The following is partly an abstract from the article below, which is far more detailed, but in Dutch.

Max was born on July 22, 1914, in Kendangang South-East Borneo. His parents, Theo Horstink and Louise Horstink-Tichelaar, lived there because of the position of his father who was stationed there as Captain KNIL (Netherlands East Indies – NEI – Army) at the Topographical Service. Max’ father was a well-known topographer and lecturer at the University of Bandung.

After high school he went to the Royal Military Academy (KMA) in Breda, Netherlands where he graduated as an army officer. He married in the Netherlands and in 1936 traveled back to NEI with his wife Greet Max, to start his career. Here he did his pilot training, but because of uncertain circumstances he switched career and was assigned to the Topographical Service. Shortly after he finished this training, in December 1941 the VIII Battalion Infantry in Malang became his mobilisation destination, and a week later part of this battalion was placed with the Dilli expeditionary force for Timor. Together with Australian troops (Sparrow Force), the KNIL would occupy and guard Timor as the island was an important “steppingstone” between Australia and the NEI.

After close to a year of guerilla fighting – known as the Battle of Timor –  the Australian and Dutch forces were evacuated to Australia. While they had been unable to stop the Japanese onslaught, they had been instrumental in delaying the Japanese advances further into the Southwest Pacific.

After a training at Archerfield Airport in Brisbane, Max was back in the air force, and placed at the  18 NEI Squadron RAAF in MacDonald airfield near Darwin. This time not as a pilot but an observer and bombardier (bomb aimer). His first mission in April 1943, turned out to be more of a reconnaissance flight as no bombs were dropped. On this flight Gus Winckel was the pilot. Many more bombing raids followed this first mission. In all he flew 34 missions.

Again for unknown reasons in September that year he was placed at the NEI intelligence service (NEFIS) in Melbourne, from here he moved on, in June 1944, to the Netherlands Indies Civil Administration (NICA) and was promoted to captain. NICA oversaw the re-establishing of Dutch administration in the liberated parts of NEI. He started his new job as a Commanding Officer NICA (CONICA) in Dutch New Guinea in late 1944. He also saw the evacuation of Sargent Mauritz Kokkelink and his guerilla fighters. Kokkelink is one of the highest decorated NEI military, his group has kept fighting for more than 2 years in Dutch New Guinea.

Next, we find Max in Borneo in May 1945. Here he was part of Operation Platypus VIII, of the Allied Services Reconnaissance Department (SOE Australia), a series of reconnaissance and missions behind Japanese lines with the aim of obtaining intelligence on Japanese strength in Borneo and fueling the resistance. Their activities ended when Japan surrendered in August that year.

Max was now put in charge of setting up one of the Army Organisation Centre (Leger Organisatie Centra – LOC) in Bandung. These Centres, together with the RAPWI organisation (Recovery of Allied Prisoners of War and Internees) were charged with tracing, supporting, and transporting prisoners of war and internees.

The situation immediately after was ended was chaotic. Indonesia declared its independence; the Allied Forces had put Japanese in charge of guarding the camps where European women and children and in other camps POWS were interned, as fanatic Indonesians started to look for Europeans with, in many cases, the aim to kill them. The Netherlands had not yet been able to send troops to Indonesia to restore the security. British militaries were sent to Java to take control over from the Japanese, but they of course could not be everywhere quick enough to suppress the violent uprising (Bersiap).

Reconstruction of what follows looks like that Max and others went from Bandung to Bavaria for a meeting. Some people decided not to go back to Bandung and Max and 10 others decided not to travel by plan but instead travelled in two cars to Bandung. They had to travel through areas controlled by the Indonesians, most likely they thought that, if needed, they would be able to fight their way to Bandung. Whatever the situation, they were captured at Tjiandjoer and hacked to death.

In December 1945, Tjiandjoer was occupied by a British Gurkha regiment, and they became aware of what had happened there in October. The mutilated bodies were recovered and identified. It was not until 19 June 1948 that several of them, including Max Horstink were buried at the Pandu war cemetery in Bandung.

The information in the document below is in Dutch.

Timor group in Camp Darley 1943 – From left to right Lieutenant De Winter, Captain Breemour, Lieutenant Zijlstra, Max Horstink. Photo project group Timor1942
Funeral with military honours at Bandung 1948

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