Dutch Motor Ship

M.S. Tjisadane

      While growing up, I often heard my father speak of the MS Tjisadane, which had been the troop ship that transported him to the PTO.  As a young man she had made an impression on him that has lasted his entire life.  He passed away 30 May, 2014.

    My father, Kenneth Bossie, while still with the 1st Cavalry and prior to being assigned to the 43rd Infantry Division and shipping overseas aboard the Tjisadane.

     The Tjisadane was Launched in Amsterdam in 1931.  She and her sister ship, the Tjinegara, spent most of their career in the Pacific sailing for the Java-China-Japan Line.  During WWII she was taken over by the U.S. War Shipping Administration, rebuilt as a troopship and operated by the U.S. Army Transportation Corps, she served through out the Pacific theater.  Some of her actions include the Aleutians and the assault on Okinawa, where on May 11, 1945 a Japanese aircraft crashed into her.    When my father sailed on her in 1942, she went from San Francisco to Noumea, New Caledonia.

    The account of the Kamikaze crash  I had originally found online credited the USS Panimint (AGC 13) with shooting down the Japanese aircraft and the wreckage crashing into the Tjisadane.  Other sources had given a different account and in several emails from Earl Johnson, who was Quartermaster aboard the LSM 134, I finally got a first hand eyewitness account.  I find his recollections of great interest and feel that they add a personal touch to the event.

   "The account of the Japanese plane being shot down and then crashing into the Tjisadane is totally false.  A Kamikaze did crash into the Tjisadane at 9:25am, May 11, 1945. However it was a deliberate act."                                                                                        

   "I was the Quartermaster on LSM 134 and we were moored to the ship taking on a load of trucks and witnessed the entire episode. I will tell you what was on the Starboard (right side):  There was an LSM that is 203 ft long (about half the length of the Tjisadane.)  The conn of the LSM extended above the deck of the Tjisadane, in the area between number 2 hold and the Bridge of the Tjisadane. We were starting to load trucks out of number 2 hold when the planes came in from the starboard, flying low and level.  This tactic was used to avoid much of the anti-aircraft fire.  One plane suddenly turned hard to the right and flew out of the area with the other continuing straight in.  I was on the conn, a wing span from the pilot and watched the plane clear the deck of the Tjisadane and hit the operating areas of the boom and end up on the deck of the Tjisadane between the hold and the bridge. The plane had missed our conn, by inches and cut the cable lowering a truck to our ship, before crashing on the Tjisadane’s deck at #2 hold. .  The severed cable allowed the truck to crash on our ship doing some damage.  Prior to impact the pilot turned his head and looked at us in passing.  If this was to avoid seeing the coming impact, I leave to your imagination.   According to the Panimint account the plane crashed into the sea after hitting a boom, but the Plane crashed and burned on the Tjisadane’s deck.  The plane had no bomb and was apparently low on fuel and the fire was quickly extinguished with the help of our crew. The Pilot’s body was recovered and the plane was later pushed off the port side."

    The Tjinegara was lost to the Japanese submarine I-169 on July 26, 1942.  The Tjisadane was broken up in Japan in 1962 after many years of hard service.  The Tjisadane's last hurrah was rescuing some inhabitants from the island of Tristan Da Cunha when a volcanic eruption threatened the islanders lives.

Length:          440'
Beam                62'
Tonnage:     9227
Propulsion: 5,350 hp Diesel engine, single screw.

(I had originally stated the propulsion to be  a 1,250 hp diesel.  That was corrected in an email by Mr. Jelle Drost:)

I was her senior third mate when she was delivered to the breakers in Hirshima in 1962.
The article states her diesel engine to be of 1250 hp. This not correct as it was 5350 hp from a 9-cylinder Sulzer engine.
Jelle Drost

    The following photos show the Tjisadane at various times in her career.  Some came from a defunct Dutch website and I can only guess as to the time period of some.

Tjisadane from three different angles.

The Tjisadane and her sister the Tjinengara, along with a couple of dockside photos.

The first photo shows the Tjisadane in (I believe) the Aleutians.  The second one is most likely New Zealand, or New Caledonia.  The dramatic drawing is of a Kamikaze striking the ship at Okinawa and takes some artistic license of the actual event *.   The next to last photo is of a model of the ship and the final one is what I like to think of as "The Tjisadane sailing into history".

A stamp commemorating the rescue of islanders from Tristan Da Cunha in 1961.


    I would like to thank those veterans, like my father and Earl, for serving their country.  The duty they performed has allowed my generation and that of my children to grow up in a better world.  I hope that future generations appreciate the sacrifices of those that served and continue to serve their country.  Thank you and God bless you!

To return to

For comments and suggestions...

*  "The drawing of the attack is fictitious.  Not even close to reality.  For starters…the background is wrong.  The Island of Ie Shima is  an island that is pancake like except for one cone shaped mountain set back close to the center.  There were no planes dropping bombs as the ship was hit.  No plane hit the ship in that area of the booms.  There was no gangway on the side of the ship."  

Email from Earl Johnson March, 2005

Clifford Bossie
Page updated 06-21-14