17 January 2014

Hendrik van den Bos, bargeman's mate

The barge 'Wisand'  at an unknown quay
Floating swimming pool 'Mallegat'
On 18th October, 1951, this barge was moored midstream, close to the Mallegat in Rotterdam, on the river New Meuse, waiting for a towboat to sail back to the Ruhr region in Germany to load a new cargo of coal. Hendrik van den Bos was cleaning the deck of the ship using a metal bucket on a rope. He had been living for half a year in the fore-cabin of the ship, together with his wife, who was 6 months pregnant with their second child, and their three-and-a-half year old son. Dropping the bucket back into the river to refill it, he lost his balance and disappeared under water, while, at that very moment, his little son was playing with his tricycle on the roof of the bargeman's deckhouse at the back.
After eighteen days searching and dragging the river downstream, the river police found him under the ship, at almost exactly the same place as he had fallen in, with the rope of the bucket still wound around his hand.

Hendrik van den Bos was born on 15th January, 1922, in Rotterdam, 3 Betje Wolffstraat, where his father had a joinery. His mother Wilhelmina Schuurman-Hess, was a housewife and was born in Delft.

In 1958, the primary school attended by Hendrik's little boy tried to teach him to swim in the floating swimming pool in the river close to the place where his father had drowned.

Hans van den Bos