same line of mines about a week later, after an unsuccessful attack on a Japanese submarine. Of the 75 people on board the two craft, only one man survived. He is a Dutchman but his name is not known. (Note by webmaster: Boatswain C. de Wolf was the only survivor of the O 16)

Expedition leader Michael Lim, 32, director of Technical Diving International, told reporters on a training barge off Tuas yesterday: "No one is certain what we will find in the submarines. "If they have been air-locked, then we really will not know what to expect." The submarines could still be completely sealed or air locked.

The group of 18 highly-trained technical divers will begin their four-day expedition on Thursday. They will dive to depths of about 60 m. Recreational divers can dive only to depths of 40 m. The expedition divers will use time-tested methods, as well as the newest gadgets, to ensure their safety. For example, they will unravel lines as they dive so that they do not lose their way if it gets very dark or murky. They will also be talking to people on the boat via an underwater transmitter set, and using up-to-date dive software, which will calculate the best mix of gases to place in the tanks and how fit the divers are to dive. Mr. Lim, who was also responsible for a recent salvage operation on the Empress of Asia which was sunk by Japanese bombers in 1942, said that the film footage will be offered to the Singapore History Museum.

The $35,000 expedition is sponsored by Unilever Singapore, which markets Brut Actif Blue, a men's fragrance. Mr. Ignatius Francis Danakody, 21, is one of two men selected to enter the submarines because of his small build. Heavier men would not be able to squeeze into the submarine's hull. The salvage officer with Singapore Salvage Engineers, who started diving when he was 10, is a veteran with more than 1,000 dives under his belt. Mr. Danakody weighs 58 kg and his equipment, which includes a video camera and double tanks, weighs almost as much as he does. He said: "At that depth, everything is so different. Your movements are slower and you even think slower."

For comparison one should also read the Aug 19 and 21 article.

19 Aug 1998, from "De Telegraaf": Divers locate two Dutch W.W.II submarines:

A team of divers from Singapore located the Dutch Submarines K XVII and O 16 in the South China Sea at a depth of 60 meters. The wrecks of the two submarines were found East of Malaysia, off Tioman, by divers of Technical Diving International (TDI). The search for the submarines is financially supported by the Dutch multinational Unilever. The diving team will return to the wreck sites during the next five days in order to photograph and video the area. Since the wrecks are war graves the divers will not touch the wrecks or bring pieces up to the surface.

Reading this article one could get the impression the submarines were discovered in 1998, but the K XVII was located in 1982 and the O 16 in 1995. For comparison one should also read the Aug 18 and 21 article.

21 Aug 1998, by RTL5 TV: War grave film footage (not) used for commercial:

Today the Dutch press reported that the film footage made of the submarines O 16 and K XVII (see Aug 18 and 19) was going to be used in a commercial for the men's fragrance Brut Actif Blue from Unilever. Since the two submarines are still war graves this resulted in a lot of negative response from the Dutch. Unilever stated that because of all this negative publicity the footage will not be used for the commercial anymore.

 

 

O 16 related pages
O 16 class specifications
O 16 boat history
Dutch officers find their fathers lost submarines
locating the Hr.Ms. Submarine O 16
The story of Cor de Wolf, sole survivor of O 16

Multimedia documentary

K XVII wreck photos
Lost Dutch Submarine Service Personnel
K XVII and O 16 wreck photos 2005
 
O 16 related books
O 16
Hr.Ms. K XVII en Hr.Ms. O 16
Meinesz - East Indies 1931
Ja Het Moest
   Hr.Ms. O 16
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have any comments, corrections, additions or do you have material like stories, photos or other data available for this or any other page on this website? Then please do not hesitate to contact us at webmaster@dutchsubmarines.com

 


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