THE BURNING OF THE 'VOLTURNO' - PAGE 75
THE S. S. KROONLAND - 1ST PAGE
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I will place on this & any additional pages necessary such data as can be found about the Kroonland, a steamer that was part of the Volturno rescue fleet and indeed landed 89 Volturno survivors at New York, on Oct. 16, 1913, including its captain, Captain Francis J. D. Inch. The passage of the vessel to New York was, I have read, slowed because a flaw developed in the Kroonland's crank shaft, which slowed her speed accordingly. Hopefully the page will expand as new data becomes available.
I start off with a full size image of the Kroonland, dating, the image name said, from 1903, but part only of that image. From other WWW sites it would seem to be the work of painter Antonio Jacobsen (1850-1921). A similar item, an oil on canvas, signed and dated 1905, and 18" x 30" (46 x 76 cms) in size, came up at auction (Lot 383) by Wilkinson's in England in 2001, & sold for £4,400. But the image is not the same. Thanks to Dirk Deschamps, I learn of two most informative web pages about Antonio Jacobsen (Antonio Nicolo Gasparo Jacobsen) which can be found here & here.
Maybe you can provide additional images?
When I ask that question, it is not often, to be honest about it, that I receive anything in response. So it is an especial pleasure when from 'out of the blue' a message arrives with new material. The image that follows is just such a response. While it would seem to be a fine oil painting of Kroonland, I cannot tell you the name of the artist or the date of the work. The image was provided by Dirk Deschamps & the painting belongs to his father. We sincerely thank both of them. Dirk hails from Antwerp, Belgium, a city with which the vessel had a very long history indeed.
Site visitors might be interested to know that per Don Schuld, a friend of this site, a glass enclosed model of Kroonland is on display at The Mariners' Museum, in Newport News, Virginia. Newport News is located between Williamsburg & Virginia Beach & the museum is specifically at 100 Museum Drive, Newport News, VA 23606.
The Kroonland model is, I understand, located in their permanent Great Hall of Steam Gallery, & is, I do believe, the model depicted at left.
The data which next follows, came, primarily from the Dictionary of American Fighting Ships, Vol. III, 1968, Navy Department, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Naval History Division, Washington, D.C. at this link & is, I trust, in the public domain. There is much greater detail at this site, with info drawn from other sources. Some of that additional data is included in my words below. Being written by the Navy History Division, the Navy data focuses more on the military role of the vessel & makes no mention of the Kroonland's involvement in the Volturno rescue. The military history is however most interesting.
Kroonland was built in 1902 by William Cramp & Sons of Philadelphia (Yard # 311) for the U.S. International Mercantile Marine Co., (Red Star Line) & operated as a passenger liner principally, between New York & Antwerp. She was a 12760 gross ton vessel, length 560ft x beam 60.2ft, two funnels, four masts, twin screw & a speed of 15 knots. Accommodation for 342-1st, 194-2nd & 626-3rd class passengers. Launched on Feb. 20, 1902, (but I have also read Feb. 08, 1902) she sailed on her maiden voyage from New York to Antwerp on Jun. 28, 1902. (I understand that the Mar. 13, 1902 issue of Leslie's Weekly featured an article about the Kroonland, 'The Largest Ship Ever Built in America' & shows Charles H. Cramp, Mrs. Rodman Griscom & Edwin Cramp at the launching. It would be good to locate what sounds like a most interesting article for these pages. Can anybody help?)
From 1908 to 1912, when she again became a U.S. ship, she was owned by Société Anonyme de Navigation Belgo-Américaine of Belgium. On Feb. 2, 1915 en route to San Francisco, she was one of the first passenger liners to transit the Panama Canal. In 1916 she was chartered by American Line & ran between New York & London and then New York & Liverpool for a total of nine voyages (& it would seem was briefly chartered again, for just three voyages, by American Line in 1923).
Here, there used to be, thanks to D.D. of New York City (e-Bay vendor 'oldwelove'), an image of the vessel while she was with American Line. D.D. kindly provided to the webmaster the listing image & a partial enlargement of it, the first image I had seen of Kroonland during those brief periods. The postcard, which has no publisher name on it, was sold for U.S. $9.99 via e-Bay in Jan. 2006. Do drop by the oldwelove e-Bay store, but it will take you a while to view all they have listed for sale! But, Robert Vervoort of Antwerp, Belgium, who purchased the card, has most kindly provided a fine scan of it for use on this page. Now my prime purpose is, of course, to show the vessel as well as I can rather than the card itself, and to that end I have provided a partial postcard image only & have darkened the image for better presentation on this page. Robert Vervoort, thank you so much for your kindness.
D.D. asked in her listing if anyone could identify the location of the photograph. Good question. It is probably New York, or maybe Hoboken, New Jersey, but does anyone know for sure? This image, also from 'oldwelove', might help, taken from the same spot & probably at the same time. Now, in May 2017, Chet Szerlag has been in touch to state that he believes that the image is of Kroonland in the Hudson River near Chelsea Piers, New York City, where Chet understands the vessel regularly docked. Chet adds that his father arrived at Chelsea Piers via Kroonland back in 1912 & adds that Chelsea Piers is still there today, now a meeting/dinner venue & the recent scene of a hospital charity fundraising event. Thanks so much, Chet!
Shortly before the United States entered World War I, the Navy placed guns on the ship, & an armed naval guard embarked Mar. 25, 1917 to protect her from German submarines. On the morning of May 20, 1917, while the liner steamed through a heavy fog toward Liverpool, a torpedo struck her without exploding. Two minutes later her lookouts spotted a submarine bearing down. The sub was so close that the liner's guns could not be depressed enough to open fire on the raider. Although the U-boat, apparently also taken by surprise, reversed her screws & tried to turn to avoid a collision, she lightly struck the liner's hull & scrapped along her side before diving out of sight. Meanwhile two more torpedoes came with some 20 feet of hitting Kroonland's stern. That afternoon the liner sighted another submarine surfaced some 1,000 yards off her port quarter. Kroonland immediately began shelling the U-boat, forcing her to dive for safety.
The Army took over the ship at New York on Feb. 18, 1918, loaded her with military equipment, & sent her to St. Nazaire, France. After returning to New York on Apr. 9, 1918, Kroonland was converted to a troop transport by William J. Kennedy Co. The Navy acquired & commissioned her on Apr. 22, 1918 with Commander Manley H. Simons in command. As a naval transport, she made five round-trip voyages to France before the Armistice.
On Jul. 10, 1918, as she steamed homeward from her second voyage for the Navy, a lookout spotted a periscope rising from the water about 200 yards away. Kroonland opened fire & the fourth shot from her No. 4 gun "burst with a tremendous cloud of dirty blue smoke" exactly on the periscope. The submarine "zig-zagged erratically back & forth until she was directly in the disturbed water of our wake." The transport continued firing until the submarine disappeared, leaving an oil slick which could be seen for at least 15 minutes.
Below, a fine, self-explanatory postcard, dating from 1919, that appears here courtesy of the Dave Garland Collection of Houston, Texas.
After the war Kroonland shuttled across the North Atlantic returning American veterans. She decommissioned & was returned to her owner on Oct. 1, 1919.
On Apr. 14, 1920 she resumed commercial runs between the United States & Europe.
In 1923 she transferred to Panama Pacific Line to sail between New York & San Francisco.
She was scrapped in Genoa in 1927.
I mentioned above the Kroonland's passage through the Panama Canal. She must have travelled the canal many times. Second image below is part of a truly wonderful image, showing the vessel in Pedro Miguel Lock, Panama on Oct. 25, 1923. I am sorry it is so very big and you must scroll. The image quality surely justifies that! The complete image can be seen here, (do see it full size), a part of an extensive image collection of the work of James Gordon Steese (1882-1958). The use of the image on these pages is with the kind permission of the Dickinson College Archives. It appears on the Dickinson College Archives website as a result of the valued efforts of Greg Sheridan, a Dickinson College graduate. Greg we thank you!
You might like to know that Jim Gerencser, the College Archivist at Dickinson College with whom I was in contact, tells me that his great grandfather arrived in the United States on Mar. 4, 1914. And amazingly he arrived on board the Kroonland! The world is truly a small place!
And while we are on the subject of the Panama Canal, at left is an image of the Kroonland in the Panama Canal, with two tugs, courtesy of Dan Murphy from Pennsylvania.
There are a couple more images of the Kroonland in Pedro Miguel Lock, Panama, on a site maintained by Robert C. Henrickson - available here. I cannot spot a dating of his Kroonland images, however. The ship is quite differently painted. Amongst Mr. Henrickson's varied interests are the trebuchet (he has many links on that most fascinating of subjects & seems to have built, indeed, a small model trebuchet) & many maritime matters ~ with links to sites re the Vasa & the H.M.S. Victory.
U.S. MEDALS RE THE VOLTURNO RESCUE
While the record is a bit confused, it would seem from this site (no longer works but maybe the data is still maintained somewhere at that site) that "the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled" recognised the rescue efforts of the Captain & crew of the Kroonland. They would appear to have specifically honoured Captain Paul H. Kreibohm, & issued him an 'American-made solid gold dial watch and chain', & a gold medal. It would seem that an additional 38 medals were approved for issue to Kroonland crew members. (the total would then become 39, i.e. 5 gold, 5 silver and 29 bronze). At the foot of that page is a reference to the fact that maybe only 4 gold medals in fact were 'struck' & that maybe Fourth Officer Hirschfeld did not receive a gold medal. An image of one of the crew medals appears low on page 76.
I still need to check out the article by searching the microfilm records of The New York Times, but on Apr. 11, 1914, the newspaper reported: 'Medals for their work in the rescue of the Volturno's passengers were presented yesterday to Capt. Paul H. Kreibohm, Second Officer Frederick Mansfield, Third Officer W. J. Wynen, Fourth Officer Eric Hirschfield, and Fifth Officer Bernhard Kummel, and thirty-five seamen of the Red Star liner Kroonland. A bit of confusion about the numbers, it would appear, since that totals 40 persons. But if the article says what the first paragraph so indicates, Officer Hirschfeld (or Herschfield) did, in fact, receive a medal.
'Re: Red Star Lines ???' - Graeme Wall - Kroonland in Google Groups
I have read a few items about the Red Star Line & the Kroonland that have confused me; as to the nationality of that company & the registration of its ships. The following 1999 Google Groups message from Graeme Wall of the U.K. is of great help in that regard (but also raises new questions re both names & dates):
'The Red Star Line was a Belgian flag company, set up by the International Navigation Company of Philadelphia to trade between there and Antwerp in 1872. In 1876 they opened a service from Antwerp to New York, calling at Southampton. In 1901 the company bought four 12,700 ton ships. Two, the Vaderland and the Zeeland, were British registered and the other two, the Kroonland and the Finland, were American registered. Two other ships, the Belgian flagged Samland and Gothland, were used for the immigrant trade. The Company succumbed in the Great Depression.'
This page will, hopefully, track data about the Kroonland as it comes to hand. And hopefully data as it specifically relates to the Volturno tragedy.
If any visitor can clarify (or correct) or provide more information about any of these matters, I would truly welcome their help.
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