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stepping stones of maritime history


The German freighter Rheinland was moored in Padang, Java. When Germany invaded the Netherlands on May 10, 1940, the German ship was confiscated and brought under the Dutch flag and renamed Berhala and given to the Rotterdamsche Lloyd.

Uboat attack 23 may 1941
The Berhala had left Hull on April 28, 1941 with destination Turkey and Greece. Until May 11, the convoy (OB 318) sailed, after which the Berhala continued the journey independently according to the prescribed route.

About 50 miles from Freetown (Sierra Leone) the Berhala was attacked by the German U38. The first attack took place at 4.30 pm. Already at the first explosion the 3rd engineer J. Brons, the 5th engineer J. Manuhutu and Chinese fireman Chan Kan killed.

Half an hour later the ship was hit again by a torpedo, after which the ship began to sink. After the first explosion, the Chinese crew members had already cut through the talies of the surviving lifeboats that were still intact and had left. The other crew still on board could only survive by jumping over board. The survivors were picked up by the English warship HMS Boreas and put ashore at Freetown.


Built: 1927, Deutsche Werft A.G., Hamburg, Germany
Owner 1: Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt A.G., Hamburg
Owner 2: N.V. Nederlandsch-Indische Maatschappij voor Zeevaart, Batavia,

MasterLieuwe Jan Tijmons
People on board64
Length452.3 feet (137.9 m)
Width59.3 feet (18.1 m)
Draft26.9 feet (8.2 m)
Tonnage6622 ton


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