Comfort Women-The Japanese army Sex Slaves.

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Comfort women were women and girls who were forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army in occupied territories before and during World War II.

The name “comfort women” is a translation of the Japanese ianfu a euphemism for “prostitute(s)”,who generally lived under conditions of sexual slavery. Estimates of the number of women involved typically range up to 200,000, but the actual number may have been even higher. The great majority of them were from Korea (then a Japanese protectorate), though women from China, Taiwan, and other parts of Asia—including Japan and Dutch nationals in Indonesia—were also involved.

 

From 1932 until the end of the war in 1945, comfort women were held in brothels called “comfort stations” that were established to enhance the morale of Japanese soldiers and ostensibly to reduce random sexual assaults. Although some of the women may have participated voluntarily, the great many of them were often lured by false promises of employment or were abducted and sent against their will to comfort stations, which existed in all Japanese-occupied areas, including China and Burma (Myanmar). Comfort stations were also maintained within Japan and Korea. The women typically lived in harsh conditions, where they were subjected to continual rapes and were beaten or murdered if they resisted.

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The Japanese government had an interest in keeping soldiers healthy and wanted sexual services under controlled conditions, and the women were regularly tested for sexually transmitted diseases and infections. According to several reports—notably a study sponsored by the United Nations that was published in 1996—many of the comfort women were executed at the end of World War II. The women who survived often suffered physical maladies (including sterility), psychological illnesses, and rejection from their families and communities. Many survivors in foreign countries were simply abandoned by the Japanese at the end of the war and lacked the income and means of communication to return to their homes.

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Approximately three quarters of comfort women died, and most survivors were left infertile due to sexual trauma or sexually transmitted diseases.Beatings and physical torture were said to be common.

Ten Dutch women were taken by force from prison camps in Java by officers of the Japanese Imperial Army to become forced sex slaves in February 1944. They were systematically beaten and raped day and night. As a victim of the incident, in 1990, Jan Ruff-O’Herne testified to a U.S. House of Representatives committee:

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During the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies, O’Herne and thousands of Dutch women were forced into hard physical labor at a prisoner-of-war camp at a disused army barracks in Ambarawa, Indonesia.

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In February 1944, high ranking Japanese officials arrived at the camp and ordered all single girls seventeen years and older to line up. Ten girls were chosen; O’Herne, twenty one years old at the time, was one of them.O’Herne and six other young women were taken by Japanese officers to an old Dutch colonial house at Semarang. The girls thought they would be forced into factory work or used for propaganda. They soon realized that the colonial house was to be converted to a military brothel.

 

 

On their first day, photographs of the women were taken and displayed at the reception area.The soldiers picked the girls they wanted from the photographs. The girls were all given Japanese names; all were names of flowers.Over the following three months, the women were repeatedly raped and beaten. O’Herne fought against the soldiers every night and even cut her hair to make herself ugly to the Japanese soldiers. Cutting her hair short had the opposite effect, however, making her a curiosity. Shortly before the end of World War II, the women were moved to a camp in Bogor, West Java, where they were reunited with their families. The Japanese warned them that if they told anyone about what happened to them, they and their family members would be killed. While many of the young girls’ parents guessed what had happened, most remained silent, including O’Herne.

In the decades after the war, O’Herne did not speak publicly about her experience until 1992, when three Korean comfort women demanded an apology and a compensation from the Japanese government. Inspired by the actions of these women and wanting to offer her own support, O’Herne decided to speak out as well. At the International Public Hearing on Japanese War Crimes in Tokyo on December 1992, O’Herne broke her silence and shared her story. In 1994 O’Herne published a personal memoir titled Fifty Years of Silence, which documents the struggles that she faced while secretly living the life of a war rape survivor.

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In 1991 the Japanese government admitted publicly for the first time that comfort stations had existed during the war. Two years later, in a statement issued by the chief cabinet minister, the government also acknowledged its involvement in the recruitment of comfort women and its deception of those women, and it apologized for affronting their honour. Although the Japanese government denied any legal responsibility for the sexual assaults, it set up the Asian Women’s Fund in 1995 as an attempt at resolution. However, the fund was sustained from donations from private citizens, not government monies, and Korean activists opposed its existence. The fund ceased operating in 2007.

Comfort women remained a highly sensitive issue in Japan. Although the existence of the wartime program had become general knowledge there, many Japanese—notably right-wing nationalists—continued to refute it, particularly whether the women had been forced to work in the comfort stations. In 2007 Abe Shinzo, during his first term as prime minister, stated that there was no evidence of coercion, though he later retracted his comment.

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The topic again surfaced publicly in 2014, during Abe’s second term as prime minister. A Japanese newspaper reported that it had retracted stories from the 1980s and ’90s about women being coerced, after the Japanese man who had claimed responsibility for doing so later denied his involvement. There ensued some discussion among government officials about revising the 1993 apology statement, but that idea was quickly abandoned, in part because of outside pressure (including from the United States). In 2014 Abe’s government also petitioned the United Nations to ask that its 1996 report be revised, but UN officials quickly denied the request.

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Tjideng-Batavia:Japanese Concentration camp.

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Although the Japanese may have called it an Internment camp, make no mistake about it, Tjideng was nothing other then a concentration camp.

Batavia came under Japanese control in 1942, and part of the city, called Camp Tjideng, was used for the internment of European (often Dutch) women and children. The men and older boys were transferred to other camps, many to prisoner of war camps.

Initially Tjideng was under civilian authority, and the conditions were bearable. But when the military took over, privileges (such as being allowed to cook for themselves and the opportunity for religious services) were quickly withdrawn. Food preparation was centralised and the quality and quantity of food rapidly declined. Hunger and disease struck, and because no medicines were available, the number of fatalities increased.

The area of Camp Tjideng was over time made smaller and smaller, while it was obliged to accommodate more and more prisoners. Initially there were about 2,000 prisoners and at the end of the war there were approximately 10,500, while the territory had been reduced to a quarter of its original size. Every bit of space was used for sleeping, including the unused kitchens and waterless bathrooms.

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From April 1944 the camp was under the command of Captain Kenichi Sonei, who was responsible for many atrocities. After the war Sonei was arrested, and sentenced to death on September 2, 1946.

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The sentence was carried out by a Dutch firing squad in December of that year, after a request for pardon to the Dutch lieutenant governor-general, Hubertus van Mook, was rejected. Van Mook’s wife had been one of Sonei’s prisoners.

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UK  FormerDeputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s mother, Hermance, was in Camp Tjideng in Batavia, with her mother and sisters.

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She remembers having to bow deeply towards Japan at Tenko, “with our little fingers on the side seams of our skirt. If we did not do it properly we were beaten.” Another punishment, head shaving, was so common that the women would simply wrap a scarf round their bloodied scalp and carry on.

Worse even than these sanctions was the fear of starvation as the rations of what passed for food , tapioca gruel ,dwindled to half a cup per person a day. Desperate to keep their children alive, women would catch frogs, lizards and snails and boil them in a tin cup on the back of their irons.

The more daring risked being savagely beaten or even executed, as they crept to the fence to trade their meagre possessions with local people for a banana or a couple of eggs. The internees became so obsessed with food that they would feverishly swap recipes, writing out the ingredients, discussing the method then mentally savouring the delicious dish that they would never get to eat.

Amid all this, the greatest fear for mothers of boys was that their sons would be taken away. The age at which boys were transferred to men’s camps dropped from 15 at the start of the war, to 13 then 11, until by 1944 boys of 10 were being transported. As they waited to climb on to the lorries they would cling to their mothers, not knowing whether they’d ever see them again.

The squalor from open sewers and the ever-present hunger inevitably led to disease – beriberi and dysentery were rife.Sometimes there were dozens of deaths a day in the camp.The camp was ruled by a cruel and brutal officer named Captain Kenichi Sonei.

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Beatings were a daily event, women would have their heads shaved for failing to bow properly, Red Cross parcels were hidden away.

Every day Sonei would order Tenko. “Tenko means roll call,” a survivor explained. “We were constantly left standing for hours in the sun during Tenko.

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“On one such occasion, as we walked past the guards, my mother was smoking a cigarette, just received in a precious Red Cross parcel.The camp commandant spotted her and, furious because she had not shown him the respect he expected from the hated Dutch women, he strolled over and smacked her hard on the face. My world nearly fell apart. I pleaded with him not to hit her again and at that moment he was distracted because one of the guards drew his attention to somebody else’s misdemeanour.”

A girl had been spotted holding a little puppy. Sonei rattled out an order.

“The guard took the puppy from her and, with a wide grin on his face, put a piece of string round its neck and hanged it from the barbed wire fence.”

Such barbarous acts were committed on an almost daily basis.

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By the time liberation came on 15 August 1945, the degradation of these women was complete. Like the POWs in their loin cloths, they had virtually no clothes, many wearing old tea towels for bras, and “sandals” fashioned out of strips of rubber tyres.

Like the POWs they were skeletally thin, half-blind with malnutrition and, as with the POWs, huge numbers had died.

(Emaciated inmates in the hospital of the Tjideng internment camp on Java, Indonesia in December 19450

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On this day in WW2-18 September: 6 events

There were several events which happened on the 18 of September during WW2 happened On this day.Between 1939 and 1945 there were 6 extraordinary events which happened on this particular date of 18 September

I am not sure if it is a coincidence or planned that way. Or maybe I just happened to spot it, either way it is a bit eerie and most of these 6 events were awful crimes against humanity.

1939

The Nazi propaganda broadcaster known as Lord Haw-Haw begins transmitting.

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https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/05/28/william-joyce-aka-lord-haw-haw/

1940

The British liner SS City of Benares is sunk by German submarine U-48; those killed include 83 children.

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City of Benares was part of convoy OB-213, and was being used as an evacuee ship in the overseas evacuation scheme organised by CORB. She was carrying 90 child evacuee passengers who were being evacuated from wartime Britain to Canada. The ship left Liverpool on 13 September 1940, bound for the Canadian ports of Quebec and Montreal, under the command of her Master, Landles Nicoll. She was the flagship of the convoy commodore Rear Admiral E.J.G. Mackinnon DSO RN and the first ship in the centre column.

Late in the evening of 17 September, the City of Benares was sighted by U-48, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Bleichrodt, who fired two torpedoes at her at 23.45 hours. Both torpedoes missed, and at 00.01 hours on 18 September, the U-boat fired another torpedo at her. The torpedo struck her in the stern, causing her to sink within 30 minutes, 253 miles west-southwest of Rockall.

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Fifteen minutes after the torpedo hit, the vessel had been abandoned, though there were difficulties with lowering the lifeboats on the weather side of the ship. HMS Hurricane arrived on the scene 24 hours later, and picked up 105 survivors and landed them at Greenock.

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During the attack on the SS City of Benares, the SS Marina was also torpedoed. Hurricane mistakenly counted one of the lifeboats from the SS Marina for one of the lifeboats from SS City of Benares. As a result, Lifeboat 12 was left alone at sea. Its passengers had three weeks supply of food, but enough water for only one week. In the lifeboat were approximately 30 Indian crewmen, a Polish merchant, several sailors, Mary Cornish, Father Rory O’Sullivan (a Roman Catholic priest who had volunteered to be an escort for the evacuee children), and six evacuee boys from the CORB program. They spent eight days afloat in the Atlantic Ocean before being sighted from the air and rescued by HMS Anthony. In the end, of the 90 children, 83 died of exposure on lifeboats or were missing presumed lost at sea.

1943

On this day, September 18, 1943, Jewish prisoners from Minsk were massacred at Sobibór. This massacre, combined with rumors that the camp would be shut down, led Polish-Jewish prisoners to organize an underground committee aimed at escape from the camp.

The exact number who were killed is not known.

1943

Adolf Hitler orders the deportation of Danish Jews.

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(Danish fishermen (foreground) ferry Jews across a narrow sound to safety in neutral Sweden during the German occupation of Denmark. Sweden, 1943.)

When Germany occupied Denmark on April 9, 1940, the Jewish population was approximately 7,500, accounting for 0.2% of the country’s total population. About 6,000 of these Jews were Danish citizens. The rest were German and eastern European refugees. Most Jews lived in the country’s capital and largest city, Copenhagen.

Until 1943, the German occupation regime took a relatively benign approach to Denmark. The Germans were eager to cultivate good relations with a population they perceived as “fellow Aryans.” Although Germany dominated Danish foreign policy, the Germans permitted the Danish government complete autonomy in running domestic affairs, including maintaining control over the legal system and police forces.

Considering the relatively small Jewish population and the support most Danes gave to their fellow Jewish citizens, Germany initially decided not to make a major issue of the “Jewish question” in Denmark. In fact, the representative of the German Foreign Office at the Wannsee Conference recommended that the Scandinavian countries be excluded from the “Final Solution” on the assumption that the “Jewish question” could be resolved there once overall victory had been achieved.

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While the implementation of the Final Solution in Norway negated this recommendation, the general policy of non-interference in Denmark was decisive for the absence of such measures there.

Unlike in other western European countries, the Danish government did not require Jews to register their property and assets, to identify themselves, or to give up apartments, homes, and businesses.

The tone of the German occupation changed in early 1943. Allied victories convinced many Danes that Germany could be defeated. While there had been minimal resistance to the Germans during the first years of the occupation, labor strikes and acts of sabotage now strained relations with Germany. The Danish government resigned on August 28, 1943, rather than yield to new German demands that German military courts try future saboteurs. The following night, the German military commander,General Hermann von Hannecken, declared martial law.

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German authorities arrested Danish civilians, Jews and non-Jews alike, and Danish military personnel. Under the state of emergency German authorities took direct control over the Danish military and police forces.

On September 8, 1943, SS General Werner Best, the German civilian administrator in Denmark, sent a telegram to Adolf Hitler to propose that the Germans make use of the martial law provisions to deport the Danish Jews. On the 18th of September Adolf Hitler ordered the deportation of Danish Jews.

1944

The British submarine HMS Tradewind torpedoes Jun’yō Maru, 5,600 killed.

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The 5,065-ton tramp steamer Junyo Maru sailed from Batavia (Tandjoeng Priok) on 16 September 1944 with about 4,200 romusha slave labourers and 2,300 POWs aboard. These Dutch POWs included 1,600 from the 10th Battalion camp and 700 from the Kampong Makassar camp. This 23rd transport of POWs from Java was called Java Party 23. Java Party 23 included about 6,500 men bound for Padang on the west coast of Sumatra to work on the Sumatra railway (Mid-Sumatra).

Unbeknown to the Commanding Officer of Tradewind, Lt.Cdr. Lynch Maydon, lynch_maydon_largethe Japanese ship was carrying 4,200 Javanese slave labourers and 2,300 Allied prisoners of war from Batavia to Padang.

On 18 September 1944 the ship was 15 miles off the west coast of Sumatra near Benkoelen when HMS Tradewind hit her with two torpedoes, one in the bow and one in the stern.

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About 4,000 romushas and 1,626 POWs died when the ship sank in 20 minutes. About 200romushas and 674 POWs were rescued by Japanese ships and taken to the Prison in Padang, where eight prisoners died.

1945

General Douglas MacArthur moves his command headquarters to Tokyo

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The Bangka Island massacre

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One of the worst sorts of evil one can commit is to do harm or kill those who look after the infirm and injured. People who clearly care and have a kind spirit.

Alas this happened during WWII and still happens nowadays and not only in war torn countries.

The Bangka Island massacre was one of those atrocities committed by the Japanese forces in 1942.

On 12 February 1942, with the fall of Singapore to the Japanese imminent, sixty-five Australian Army nurses, including Sister Vivian Bullwinkel, were evacuated from the besieged city on the small coastal steamer Vyner Brooke.

In addition to the Australian nurses, the ship was crammed with over two hundred civilian evacuees and English military personnel. As the Vyner Brooke was passing between Sumatra and Borneo, Japanese aircraft bombed and strafed the overloaded ship and it sank quickly. The ship carried many injured service personnel and 65 nurses of the Australian Army Nursing Service from the 2/13th Australian General Hospital, as well as civilian men, women and children. The survivors in lifeboats were strafed by Japanese aircraft but some reached Bangka Island off the coast of Sumatra. Twelve Australian nurses were either killed in the attack on the ship or drowned in the sea. The remaining fifty-three nurses reached Bangka Island in lifeboats, on rafts, or by drifting with the tide.

Wearing their Red Cross armbands, and having protected status as non-combatants by convention of civilised nations, the nurses expected to be treated in a civilised manner by the Japanese when they reached shore. About 100 survivors reunited near Radjik Beach at Bangka Island, in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), including 22 of the original 65 nurses. Once it was discovered that the island was held by the Japanese, an officer of the Vyner Brooke went to surrender the group to the authorities in Muntok. While he was away nurse Irene Melville Drummond suggested that the civilian women and children should leave for Muntok, which they did.

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The nurses stayed to care for the wounded. They set up a shelter with a large Red Cross sign on it.

At mid-morning the ship’s officer returned with about 20 Japanese soldiers. They ordered all the wounded men capable of walking to travel around a headland. The nurses heard a quick succession of shots before the Japanese soldiers came back, sat down in front of the women and cleaned their bayonets and rifles. A Japanese officer ordered the remaining 22 nurses and one civilian woman to walk into the surf.A machine gun was set up on the beach and when the women were waist deep, they were machine-gunned. All but Sister Lt Vivian Bullwinkel were killed.

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Wounded soldiers left on stretchers were then bayoneted and killed.

Shot in the diaphragm, Bullwinkel lay motionless in the water until the sound of troops had disappeared. She crawled into the bush and lay unconscious for several days. When she awoke, she encountered Private Patrick Kingsley, a British soldier that had been one of the wounded from the ship, and had been bayoneted by the Japanese soldiers but survived. She dressed his wounds and her own, and then 12 days later they surrendered to the Japanese. Kingsley died before reaching a POW camp, but Bullwinkel spent 3 years in one. She survived the war and gave evidence of the massacre at a war crimes trial in Tokyo in 1947.

Vivian retired from the army in 1947 and became Director of Nursing at the Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital. Also in 1947 she gave evidence of the massacre at a war crimes trial in Tokyo.She devoted herself to the nursing profession and to honouring those killed on Banka Island, raising funds for a nurses’ memorial and serving on numerous committees, including a period as a member of the Council of the Australian War Memorial, and later president of the Australian College of Nursing.

Bullwinkel married Colonel Francis West Statham in September 1977, changing her name to Vivian Statham. She returned to Bangka Island in 1992 to unveil a shrine to the nurses who had not survived the war.

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She died of a heart attack on 3 July 2000, aged 84, in Perth, Western Australia

VJ Day-Victory over Japan day

VJ02Today marks the 71st anniversary of VJ Day , the Victory over Japan. Even though Japan only formally signed the surrender on 2 September 1945, aboard the US Missouri.

Rather then writing a lengthy text this blog will contain mainly pictures. One side note on the 1st picture below. This is the memorial of the liberation of Indonesia in the Hague.Although the liberation was celebrated in the Netherlands and Indonesia, it was only 2 days later when Indonesia proclaimed it’s independence, triggering an armed conflict which lasted for nearly 4 years.

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The Media

The Victory Kiss

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Celebrations around the globe

Hirohito and MacArthur

 

 

 

Cowra breakout

 

The Cowra breakout occurred on 5 August 1944, when at least 1,104 Japanese prisoners of war attempted to escape from a prisoner of war camp near Cowra, in New South Wales, Australia. It was the largest prison escape of World War II, as well as one of the bloodiest. During the ensuing manhunt, 4 Australian soldiers and 231 Japanese soldiers were killed. The remaining escapees were captured and imprisoned.

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By August 1944 there were 2,223 Japanese prisoners of war in Australia, including 544 merchant seamen. Of these 1,104 were housed in Camp B of No. 12 Prisoner of War Compound near Cowra, in the central west of New South Wales. They were guarded by the 22nd Garrison Battalion.

On Friday 4 August, in response to information that the Japanese were discussing a mass outbreak, notice was given that all Japanese prisoners below the rank of Lance Corporal would be transferred to the Hay Prisoner of War Camp. About 2 am on Saturday 5 August 1944 a prisoner ran shouting to the camp gates. Soon afterwards an unauthorised bugle was heard and prisoners, armed with knives and improvised clubs, rushed from their huts and began breaking through the wire fences. Sentries opened fire but several hundred prisoners escaped into open country, while others who remained set fire to the camp buildings.

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On the night of the breakout three Australian soldiers were killed and another three were wounded. Privates B.G. Hardy and R. Jones, who were overwhelmed while manning a machine gun post, were posthumously awarded the George Cross.

 

Cowra, a farming district, 314 km due west of Sydney, was the town nearest to No. 12 Prisoner of War Compound, a major POW camp, where 4,000 Axis military personnel and civilians were detained. The prisoners at Cowra also included 2,000 Italians, Koreans who had served in the Japanese military, and Indonesian civilians detained at the request of the Dutch East Indies government.

Although the POWs were treated in accordance with the 1929 Geneva Convention,

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relations between the Japanese POWs and the guards were poor, due largely to significant cultural differences.A riot by Japanese POWs at Featherston prisoner of war camp in New Zealand, in February 1943, led to security being tightened at Cowra. Eventually the camp authorities installed several Vickers and Lewis machine guns to augment the rifles carried by the members of the Australian Militia’s 22nd Garrison Battalion, which was composed mostly of old or disabled veterans or young men considered physically unfit for frontline service.

In the first week of August 1944, a tip-off from an informer at Cowra led authorities to plan a move of all Japanese POWs at Cowra, except officers and NCOs, to another camp at Hay, New South Wales, some 400 km to the west. The Japanese were notified of the move on 4 August.

At about 2 a.m. a Japanese POW ran to the camp gates and shouted what seemed to be a warning to the sentries. Then a Japanese bugle sounded. A sentry fired a warning shot. More sentries fired as three mobs of prisoners, shouting “Banzai“, began breaking through the wire, one mob on the northern side, one on the western and one on the southern. They flung themselves across the wire with the help of blankets. They were armed with knives, baseball bats, clubs studded with nails and hooks, wire stilettos and garotting cords.

The bugler, Hajime Toyoshima, had been Australia’s first Japanese prisoner of the war.Soon afterwards, prisoners set most of the buildings in the Japanese compound on fire.

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Within minutes of the start of the breakout attempt, Privates Ben Hardy and Ralph Jones manned the No. 2 Vickers machine-gun and began firing into the first wave of escapees. They were soon overwhelmed by the sheer weight of numbers and killed. Before dying, Private Jones managed to remove and hide the gun’s bolt, rendering the gun useless. This prevented the prisoners from turning the machine gun against the guards.

Some 359 POWs escaped, while some others attempted or committed suicide, or were killed by their countrymen. Some of those who did escape also committed suicide to avoid recapture. All the survivors were recaptured within 10 days of their breakout.

During the escape and subsequent round-up of POWs, four Australian soldiers and 231 Japanese soldiers were killed and 108 prisoners were wounded. The leaders of the breakout ordered the escapees not to attack Australian civilians, and none were killed or injured.

The government conducted an official inquiry into the events. Its conclusions were read to the Australian House of Representatives by Prime Minister John Curtin on 8 September 1944. Among the findings were:

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  • Conditions at the camp were in accordance with the Geneva Conventions;
  • No complaints regarding treatment had been made by or on behalf of the Japanese before the incident, which appeared to have been the result of a premeditated and concerted plan;
  • The actions of the Australian garrison in resisting the attack averted a greater loss of life, and firing ceased as soon as they regained control;
  • Many of the dead had committed suicide or been killed by other prisoners, and many of the Japanese wounded had suffered self-inflicted wounds.[

Privates Hardy and Jones were posthumously awarded the George Cross as a result of their actions.

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Australia continued to operate No. 12 Camp until the last Japanese and Italian prisoners were repatriated in 1947.

Cowra maintains a significant Japanese war cemetery.

 

In addition, a commemorative Japanese garden was later built on Bellevue Hill to memorialize these events. The garden was designed by Ken Nakajima in the style of the Edo period.

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On the 5th of August 2014 Japanese and Australian survivors and descendants gathered in Cowra for a memorial service.

 

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Stop that Island! The remarkable story of HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen

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Without trying to blow my own trumpet, or in this case my countries trumpet, it is a well know fact that the Dutch are among the most inventive people in the world. As was the case with the crew of the HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen(and HMAS Abraham Crijnssen for a while)

Sometimes in life, the guy with the drunken, so-crazy-it-just-might-work ideas hits one out of the park and saves the day.This seems to be what happened in 1942 aboard the HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen, the last Dutch warship standing after the Battle of the Java Sea.

HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen was a minesweeper of the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNN). Built during the 1930s, she was based in the Netherlands East Indies when Japan attacked at the end of 1941. Ordered to retreat to Australia, the ship was disguised as a tropical island to avoid detection, and was the last Dutch ship to escape from the region. On arriving in Australia in 1942, she was commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) as HMAS Abraham Crijnssen and operated as an anti-submarine escort. Although returned to RNN control in 1943, the ship remained in Australian waters for most of World War II. After the war, Abraham Crijnssen operated on anti-revolution patrols in the East Indies, before returning to the Netherlands and being converted into a boom defence ship in 1956. Removed from service in 1960, the vessel was donated to the Netherlands Sea Cadet Corps for training purposes. In 1995, Abraham Crijnssen was acquired by the Dutch Navy Museum for preservation as a museum ship.

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After the Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies in 1941 and their decisive defeat of a combined Dutch, British, Australian, and US naval force, the remaining Dutch ships in the East Indies were ordered to flee to Australia. Many Dutch ships were either scuttled or fell prey to Japanese warships or aircraft patrolling their escape routes.

However, the HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen, a tiny minesweeper with little in the way of offensive armament or speed, was able to successfully escape to Australia because the captain came up with a crazy scheme. He disguised the entire ship as a small island.1a-ship-disguised-as-island-rawAlthough the Abraham Crijnssen was a relatively small ship, it was still a big object—approximately 55 meters (180 ft) long and 7 meters (25 ft) wide. So the crew used foliage from island vegetation and gray paint to make the ship’s hull look like rock faces.

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Moving only at night, the ship was able to blend in with the thousands of other tiny islands around Indonesia, and the Japanese didn’t notice the moving island. The Abraham Crijnssen was the last Allied ship that escaped the Dutch East Indies.

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.The ship was based at Surabaya in the Netherlands East Indies when Japan invaded in 1941.Following the Allied defeats at the Battles of the Java Sea and Sunda Strait in late March 1942, all Allied ships were ordered to withdraw to Australia.Abraham Crijnssen was meant to sail with three other warships, but found herself proceeding alone.

To escape detection by Japanese aircraft (which the minesweeper did not have the armament to defend effectively against), the ship was heavily camouflaged with jungle foliage, giving the impression of a small island Personnel cut down trees and branches from nearby islands, and arranged the cuttings to form a jungle canopy covering as much of the ship as possible.Any hull still exposed was painted to resemble rocks and cliffs.To further the illusion, the ship would remain close to shore, anchored and immobile during daylight,

(see if you can spot it)

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and only sail at night She headed for Fremantle, Western Australia, where she arrived on 20 March 1942; Abraham Crijnssen was the last vessel to successfully escape Java, and the only ship of her class in the region to survive.

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The Crijnssen managed to go undetected by Japanese planes and avoid the destroyer that sank the other Dutch warships, surviving the eight-day journey to Australia and reuniting with Allied forces.

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After arriving in Australian waters, the minesweeper underwent a refit, which included the installation of new ASDIC equipment.

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On 28 September, the minesweeper was commissioned into the RAN as HMAS Abraham Crijnssen.She was reclassified as an anti-submarine convoy escort, and was also used as a submarine tender for the Dutch submarines that relocated to Australia following the Japanese conquest.The ship’s Dutch sailors were supplemented with survivors from the British destroyer HMS Jupiter and Australian personnel, all under the command of an Australian lieutenant.

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The wardroom tradition of hanging a portrait of the commissioned ship’s reigning monarch led to some tension before it was decided to leave Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands on the bulkhead instead of replacing her with King George VI of the United Kingdom, which was installed in the lieutenant’s cabin.

It was agreed however that Miss Hayworth was worthy of wardroom status and she was installed on the bulkhead opposite Queen Wilhelmina.

While escorting a convoy to Sydney through Bass Strait on 26 January 1943, Abraham Crijnssen detected a submarine on ASDIC. The convoy was ordered to scatter, while Abraham Crijnssen and HMAS Bundaberg depth charged the submarine contact.

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No wreckage of the suspected submarine was found.A pair of hastily released depth charges at the start of the engagement damaged the minesweeper; several fittings and pipes were damaged, and all of her centreline rivets had to be replaced during a week-long dry-docking.

Abraham Crijnssen was returned to RNN service on 5 May 1943, but remained in Australian waters for most of World War II.On 7 June 1945, the minesweeper left Sydney for Darwin, with the oil lighter (and former submarine) K9 in tow.On 8 June, the tow cable snapped, and K9 washed ashore at Seal Rocks, New South Wales.

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Abraham Crijnssen was used for mine-clearing sweeps of Kupang Harbour prior to the arrival of a RAN force to accept the Japanese surrender of Timor.

The ship was removed from the Navy List in 1960. After leaving service, Abraham Crijnssen was donated to the Sea Cadet Corps (Zeekadetkorps Nederland) for training purposes. She was docked at The Hague from 1962 to 1972, after which she was moved to Rotterdam. The ship was also used as a storage hulk during this time.

In 1995, Abraham Crijnssen was marked for preservation by the Dutch Navy Museum at Den Helder.She was retrofitted to her wartime configuration.

Amazingly I was able to find out most of the details of the HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen, even which pictures hang in the wardroom, but I could not find out any crew members name and most importantly who came up with the idea. If anyone knows please let me know.

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