BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

BBC Homepage
BBC History
WW2 People's War Homepage Archive List Timeline About This Site

Contact Us

Did any one KNOW or CARE???

by ODYSSEY

You are browsing in:

Archive List > Prisoners of War

Contributed by 
ODYSSEY
People in story: 
1-8 R.I-a batallion put together of underground people
Location of story: 
Penang-Batavia
Background to story: 
Army
Article ID: 
A8346972
Contributed on: 
07 January 2006

When war broke out:Queen Willhelmina promised the Indonesians their freedom.
After Japan capitulated the Indonesians under Sukarno started their fight against dutch citizens liberated from the camps.
Dutch who had worked together in the UNDERGROUND in Holland put together a batallion to go to the Dutch Indies and fight so the Indonesians would get their freedom and also to protect the people released from the camps.

They boarded the NIEUW AMSTERDAM but were dropped off at PENANG and were put in a .....camel stable!!WAIT and WAIT some more.
Finally they could leave for Java.
When they arrived they had more or less to fence for them selves: One important problem was: they were hardly given any weapons to defend themselves or take care of the people persecuted by Sukarno.
They got weapons by hook and by crook!!!

Another problem turned out to be: Our Mil. Hospital a was NOT supplied with ANTI BIOTICS / necessary equipment to take care of seriously ill or wounded Patients.

Batavia was bursting at the seams with people fleeing Sukarno's troops. The Chinese were very much hated: they had money!!
We heard of Chinese being tjingtjangt: i.e. cut to ribbons:
The notorious slaughter at TJIDENG
In Batavia people died like flies from all kinds of diseases: there was a small pox epidemic! People dropping dead in the streets.
We were not allowed out of the hospital but we got the news from people coming in for work!
People with Falciparum Malaria dying (Falciparum affected the brain very deadly!). People and especially kids dying from bacillary dysentery. : no boiled water to drink."Toilets" Not working.
There was a lack of food! But NO HELP from the OCCUPUYING FORCES!!

I was in charge of WARD 2 :surgical! Sure!! except I had a POW in chains! an ORTHOPEDIC patient, one with PHOSPHOR burns and in bad shape, one with AMOEBIC DYSENTERY and with a Westermann 's, sonde and on a Wangensteen suction.. Patients with FALCIPARUM MALARIA :in bad shape too;a patient with TYPHOID FEVER , DYSENTERY TOO.
You name it and they were in MY SURGICAL WARD!!!

We could not separate the clean surgeries from the infected war wounds!.But we NEVER had a cross contamination!

We worked hard! No 8 hr. shifts!! we fell into our bed:dead tired.:often to be called out at nght for emergencies! The Operating Theater worked full steam!!

Our Matron was always available and so was Bartje:improvising "things" for surgery like traction devices!

In the mean time POLITICS of the "great nations" worked hard to dislodge Holland from it's colonies.
Australia DID NOT like us and did their best to make life miserable for us. England lost their COLONIES : Why should WE keep them??
We did not have a chance.

My future husband got a license to fly PIPER Cups after his trans- fer to PADANG -Sumatra.
The peloppors tied ropes to bombs -like they do in Irak now.- stringing the rope across the road and waited till a convoy came by. They pulled the rope and detonated the bomb.
My husband flew in his PIPER to see if he could detect those ROPES

When I got a permit to go and see him :My transportation was ; a DAKOTA without doors!!!! BRRRRR that was COLD!!

The last blow for the dutch troops was the sudden death of their beloved commander: Generaal SPOOR He died suddenly and it was said he had a heartattack but many thought he was done away with by ENEMIES!!.........

© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.

Forum Archive

This forum is now closed

These messages were added to this story by site members between June 2003 and January 2006. It is no longer possible to leave messages here. Find out more about the site contributors.

Message 1 - Did anyone know or care

Posted on: 08 January 2006 by Trooper Tom Canning - WW2 Site Helper

Josephine -
this is the sort of stuff that Frank has been screaming about all this time - so dig up some more - you hit the nail on the head as I have written previously -- when Churchill met Rooseveldt for the first time off the coast of Canada...Rooseveldt gave him a bad time to such an extent that Churchill asked if it was the Intention of America do do away with the British Empire ? there was no answer - instead the answer came in a book written by Rooseveldt's son in which he quotes his Father as saying - "you know Elliott - there would be no Americans dying in the Pacific to-day if it were not for the pre war greed of the British, French and Dutch Empires - we must see it doesn't happen again !" Some people think this is why the Americans finally went to war - to build their own Empire - which we see all around us to-day.
cheers
tomcan

 

Message 2 - Did anyone know or care

Posted on: 08 January 2006 by ODYSSEY

Hallo TOM! I am glad with your input. THANKS!!!
i knew this is a kind of political statement and that it might not be acceptable to some. So be it!!
I usually don't shirk controversy even if it gets me in "HOT" water.

Weekends are a bad time to get something out!
I cannot wait till Frank reads it!!
He is like the lonely voice in the dessert but you are too.

Lots of boys died in the war against Sukarno and I would think for naught!!:

It was a hopeless fight they could never win!!
THE "BIG GUYS" saw to that!!

One result of the loss of our colonies was that the AMBONESE people more loyal to the Queen than lots of people in Holland left their country , lost their beautiful way of life there , their warm climate ,the food they were used to, their "ADAT" their customary way of life that they transferred to their children.
They went to Holland but they did not get the life that was promised them!!:most were absolutely miserable!!
Desperate lives lead to desperate measures....
They took over trains in one part of Holland ; took people as hostages.
People lost their life and Holland was at siege. Divided as NOT had happened during the German occupation.

Prewar Holland was divided per religion: North of the BIG RIVERS were the" PROTESTANTS" below the big rivers lived the "CATHOLICS! "
But we united against the common enemy!! And that was like one BIG FIST against the GERMANS.

I was not familiar with the statemnet Rooseveldt made to his son!!

I am sure there was an ultimate reason America went to war: and it was NOT ALTRUïSM!
They wanted a piece of the pie that the CHINESE threaten to take away.....

 

Message 3 - Did anyone know or care

Posted on: 08 January 2006 by ODYSSEY

Hallo TOM! I am glad with your input. THANKS!!!
i knew this is a kind of political statement and that it might not be acceptable to some. So be it!!
I usually don't shirk controversy even if it gets me in "HOT" water.

Weekends are a bad time to get something out!
I cannot wait till Frank reads it!!
He is like the lonely voice in the dessert but you are too.

Lots of boys died in the war against Sukarno and I would think for naught!!:

It was a hopeless fight they could never win!!
THE "BIG GUYS" saw to that!!

One result of the loss of our colonies was that the AMBONESE people more loyal to the Queen than lots of people in Holland left their country , lost their beautiful way of life there , their warm climate ,the food they were used to, their "ADAT" their customary way of life that they transferred to their children.
They went to Holland but they did not get the life that was promised them!!:most were absolutely miserable!!
Desperate lives lead to desperate measures....
They took over trains in one part of Holland ; took people as hostages.
People lost their life and Holland was at siege. Divided as NOT had happened during the German occupation.

Prewar Holland was divided per religion: North of the BIG RIVERS were the" PROTESTANTS" below the big rivers lived the "CATHOLICS! "
But we united against the common enemy!! And that was like one BIG FIST against the GERMANS.

I was not familiar with the statemnet Rooseveldt made to his son!!

I am sure there was an ultimate reason America went to war: and it was NOT ALTRUïSM!
They wanted a piece of the pie that the CHINESE threaten to take away.....

 

Message 4 - Did anyone know or care

Posted on: 08 January 2006 by ODYSSEY

Tom after my last sentence about the CHINESE I should have added:
What goes around comes around!!
Invariably!!They might have the money HERE so far but what about the biiiiilllions of people THEY have!!!
All future and possible consumers!!

 

Message 5 - Did anyone know or care

Posted on: 09 January 2006 by Frank Mee Researcher 241911

Dear Josephine,
Another good story and do not worry we are old enough to be controversial, we have earned the right.
British troops fought in that area after the official war had ended and we saw our Empire vanish much to the joy of the rest of the world.
I have seen many articles lately that are saying they wished the British were back, they had peace and some prosperity whilst we were there.
America still has its problems in the Pacific, they are finding Empire does not make people love you.
Those stories need to be told as they were at a time people wanted the end of all things war.
In the effort to get back to more normal lives a lot was swept under the carpet, they did not want to know. A person only had to say:- "when I was in Italy, or where ever" a shout of "swing the lamps" would go up and the red faced chap would clamp his tongue in his teeth.
After six years of hardship who can blame them for wanting to forget it all and progress, things were still hard enough and they had their own problems so why add more.
Keep telling them Josephine, it is a time most peole know nothing of.
Frank.

 

Message 6 - Did anyone know or care

Posted on: 09 January 2006 by ODYSSEY

Dear FRANK, Thanks for your input. Yes, i think those stories need to be told controversial or not!

The pendulum is swinging back though:people realising that the British or the Dutch were not thàt bad.
But as always FOAM floats on top i.e. the bad things/people in any organisation.

Without authority:fighting starts : greed reigns . Look what happened in TIMOR!!

I never heard the expression:' SWING THE LAMPS".

I read about guys coming home and wanting to talk about what they went through but not even close members of their family would listen.
And so the demons in their souls never were squashed resulting in utter loneliness I am sure.

I got to know the BRITISH after the liberation,then the time we spent in the UK before going to Java .
There I met many British from a MEDICALL UNIT.
My husband worked for a BRITISH FIRM for many years. Now I am connected with them through e mail . AND........ I LIKE them!!!

It is important to get to know people from different countries,making allowances for each other's idiosyncracies and hopefully there will be less fighting in the world.
( It is said of the GERMANS: 3 Germans and they have "GERMAN VEREIN!":
They should learn that they are NOT the Übermensch.)

It will not be easy but we should try!!!

Maybe our grandkids do not have to fight another WORLDWAR!that will result probably in total annihilation.

 

Message 7 - Did anyone know or care

Posted on: 12 January 2006 by anak-bandung

Dear Josephine
Finally managed to go and read your latest contribution. And why not be political and controversial? Because the Americans, Brits, Aussies and Dutch were allies does not mean that they were all knights in silver armour and pure at heart. Each government has its own agenda and if they can be 'friends' with someone else to help their own aim, all is good and dandy, but when it clashes, it's as it was on the school play ground: a pouty "I am not your friend any longer" or a sneaky jab in the ribs. I suppose the 'sneaky jab' is what we received.
However, sometimes I wonder whether the Dutch government wasn't actually secretly relieved to 'be rid of' the Dutch Indies - nothing but trouble. It certainly looked like it if you see how they treated those who sought refuge in the Netherlands after the war. Did they inform their citizens about these people (they have gone through a lot, so treat them kindly. They are one of us. You may have suffered, but this is what has been done to them...)? No. They were made ti feel guilty to have lost the war!Am I cynical? Whatever made you think I am?

Keep on writing these little things even only if TomCan, Frank and me applaud them! Only be a little more descriptive, not just touching on a few facts. For instance, how many nurses in each ward, where were you housed, how did you get your food, how did you wash. Did you use local knowledge of medicine to complement your nursing? Perhaps little things in the great scheme of all, but important, as those were the lives you led then.
You still have just over a fortnight!!
Love, Rob @->--

 

Message 8 - Did anyone know or care

Posted on: 12 January 2006 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

<magic>Josephine<magic>

Finally got to your latest contribution - and what an excellent contribution!

Just to add to your story, when Sukarno, along with Mohammad Hatta and Mohammad Suharto, unilaterally proclaimed Indonesian independence in 1945, most Western politicians and intellectuals saw him as a brave patriot fighting imperialism. The fact that when Japan invaded and occupied the Dutch East Indies in 1942 they flew Sukarno to Jakarta from exile to help with their fuel problem, that he and worked with the Japanese regime throughout the war, and that on 10 November, 1943, he was decorated by the Emperor of Japan in Tokyo for his services to the Japanese Empire and to the so-called 'Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere', was either not known by them or completely ignored.

Though Sukarno refused to ever talk about his actions during the war, he had very good reason to keep quiet for he was instrumental in stopping and preventing disruption to Japanese aviation fuel supplies by his propaganda campaign over the Japanese radio and loud speaker networks across Java, and his organisation of the Romusha (volunteer work units) and Peta and Heiho (Javanese volunteer army troops) which by mid-1945 numbered around two million ready to fight against any Allied forces sent to re-take Java.

His close collaborator, Mohammad Suharto, who eventually became the second president of Indonesia, was a sergeant in the Dutch colonial army when the Japanese invaded, but he swiftly joined the Heiho militia and received Japanese military training; training he put to good use after August 1945 when he joined the newly established self-proclaimed Indonesian army as a senior officer and fought the Dutch for five years.

The first wake-up call for the naïve Americans came in the mid-1960s, when Sukarno, now self-proclaimed president for life, tried to make Indonesia a nuclear power. Happily that nightmare prospect was thwarted.

We never seem to learn, do we?

Peter

 

Message 9 - Did anyone know or care

Posted on: 12 January 2006 by ODYSSEY

Dear ROB, Thanks for your input/

To start answering your questions at the bottom first:
It is impossible to remember how many nurses took care of the patients in my ward;we had 2 R.N's at the most on the a.m and p.m shift, at night just the one+ help from the night suppervisor if nec.
We had ancillary personal, but mostly unreliable: I never knew if they would turn up. Several said that they had experience : that was mostly NOT true.
I wrote about the room where we had to sleep:close to my ward with just a strip of grass sperating us.
I also wrote about the food served to us: concentration camp rice!
The questions you ask are for a hospital in NORMAL times , We just had to wing it!
Most of the nurses could NOT talk the native language so HOW could they ask about local medecine???

These are questions asked in NORMAL times and we worked in very abnormal and dangerous times.

I have NO IDEA what the govt. thought :RELIEVED???
Who knows???the Dutch East Indies were very much interwoven with the DUTCH.
They were FORCED out of INDONESIA that does not sound that they did this willingly!!

BUT they had no choice!
And it was the beginning of very hard times.

Josephine

 

Message 10 - Did anyone know or care

Posted on: 12 January 2006 by ODYSSEY

Dear PETER! What an excellent treatise about the history of what really happemed in the Dutch East Indies!!
I was there from the beginning .Many a time we were scared as we were caught in the midst of the revolution.
The army stole a Chevvrolet of one of our guests at gunpoint! My husband was put against the wall:hands up!.
I was scared to death that he would be shot.
They were a triggerhappy bunch and loved to show their power over those Blanda's- the white people-. One time he was caught in his car in the middle of a demonstration. One of the directors of the British Co. my husband worked for told friends who were visiting me that they did not give a rupiah for his life.. I heard it and thought:
Here I am stuck with 2 little boys. We should have left.....
But he made it: he just went with the flow and did not aggravate them.
Maybe life in the underground taught him how to get out of bad situations.
Thanks so much for your input!!!
Josephine

 

Message 11 - Did anyone know or care

Posted on: 12 January 2006 by ODYSSEY

Dear PETER! What an excellent treatise about the history of what really happemed in the Dutch East Indies!!
I was there from the beginning .Many a time we were scared as we were caught in the midst of the revolution.
The army stole a Chevrolet of one of our guests at gunpoint! My husband was put against the wall:hands up!.
I was scared to death that he would be shot.
They were a triggerhappy bunch and loved to show their power over those Blanda's- the white people-. One time he was caught in his car in the middle of a demonstration. One of the directors of the British Co. my husband worked for told friends who were visiting me that they did not give a rupiah for his life.. I heard it and thought:
Here I am stuck with 2 little boys. We should have left.....
But he made it: he just went with the flow and did not aggravate them.
Maybe life in the underground taught him how to get out of bad situations.
Thanks so much for your input!!!
Josephine

 

Message 12 - Did anyone know or care

Posted on: 14 January 2006 by anak-bandung

My dear Jospehine
Of course we Dutch were forced out of Nederlands Indië, but the way the Dutch government treated the ex-patriots after the war [and by the way, are STILL treating them, as they refuse to compensate what they have lost - just a little longer and they no longer need to, for we have all died! We only received a paltry sum, just enough to pay for a trip to Indonesia] and their initial reluctance to send more fighter planes before the war as they were 'needed elsewhere'(in Holland presumably), is it a wonder that I am cynical and asked myself whether they (the government) secretly felt relieved to get rid of the colonies?
I was certainly NOT talking about the Dutch citizens living in the Dutch Indies, as they had settled there, built up a life for themselves and loved the country. It was these people who were forced out of the country and deposited in a cold and hostile 'fatherland'. Mum still regards Indië as her fatherland and would go back like a shot if that were posible in all ways. She never felt at home in Holland.
Don't get me wrong, I love Holland as well, after all I grew up there and my early beginnings in the Dutch Indies are hidden and I know them only from my mother's stories. Funny though how, when I went there for a holiday, I had this immediate feeling of belonging and still feel 'home sick'. That may sound cheesy and maybe a lot of people say it, but it certainly was a feeling I did not expect.
I am not having a go at you, Josephine, but I just wanted to put something straight here. It is the politics which is dirty and dishonourable. People like you and me do not count.
Liefs, Rob @->--

Archive List

This story has been placed in the following categories.

Prisoners of War Category
icon for Story with photoStory with photo

Most of the content on this site is created by our users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please click here. For any other comments, please Contact Us.



About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy