M. S. Bloemfontein


November 2nd, 2010, 6:17 am #41


Must confess I'm a bit confused about the discussion on the matter of existing war diaries. Has either of you yet found a war diary generated during any month of any year of WWII for a U.S. Army transport? I note that none exists for USAT Frederick Funston, and I'm able to assure you that no deck log for a U.S. Army transport survives today. Am NOT talking about privately owned merchant vessels chartered by the army or navy.




November 2nd, 2010, 6:25 am #42

Bob Burns,

Perhaps I misread. Are there war diaries available for USAT Frederick Funston beginning in April 1943? And have you been able to confirm that info?

Again, thanx.


Bob Burns
Bob Burns

November 8th, 2010, 2:34 am #43

Hi Nelson: That is correct. The response I recieved from the NARA in MD, is that the War Diary's begin with April 24, 1943 for the USS Frederick Funston.


November 8th, 2010, 5:04 am #44


> That is correct. The response I received from the NARA in MD, is that the War Diary's begin with April 24, 1943 for the USS Frederick Funston. >

But....BIG BUT....it would NOT be correct for USAT Frederick Funston, her previous incarnation until April 8, 1943, when ownership was transferred from the army to the navy.


As you indicate above, she was commissioned 16 days afterward and THAT'S why her war diaries survive from April 1943. I daresay that any USAT that served for the duration, without being transferred to the navy and thereafter commissioned, will NOT have either war diaries or deck logs surviving. The U.S. Army destroyed those documents decades ago, more's the pity. I had in mind war diaries for the period that she served as a U.S. Army transport, but it's clear they're no longer of this world.


Bob Burns
Bob Burns

November 8th, 2010, 12:50 pm #45

Appreciate the information, Nelson: FYI-The USS President Adams (AP-38) "War Diary" for January 1943 outlined the special orders and ships assigned to Task Group 62.6 "Movement form Noumea, New Caledonia to Guadalcanal (January 1 to 5, 1943). I have copies of "War Diary" for each Transport; all but the USAT Funston as you have explained was most likely destroyed years ago.

TASK FORCE 62, TASK GROUP 62.6: New Caledonia to Guadalcanal
(January 2, 1943 to January 5, 1943)

Task Organization: Task Group 62.6 - Captain Reifsnider.

(a) Transport Unit No. l (62.6.1) - Captain Kiland.


(b) Transport Unit. No2 (62.6.2) - Captain Reifsnider.

(c) Landing Unit No. 1 (62.6.3) - Colonel Jackson.
Sixth Marines, Reinforced.

(d) Landing Unit No. 2 (62.6.4) - Lieut. Col. Landers.
221st Field Artillery Battalion.
Third Echelon, 25th Division.
Battery F, 214th Coast Arti11ery Battalion.
Battery H, 244th Coast Artillery Battalion.
Section, Advanced Depot, 7th Medical Supply.
Detachment Co. C, 60th QM Laundry Battalion.
Rear Echelon, Americal Division.
51st Ordnance Co.
Marine Air Depot Squadron.
Naval Construction Battalion Personnel.
Miscellaneous Naval Personnel.

(e) Embarkation Unit No. 1 (62.0.5) - Colonel Sims.
Seventh Marines, Reinforced (JACKSON, ADAMS, HAYES)
Aviation Group, Cub CUE (CRESCENT CITY).

(f) Embarkation Unit No. 2 (62.6.6) -Lt.Comdr. BLUNDER.
Sixth Construction Battalion (HUNTER LIGGETT)

(g) Escort (62.6.7) - Commander BELL.

Bob Burns
Bob Burns

November 24th, 2010, 7:42 pm #46

Hi Bob,
According to the Ship Movement Cards at the National Archives in College Park, MD, it was the Bloemfontein that left Auckland on October 29, 1942, arrived in San Francisco on November 13th and sailed again on November 21st.

The Boschfontein's movements during this period was: sailed from Auckland November 3rd, arrived in Noumea November 6th; Sailed from Noumea November 14th, arrived in Fila, Efate November 16th; sailed from Fila November 19 with SS Perida escorted by Ellet, arrived in Espiritu Santo November 20th; sailed from Espiritu Santo (?), arrived in San Francisco December 17th; sailed from San Francisco January 9, 1943

Sorry I don't have the date she sailed from Espiritu Santo. I hope this is some help to you.

Bob1942, Reviewing the "Ship Movement Cards" does the card for the MS Boschfontein or MS Tabinta (if you have it) mention if these ships were escorted or were part of a larger Task Group. I understand the 43rd Division less 172d Combat team were moved to NC during this same time period. If so we may be able to obtain a War Diary from one of these other ships if part of a US Navey movement. I posted the ships associated with the 43rd movement in another thread topic.

PS I am still waiting on the NARA-College Park, MD to send me a costs bread-down to order the "Ship Movement Cards" for these vessels.


harold lasswell
harold lasswell

December 19th, 2010, 1:01 am #47

Hi, my grandfather was the captain of the Bloemfontein during the WW II (1939-1945). He was away for about 7 years but came safe home, as so did his crew and passengers. His name was Gustaaf Corten.
Does anyone remember him? Ate Atema, Holland

Dear Sirs: I noticed that you said your grandfather in charge of theship bloemfontein in ww2. I was on the ship for many days in november 1942 to december 1942. My question is ---did he at any time mention the Mutiny in the harbor of New Caledonia? It is very important for me to find out as I was there and saw the whole thing. Enought time has passed so that no one will be hurt with the truth. Thanking You I remain h.lasswell@ comcast.net

ate atema
ate atema

December 19th, 2010, 1:01 pm #48

My grandfather, captain of het Bloemfontein, never mentioned it. Ate Atema

ate atema
ate atema

December 19th, 2010, 1:12 pm #49


The information on BLOEMFONTEIN is most useful, for certain. I'm able to speak only for the period just prewar and immediately after the commencement of hostilities, but the history has a couple of serious errors, IMO. Note that the week's voyage commencing November 21, 1941, has no destination given (although it's clear from the next line down that the destination was Honolulu). I think, however, that absence is the cause for the subsequent confusion. The Honolulu-to-Darwin voyage, specified as "Independent", is the double-error, as BLOEMFONTEIN was of course part of the Pensacola convoy, which did not sail to Darwin, but rather to Brisbane, arriving there December 22, 1941. Then we--or more to the point, I--get into murkier water.

I am in no manner an authority on maritime law, but before the outbreak of the actual shooting war, BLOEMFONTEIN was--I believe--under simple bare-boat charter to carry military equipment to Manila. With the subsequent outbreak of war and the convoy's diversion to Brisbane, the rules under which she sailed changed. The Americans wanted her to participate in a smaller convoy of fast ships from Brisbane to Manila Bay to succor the American forces fighting on Luzon, but the ship's captain protested and sought counsel from the government in Java. In consequence she sailed late from Brisbane, catching up with the smaller convoy after it had been diverted to Darwin on the order of Lt. Gen. George H. Brett, who thought the entire notion a suicide effort, given the IJN's command of sea and air around and over most of the Philippines. [Brett would be strongly criticized by some for this absolutely correct decision, and eventually would be shelved by the inimitable MacArthur as his air chief.]

After BLOEMFONTEIN had arrived at Darwin, there apparently was further argument about who and what could be unloaded there. Some have suggested that 2nd Battalion, 131st Field Artillery, intended with its organic armament, and the non-organic 45 or 48 British-style 75mm guns, to go to Luzon, was hijacked to Java for political purposes. I don't buy this theory at present, because if the Yanks really wanted to off-load this battalion at Darwin, they would have done so pronto, captain's protests or no. Also aboard BLOEMFONTEIN was a field artillery brigade headquarters of 100+ men, commanded by soon-to-be Colonel Albert Searle, around which a full brigade was to be built once this nucleus had reached Luzon. The idea that the battalion and the extra field guns were initially meant to defend Java is not true either, as the intention was to transship them to the Philippines by smaller coastal (inter-island) steamers--a notion the Americans were quickly disabused of once they had arrived in Java, only to learn those vessels were simply not available for such a forlorn-hope venture.

But back to BLOEMFONTEIN, the correct version of events is (a) in convoy, Honolulu to Brisbane; (b) partly independent, partly in convoy, Brisbane to Darwin; (c) in convoy, Darwin to Soerabaja. Thereafter--I THINK--she was fully leased to the United States, and no more appeals to or interventions by the Dutch government-in-exile.

I WELCOME corrections to any errors or misinterpretations in the account given above.

De reizen van M.S. Bloemfontein 1939-1944.

Een opsomming van de reizen welke het schip maakte tussen 1939 en 1944, opgemaakt door de toenmalige hoofdmachinist, de heer J. Bor. Het is de enige bron die bestaat met een precieze aanduiding van de reizen van het schip. Helaas bestaat er geen uitgebreidere aanduiding van de reizen. (Bron: Tyoscript, Mi 95-0111, Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum en brief d.d. 25-04-2002 van de heer C.P.P. van Romburgh, afd. informatie Ned. Scheepvaartmuseum).

22e reis
Amsterdam-Lissabon-Kaapstad-Sabang-Belewann Deli-Batavia-Java Kust Soerabaia.
Vertrokken Amsterdam 23 nov. 1939, Lissabon 1 dec. 1939, Kaapstad 16 dec. 1939, Sabang 30 dec. 1939, Belawan Dele 3 jan. 1940, aankomst Soerabaia 11 jan. 1940.
Totaal zeemijlen 12.921.

23e reis
Soerabaia Bombay Soerabaia.
Vertrokken Soerabaia 15 jan 1940, aankomst Bombay 8 febr. 1940.
Totaal zeemijlen 4701.

24e reis
Bombay via Ned. Indië, Filippijnen en Westkust Amerika, terug naar Bombay.
Vertrokken van Bombay 10 febr. 1940, aankomst Bombay 13 juni 1940.
Totaal zeemijlen 29.002.

25e reis
Bombay Vancouver via Ned.Indië en Filippijnen - Honolulu - Vancouver.
Vertrokken van Bombay 15 juni 1940, aankomst Vancouver 4 sept. 1940.
Totaal zeemijlen 15-656.

26e reis
Vancouver via Filippijnen, Ned. Indië naar Basrah.
Vertrek Vancouver 13 sept. 1940, aankomst Basrah 29 nov. 1940.
Totaal zeemijlen 15.671.

27e reis
Basrah via Ned.Indië Honolulu naar Vancouver.
Vertrek Basrah 30 nov. 1940, aankomst Vancouver 10 febr. 1941.
Totaal zeemijlen 15.021.

28e reis
Vancouver via Filippijnen, Ned. Indië, Bombay.
Vertrek 14 febr. 1941, aankomst Bombay 24 april 1941.
Totaal zeemijlen 14.690.

29e reis
Bombay via Ned. Indië, Manilla naar Los Angeles.
Vertrek Bombay 3 mei 1941, aankomst Los Angeles 5 juli 1941.
Totaal zeemijlen 14.155.

30e reis
Los Angeles via Honolulu, Filippijnen naar Soerabaia.
Vertrek Los Angeles 14 juli 1941, aankomst Soerabaia 6 sept. 1941.
Totaal zeemijlen 12.488.

31e reis
Soerabaia naar Los Angeles.
Vertrek Soerabaia 27 sept.1941, aankomst Los Angeles 31 okt. 1941
Totaal zeemijlen 9.802.

32e reis
Los Angeles via Honolulu, Suva, Brisbane naar Soerabaia.
Vertrek van Los Angeles 11 nov. 1941, aankomst Soerabaia 11 jan. 1942
Totaal zeemijlen 10.543.

Noot: zes dagen na het vertrek van Honolulu werd Pearl Harbor gebombardeerd!

33e reis
Soerabaia via Wellington naar San Francisco.
Vertrokken van Soerabaia 28 jan 1942, aankomst San Francisco 4 maart 1942.
Totaal zeemijlen 12.855.

Noot: Omgebouwd tot troepentransportschip.

34e reis
San Francisco via Port Vila, Papeeta, Panama, New Port News.
Vertrek San Francisco 13 april 1942, aankomst Newport News 23 juni 1942.
Totaal zeemijlen 14.877.

35e reis
Norfolk via Panama, Borah Borah, Wellington, San Francisco.
Vertrek Norfolk 6 juni 1942, aankomst San Francisco 31.08.1942.
Totaal zeemijlen 15.889.

36e reis
San Francisco- Auckland San Francisco.
Vertrek San Francisco 1 okt. 1942, aankomst San Francisco 13 nov. 1942.
Totaal zeemijlen 12.273.

37e reis
San Francisco Auckland San Fransisco.
Vertrek San Francisco 21 nov. 1942, aankomst Auckland 10 jan. 1943, aankomst San Francisco 25 jan. 1943.
Totaal zeemijlen 14.597.

38e reis
San Francisco Auckland Noumea San Francisco.
Vertrek San Francisco 18 febr. 1943, aankomst Auckland 11 maart 1943, aankomst Noemea 21 maart 1943, aankomst San Francisco 5 april 1943.
Totaal zeemijlen 13.737.

39e reis
San Francisco Suva Noemea Auckland Wellington San Francisco.
Vertrek San Francisco 18 april 1943, aankomst Suva 3 mei 1943, aankomst Noumea 13 mei 1943, aankomst Auckland 20 mei 1943, aankomst Wellington 24 mei 1943, aankomst San Francisco 16 juni 1943.
Totaal zeemijlen 15.075.

40e reis
San Francisco Tonga Tabu, Noumea, Norfolk Island, Wellington, San Francisco.
Vertrek San Francisco 28 juni 1943, Tonga Tabu 16 juli , Noumea 24 juli, Norfolk Island 31 juli, Wellington 3 aug., aankomst San Francisco 24 aug. 1943.
Totaal zeemijlen 14.323.

41e reis
San Francisco - Noumea Esperito Santo Guadalcanal Tulagi Esperito Santo Noumea Suva San Francisco.
Vertrek San Francisco 2 okt. 1943, aankomst Noumea 19 okt. 1943, Esperito Santo 26 okt., Guadalcanal 29 okt., Tulagi 31 okt., Esperito Santo 5 nov., Noumea 8 nov. 1943, Suva 11 nov., 1943, aankomst San Francisco 27 nov. 1943.
Totaal zeemijlen 14.435.

42e reis
San Francisco Port Hueneme San Francisco Esperito Santa Guadacanal Tulagi Russell Island Guadacanal Noumea Tassataronga San Francisco.
Vertrek San Francisco 12 dec. 1943, vertrek Huenema 17 dec., vertrek San Francisco 20 dec.
1943, vertrek Esperito Santo 6 jan. 1944, vertrek Guadacanal 8 jan. 1944, vertrek Tulagi
9 jan. 1944, vertrek Russell Island 13 jan. 1944, vertrek Noumea 21 jan. 1944, vertrek
Guadalcanal 27 jan. 1944, aankomst San Francisco 12 febr. 1944.
Totaal zeemijlen 15.567.

43e reis
San Francisco Port Huenema Pearl Harbor San Francisco.
Vertrek San Francisco 25 febr. 1944, aankomst Port Huenema 26 febr. 1944, aankomst Pearl
Harbor 5 maart 1944, aankomst San Francisco 18 maart 1944.
Otaal zeemijlen 4.772.

44e reis
San Francisco Noemea San Francisco.
Vertrek San Francisco 30 maart 1944, aankomst Noumea 15 april 1944, aankomst San Francisco 5 mei 1944.
Totaal zeemijlen 11.924.

45e reis
San Francisco Port Hueneme San Francisco Morobi Manus Island Morobi Milne Bay Sydney San Francisco.
Vertrek San Francisco 16 mei 1944, aankomst Port Hueneme 17 mei 1944, aankomst
San Francisco 21 mei 1944, aankomst Morobi 11 juni 1944, aankomst Manus Island 15 juni 1944, aankomst Morobi 28 juni 1944, aankomst Milne Bay 30 juni 1944, aankomst Sydney
9 juli 1944, aankomst San Francisco30 juli 1944.

In totaal is dit 332.861 zeemijlen.

Hierna vond er nog een reis van 17.200 zeemijl plaats (volgens een handgeschreven aantekening op het typoscript) welke niet nader wordt omschreven, dat maakt het totaal 340.061 zeemijl hetgeen 15 ¾ maal een reis(je) rond de aarde is.

Andere reizen van M.S. Bloemfontein:

Ronnie van Drongelen
Nadat de opleiding voltooid was, kregen we 14 dagen verlof. Juist had ik bericht gekregen dat de "Bloemfontijn" in Norfolk zou aankomen en hierop was m'n broer Anton als koksmaat. Ik vraag dus aan mijn kapitein om m'n verlof daar door te brengen om hem te bezoeken. Ik krijg als antwoord; "Die zie je nog lang genoeg, de "Bloemfontijn" brengt ons naar Indië, zoek maar een andere plaats voor je verlof !" Daar wist ik natuurlijk niets van en heb m'n verlof in New York doorgebracht. Ons schip vertrok op 11 dec '45 in gezelschap van een zestal vrachtschepen met materiaal, zoals wapens, tanks, voertuigen enz. We arriveerden 15 Jan '46 in Singapore. Via Malakka naar Soerabaya en gediend bij de 2de Infanterie, verpleging en bewapening. Met de "Volendam" kwamen we in Holland terug op 26 januari 1948.

Oftewel de Bloemfontein maakte de volgende reis:
11-12-1945 vertrek vanuit Norfolk
15-01-1946 aankomst te Singapore

In de krant van 26-08-1946 stond het volgende:
Gisterenmorgen zeven uur is het m.s. Bloemfontein met 950 evacués uit Australië in de Schiehaven bij de terreinen van de Rotterdamsche Lloyd aangekomen. Om 9 uur werd met de ontscheping begonnen. De meesten hunner hebben nog gisteren hun bestemming bereikt, dank zij de goede zorgen van de dienst der repatriëring. Het aantal zieken aan boord viel bijzonder mee. Voor hen zorgde de Gem. Geneeskundige Dienst.

Bob Burns
Bob Burns

December 19th, 2010, 3:12 pm #50

Can someone translate this into English, please. Thank you for providing this information.