Journey to the Spanish Civil War

A few years before I became aware of the existence of it but early 2013 I came in the possession of a copybook. The story in that copybook was not just any story, it turned out to be the diary my grandfather kept in 1937. In this diary the journey has ben written of a sailor from Rotterdam who enrolled at the ship the Andra.

The Andra is an old and bad maintained ship that has been groomed a little and will take on a trip to smuggle arms from Gdynia in Poland to the north coast of Spain. The arms are supposed to be for the Republicans fighting the Nationalists charged by Franco.



The story in the dairy tells about a journey that does not go withpout problems. Before Spain is reached, the Andra has to enter a foreign port twice for maintenence. But also an almost-mutiny and a mysterious disappearence of the captain play a role. Eventually they make it to Spain, the cargo is unloaded and the ship leaves the port again. But a few hours underway they are intercepted by the navy of Franco, shot upon and sunk. Two crewmembers loose their lives in that event, the rest is taken prisoner. Only two months later the crew returns to The Netherlands. Two misarable months since a stay in prison in those days was not pretty, certainly not in a country like Spain.

This book is a novel, an historical novel, but one with a story that did happen. But it also has to be a documentary, een piece of history. After all, it did happen and where as it is fictional it could have happened.
The novel is for sale as a paperback but also as an E-book. We are working on a audio book at the moment. Unfortunally it is only available in Dutch. I hope to find a publisher who would be willing to have it translated in English, or maybe even Spanish. Nevertheless, would you still want to order a copy, the paper version costs € 24,50 and the E-book € 9,95. Send me an email and I will let you know how you can order both
The paper version is also available at bookstores if you prefer to buy it that way. On the other hand, order it with me and of course I will sign it.

Want to read a preview? Click here and get an impression.

In 2016 I visited the area where the adventure of my grandfather took place. I have written a report of that visit. If you want to read it, click here. This report is in English.

The crew of the Andra

Name Nationality Function Residence
Austerkaits F.J. Pools stoker ?
Batenburg C. Nederlands sailor Scheveningen
Bennekom M. van Nederlands purser Rotterdam
Bie A.J. de Nederlands 3rd engineer Driesprong-Teteringen
Debsky O. Pools sailor ?
Deekens H.A. Nederlands 2nd engineer Hoogezand
Dragter L. (Dragten?) Nederlands captain Rotterdam
Gazan I.P. Nederlands 1st officer Middelburg
Goeman Bep Nederlands sailor Rotterdam
Groot Nederlands 1st captain of the Andra ?
Heijer J. den Nederlands sailor ?
Herk W.H. van Nederlands wardroom purser Rotterdam
Hulsman A.A.D. Nederlands 2nd officer Den Haag
Kuraskinsky E. Pools sailor ?
Louwerens J.C. Cors Nederlands sailor Rotterdam
Munnink H.A. de Manus Nederlands stoker Rotterdam
Pronker P.D. Nederlands 3rd officer Harlingen
Schaick L.W. van Nederlands 1st engineer Rotterdam
Schmidt ? cook ?
Smet F.V. de (Desmet?) Nederlands oilman Rotterdam
Stolk F.J. Frans Nederlands donkeyman Rotterdam
Vries D. de Nederlands wireless operator Haarlem
Watering C. van de Cees Nederlands stoker Rotterdam
The two parished crewmembers are 2nd engineer Deekens and donkeyman Stolk.
Donkeyman: when the ship is not sailing there has to be electricity and heating. A small installation provides this under resposibility of the donkeyman.