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Dutch Camp Casino WWII – Archive Jan de Wit

This post contains a unique collection of archives kept by Jan (John) de Wit. Jan joined the Dutch Airforce and became a guard at the Dutch Camp in Casino NSW. There were uprisings in the camp and people were killed. This became an embarrassment for Australia. The Australian Unions played a key role here as well.

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Hans de Vries Flight Lieutenant No. 18 Squadron NEI / RAAF

When the war reached Java, he fled on the merchant ship the KPM SS Boissevain to Freemantle. He was despatched to the RAAF training camp near Lake Macquarie and from here he was send to the Jackson, Mississippi to be trained on the B25 bombers. He was assigned to the No. 18 Squadron NEI / RAAF operating from the Batchelor Airfield, Northern Territory. He flew bombing missions against Japanese military strongholds and shipping. He was highly decorated.

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Dutch internees from Japanese camps and POWs received medical recuperation in Australia

There were some of 42 000 Dutch military and naval personnel and 100 000 Dutch civilians who were captured when the Japanese conquered the Netherlands East Indies in early 1942. After the War around 6,000 internees and Dutch POWs who needed immediate medical assistance were brought to Australia where they were allowed to recuperate for between 3 to 6 months, after which they were either repatriated to the Netherlands or went back to Netherlands East Indies.

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Abraham Crijnssen – Dutch minesweeper in the service of the Australian Navy (WWII)

The ship was built during the 1930s, she was based in the Netherlands East Indies when Japan attacked at the end of 1941. After the Japanese invasion the ship left for Australia. For its escape the ship was painted in camouflage colours and the ship was disguised as a tropical island with the help of nets, branches, and other greenery. It arrived in Geraldton. Here the ship served as a patrol vessel until 16 August 1942. After that the ship was in service with the Australian Navy.

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Willem Frans Theodoor Brijl – merchant captain WWII

Willem Frans Theodoor Brijl was born May 17th, 1897 in Surabaya in the Dutch East-Indies, the son of Frans Hendrik Brijl. In 1910 he left for the Netherlands in order to have his HBS education. September 21st, 1914 he enrolled in the Merchant Navy Academy on the island of Texel.

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Some members of the18 Squadron NEI RAAF

See the profiles and stories of Joop van Doorn and Hans de Vries and Max Horstink. Click here for more information on the 18 Squadron Nederlands East Indies Royal Australia Air Force The following information with thanks to TracesOfWar. Sidney Rudi de Kadt evaded from occupied country the Netherlands to

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Sparrow Force – Allied guerrilla force in Timor WWII

Sparrow Force was a detachment based on the 2/40th Australian Infantry Battalion and other Dutch, British, US and Australian 8th Division units during World War II. The force was formed to defend the island of Timor from invasion by the Empire of Japan. It formed the main part of the

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Major Jan Willem Zijlstra – Sparrow Force Timor WWII

Military record Born in Malang, Java, on 27 December 1910. Died at “Ladang” House, near Berry, New South Wales, Australia, on October 6, 1965. Army number 102417002 Second lieutenant KNIL Army (31-07-1932),  First Lieutenant (31-07-1935),  Captain. (27-05-1943), Major (17-12-1949).   Well-known decorations: ·         Ereteken Belangrijke/Bijzondere Krijgsbedrijven/-verrichtingen BK,E.1,OHK.3,OV.1,XV,KLO·         Bronze Cross K.B.

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The Battle of Timor – 1942-1943

The Battle of Timor – the Dutch and Australians kept fighting after the surrender of Netherlands East Indies. The bombing of Darwin did bring WWII directly onto the shores of Australia. However, what is less well known is that the reason for the Japanese attack on Darwin and Broome was

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Netherlands – Australia Memorial – Canberra

The monument commemorates the servicemen and women of the Dutch forces which operated from Australia between 1941 and 1945. The Dutch, along with the Americans, were the only non-Commonwealth countries to establish bases in Australia during World War Two. The original memorial was unveiled on the 7th December 1991 and

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Dutch and Australian Relics from Camp Columbia Brisbane

Camp Columbia in the suburb of Wacol in Brisbane was a United States Army military camp. It was built in 1942 to accommodate American troops. The Sixth US Army Headquarters was formed and stationed here. It also hosted two hospitals and an Officer Candidate School till 1945.  This was the

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Merchant ship SS Van Heemskerk tragically lost in 1943

(Source: Wikipedia) SS Van Heemskerk was a freighter built by N.V. Nederlandsche Scheepsbouw-Maatschappij. The ship of 2,996 Gross register tonnage (GRT) was launched 31 August 1909 and delivered for operation by Koninklijke Paketvaart-Maatschappij (KPM) in the Dutch East Indies trade. Van Heemskerk was one of twenty-one KPM vessels that took

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When the Dutch in Bundaberg faced Communist threat

By  Michael Gorey  22 April 2019 In Anzac week we reflect on the contribution our allies made to restoring peace in our region. No. 19 (Netherlands East Indies) Squadron RAAF was a transport and communications unit of the Militaire Luchtvaart van het Koninklijk Nederlands-Indisch Leger. The Netherlands East Indies Government

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Patricia Metcalfe and Wim van Wely met at Camp Columbia.

Patricia (Pat) Metcalfe (born 1929 in Cairns) moved to Brisbane when she was 4 years old and after she finished the St Columba school at Wilson, was employed at Camp Columbia as a typist and secretary, first with the Americans and since 1945 with the Netherlands-East-Indies Government. Here she worked

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Dutch-Australian ballerinas performing for WWII Allied troops

Born as Maria Louisa Frederika, “Darja” Collin (November 19, 1902 – May 6, 1967) was a Dutch ballet dancer and classical ballet teacher. She had been trained in classical ballet (studying under Preobrajenska and Trefilova), and also in Mary Wigman’s school. Collin was a famous dancer in the 1920s and

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120 Netherlands East Indies Squadron RAAF – WWII

The No. 120 (Netherlands East Indies) Squadron RAAF was formed at RAAF base Fairbairn in Canberra on 10 December 1943. As a joint Australian-Dutch unit, the Dutch authorities provided all the squadron’s aircrew and aircraft while the RAAF provided its ground crew. This arrangement had been previously used for No.

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The Night Ship – Novel about the Batavia

A new book has been published about the doomed fate of the VOC ship the Batavia in 1629. In this case the historical story forms the background to fiction through the eyes of 9 year old Dutch girl Mayken. Read the review of ”The Night Ship” by Jess Kidd as

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The Merauke Force in Dutch New Guinea – WWII

Merauke remained unoccupied during WWII In mid-1942, Merauke, on the south coast of Dutch New Guinea (DNG) was one of only a few parts of the Netherlands East Indies ( NEI) that had not been occupied by Japanese forces. It was garrisoned by a company of infantry from the KNIL,

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ML-KNIL Dakota crashed in Moreton Bay – 1947

On 26 February, a ML-KNIL Douglas Dakota caught fire and crashed into the ocean about 23 minutes into a test flight from Archerfield, killing all six people – three Dutch servicemen and three Australian crew members – onboard. ML-KNIL = Militaire Luchtvaart van het Koninklijk Nederlands-Indisch Leger – Royal Netherlands

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Dutch WWII pilot Gus Winckel celebrated in Moruya

The following information comes from the book Allies in a Bind from Dr Jack Ford. Japanese attack on Sydney Harbour On 28 May 1942, Japanese submarine I-21 launched a floatplane. It flew over Sydney Harbour spotting 13 Allied warships including Dutch submarine K-IX. On 31 May, Japanese submarines I-22, I-24

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History of the Dutch in South Australia

Dutch settlers in South Australia. Although the Dutch seem to be the first to have discovered Australia, including parts of Tasmania and South Australia, they have never made a great impact as a group of settlers. As there was never any real religious persecution or high unemployment in Holland, there

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VOC Historical Society, Perth (VOCHS)

The Society was formed in 2000 by a group of history enthusiasts that were: Concerned at the lack of general knowledge about maritime events that took place in the 17th and 18th centuries off and on Western Australia’s (WA) coastline hundreds of years before the settlement of WA in 1829

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Joop Gijzemijter at NEI-TS in Archerfield

Johannes (Joop) Gijzemijter Born 24 Feb, 1915, Rotterdam, Netherlands. Died 30 April, 1999, Brisbane, Australia. Written by his son John Gyzemyter. “What did you do during the war Daddy?” As children Dad often told us stories about his career in aviation which started on the 3rd of March 1930 as

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First flight between Netherlands and Australia – May 1931

In May 1931, KLM added an experimental flight from Batavia to Melbourne to their regular Amsterdam – Batavia service providing a through service from Amsterdam to Australia. The plane was a Fokker FVIIA/3m trimotor specially named ‘Abel Tasman’ for this trip. The pilot and co-pilot were Maurits Pattist and Jan

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Netherlands East Indies Air Force in Australia during WWII

The Japanese occupied the Netherlands East Indies (NEI) in early 1942. A number of Dutch airmen escaped to Australia after surviving the fierce fight with the Japanese. They mostly ended up at either Archerfield airfield in Brisbane or Melbourne. These airmen were formed into a number of operational groups under RAAF control.

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Annual reunions of the 18 NEI RAAF Squadron

The preparation of the formation of the 18 NEI Squadron RAAF started in Archerfield, Brisbane and was formalised in Canberra on 4 April 1942. There is an annual reunion of the children of the 18th squadron (For enquiries:  Leonie Killeen 18sqnei.aust@gmail.com). The world-wide reunion takes place in Arnhem , also

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Launch Heritage Plan Camp Columbia

In the presence of the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Australia, H.E. Mrs Marion Derckx, at an event hosted by the Pooh Corner Environment Centre and Dutchlink Brisbane a plan was launched to preserve the last remaining heritage items of Camp Columbia (which are situated in the

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Henk Paardekooper- Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies

At the time of the Japanese invasion in the Dutch Indies Hendrik (Henk) Paardekooper was employed – since 1938 – by the Droogdok Maatschappij Surabaya (DSM) being responsible e.g. for the floating docks and cranes used for the maintenance and repair of larger sea-going vessels, including those of the Dutch

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Exhibition Maps of the Pacific

Roland Spuij attended a guided tour by conservator Maggie Patton of the “Maps of the Pacific” in the Mitchell Library in Sydney.  A brilliant exhibition of original maps going back to 1490, including the famous Tasman map of 1644 and other beautiful maps of Dutch cartographers and wonderful globes. And

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The Fall of Netherlands East Indies March1942

After the heavy losses during the Battle of the Java Sea the British and American forced started to withdraw and the Dutch and Australians were left on their own. On Sunday, 8 March, Lt. Gen. Hitoshi Imamura met with the Governor-General of the NEI, Jonkheer (Lord) Alidius Tjarda van Starkenborgh Stachouwer and set a deadline for the next day for an unconditional surrender.

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80th Anniversary – Battle of the Java Sea

Updated with newspaper article from 1945 below It is 80 years ago this month that this heroic, but at the same time disastrous Battle took place. By that time the Dutch Allied Forces had already been involved in the war in SE Asia for three months. Here they had occurred

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The Fourth Ally – the Dutch forces in Australia during WWII

by Doug Hurst – 2001 The Fourth Ally tells of the Dutch forces who fought from Australia against the Japanese during WW II. Driven by the Japanese from Indonesia (then the Netherlands East Indies), they relocated ships, aircraft and personnel to Australia. They joined with United States, British and Australian

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Joop van Doorn 18 NEI Squadron RAAF

Joop van Doorn was posted to Java in 1937 and flew Glen Martins, Lockheed Lodestars and Mitchell B-25.  Joop and pilot Yves Henri Mulder (nickname Bels as he came from Belgium – he was killed in action in 1944) ferried British Field Marshal Archibald Percival Wavell to Singapore for the ABDA

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50 Anniversary of the liberation of Netherlands East Indies

In 1995 the Dutch Australian Cultural Centre organised a 50 year liberation in the Dutch East Indies commemoration at their premises in the Abel Tasman Village (ATV) at Chester Hill. Several weeks later the DAW published a double page spread review of several commemorations around the country including the one

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Dutch in WWII Battle of Milne Bay – 1942

Operation Lilliput also known the Battle of Milne Bay was the first time that Allied Forces were able to stop the Japanese advance in the Pacific. While the Battle is well recognised, the Dutch participation in the battle is not very well known. Also important to mention here is that

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Historic Maps of the explorers

Historical maps relevant to the mapping of Australia from 1521 onwards to 1814 by a great variety of European mapmakers. Most of these maps are digitally available from the National Library, Canberra.  The final maps in this series are based on the map (s) by Nicholas Vallard (“Atlas”, 1547), based

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Dutch Indonesian Association – Cairns

Bambu Magazine In April 1995 a small group of Indische mensen’ (people born in Indonesia), such as Rob Elstak, Eric & Rob Marcus, Leo Vandersar, Jan Schmieman and Andreas Flach, came together in Cairns and founded the ‘Dutch Indonesian. Association – Melati’ (Jasmine). Andreas Flach became the editor of the

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Archaeological research NEI Camp Columbia Wacol Brisbane

When the Japanese invaded Netherlands East Indie (NEI) in 1942, most members of the NEI Government had been able to flee to Australia and organised themselves in Melbourne. Following hastily established diplomatic relationships in January 1942, the Australian Labor Government offered the Dutch almost unlimited support in relation to facilities

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Dick van Leer, People Lover and Entrepreneur

Not long ago, a book was published about Dick under the title The Incredible Life of Dick van Leer.  This very readable account of Dick’s life, a family history really, written jointly with Aubrey Cohen, starts with his birth in 1922 in Surabaya, Dutch East Indies. Dick wasn’t there long though

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Dutch Windmill The Lilly – Amelup Western Australia

Pleun Hitzert left ‘s-Gravendeel in 1980 with his wife Hennie and his daughters. Here he built a piece of ‘Hoeksche Waard’. Including a mill, for which the one in his birthplace stood model. He based his final design on De Lelie from his native village Puttershoek, but he also used

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Joris Ivens – Doco Indonesia Calling

Ivens came to Australia in early 1945 as the Netherlands East Indies(NEI) Film Commissioner, to document the re-colonisation effort of the Dutch Indies from Australia.  He was employed by the NEI Government Information Service (NIGIS) in Melbourne they had 128 staff—25 of these ‘Indonesians’—(a branch office of three in Sydney),

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DACC Paper-based ARCHIVES

The Dutch Australian Cultural Centre was founded in 1983 and gives as its aims and objectives in its mission statement, the collection, preservation, promotion and dissemination of Dutch culture and heritage in Australia. The Centre immediately started the collection of material for the archives and Library and now, after almost

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Misprint in Indonesian independence and KLM stamps

This is an interesting Indonesian stamp album. It is commemorating the first anniversary of the Indonesian revolutionaries declaration of independence in 1945 on the 17th of august. The album is more a public relations and propaganda exercise than a philatelic one. There is an interesting angle in that there is

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The Dutch at Archerfield Airport, Brisbane

Australian and Dutch history meet at Archerfield Airport in Brisbane. During WWII this airfield played a critical role for the Dutch military who, after the Japanese armed forces occupied the Dutch colony of Netherlands East Indies (now Indonesia) to neighboring Australia. Over 20.000 people from NEI evacuated to Australia. Poor

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