Bruinsma, Bote Gosse.
Captain Bote Gosse Bruinsma was born on 20 Aug 1861 at Franeker in the Dutch province of Friesland. (North West Province of the Netherlands). As a son of Pier Bruinsma and Jeltje Bos. (a)
This province has its own language “Frisian” and therefore the first names are not always similar as the rest of the Country. As he joined the company in his 25th year, there is reason to believe that he was employed somewhere else first.
He married on 25 May 1887 at Rotterdam with Mrs. Jacoba Ypelaar (born 15 Feb. 1863 at Borger) with whom he had three children. (Pieter (1888), Ida Jeltje (1889), Anna Wiecherdina (1893) Johan Bote (1894)) (a). In 1888 he is noted to be living in v/d Takstraat 2b. in Rotterdam.
He joined Holland America as a 3rd officer on the ss P.Caland which was the 2nd ship built by the company in 1874 after the company went public. with the company expanding he rose through the ranks very quickly and obtained his own command after 5 years. Being assigned to the ss Leerdam (I)
Captain Bruinsma had a rather exciting career with a number of mishaps, although none of his doing. As Captain he was in command of the ss Leerdam (I), and departed for his first voyage in command when this ship sunk after a collision on 16 Dec. 1889. With that ship he had left Amsterdam on 15 December for a voyage to La Plata in South America. The company was trying to cash in on an upswing in emigrant trade to Argentina and had established a new service to this area. Two new ships (Didam and Dubbeldam) would be especially constructed for this purpose but then another revolution in the area put a complete stop to this service and both ships were re-deployed to the New York route and later sold.
While steaming south bound towards the English Channel the ship hit on the portside by the British ss Gaw Quan Sia. On board 19 First Class and 426 emigrants. Both remain stuck together and eventually both ships sink but after a prolonged time so that there was plenty of time to safe them all. Captain Bruinsma had ordered an extensive amount of food supplies to loaded into the lifeboats so everybody could eat and drink while waiting for the rescue. (This helped once on board the rescue ship as they could not cater for soo many. But they did provide wine taken from the ships cargo.) Because the crew of the Gaw Quan Sia had not used all their lifeboats, 3 were taken over by Captain Bruinsma to gives all the passengers more space. A passing German ship the ss Emma (Kapt. Brinckmann), picks everybody up and lands them safely in Cuxhaven. From there everybody was transported to Hamburg and from there sailed for Rotterdam on 23 December.
He is promoted to full captain in 1890.
Then in 1895 he loses his ship the Edam (II) after a collision with another ship the ss Turkistan (Anglo Arabian & Persian Steamship Company). Just before 1 am. In the morning of the 19th. of September while on the way from New York to Rotterdam with 40 crew and 45 passengers , sailing at slow speed in dense fog, the ship is hit by the ss Turkistan which suddenly shows up out of the fog. This was a bigger ship and was sailing in ballast (empty with extra weight to ensure enough stability)and she hit the ss Edam port aft near the engine room. Causing so much damage that the Edam sank, luckily without loss of life. The Turkistan then disappeared in the fog again. (b) Once all passengers were safely landed, they travelled to London and from there to London for the ferry to Vlissingen (Flushing) and from there to Rotterdam. These passengers were mainly emigrants who were returning home as their new country was not what they expected. The crew was put up in a sailor’s home in Plymouth for the subsequent investigation and then transport home.
At a subsequent inquiry at the court of Arbitrage in London it was established that both ships were exchanging fog-sound signals but that the Turkistan was travelling too fast, did not try to go astern once the Edam was seen and did not hove to after the collision to offer help. Captain Bruinsma was fully in the clear; but a note in the company records indicate that the loss of his ship affected him for quite some time but that the company’s management was squarely behind him. Maybe two disasters in 5 years caused a considerable amount of stress.
From then on his career pattern follows the regular company tradition. Appointments to larger and larger ships based on seniority. On 3 Aug. 1906, while in command of the ss Statendam (I) he receives the company medal for having made 100 successful crossings as a captain. He is then the 7th. Captain in the fleet to successively managing to do this.
He asked for retirement in 1911 as his health was giving in and passed away on 06 April in 1916 in Rotterdam at the age of 54
Leaving behind a wife and 3 children. If he could have stayed the course until his compulsory retirement at 60 at 1921/1922, then he would have ended his career as the senior Master of the company and Commodore.
Career listing (d)
Date: Function: Ship: Wages and/or remarks.
15 Jun. 1885 3rd officer P. Caland 40,–
28 Jul. 1885 temporary dismissed due to over complete
13 Aug. 1885 3rd officer Leerdam 40,–
23 Jun. 1886 act 2nd officer Leerdam 60,–
14 Sep. 1886 with the Harwich boat to Liverpool, for the ss Rotterdam (a)
14 Sep. 1886 2nd officer Rotterdam 60,–
02 Feb. 1887 2nd officer Leerdam 60,–
26 May. 1887 dismissed on own request for exam passes July 1887
04 Aug. 1887 2nd officer Rotterdam 60,–
16 Apr. 1888 dismissed for exam
19 Jun. 1888 2nd officer Leerdam
02 Aug. 1888 Act. First officer Leerdam 100,— married
23 Oct. 1888 First officer Veendam 100,– (maiden voyage ship)
26 Jun. 1889 pay raised to 110,–
28 Aug. 1889 First officer Maasdam 100,–
From new York per ss Germanic to Liverpool
10 Dec. 1889 Act. Captain Leerdam
16 Dec. 1889 Act. Captain Leerdam
Sunk after collision with ss Gaw Quan Sia with the ss Emma landed in Cuxhaven.
22 Dec. 1889 Back in Rotterdam
30 Dec. 1889 First officer Schiedam 130,–
24 Feb. 1890 Act. Captain Schiedam
at Buenos Aires hand over of command
18 Apr. 1890 Captain Schiedam 200,– permanent
20 Jul. 1891 Captain Schiedam
removed from command and per ss Didam back to Amsterdam
04 Aug. 1891 Captain Edam
16 Nov. 1891 Temporary dismissed
28 Dec. 1891 Captain Edam 200,–
20 Sep. 1895 Due to loss of Edam temp ashore
05 Nov. 1895 Captain Caland 200,–
28 Jul. 1896 Captain Zaandam
03 Oct. 1896 Relieved of command at new York and leaves
with the ss Etruria from NY to Amsterdam to go to Edam
11 Oct. 1896 Captain Edam ex Rotterdam
19 Oct. 1898 Temporary dismissed and available
26 Oct. 1898 Captain Werkendam
16 Feb. 1899 Temporary dismissed and available
24 Mar. 1899 Captain Werkendam
01 Jun. 1900 Appointed as Terrein chef loods Rijnhaven. (Depot Master Cargo Shed at Rijnhaven)
10 Dec. 1900 Captain Amsterdam
07 May 1901 On standby
?? Aug. 1901 Captain Soestdijk 200,–
01 Oct. 1901 On standby due to illness
08 Apr. 1902 Captain Soestdijk 200,–
28 Jul. 1903 Captain Sloterdijk 200,–
14 Sep. 1903 Captain Soestdijk 200,–
08 Apr.1904 Captain Amsterdam 200,–
01 Feb. 1905 On standby
15 Feb. 1905 Captain Rotterdam
09 Jan. 1906 On standby
24 Jan. 1906 Captain Statendam 200,–
12 Oct. 1907 Stayed behind in Boulogne Sur Mer due to illness
19 Oct. 1907 With the ss Rijndam to Rotterdam and put on standby
02 Apr. 1908 Captain Statendam 200,–
25 Jun. 1908 Captain Rijndam 200,–
08 sep. 1908 Captain Potsdam 200,–
15 Sep. 1908 Captain Statendam 200,–
13 Mar. 1909 Captain Potsdam 200,–
26 Nov. 1909 Captain Statendam 200,–
20 Jan. 1910 Captain Rijndam 200,–
02 Feb. 1910 Captain Potsdam 200,–
01 Jan. 1911 Captain Potsdam 350,–
07 Mar. 1911 Dismissed on request.
- (a) E.A Kruidhof
- (b)The Telegraph Sept. 1895.
- (c) Stamboek 589 page 6 of personnel files of the HAL Archives as held by the Municipal Archives in Rotterdam
- (d) Captain Alberts HAL voyage database denoting all the voyages of all Holland America Lines ships, with information obtained out of Mouvementboeken (Hal Archives), Dutch Newspapers, Passenger Lists and other ancillary information.
Last updated: 30 May 2021