This page will tell you more about the time I fulfill my Army Duty with the Belgium Navy
and show you a lot of photos from this time period

During this time I was stationed onboard of the M904 De Brouwer,
one of the 7 MSO (Mine Sweeper Ocean) of the Belgian Navy

These ships has been replaced at the beginning of 1990 by Tripartite Mine hunters, but are still
one of the best kind of ships made in the ’50 by the US and distributed amount their allies.
From the M904 De Brouwer, also known as MSO 499, and her sister ships, you’ll find more
information on the website from and about the Belgian MSO’s, a recommended site!

From October 1980 till July 1981 I was sailor of the deck on the M904 De Brouwer. This ship is originally build as a minesweeper, but later rebuild by the Belgium Navy so it can hunt on mines, which is more safer. My function on board of the ship was the maintenance of al that concerns the deck, like winches, cables, the mast, manholes, hatches, etc. Another thing we had to do was steering the ship at the helm on the bridge. Live onboard of ships was sometimes hard, certain when we had to sail in heavy weather with storms up to force 10. Also the many irregular hours were very tiring, but that’s the Navy. With a crew of 70 people, the environment was always superb. Officers and sailors shared the same space and spend most of the time together, which minimized the rang. Certainly at sea, where we often address each other with our first name. We had discipline, but not in the same way as in a barrack. The food onboard the ship was also much better than when you’re stationed on land. Our ship made part of "STANAVFORCHAN", a division of NATO, with the task the freeware the channel in peaceful time or in war. This fleet of 5 mine hunters sailed regular towards harbors in the channel, like London, Aberdeen, Edingburg, Haugesund, Bergen, Bremershaven, Kiel, Copenhagen, Brest and Den Helder. A lot of nice places in Great Britain, Norway, Germany, Holland and France which are not really destinations for a holiday, but really worded to visit. Sailing trough a Norway in fjord is really a must!

You will notice by the photos that live on board of the M904 was really great and we as sailors our Military Duty consider more as a favor. The photos where made with a simply old fashion camera and maybe of less quality, but really unique. I hope you will enjoy viewing them…

At the "Little Castle" in Brussels

The card to report me for Army Duty at Brugge

My rolchard onboard the M904 De Brouwer