Wepster, J.P. biography in progress
Capt. J.P. Wepster Sr.
Capt. Jan. Pieter. Wepster (1886-1942)
Born on the 10th. of July 1886 in the Dutch town of Stellendam. Before he joined the HAL, he sailed for the Kon. Neth. West Indies Mail Dienst. ( Royal Dutch West Indies Mail service to the Colonies in the Caribbean)
He obtained his 3rd mates (3rd officer) certificate on 04 Nov. 1905 and his 2nd Mates on 29 July 1908. He joined Holland America Line on 09 July 1909 in the ss Sommelsdijk (I)
On 01 Dec. 1910 he joined the Royal Dutch Nay as an ensign and is placed on board HMS Atjeh. He had been promoted to 2nd officer on 9 july 1907 while still sailing for the KNIM. Passed his exam for 1st mate (Dutch captains license) on 29 Nov. 1911 and he HAL promotes him to Chief Officer on 07 Feb. 1913.
On 09 August 1914 he is temporary dismissed from HAL for Military service. As the threat of Imperial Germany invading Holland faded, he returned to HAL. On 29 Oct. 1916 he is honored for saving the crew of the Vigilant in bad weather while he was chief Officer of the ss Rijndam (I).
He received the “Presidential Binoculars” from the USA and the -small – Golden Medal of the Dutch South Holland Lifesaving Society.
Promotion to Captain follows on 16 July 1921 on the ss Zijldijk. He serves for 21 years as a Master retiring from the ss Nieuw Amsterdam in 1942. Because he joined in 1909 and was phased in sideways, he could not retire with the rank of commodore as he was not the most senior in HAL – years in the company. His only time on the flagship Nieuw Amsterdam was a bridging period between the old commodore retiring ( Capt. Bijl) and the new commodore coming. (Capt. Barendse)
He came from the ss Volendam, which he had commanded since 1938. The most wellknown exploit of the ship was the planned transfer of 320 childeren from war torn England to Canada. On board were 879 souls of which 273 crew, 320 children and their parents and guardians and 286 other passengers. The ship being the largest in the convoy (OB-205) had the convoy commodore Admiral G.H. Knowles on board. She sailed from Liverpool.
Around midnight 31 Aug. 1940 the ship was hit by a torpedo of the U-60 under command of Oberleutnant Adalbert Schnee about 200 miles West of Bloody Foreland NW. of Ireland. (56°04′ N. en 09°52′ W.) A large hole was torn in hold nbr 1. and hold 1 & 2 started to fill. It was decided to evacuate the ship which was accomplished under great discipline. It help that the weather was very good and the sea calm. All on board where picked up by the three ships, the freighter ss Bassethound, the tanker ss Valldemosa and the Norwegian freighter Olaf Fostenes. All were brought to safety. One crewmember, the purser Mr.Baron, perished as he lost his footing while climbing the ladder into the lifeboat.
For his work on the Volendam he received the Dutch Cross of Honor with clasp (later replaced by the Bronze Lion). He also was an Officer in Order of Orange Nassau which is the highest ranking a civilian can receive who is not a civil servant. The British Government gave the same recognition in the form of being an Honorary Officer in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE).
From the Nieuw Amsterdam he transfered to the ms Zaandam to sail home as an civilian. The Zaamdam (Capt. Stamperius) was first engaged in refugee transports on behalf of the Dutch Government from the Dutch East Indies to Australia. Then she came under control of the Allied Command. The ms Zaandam departed from Capetown in November 1942 where Capt. Wepster had boarded. While the ship was on it’s way to New York it was torpedoed on 2 November 1942 near Recife off the Brazilian coast by the German submarine U 174. of the 310 people on board 135 perished including Capt. Stamperius and Capt. Wepster.
30 January 1929 awarded the Silver Medal for meteorological Observations from the Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute.
I do not know yet much about the family. There were at least two sons. One also went to sea with Holland America and another son, Ben, who emigrated to Canada in 1930’s.
Ships and sailing dates:
Date: Function: Ship: Wages and/or remarks.
09 jul. 1909 2nd officer Sommelsdijk 60,–
17 sep. 1909 2nd officer Sloterdijk 60,–
29 apr. 1910 2nd officer Noordam 60,–
27 nov. 1910 Temporary dismissed for Royal Navy Reserve and 1st mates study.
Passed exam on 29 june 1911
01 jan. 1911 Because of a change in the wages 110,–
31 jul. 1911 2nd officer Maartensdijk 115,–
08 nov. 1911 2nd Officer Rijndam 115,–
27 apr. 1912 wage increased to 125,–
16 aug. 1912 2nd officer Noordam 125,–
29 nov. 1912 Wage increased to 130,–
11 jan. 1913 Temporary dismissed
07 feb. 1913 Promoted to chief Officer 140,–
07 feb. 1913 Chief Officer Soestdijk 140,–
17 dec. 1913 wage increase 150,–
29 jun. 1914 Wage increase 160,–
09 aug. 1914 temporary dismissed to due to mobilization 175,–
10 sep.t 191 Chief Officer Zijldijk 160,–
05 feb. 1915 Wage increased to 175,–
08 sep. 1915 Wage increase 190,–
18 mar. 1916 Wage increase 200,–
12 may 1916 Chief Officer Zaandijk 200,–
19 jul. 1916 Chief Officer Rijndam 200,-
04 jun. 1917 Chief Officer Andijk 200,–
21 jun. 1917 Chief Officer Nieuw Amsterdam 200,–
03 jan 1918 Temporary Ashore on leave
20 feb. 1918 Chief Officer Noordam 200,–
21 may 1918 Chief Officer Nieuw Amsterdam 200,–
30 may 1918 Chief Officer Andijk 200,–
23 jul. 1918 Chief Officer Nieuw Amsterdam 200,–
01 jul 1919 Wage increase 300,–
01 jan. 1920 Wage increase 330,–
29 sept. 1920 Temporary shore on leave for 1 month and 5 days
01 jan. 1920 Wage increase 350,-
15 Oct. 1920 Wage increase 370,–
04 nov. 1920 Chief Officer Nieuw Amsterdam 370,–
16 jun. 1921 Captain Zijldijk 650,–
16 oct. 1921 Wage decrease 585,–
16 feb. 1922 Captain Zaandijk 585,–
05 apr. 1922 Wage decrease 560,–
11 aug. 1922 Captain Sommelsdijk 560,–
28 dec. 1923 Captain Blommersdijk 560,-
13 jun. 1924 Captain drechtdijk 560,–
11 oct. 1924 Captain Bilderdijk 560,–
03 dec. 1924 Captain Kinderdijk 560,–
09 oct. 1926 Temporary ashore
24 oct. 1926 Captain Kinderdijk 560,–
04 apr. 1927 Wage increase 580,–
03 jul. 1927 Temporary ashore on leave
14 jul. 1927 Captain Kinderdijk 580,–
09 nov. 1927 Captain ashore 580,– on leave
19 mar. 1928 Captain Noorderdijk 580,–
01 jan. 1929 Wage increase 600,–
30 aug. 1929 Captain Eemdijk 600,–
01 jan. 1930 Wage increase 620,–
30 jun. 1930 Temporary ashore 620,– in hospital at Port Angeles
14 jul, 1930 Captain Eemdijk 620,–
15 feb. 1931 Temporary ashore 620,–
In 3 years until 19 mar 1931 sailed 2 years and 9 months
18 May. 1931 Captain Delftdijk 620,–
19 dec. 1931 Wage decrease 496,–
03 aug. 1932 Temporary ashore 70% 496,–
23 aug. 1932 Captain Drechtdijk 496,–
01 nov, 1932 Wage decrease 446,–
13 Dec. 1932 Captain Burgerdijk 446,–
11 mar. 1933 Temporary ashore 70% 446,–
10 may. 1933 Captain drechtdijk 446,–
28 jun. 1933 Wage decreased with 5% in acc. with circulaire no 929 dated 27 june 1933
28 dec. 1933 Wage decreased with 5% in acc. with circulaire no 929 dated 27 june 1933
01 oct. 1934 Wage decrease 385,50
06 nov. 1935 Temporary shore 385,50 regular leave
01 feb. 1936 Captain Drechtdijk 385,50
17 feb. 1936 Captain Edam 385,50
24 feb. 1936 Temporary shore 385,50 regular leave
11 mar. 1936 Captain Damsterdijk 385,50
Exact dates of following ships to follow:
Volendam September 1938 to April 1942
Nieuw Amsterdam May 1942 – October 1942
- a. Holland America Line Archives Rotterdam
- b. Mr. H.Maazen (nephew of the Captain and whose father was also a HAL Captain)
- c. NRC Handelsblad (Dutch Newspaper)
Last updated 01 Feb. 2016
November 7, 2015 at 8:05 am
Capt. J.P. Wepster (1886-1942) was my great-uncle. His nephew B.M. Maazen was my father. A short bio of Jan Pieter Wepster in Dutch.
Op 1 dec 1910 als adelborst 1e klasse Kon. Marinereserve geplaatst aan boord van Hr. Ms Atjeh. Komt bij de Holland America Lijn van de NMI. Diploma derde rang 4 nov 1905, tweede rang 29 juli 1908. Op 9 juli 1907 bevorderd tot 2e stuurman. Geslaagd op 29 nov 1911 voor 1e stuurman, bevorderd tot 1e stuurman op 7 feb 1913.
Op 9 aug 1914 tijdelijk ontslagen voor de Militie. Op 29 okt 1916 toegekend de Amerikaanse “Presidential Binoculars” voor de redding van de Vigilant als Eerste Stuurman van de Rijndam, bij stormwind en hoge zee. Hiervoor tevens toegekend de kleine gouden medaille van de ZHRM. Op 16 juni 1921 bevorderd tot Kapitein, eerste reis met de Zijldijk. Laatst gezagvoerder van de Nieuw Amsterdam.
In 1940 werd de Volendam, onder bevel van kapitein Wepster, ingelegd voor een evacuatietaak van kinderen en had een totaal van 879 opvarenden aan boord waarvan 273 bemanningsleden, 320 kinderen met hun ouders en begeleiders, en 286 andere passagiers. Ze was ook het commandoschip over het konvooi OB-205 met admiraal G. H. Knowles aan boord.
Omstreeks 00.00 u. op 31 augustus 1940, werd de Volendam getroffen door een torpedo van de U-60, onder bevel van Oberleutnant Adalbert Schnee, op ongeveer 200 kilometer ten westen van Bloody Foreland, ten noordwesten van Ierland, in positie 56°04′ N. en 09°52′ W. De torpedo sloeg in boegruim 1 een enorm gat van 16 bij 10 meter, waardoor er overstromingen in de ruimcompartimenten 1 en 2 waren. Al snel was men genoodzaakt om het schip te verlaten, maar dit bleek geen probleem te zijn, want dit was al geoefend in de haven van Liverpool. De kinderen zongen de “Roll out the Barrel”, totdat ze werden gered door drie andere schepen uit het konvooi, de Britse stoomvrachtvaarder Bassethound, het Britse tankerstoomschip Valldemosa en het Noorse motorvrachtschip Olaf Fostenes, die met hen terugkeerden naar Groot-Brittannië en Canada. Het enige dodelijk ongeval was een bemanningslid, een purser, die zich misstapte in de reddingsboot, overboord viel en verdronk.
Drager van het kruis van verdienste met gesp, later vervangen door de Bronzen Leeuw. Officier in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau. Honorary Officer in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE).
November 7, 2015 at 6:15 pm
Thank you very much ,
Do I have your permission to put it on my blog ? with full credits ofcourse. Also do you happen to have a photo of Captain Wepster, as I have not been able to find one yet. If so, could you send a scan to CaptAlbert1@aol.com ? I am still tracing the various ships and captains and almost at the 2nd world war in 1942. As soon as I can all his voyages and ships will go on the blog as well.
Thank you and much obliged.
June 2, 2017 at 2:27 pm
Beste Henk Maazen, zou u mij kunnen contacteren over uw groot-oom? kan via d.notenboom(at)wo2go.nl
Vriendelijk bedankt alvast!
June 3, 2017 at 4:36 pm
I will forward it to his private email.
April 21, 2018 at 6:32 pm
I am the great grandson of Capt. Wepster. My father, Bert Wepster, was the oldest son of Capt. Wepster. My father immigrated to the USA in 1935.
April 22, 2018 at 12:56 pm
Thank you for reading my blog.
I will contact you from my hobby email with the request if you have any information that will complete what I have
March 2, 2022 at 10:15 pm
Dear Captain Albert,
Thanks for this story with many recognizable details. As you will know from previous respondents, BM had three sons: Bertus, Arnout, and Jan. I am one of the three siblings of Arnout. Please contact me if you have any further questions.