Swaan, Martinus Eduard.
No photo yet.
NOTE FROM EDITOR: AS YOU CAN SEE FROM THE BELOW I HARDLY HAVE ANY INFORMATION NOR PHOTOS FROM THIS CAPTAIN. IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE WHO COULD HELP ??? THAT WOULD BE MUCH APPRECIATED.
Swaan; Eduard, Martinus
Born: Padang, Bali, Dutch East Indies; 3 June 1877.
This is a captain whose life is one big mystery, most likely because he passed away before he could reach the passenger ships where he might have stepped a little bit more into the lime light. Born in the Dutch East Indies at Padang, Bali, there is already the first mystery. His father was Wilhelmus Cornelis Swaan (born 17 Aug. 1845 at Bergen op zoom the Netherlands). His mother was Jeannette Antoinette Auguste Coelen. (Geb. 05.07.1852 at Batavia, Dutch East Indies). But when he was born, the announcement in the newspaper only gives the name of his mother. Did his father pass away before the birth, or was he away? His father was a Captain in the Dutch East Indies Army. We do not know.
The company records state that he obtained his 3 mate’s certificate in 2 steps in 1896.
Obtained 3rd mates certificate A on 14 Oct, 1896
Obtained 3rd mates certificate B on 11 Dec. 1896
Because he joined the HAL on 29 March 1897 as cadet for a six month period, it can be assumed that he sailed for six months with another company as a cadet as you need 12 months sailing time to sit the full exam. Once he passes the first part of the exam he rejoins the company as 4th. Officer.
and renamed with them until 1902A year later he joins the Royal Navy Reserve and he remains with them as a reserve officer for the remainder of his career. In 19 January 1910 he is given the right to fly the Royal Navy Reserve flag on the ship he is in command of as he is now noted as Luitenant 2nd class, which means he could also be put in command of a (small) Royal Navy Ship.
Even with the time away from the company, he rises quickly through the ranks and is promoted to captain on 08 November 1909. On 10 May 1910 the records indicate that he was put in command of the ss Statendam (!) but this was only for the lay up period between 10 May and 10 June after which he joins the RNR again for the next training session. Upon return he is given command of the ss Soestdijk (I)
This ship was employed on the service to the North American East coast ports. Sailing from Rotterdam to Newport News, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston and New York depending on where the cargo was. On 30 Dec. 1911 the ship departs for voyage 66 from Rotterdam for a voyage to New York. Here it stays in port between 16 and 24 January and then returns to Rotterdam. On 03 February he falls overboard in position 40o North / 23o 38West which is in the middle of the North Atlantic. It was assumed that he must have fainted and fallen over the railing as there were no witnesses. It did not happen on the bridge. It was 10 am. in the morning but as nobody saw it happen, the body was never retrieved. The Staff Captain L. Rijnink and takes over command and brings the ship back to Rotterdam on 09 Febr. He remains then in command of the ship for one more voyage until 02 April when the regular relieve (Capt. Van Dulken newly promoted to fill the gap) comes on board.
What is of interest, is a note in the Hurman Resources log for the captain. There is an entry about what a good man he was. This is rather unusual as Holland America has never been a company to sing the praises of their captains in the internal files:
If not the best, then still one of the best, capable / skillful, and sympathetic officer. Son of a Captain in the Dutch East Indies Army. Polite, lucent, reliable, robust man
Captain Swaan was not married and did not leave any direct family behind as far as is known apart from his mother and a brother and a sister. (c)
Sailing List: (b)
Date: Function: Ship: Wages and/or remarks.
29 Mar.1897 Cadet Maasdam 10,–
21 Jul. 1897 Temporary dismissed awaiting transfer to ss Rotterdam
13 Aug.1897 Cadet Rotterdam 10,–
21 Oct.1997 4th. Officer Edam 30,–
01 Sep.1898 4th.Officer Spaarndam 30,–
05 Oct.1898 Temporary dismissed to join the Dutch Royal Navy Reserve.
01 Feb.1899 Act. 3rd Officer Maasdam 40,–
25 Aug.1899 Act. 3rd Officer Spaarndam 40,–
05 Nov.1899 Act. 3rd Officer Maasdam 40,–
27 Mar.1900 Temporary ashore going to school for examination.
02 May.1900 3rd Officer Potsdam 50,–
Passed 2nd Mate’s license 11 Apr. 1900
06 Sep.1900 3rd.Officer Statendam 50,–
16 Aug.1901 Promoted to Ensign first class (Adelborst eerste klasse) Royal Navy.
28 Aug.1901 Act. 2nd Officer Jr. Statendam 60,–
07 May.1902 Act, 2nd Officer Jr. Statendam 70,–
30 Nov.1902 Temporary dismissed for the Royal Navy.
02 Dec. 1902 For 6 months placed on board HM. Gier per 2 Dec. 1902.
Xx Jun. 1903 Passed first mates license
08 Jul. 1903 2nd Officer Sr. Rotterdam 70,–
24 Nov.1903 Temporary dismissed for exam 27 Nov. passed study for certificate B1 on 9 Dec.1903
10 Dec.1903 2nd Officer Sr. Rotterdam 70,–
23 Mar.1904 2nd Officer Sr. Rijndam 70,–
12 Dec. 1904 2nd Officer Sr. Noordam 70,–
13 Dec.1905 Temporary dismissed to join the Royal Navy.
30 Dec. 1905 Assigned for a three month exercise on board HMS Piet Hein.
10 Mar.1906 Act. Chief Officer Potsdam 90,–
16 Apr.1906 Promoted to Luitenant 2nd class.
12 Dec. 1906 Act. Chief Officer Noordam 90,–
02 Jan.1907 Act. Chief Officer Sloterdijk 90,–
01 Sep.1907 Temporary dismissed to join the Royal Navy.
10 Mar.1908 Chief Officer Potsdam 100,–
21 Mar.1908 Chief Officer Soestdijk 100,-
28 Mar.1908 Chief Officer Statendam 100,-
24 Mar.1909 Chief Officer Rotterdam 100,-
08 Nov.1909 Captain Sommelsdijk 200,-
29 Apr.1910 Captain Andijk 200,-
10 May.1910 Captain Statendam 200,-
10 Jun.1910 Temporary dismissed to join the Royal Navy.
05 Sep.1910 Captain Soestdijk 200,-
01 Jan.1911 Wages increase due to review 250,–
03 Feb. 1912 While on the way from Newport to Rotterdam at 10 am. in the morning at 40o 08 N and 23o 38’West fallen overboard and drowned. The body was not retrieved.
(a) Own Archive
(b) Stamboek Human Resources HAL ARchives Rotterdam
(c) E.A. Kruidhof.