life stories

Welcome to Coconut Connections

Real life stories

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Part X, Three men against Japan.

Heavy storm at sea, the crossing in a prauw failed; return to occupied Java.-The guerrillas on West Java

A few days later the guide said goodbye to the men who had become his friends,and returned to his village.One day they hoped to see each other again.Jan gave the brave man a considerable sum of money, which the native refused to except, but after the Dutch insisted he finally took it, tears welled up in his eyes. He thanked them over and over, and he would pray for their safety and wished them a safe journey.The two other natives had no intentions to leave the Dutch men,in spite of being in great danger of the dreadful punishments from the Japanese if they were caught together with the Dutchmen.Jan and his friends told them that they would be better off to take some money and go their separate way,it would be safer for them, the Japanese would not bother them.They refused and told them that they were their friends and the Japanese were cruel,they were happy to be with them, it had been the best decision they had made.When they were working for the Japanese at the Power Plant the Japanese had been very cruel, they were afraid of them and they prefer to stay with the Dutch.After a last farewell to the villager and well wishes, the three Dutch and the two natives were on their way. The journey took them along the coast,until they reached a small fishing village which was probably Malinping.On the beach were quite a few prauws,(simple vlerk prauws).While the Dutch men were looking at one of the strongest prauw, the owner, a friendly, good-naturedly fisherman approached them.
After some time of negotiating, they agreed on a price. One of the natives went to the village to buy some provisions.The villagers were very friendly and helped him carry the provisions to the beach.Children were running after him and they were laughing and talking.
Street view of a village, West Java.
A village girl with a water jug on her head.

Large petroleum barrels were filled with water,and many coconuts were loaded on to the prauw.The whole day they worked on the prauw to make it ready for their sail to Australia.
That night they settled down early,in prospect of a very difficult sea voyage to freedom in Australia.

In the early morning hours they sailed away from the small bay, the villagers waved them out and wished them all the luck in the world.
Soon they were at sea. It was very hot and the sea was calm.The ocean looked like glass.
Four days and nights they sailed with a light breeze in their sails over the clear blue waters and above them a radiant sky with not a cloud insight.Life can be beautiful,dolphins were frolicking in front of their prauw, and seagulls were flying overhead.
How play full they are.It's as if they like to tell us about how nice it will be to be free.
Three seagulls in format flying over. The Dutch are joking 'look at them,three musketeers, flying to freedom'.

It's if they say.'come follow us'.


In the distance freedom beckons. Danger was still lurking in the open sea, enemy planes could easily discover them and enemy vessels and Japanese submarines could easily spot them.A Japanese plane had already circled the boat. When the plane came close the three Dutch men crawled under a tarpaulin.The two natives were sitting at the helm and waved to the plane, when it flew low over the prauw. They still sailed with the coast line in view.
The fourth day the sky changed, dark clouds were forming. Suddenly the wind picked up.The prauw started to pick up speed, and the boat flew over the waves.The waves became higher and higher.The boat looked like a little matchbox, and it felt they fell meters down after they had hit a wave.Suddenly one of the vlerk (wing) broke off, and disappeared in the waves.All three white men were seafarers, who knew the sea very well.But never had they encountered a storm like this in such a defenceless, weak boat.The sky now was pitch black,thunder and lighting was all around them.The waves were now mountainous high.


The boat was making cracking sounds, every time a wave hit the boat it took in a lot of water.Jan and the Tall guy were constantly bailing, trying to keep the boat from sinking.The Pimpel sat at the helm and under these circumstances he took the leadership. After hours the sun came up in the distance, and the storm slowly calmed down. But the boat was heavy damaged and through rips in the bottom water seeped into the boat, and to stay afloat they had to keep bailing out the sea water.For two more days and two more nights the men tried to keep on going. The thunderstorm had passed and the wind had died down, it was wind still,and the boat stayed in the same place.The fresh water in the drums was not fresh anymore, a warm meal was impracticable and their only food were coconuts, which now served as their only drink and food.
On the sixth day all men came to the conclusion that they would never reach allied territory. What a disappointment,they were forced to return to the coast.
They went on land and estimated that they were near Sindang-Barang.

The prauw although badly damaged was repaired and the Dutch men gave the vessel to the two natives, who had become their friends. But they refused this present very politely, and insisted to stay and accompany and help them. The decision was made to stay together and return as soon as they could by way of Soekaboemi to Buitenzorg.Jan gave the two natives a largely sum of money. Incase of trouble they had to try to escape and take themselves to safety.After inspecting the surroundings it proved that they had come on land near Sindang-Barang. After the two natives had gone in the village and had bought some provisions they marched cheerful to the north.The region they had to pass through had a dense population.


The Pasangrahan to Soekanegara, West Java. The Dutch East Indies.


Arriving in Soekanegara they noticed a lot of Japanese soldiers in this town. They had to be extra careful.But without problems they reached one afternoon the outskirts of Soekaboemi.They put up their bivouac and waited for nightfall and Jan went on his way to see the mysterious Captain Tuindersma.

A Mosque in Soekaboemi.
Soekabooemi street map.

From Tuindersma Jan heard that Donker and a few other friends had been arrested by the Kempetai for questioning and had been taken to Buitenzorg. In Buitenzorg the Kemeptai was very active, but mass arrests had not taken place jet.

Jan returned to his friends. The next day it was around mid afternoon when a large convoy of Japanese soldiers passed by their bivouac,they came very close, they had the urge to attack them. But they realized that there were too many of them, and had to be careful not to get the resistance in jeopardy.
That night Jan had another long discussion with Tuindersma, otherwise called Smit.He told him about all the groups of guerrilla resistance, which were operating in the neighborhood of Soekaboemi and Buitenzorg.Their were rumors of unbelievable bravery.Several Japanese patrols had been attacked by the resistance and exterminated.One night when the Japanese Commander of Soekaboemi had gone to a party, a resistance group had raided his house. They had tied down the guard and the native servants, and had locked them up. They emptied the whole house and burned all official papers, and destroyed the telephone connection, gas-, water and the electricity.It is said that this group were members of the K.N.I.L., under leadership of an Indonesian cavalry captein. They probably have their bivouac in the mountains of Gedeh and are dressed in their official uniforms,they are still in the possession of their cavalry horses.But even Smit could not tell much more about these mysterious warriors.
Mount Gedeh in the background.

Beautiful birds and other animals live in these mountain region.
A beautiful Java Trojon Bird.

A Stavenn-Trachypithecus-auratus (monkey)

The only thing Captain Smit could tell Jan was about a considerable guerrilla group in the mountains of Salak.He estimate that this group existed of about one hundred men. They were holding themselves up in the inaccessible area of the Zuider-gebergte (South Mountains), behind the deserted brimstone fields.Most of this guerrilla group existed of Australians and English men, who did not know this country at all. They suffered immensely due to a lack of food and tropical diseases.The Japanese had setup powerful army forces in every village near the brimstone fields,and the roads had been cut off.The guerrilla group were totally cut off from the outside world.Although from Buitenzorg organized assistance was still working on a large scale to reach them.A Danish doctor gathered medicines for this group and even was able to send a nurse into the mountains, to take care of the sick.The division was under leadership of an English Captain, who was very sick himself.The discipline had weakened the soldiers they were kept in control, hoping that soon the Allies would invade Java.A gentleman by the name of van Driel in Buitenzorg,(I have not found out jet, if this gentleman was family. My aunt, my mothers sister was married to a Tobias van Driel,and they lived in Soerabaja)kept in contact with Kelter and these soldiers in distress.Therefore it was most important that the Pimpel and the Tall guy must go to Buitenzorg to try to build up the connection between Smit and Kelter.Jan received another dedication from Smit, he was send to set up an base of operation in Pelaboehan Ratoe.
View of Palaboehanratoe.

A bridge near Palaboehanratoe and Wijnskoopbaai.
View over a river at Palaboehanratoe.

A steel bridge over the river Cimandi near Palaboehanratoe.
An entrance of a cave at Palaboehanratoe,where they could hide.

The group of five had to split up. The natives stayed with the Pimpel and the Tall guy. They would take all weapons with them,and take these to the ammo- depot from Kelter, incase it still existed.Jan would keep the Mauser-pistol for himself.
This time the friends had to say goodbye to Jan, not knowing if they would ever see each other again. Sadly they shook each others hand and anxiety and worries showed on their faces, while again they shook hands and embraced one another. Farewell my friends,please keep safe!


Will continue: Jan is staying at the concern Tjibitoeng.and the Pimpel and the Tall guy fall in the hands of the Japanese.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive