The War Has Ended But The Memory Lingers On
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From that time on, I only returned to my family for my holidays. At the time I had no inkling of how much I would miss them in my lonely hours. Middendorp was very kind. The journey was quick and uneventful through typical flat North Holland landscapes via Leiden and Gouda and then to Den Helder. We arrived in the De Nieuwe Diep harbor area on a street named Ankerpark. I was introduced to my House Master and his wife, Mr.
"The War Has Ended But the Memory Lingers On" by Christiaan Gutteling | Memories, War, Author
Middendorp quietly disappeared to become The Director for the next three years. This was my alma mater, my foster mother for the period of my studies. The living quarters for Mr.
Our dining room and kitchen was upstairs along with three bedrooms for twelve boarders and our ablution section. All our school activities and homework had to be done in the main school building and all the outside practical seamanship work was done at other harbor areas. Our bedrooms were small rooms with two bunk beds and two clothes lockers at each bunk end. Because I was the tallest student in my room, I was allocated a top bunk. Being one of the first to arrive I got to choose the North or South upper bunk; I chose the South one.
That was my patch for the next three years. We were allowed to bring the minimum necessities in underwear, strong woolen jerseys, socks, scarf and gloves, warm pajamas and good rainwear. For outside work the school provided garments such as an overall, oilskin coat, and southwester. I was not allowed to wear a uniform and cap until I passed Prep year and the entrance examination to the Navigational College.
My peers regarded me as a nonentity as I was not a high school graduate. To enter Navigational College, one had to have graduated from high school. All others were qualified to start Navigational College as they were high school graduates. Therefore, I was off into the great unknown with no idea of what was in store for me.
I had some time to have a look around the harbor area and the town, which gave me some idea of the kind of world I had entered. Our daily routine started at hours, breakfast at hours and the school started at hours until hours, a cooked lunch at hours and then school started again at hours until hours, and then a simple evening meal at hours.
I must cut a long story short, for this is not an account of my years of training, but it serves as a short introductory digest to my war experiences; to wit, I passed my three years with flying colors, mainly because I quickly adapted myself to this kind of life. I liked the subjects of the school curriculum, it applied to the practical side of seamanship, although rough and hard work in all sorts of weather conditions, loved the mathematical side of navigational problems with its spherical geometry and trig-onometry; liked working with the sextant and the practical side of sailing, was interested in the application of material handling and in the art of safe stowing; but found the international sea laws and protocol, languages, and geography tedious; but then, cartography and cosmology were most interesting.
All-in-all, I did very well with high marks; a pleasant surprise to my parents. I got to know many people in Den Helder and even had a girlfriend, Annie Smit, whom I took to the college parties, which were held twice a year. Annie, who was my age, introduced me to her parents at my first college party. She had auburn hair to her shoulders, was tall and slender with a ready smile.
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Their home became my home away from home in my spare time; as so many kind citizens were doing for away from home youngsters. What about Den Helder itself? You can become lyrical about a place, but unless you were born and bred in Den Helder, it took some time to get used to. The town had little or no character. It was drab and plain. To quote statistical data, at that time, Den Helder had approximately nine thousand nine hundred and twenty dwellings with some seventy-eight thousand citizens.
Sixteen hundred persons worked at the Royal Naval Dockyard and two hundred fishermen operated a fishing fleet of forty vessels and twenty flat-bottom boats. In the harbor area along the Nieuwe Diep was The Royal Naval Establishment with a large and well-equipped naval dockyard.
In addition, there was a Navigational College, Hogere Zeevaartschool. They prepared students to become officers in the merchant navy or the civil airways. Den Helder was a twin or binary settlement; there were citizenry and there were navy; two very different concepts. Den Helder citizens had basic universal ideals and wished for a fixed steady income, his own house, either rented or owned , and a funeral at the local cemetery. Seller assumes all responsibility for this listing. Item specifics Condition: Like New : A book that looks new but has been read.
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