22.4.16

Batavier Line


In February 1915 the German secret service 'N' engaged Batavier Line passenger attendant Arie van Meeteren on the ss Batavier V for 2½ Guilders per sighting of a British warship. When the German Imperial Navy seized the Batavier V at sea and commandeered her to the Flemish seaside port of Zeebrugge, the attendant ironically lost his job. When a colleague he had befriended warned Van Meeteren he had heard he worked for the Germans, the passenger attendant had second thoughts about his new job. 

As he feared he could never work on the ferry service again once word got out he was a German spy, he went to the police, where he told an inspector about his predicament. Van Meeteren also said that from October onwards he had brought German newspapers and magazines to the bureau of the London News and other newspapers, who paid him three times the price of the German papers. He regretted his foolish engagement with the German service but stated he had done nothing wrong.

The Germans would release the Batavier V, but in May 1916 the ferry would bump into a sea mine and sink of the coast of England.