Allied Warships

HNMS O 13 (N 13)

Submarine of the O 12 class

NavyThe Royal Dutch Navy
ClassO 12 
PennantN 13 
Built byKoninklijke Maatschappij De Schelde (Vlissingen (Flushing), The Netherlands) 
Ordered14 May 1928 
Laid down1 Dec 1928 
Launched18 Apr 1931 
Commissioned1 Oct 1931 
Lost25 Jun 1940 

HrMs O 13 (Lt.Cdr. Eduard Herbert Vorster, RNN) left Dundee to patrol near the entrance of the Skagerrak on 12 June 1940. She failed to return to Dundee on 21 June 1940 and was declared overdue on the 24th.

So far the wreck has not been located. A search was sheduled to take place in October 2012 but had to be cancelled due to bad weather in the search area. 

Commands listed for HNMS O 13 (N 13)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1luitenant ter zee 2e klasse (Lt.) Johannes Frans van Dulm, RNN 19386 Oct 1939
2luitenant ter zee 1e klasse (Lt.Cdr.) Eduard Herbert Vorster, RNN6 Oct 193925 Jun 1940

You can help improve our commands section
Click here to Submit events/comments/updates for this vessel.
Please use this if you spot mistakes or want to improve this ships page.

Notable events involving O 13 include:

The history of HrMs O 13 as compiled on this page is extracted from the patrol reports of this submarine. Also information was extracted from the British Admiral Submarines war diary.

This page was last updated in January 2013.

9 May 1940
HrMs O 13 (Lt.Cdr. E.H. Vorster, RNN) is ordered to leave base (Den Helder) and take up a patrol position of the Dutch coast. (1)

10 May 1940
HrMs O 13 (Lt.Cdr. E.H. Vorster, RNN) is ordered to proceed to the U.K. (1)

11 May 1940
HrMs O 13 (Lt.Cdr. E.H. Vorster, RNN) arrived at the Downs escorted by minesweeper HrMs Jan van Gelder (Lt. P.L.M. van Geen, RNN). (1)

12 May 1940
Several Dutch ships that escaped from the Netherlands to the Downs proceed to Portsmouth. The ships involved are;
Unfinished light cruiser HrMs Jacob van Heemskerck (Lt.Cdr. A. van Foreest, RNN),
Minesweeper HrMs Jan van Gelder (Lt. P.L.M. van Geen, RNN),
Submarine HrMs O 13 (Lt.Cdr. E.H. Vorster, RNN)
unfinished submarines HrMs O 21 (Lt.Cdr. J.F. van Dulm, RNN) and HrMs O 22 (Lt.Cdr. A.M. Valkenburg, RNN).

All ships arrived safely in Portsmouth later the same day. (1)

29 May 1940
HrMs O 13 (Lt.Cdr. E.H. Vorster, RNN) departed Portsmouth for her 1st war patrol. She was ordered to pstrol in the English Channel. (2)

1 Jun 1940
At 0100 hours, HrMs O 13 (Lt.Cdr. E.H. Vorster, RNN), sighted 'what was thought to be' an enemy submarine in position 49°54'N, 00°46'W. This submarine was seen to fire two White Very lights. O 13 dived but did not attack. [No German submarine was operating in this area, if it was a submarine it was more likely an Allied one as several were operating in the English Channel, it might have been HMS Oberon (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, DSC, RN) which was operating not far away.]

Later the same day HrMs O 13 ended her 1st war patrol at Portsmouth. (2)

3 Jun 1940
The Dutch submarine HrMs O 13 (Lt.Cdr. E.H. Vorster, RNN) departed Portsmouth for Dundee. She was escorted by the British armed yacht HMS White Bear (Capt. R. Gill, RD, RNR). The British submarines HMS H 28 (Lt. E.A Woodward, RN) and HMS H 31 (Lt. R.J. Hemingway, RN) were also in company until Blyth. (3)

6 Jun 1940
HrMs O 13 (Lt.Cdr. E.H. Vorster, RNN) arrived at Dundee. (4)

11 Jun 1940
HrMs O 13 (Lt.Cdr. E.H. Vorster, RNN) conducted wireless trials off Dundee. (4)

12 Jun 1940
HrMs O 13 (Lt.Cdr. E.H. Vorster, RNN) departed Dundee for her 2nd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the North Sea near position 57°00'N, 05°50'E.

She was ordered to return to leave patrol at 2200A/19 to return to Dundee where she was to arrive on 21 June. She was ordered to report her position on 20 and 21 June 1940. She failed to return to base and did not signal her positions on 20 June and 21 June as ordered.

20 Jun 1940
At 0025A/20, when in position 56°50'N, 03°37'E, ORP Wilk (Kpt.mar. (Lt.Cdr.) B. Karnicki) was severely shaken and the after part of the submarine was lifted out of the water by what was first thought to be an explosion. Wilk's forward motion was checked twice within three seconds. Wilk continued to shutter for about ten seconds.

Although it was first thought that the stern was lifted out of the water it was later considered to be due to striking a submerged submarine. Ratings in the forward half of the submarine reported wire scraping along the hull. The officer of the watch subsequently reported that he had seen a dark shape which disappeared before Wilk reached it.

A very severe jarring effect was felt which broke some electric light bulbs, threw ratings out of their hammocks in the after end of the ships and put the Sperry compass out of action.

A main engine circulating water pipe split as did the connection between the main line and the after mining tank which was found to be leaking from the sea probably due to distortion from the after hydroplane shaft which passes through it.

About 10 tons of water entered the engine room before the leaks could be located and repaired.

Very severe vibration occurred when the port shaft was started and its use had to be discontinued thereafter.

Considerable vibration also occurred in the starboard shaft which could not be run at speeds of over 5 knots.

The after hydroplanes were damaged and could only be operated though 8 degrees in either direction.

It is not clear what ORP Wilk had hit but there is a possibility that this might have been the Dutch submarine HrMs O 13 (Lt.Cdr. E.H. Vorster, RNN) which was en-route from the patrol area ORP Wilk was to take over to Dundee and failed to return from patrol.

The wreck of HrMs O 13 is yet to be found and it is hoped that one day the discovery of the wreck can clear up the matter if ORP Wilk had hit HrMs O 13 yes or no.

At 1600A/20, ORP Wilk arrived in the ' waiting ' position 57°00'N, 04°46'E. It had been decided to try to continue the patrol.


  1. File (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  2. ADM 199/1856
  3. ADM 199/373
  4. ADM 199/400

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

Return to the Allied Warships section