Löhr, Hans Wilhelm
Captain Hans Wilhelm Löhr was born on 21 October 1895 in the German town of Elten about a mile from the Dutch border to the South East of Arnhem. His father was Mathias Florenz Wilhelm Löhr (born 29 Nov. 1861at Lobith and died 26 Sep. 1900) listed as an Engineer but had passed away by the time Hans Löhrr joined the Kweekschool. His mother was Stephanie Johanna Paulina Harloff nee Langenfeld . (Born 25. Nov. 1867) Stepfather was Gerard Theodoor Harloff listed as a Farmer at “Huize Dalwaarde” in the town of Balkburg (a hamlet near Dedemsvaart in the East of the Netherlands). It is he who signs the Articles of Acceptance for his stepson at the Maritime Academy.
Hans Löhr was accepted by the “Kweekschool voor de Zeevaart”, the Maritime academy in Amsterdam” on 17 September 1913. He enrols in the two year course which means he had at least 3 years of secondary schooling including Mathematics and Physics.
On 03 August 1915 he is placed on board the ss Rotterdam as cadet. Which serves on the Express route between Rotterdam and New York. He returns to school on 02 September 1916 to finish his education but fails his exams in December and thus returns to sea as an acting 4th. Officer. He passes his 3rd mate exam on 17 July 1917 and is dismissed from the Academy on 13 September 1917. His school marks indicate that he was no the greatest of his class. But on the reports of the “Kweekschool” his highest marks were for languages and “weapon handling” (shooting and fencing). Which marks were a lot higher than that of his compatriots but only made up a small part of the training. As a result he passes out as nbr. 69 of a class of 72. This did not deter Holland America from hiring him as a cadet or taken him back as a 4th. officer. Holland America has always been a company where loyalty and being “there from the beginning” with the company was considered much more important than being the top flyer of the school.
Between 1917 and 1920 he sails on a mixture of cargo and passenger ships, and he was on board when the ss Noordam (I) made a charter voyage in July 1918 to the Dutch East Indies as part of a Civil Servant exchange who had completed their 5 year tour of duty. The Noordam was not really suitable for the Tropical Weather and a lot of sickness developed on board. To make the trip possible there was a 2nd ship to carry the coal for the Noordam and a warship to protect it. The Dutch Government was almost voted out of office because of this, as nobody saw much reason while in times of war so much expense should be made for a civil servant exchange while they were perfectly safe in Holland and in Batavia. But being on board and away from the north Atlantic must have been a very interesting experience.
After a year on the ss Moerdijk (I) he returns home and marries on 26 October 1920 Louise Sophia Albertina Kleinschmidt a German school teacher (Born 01 May 1889 Oslebhausen Germany). Eventually there were two sons children Hans Harro, (Born 07 Aug. 1922) and Bedo Dieter (Born 07 Aug.1926). They divorce after the war on 28 December 1946 in Amsterdam. He was at that time noted as living in The Hague.
(ED: I have not been able to find a descendant of Captain Löhr, hence the personal life of him is still to be further researched. What I have been able to find comes from the War Records and the help of Mr. Kruidhof (d). Any family who can help with some personal information and photos ? )
Dutch research records reveal that he remarried with Yvonne Berthe Pauline Löhr hubert (Born 30 Sept. 1899)
Then his career continues and what is peculiar compared to his colleagues is the number of ships he sails on until he reaches seniority in the rank of 2nd Officer and is assigned to the Flagship ss Rotterdam (IV) where he remains for 2 years until he is promoted to Chief Officer. He sails as 2nd officer from 1921 to 1935 which is a very long time, but caused by the economic issues in 1920’s and the depression in the 1930’s. Still he was kept in service and not let go as many others were as the ships were in lay-up. As with all who remained in service the wages had to be reduced and this was done mainly by paying “a rank less” e.g. a 2nd officer was paid a 3rd officer wage and a Chief Officer was paid an 2nd officer wage.
In 1936 the economy started to pick up again and he was assigned to the cargoship ss Binnendijk as Chief Officer. He will remain in that function until 23 January 1943 when he is promoted to captain.
In the meantime he wa s on board the ss Westernland when the war broke out on 10 May 1940 and the whole HAL fleet was assigned to war work. The Westernland was involved in troop transports and was chosen to carry General de Gaulle and his army to Dakar. The idea was that if the French would liberate or protect their own colonies there, that it would be much more difficult for the Germans to invade this area. If they would succeed then submarine ports could be opened which would greatly endanger the supply routes to Great Britain coming from around the Cape. Operation “Menace” was organised and on 31 August the Westernland together with her sister the Pennland together with four more troopships and other vessel carrying 4370 British and 3670 French military.
It had shown in the mean time that French only troops might not be sufficient in number to control the whole area, so the British were send as backup. On 22 September an attempt was made to land the troop but the French under Vichy command (which collaborated with the Germans to keep half of France and the colonies clear of the Germans) refused to take the side of DeGaulle. A sea and air battle was the result with damage on both sides and the Fleet retreated.
Then promotion came and no ship. The company needed a new captain as Captain Libau was going on leave and those who should have been available were stuck in occupied Holland. Shortly after he was assigned to the cargo ship the ss Philips Wouwerman. This ship did not have a DYK name as it was not owned by the company but by the Dutch Government. They followed a naming process based on Dutch historical peoples and Wouwerman was an 17th. century painter specializing in hunting landscapes and battle scenes. Holland America had just taken on the management and Captain Löhr was its first master under the Dutch flag. He remains with the ship for year and makes voyages from Liverpool to Freetown in Africa. In May 1944 he is relieved at Belfast by Captain Boschoff and transfers to another Liberty ship the Fort Orange to relieve Captain Visser who was promoted to a more senior ship the ss Edam (IV).
The ss Fort Orange was another Liberty Ship which had been arranged by the Dutch Government to replace sunken tonnage and was given to Holland America in 1943 who eventually bought the ship and renamed it in Blijdendyk (II) in 1947. He remains with this ship for just under a year and then the war is over. He makes one more contract as Captain on the ss Blommersdijk (II) until December 1945 and is then relieved in Montreal by a much more senior captain who had been stuck in the Netherlands for the war years.
After leave he then sails again as Chief Officer (subject to verification) before promoted to captain again in 1947. By that time Holland America had embarked on an aggressive ship buying scheme which eventually resulted in adding 11 A class ships to the fleet. And between 1947 and 1950 he mainly sails on these ships.
Narration to to be continued
Captain Löhr retires on 31 October 1955 having reached the mandatory retirement age of 60. As far as is known he settles down in New York and passes away on29 November 1967. His wife passed away on 22 February 1975. Both were buried at the General Cemetery in Rozendaal, the Netherlands.
- (a) Stamboeken & Movement boeken HAL Archives as held by the Municipal Archives of the City of Rotterdam
- (b) Authors archive
- (c) Photo HAL Archives.
- (d) E.A Kruidhoff corrections and family details.
Sailing Career: (a)
Date: Function: Ship: Wages and/or remarks.
03 Aug. 1915 Cadet Rotterdam Fl 20,–
06 Sep. 1915 Cadet Waaldijk Fl 20,–
18 Jul. 1916 Cadet Noordam Fl 20,–
30 Aug. 1916 Temporary Dismissed for study for 3rd Mate Certificate
30 Dec. 1916 Cadet Rejected (Exam)
11 Jan. 1917 Act. 4th. Officer Noordam Fl 20,–
23 Apr. 1917 Temporary Dismissed for study for 3rd. Mate Certificate
18 Jul. 1917 Passed Exam for 3rd. Mate
04 Aug. 1917 Wage Increase to Fl 30,–
04 Aug. 1917 4th. Officer Maasdijk Fl 30,–
21 Aug. 1917 4th. Officer Waaldijk Fl 30,–
27 Aug. 1917 4th. Officer Noordam Fl 30,–
01 Feb. 1918 Wage Increase to Fl 40,–
12 Jun. 1918 Wage Increase to Fl 50,–
10 Feb. 1919 3rd. Officer Noordam Fl 60,–
06 Mar. 1919 3rd. Officer Rotterdam Fl 60,– (for Administrative purposes)
22 Jun. 1919 3rd. Officer Moerdijk Fl 60,–
01 Jul. 1919 Wage Increase to Fl 125,–
01 Jan. 1920 Wage Increase to Fl 135,–
13 Oct. 1920 Temporary Ashore (Is going to get married)
Wage increase (back dated 1 Jan. 1920) Fl. 175,–
15 Oct. 1920 Wage Increase Fl. 180,–
01 Nov. 1920 Ashore For study for 2nd Mates Exam
10 Feb. 1921 Rejected for 3 months. On own request put back on the ships
11 Feb. 1921 3rd. Officer Rotterdam Fl. 180,–
21 Apr. 1921 2nd Officer Westerdijk Fl 220,–
02 Jun. 1921 Temporary ashore for Study 2nd Mate Certificate
22 Jul. 1921 Passed exam for 2nd Mate
23 Jul. 1921 Temporary ashore Fl. 240,–
30 Jul. 1921 2nd Officer Maasdijk Fl 240,–
01 Sep. 1921 Wage decrease Fl. 228,–
16 Oct. 1921 Wage decrease Fl 216,–
29 Nov. 1921 2nd Officer Maaskerk Fl 216,– Holl. Br. In. lijn
19 May 1922 Wage decrease Fl 210,–
06 Jul. 1922 2nd Officer Burgerdijk Fl 210,–
10 Aug. 1922 2nd Officer Sommelsdijk Fl 210,–
23 Jan. 1923 2nd Officer Veendijk Fl 210,–
23 Feb. 1923 2nd Officer Sommelsdijk Fl 210,–
02 Jan. 1924 2nd Officer Kinderdijk Fl. 210,–
07 Jun. 1924 2nd Officer Stadsdijk Fl 210,–
15 Dec. 1924 Temporary ashore for study for First Mates ticket
17 Apr. 1925 Passed exam first Mate Certificate
18 Apr. 1925 2nd Officer Shore Fl. 210,–
23 Apr. 1925 2nd Officer Blijdendijk Fl.210,–
02 May 1925 2nd Officer Vechtdijk Fl 210,–
19 Sep. 1925 2nd Officer Binnendijk Fl 210,–
28 Jan. 1926 2nd Officer Veendam Fl 210,–
07 Apr. 1926 2nd Officer Blijdendijk Fl 210,–
16 Jun. 1926 Temporary ashore
21 Jun. 1926 2nd Officer Ryndam Fl210,–
21 Jul. 1926 2nd Officer Grootendijk Fl 210,–
03 Dec. 1926 Temporary Ashore
27 Dec. 1926 2nd Officer Spaarndam Fl 210,–
01 Apr. 1927 Wage increase to Fl 215—
24 Apr. 1927 Wage increase to Fl 220,–
01 Jan. 1929 Wage increase to Fl 225,–
21Apr. 1929 Wage increase to Fl 230,–
01 Jan. 1930 Wage increase to Fl 235,–
17 Mar 1930 2nd Officer Nieuw Amsterdam Fl 235,– (sails as Sr.)
16 Oct. 1930 2nd Officer Nieuw Amsterdam Fl. 235,– (sails as Jr.)
18 Dec. 1930 Temporary Ashore Fl. 235,–
14 Dec. 1930 2nd Officer Nieuw Amsterdam Fl 235,–
14 Mar. 1931 2nd Officer Gaasterdijk Fl 235,–
19 Jun. 1931 Temporary Ashore Fl 235,–
21 Jul. 1931 2nd Officer Bilderdijk Fl 235,–
Port duty, ship in lay up
12 Nov. 1931 Wages Decreased to Fl 208,–
Ship departs for sea (Captain Libau) voyage to New York
25 Mar. 1932 Temporary Ashore Fl 208,–
08 Apr.1932 Ashore and put on standby money
Now has Sperry Gyro certificate
12 Apr. 1932 2nd Officer Leerdam Fl. 208,–
04 Dec. 1932 2nd. Officer Leerdam 70% of above
08 Dec. 1932 2nd Officer Burgerdijk Fl 208.—
11 Mar. 1933 TemporaryAashore Fl 208,–
13 Mar. 1933 2nd Officer Maasdam Fl 208,–
28 Jun. 1933 Wage reduction with 5 % acc.tTo Circulaire 929 dated 27 June 1933
04 Aug. 1933 Temporary Ashore
14 Aug. 1933 2nd Officer Rotterdam Fl 208,–
03 Oct. 1933 Temporary Ashore Fl 208,– regular leave
16 Oct. 1933 2nd. Officer Rotterdam 70% of above
20 Oct.1933 2nd Officer Rotterdam Fl 208,–
28 Dec. 1933 Wage reduction to Fl 187,20
01 Oct. 1934 Wage reduction to Fl. 181,–
05 Nov. 1934 Temporary Ashore Fl 181,– regular leave
12 Nov. 1934 2nd Officer Rotterdam Fl 181,–
26 Nov. 1934 Temporary Ashore Fl. 181,–
01 Dec. 1934 2nd Officer Rotterdam Fl 181,–
27 May. 1935 Temporary Ashore Fl 181,– regular leave
01 Jun. 1935 2nd Officer Rotterdam Fl 181,–
25 Nov. 1935 2nd Officer Volendam Fl 181,–
02 Jan. 1936 Act. Chief Officer Binnendijk Fl 208,–
01 Apr. 1936 Act. Chief Officer Leerdam Fl 208,–
09 Jul. 1936 Act. Chief Officer Boschdijk Fl 208,–
06 Nov. 1936 Temporary Ashore Fl.208,–
13 Nov. 1936 Act. Chief Officer Boschdijk Fl 208,–
04 Jul. 1937 Temporary Ashore Fl 208,– regular leave
09 Jul. 1937 Chief Officer Boschdijk Fl 208,–
11 Jul. 1937 Temporary Ashore Fl 208,–
16 Jul. 1937 Chief Officer Boschdijk Fl 208,–
26 Sep. 1937 Temporary Ashore Fl. 208,–
29 Oct. 1937 Chief Officer Damsterdijk Fl 208,–
01 Oct 1937 According to New Regulation Fl 208.,–
Note: Personnel records after this date are not accessible. Hence until Sep. 1938 there might be other ships in between.
28 Sep. 1938 2nd Officer Damsterdyk Fl 208,–
08 Jun. 1939 Chief Officer Westernland
16 Jan. 1940 Chief Officer Westernland
01 Dec. 1942 Chief Officer On leave, Ship arrive at NY on 14 Nov.
06 Jan. 1943 Chief Officer Delftdyk FL 504,–sailed from NY
24 Jan. 1943 Promoted to Captain ship to be assigned.
22 Feb. 1943 Captain Philip Wouwerman At Glasgow
Wages Fl 450.55 (plus 1.1. sea day premium and 15% long voyage premium)
11 May. 1944 Captain On Leave In Belfast
26 May.1944 Captain Fort Orange
28 Dec. 1944 Captain Fort Orange arr. NY on leave
26 Feb. 1945 Captain Blommersdyk Joins in New York
07 Dec. 1945 Captain On leave from Montreal
28 Mar. 1947 Captain Sloterdyk until 22 Apr. 1948
17 Jun. 1948 Captain Arkeldyk 16 May 1949
Check as the Arkeldyk overlaps with the Amsteldyk
28 Oct. 1948 Captain Amsteldyk Joins in New York
23 Jun. 1950 Captain Abbedyk until 05 Aug. 1950
xx Aug. 1950 Captain Sommelsdyk until 07 Oct. 1950
joins after coastal voyage
10 Oct. 1950 Sails home as passenger with the Nieuw Amsterdam. Arrives in New York on 18 October 1950
4 Sep. 1951 Captain Leerdam until 28 Dec. 1951
23 Jul. 1952 Captain Dongedyk until 28 Jun. 1952
08 Feb. 1953 Captain Dalerdyk until 09 Aug. 54 ?
04 Oct. 1954 Captain Diermerdyk until 09 Jan. 1955
25 Mar. 1955 Captain Ryndam until 27 Oct. 1955
31 Oct. 1955 Captain retires from Ryndam and from company