Gerardus Bernardus Michael van Erkel, RNN

Born  25 Apr 1906Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died  1 Feb 1998(91)Doorn, Netherlands


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Ranks

18 Aug 1926 luitenant ter zee 3e klasse (S.Lt.)
18 Aug 1928 luitenant ter zee 2e klasse (Lt.)
13 May 1937 luitenant ter zee 1e klasse (Lt.Cdr.)
1 Mar 1947 kapitein-luitenant ter zee (Cdr.)
18 Aug 1954 kapitein ter zee (Capt.)
25 Jul 1960 Vice Admiraal (Vice Admiral)

Retired: 1 Apr 1964


Decorations

Warship Commands listed for Gerardus Bernardus Michael van Erkel, RNN


ShipRankTypeFromTo
HNMS O 24 (P 24)luitenant ter zee 1e klasse (Lt.Cdr.)Submarine13 May 19401 Jun 1940
HNMS O 23 (P 23)luitenant ter zee 1e klasse (Lt.Cdr.)Submarine1 Jun 194028 Sep 1940
HNMS O 23 (P 23)luitenant ter zee 1e klasse (Lt.Cdr.)Submarine20 Nov 194013 Nov 1941

Career information

We currently have no career / biographical information on this officer.

Events related to this officer

Submarine HNMS O 24 (P 24)


13 May 1940
Around 2100 hours HrMs O 24 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) and her sister ship HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G. Koudijs, RNN) departed the Lekhaven in Rotterdam bound for the U.K. Both submarines were were bottomed in the North Sea during daylight hours and both arrived safely at the Downs on the 15th. (1)

15 May 1940
HrMs Willem van der Zaan (Lt. Cdr. H.D. Lindner RNN), HrMs O 9 (Lt. J. Metz, RNN), HrMs O 10 (Lt. G. Quint, RNN(R)), HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G. Koudijs, RNN) and HrMs O 24 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) all departed the Downs for Porstmouth where they arrived the next day. (1)


Submarine HNMS O 23 (P 23)


4 Jun 1940
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) moves from Fort Blockhouse to the Thornycroft shipyard where she will be completed. (2)

8 Jun 1940
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) was docked at the Thornycroft shipyard. (2)

25 Jun 1940
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) was undocked. (2)

5 Jul 1940
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) departed the Thornycroft shipyard for Fort Blockhouse, the British submarine base at Portsmouth (HMS Dolphin). (2)

9 Jul 1940
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) departs Portsmouth for Rothesay on the Scottish West coast. She is escorted by the Dutch torpedo boat HrMs Z 6 (Lt.Cdr. A.C. Lunbeck, RNN).

Off Portland they were joined by the Dutch submarines HrMs O 9 (Lt. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) and HrMs O 10 (Lt. G. Quint, RNN(R)). (2)

11 Jul 1940
The Dutch submarines HrMs O 9 (Lt. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN), HrMs O 10 (Lt. G. Quint, RNN(R)), HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) and their escort the Dutch torpedo boat HrMs Z 6 (Lt.Cdr. A.C. Lunbeck, RNN) arrive at Milford Haven. (2)

12 Jul 1940
The Dutch submarines HrMs O 9 (Lt. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN), HrMs O 10 (Lt. G. Quint, RNN(R)), HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) and their escort the Dutch torpedo boat HrMs Z 6 (Lt.Cdr. A.C. Lunbeck, RNN) depart Milford Haven for Rothesay. (2)

14 Jul 1940
The Dutch submarines HrMs O 9 (Lt. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN), HrMs O 10 (Lt. G. Quint, RNN(R)), HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) and their escort the Dutch torpedo boat HrMs Z 6 (Lt.Cdr. A.C. Lunbeck, RNN) arrive at Rothesay.

At Rothesay O 23 conducted trials and training. (2)

26 Jul 1940
After a period of trials and training, HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN), departs Rothesay for Rosyth. She is escorted by the Dutch torpedo boat HrMs Z 6 (Lt.Cdr. A.C. Lunbeck, RNN). (2)

27 Jul 1940
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) and her escort, the the Dutch torpedo boat HrMs Z 6 (Lt.Cdr. A.C. Lunbeck, RNN) arrive at Stornoway. (2)

28 Jul 1940
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) and her escort, the the Dutch torpedo boat HrMs Z 6 (Lt.Cdr. A.C. Lunbeck, RNN) departs Stornoway for Rosyth.

Off Scapa Flow they were joined by the British submarine HMS L 26 (Lt. P.L. Field, RN). (2)

29 Jul 1940
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN), HMS L 26 (Lt. P.L. Field, RN) and their escort, the the Dutch torpedo boat HrMs Z 6 (Lt.Cdr. A.C. Lunbeck, RNN) arrive at Rosyth. (2)

1 Aug 1940
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) and her escort, the the Dutch torpedo boat HrMs Z 6 (Lt.Cdr. A.C. Lunbeck, RNN) both departed Rosyth for Dundee where both ships arrive after a few hours.

At Dundee repairs were made to the diesel engines of O 23. Since leaving Portsmouth they had produced a lot of smoke. (2)

15 Aug 1940
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel) conducted trials off Dundee. (2)

18 Aug 1940
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) departed Dundee for her 1st (work-up) war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the North Sea.

For the daily positions of HrMs O 23 during this patrol see the map below.


Ver HrMs O 23 1st war patrol click here for bigger map (3)

30 Aug 1940
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) ended her 1st (work-up) war patrol at Dundee. (3)

8 Sep 1940
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) departed Dundee for her 2nd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the North Sea.

For the daily positions of HrMs O 23 during this patrol see the map below.


Ver HrMs O 23 2nd war patrol click here for bigger map (3)

10 Sep 1940
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) was ordered to search for the crew of a British aircraft that had crashed in the sea nearby.

The aircrew was not found and O 23 resumed her war patrol. (3)

21 Sep 1940
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) ended her 2nd war patrol at Dundee. (3)

28 Sep 1940
Lt.Cdr. A.M. Valkenburg, RNN temporary took over command of HrMs O 23 from Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel when he was sick. (2)

20 Nov 1940
Now off the sick list, Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel takes up command of HrMs O 23 again. (4)

28 Nov 1940
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) departed Dundee for Grangemouth where she was to be docked. (4)

29 Nov 1940
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) was docked at Grangemouth. (4)

7 Dec 1940
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) was undocked. (4)

15 Dec 1940
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) was towed from Grangemouth to Rosyth for degaussing. (4)

16 Dec 1940
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) left Rosyth for Dundee where she arrived later the same day. (4)

18 Dec 1940
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) departed Dundee for her 5th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off the South-West coast of Norway near Bergen.

For the daily positions of HrMs O 23 during this patrol see the map below.


Ver HrMs O 23 5th war patrol click here for bigger map (3)

1 Jan 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) ended her 5th war patrol at Dundee. (3)

20 Jan 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) departed Dundee for her 6th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off the South-West coast of Norway to the North of Bergen.

For the daily positions of HrMs O 23 during this patrol see the map below.


Ver HrMs O 23 6th war patrol click here for bigger map (3)

25 Jan 1941 (position 60.53, 3.47)
At 1510 hours, near position 60°53'N, 03°47'E, a loud explosion was heard on board the submerged HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN). Three minutes later a second loud explosion was heard. It might have been that O 23 was attacked by an aircraft. Lt.Cdr. van Erkel took O 23 deep. (3)

1 Feb 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) ended her 6th war patrol at Dundee. (3)

12 Feb 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) departed Dundee for her 7th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off the South-West coast of Norway near Bergen.

For the daily positions of HrMs O 23 during this patrol see the map below.


Ver HrMs O 23 7th war patrol click here for bigger map (3)

14 Feb 1941
Shortly after arriving in her patrol area HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) is ordered to break off her 7th war patrol and return to Dundee. She is to be sent to Gibraltar to operate from that base. (3)

17 Feb 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) ended her 7th war patrol at Dundee. (3)

23 Feb 1941
HrMs O 21 (Lt.Cdr. J.F. van Dulm, RNN) and HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) both depart from Dundee bound for Gibraltar (8th war patrol for O 23). The submarines were escorted by the British armed yacht HMS White Bear (Cdr. (retired) C.C. Flemming, RN). On 25 February the Free French minesweeper FFS La Moqueuse took over the escort through the Irish Sea.

For the daily positions of HrMs O 23 during this patrol see the map below.


Ver HrMs O 23 8th war patrol click here for bigger map (3)

10 Mar 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) arrived at Gibraltar. She is escorted in by the British corvette HMS Delphinium (Cdr.(Retd.) R.L. Spalding, RN). (3)

21 Mar 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) carried out A/S exercises off Gibraltar with the British destroyer HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, DSC and Bar, RN). (5)

24 Mar 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) carries out an A/S exercise off Gibraltar with the British sloop HMS Rochester (Lt.Cdr. C.B. Allen, RN) and the British corvette HMS La Malouine (Lt.Cdr. (retired) R.W. Keymer, RN).

Upon completion of this exercise all three ships joined the escort of convoy HG 57 (9th war patrol for O 23).

For the daily positions of HrMs O 23 during this patrol see the map below.


Ver HrMs O 23 9th war patrol click here for bigger map (3)

3 Apr 1941
At 1115 hours (GMT) HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) leaves convoy HG 57 to join convoy OG 57.

At 1300 hours smoke was sighted bearing 345° and course was set towards the convoy which was joined at 1445 hours. (3)

11 Apr 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) arrived at Gibraltar ending her 9th war patrol. (3)

23 Apr 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) carried out A/S exercises off Gibraltar with two British ML's. (5)

24 Apr 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) carries out an A/S exercise off Gibraltar with the British sloop HMS Wellington (Lt.Cdr. W.F.R. Segrave, RN) and the British corvette HMS Coreopsis (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Davies, RNVR).

Upon completion of this exercise all three ships joined the escort of convoy HG 60 (10th war patrol for O 23).

For the daily positions of HrMs O 23 during this patrol see the map below.


Ver HrMs O 23 10th war patrol click here for bigger map (3)

2 May 1941
At 1755 hours (GMT) HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) leaves convoy HG 60 to join convoy OG 60. (3)

3 May 1941
At 1607 hours (GMT), in position 45°25'N, 20°44'W, HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) spots convoy OG 60 that she now joined to escort it towards Gibraltar. (3)

10 May 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) arrived at Gibraltar ending her 10th war patrol. (3)

25 May 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) carried out A/S exercises off Gibraltar with the British sloop HMS Scarborough (Lt. A.P. Northey, DSC, RN) and the British ASW trawler HMS Lady Hogarth (T/Lt. S.G. Barnes, RNR).

Upon completion of this exercise all three ships joined the escort of convoy HG 63 (11th war patrol for O 23).

For the daily positions of HrMs O 23 during this patrol see the map below.


Ver HrMs O 23 11th war patrol click here for bigger map (3)

1 Jun 1941
Around 2100 hours (GMT) HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) leaves convoy HG 63 and joined convoy OG 63. (3)

7 Jun 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) arrived at Gibraltar ending her 11th war patrol. (3)

12 Jun 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) carried out exercises off Gibraltar with the British submarine HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) and the British destroyers HMS Wrestler (Lt. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN) and HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. R.L.S. Gaisford, RN)

13 Jun 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) was docked at Gibraltar. (5)

19 Jun 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) was undocked. (5)

25 Jun 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) departed Gibraltar for her 12th war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean). She is to patrol in the Ligurian Sea and in the Gulf of Lyon.

While on patrol a large oil leak forced her to leave her patrol area in the Ligurian Sea and proceed towards the Spanish coast to effect repairs and to flush out the damaged tank.

For the daily and attack positions of HrMs O 23 during this patrol see the map below.


Ver HrMs O 23 12th war patrol click here for bigger map (6)

30 Jun 1941 (position 43.06, 10.26)
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN), in position 43°18'N, 10°19'E (about 20 nautical miles South of Livorno, Italy), makes a torpedo attack on a small merchant that was in ballast. Two torpedoes were fired that both missed their target.

Later on this day O 23 torpedoed and sank the Italian tanker Capacitas (5371 GRT, built 1920) about 7 nautical miles north-west of Cape Sant Vincent, Italy in position 43°06'N, 10°26'E.

(All times are zone -1)
0405 hours - Sighted a ship closeby. Started attack.

0409 hours - Fired two torpedoes from 2000 yards. No hits were obtained. After firing the target was seen to be a 2000 tons merchant vessel in ballast. She was not attacked again as Lt.Cdr. van Erkel would not like to disclose his presence in the hope of attacking 'bigger game'.

--------------------------------------

1100 hours - Sighted a large Southbound tanker about 6 nautical miles away, heavily laden. Started attack.

1158 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 1200 yards. Three hits were obtained and the ship capsized in a very short time. (6)

10 Jul 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) ended her 12th war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean) at Gibraltar. (6)

23 Jul 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) carried out A/S exercises off Gibraltar with two British ML's. (5)

24 Jul 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) carries out an A/S exercise off Gibraltar with the British destroyers HMS Vimy (Lt.Cdr. H.G.D. de Chair, RN) and HMS Vidette (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, RN).

2 Aug 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) departed Gibraltar for her 13th war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean). She was to patrol in the Tyrrhenian Sea.

For the daily and attack positions of HrMs O 23 during this patrol see the map below.


Ver HrMs O 23 13th war patrol click here for bigger map (6)

16 Aug 1941 (position 39.35, 13.18)
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) attacks an Italian convoy with two torpedoes in the Tyrrhenian Sea in position 39°35'N, 13°18'E. Both torpedoes did not find a target.

(All times are zone -1)
0900 hours - Sighted two twin-engined bombers bearing 100° about 5 nautical miles away.

0913 hours - Sighted a convoy bearing 057° range 10 nautical miles. The convoy appeared to consist of at least six merchant vessels and four destroyers. Two aircraft were overhead. Started attack but could not close further then 10000 yards so a longe range shot was prepared.

1003 hours - Fired two torpedoes from a range of 5 nautical miles. The convoy showed a good close silhoutte on a course of 212° at a speed of 10 knots. Upon firing O 23 went to 130 feet. After a correct running range of about 11 minutes two explosions were heard. Immediately afterwards destroyers were heard to be approaching and a bombardment of depth charges started. About 100 were dropped. O 23 eventually went to 310 feet.

1330 hours - The intense depth charging ceased but one was still dropped about every 20 minutes until 1930 hours.

The convoy (40th Seetransport Staffel)attacked was en-route from Naples to Tripoli and was made up of the Italian merchants Maddalena Odero (5545 GRT, built 1921), Nicolo Odero (6003 GRT, built 1925), Caffaro (6476 GRT, built 1924), Marin Sanudo (5958 GRT, built 1926), Giulia (5921 GRT, built 1926) and Minatitland (7651 GRT, built 1941). They were escorted by the Italian destroyers Freccia, Euro, Dardo and the Italian torpedo boats Procione and Pegaso. (6)

21 Aug 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) ended her 13th war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean) at Gibraltar. (6)

3 Sep 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) departed Gibraltar for the U.K. where she is to refit.

For the daily positions of HrMs O 23 during this passage see the map below.


Ver HrMs O 23 passage Gibraltar - Holy Loch click here for bigger map (3)

9 Sep 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) makes rendez-vouz with the British armed yacht HMS White Bear (Cdr. (retired) C.C. Flemming, RN) off Trevose Head. Both ships now proceeded to Holy Loch. (3)

10 Sep 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) and HMS White Bear (Cdr.(Retd.) C.C. Flemming, RN) arrive at Holy Loch. (7)

16 Sep 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) carries out torpedo trials at Loch Long. (7)

18 Sep 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) departs Holy Loch for Dundee. She is escorted by the British armed yacht HMS Cutty Sark (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H. Mack, RN). (7)

20 Sep 1941
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) arrived at Dundee where she is to be refitted at the Caledon Dockyard. (7)

21 Oct 1941
During her refit by the Caledon Dockyard HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. G.B.M. van Erkel, RNN) is docked in the West Graving dock at Dundee. (7)

Sources

  1. File 2.12.03.6434 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  2. File 2.12.03.6420 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  3. ADM 199/1879
  4. File 2.12.03.6421 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  5. File 2.12.03.6422 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  6. ADM 199/1119
  7. File 2.12.03.6423 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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