Allied Warships

HNMS Colombia

Submarine Depot Ship

The Colombia at Herok, Iceland.

NavyThe Royal Dutch Navy
TypeSubmarine Depot Ship
Class[No specific class] 
Built byP. Smit (Rotterdam, Holland) 
Laid down 1929 
Launched 1930 
Commissioned18 Aug 1941 
Lost27 Feb 1943 
Loss position33° 36'S, 27° 29'E

Note. Map of attack temporarily disabled due to huge Google Maps price increase (20 July 2018).


Former passenger ship of the KNSM.
Requisitioned by the Royal Netherlands Navy on 8 November 1940.
Converted into a submarine depot ship at Dundee from 1 May to 18 August 1941.

HrMs Colombia (Kapitein Luitenant John Louis Karel Hoeke) was en route to Simonstown to dock, escorted by the British corvette HMS Genista and several RAF aircraft. At 1141 hours on 27 February 1943 the German submarine U-516 fired a spread of three torpedoes from a distance of 1500 metres on a ship near Simonstown, which was identified as a passenger-cargo ship of the Blue Star Line of 10.000 tons. Four minutes later, one torpedo struck the Colombia at #2 hold, just before the bridge and a large column of water arose beside the ship, while the deckplanks were thrown in all directions. All hands immediately abandoned ship, apparently without any casualties and the ship sank after ten minutes in position 33º36'S, 27º29'E. A headcount showed that eight men were missing. Almost 60 survivors in one whaleboat were picked up by a RAF air-sea-rescue launch. The corvette initially launched a counter-attack, but she returned soon and picked up the remaining survivors.

For more information on this ship see this website (offsite link).


Hit by U-boat
Sunk on 27 Feb 1943 by U-516 (Wiebe).

U-boat AttackSee our U-boat attack entry for the HNMS Colombia

Commands listed for HNMS Colombia

Please note that we're still working on this section.

1kapitein-luitenant ter zee (Cdr.) Cornelis Hellingman, DSO, RNN1 May 194118 Aug 1941
2kapitein-luitenant ter zee (Cdr.) John Louis Karel Hoeke, RNN18 Aug 194127 Feb 1943

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Notable events involving Colombia include:

13 May 1942
HrMs O 19 (Lt.Cdr. H.F. Bach Kolling, RNN(R)) departed Colombo for Bombay together with the Dutch submarine tender HrMs Colombia (Capt. J.L.K. Hoeke, RNN) and the Dutch submarine HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. A.M. Valkenburg, RNN). They were escorted by the British destroyer HMS Scout (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) H. Lambton, RN). (1)

20 Jul 1942
HrMs O 19 (Lt.Cdr. H.F. Bach Kolling, RNN(R)) departed Bombay for Colombo. She made the passage together with HrMs K XV (Lt.Cdr. Baron C.W.T. van Boetzelaer, RNN) and HrMs Colombia (Capt. J.L.K. Hoeke, RNN). (1)


  1. File (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)

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