Royal Netherlands East Indies Army (KNIL)

b.loree

Administrator
Staff member
I have made friends with a fellow Canuck whose father, now 93 was a member of the KNLI, survived the war and came to Canada with his bride soon after the war. The father's only comment on his war experience has been "green bananas and rice" nothing else has ever been said to my friend, his son. Nothing has ever been said about the war by the extended Dutch European family either. Obviously, I have been on the net looking into this but it seems to be another backwater to WW2. We all concentrate on the US Pacific War, the Brits, the Aussies, us CN's BUT, the Dutch are left out. I knew years ago about the Dutch East indies and the wars between the Dutch and the Brits way back, for control of the Indies Trade but I had not clued into the fact that the Dutch East Indies were also a primary target for the Japanese. I need some enlightenment here from our Dutch members. I would also appreciate some info on what this guy's WW2 Dutch medal grouping should look like. My friend has no other knowledge to provide...obviously the members of the KNIL would have service numbers ???? Help would be appreciated.
 

aicusv

Active member
Not far from me is a Whitney Tank, made for the RDEIC in the early days of WW2. Half the order was shipped over seas to the Dutch East indies before they fell. They were captured and used by the Japanese. The second half was taken overland used by the USMC.

During the war my Dad trained some Dutch Marines on Paris Island, he use to have a set of their insignia and a should patch.
 

coert65

Well-known member
Here are some links to the KNIL.
https://www.marsethistoria.nl/component/tags/tag/knil

I will search for more info about it Brian.
 

coert65

Well-known member
Another link..
https://www.niod.nl/nl/webexpositie-voorwerpen-uit-nederlands-indi%C3%AB/interneringskampen-nederlands-indi%C3%AB

Both are in Dutch language, but maybe Google translate can help out Brian.
 

coert65

Well-known member
A link to the medals awarded to the KNIL soldiers.
http://www.hetdepot.com/medailles.html
 

coert65

Well-known member
A history of a Dutch KNIL soldier, who, like most, ended up in a Japanese concentration camp.
http://www.dornierdo24k.nl/?page_id=1052

Some of the links I found here, but I think Schiavona13 will show up too, to tell you more Brian.

But I will keep looking too.

Greetings, Coert.
 

Schiavona13

Member
coert65 said:
A link to the medals awarded to the KNIL soldiers.
http://www.hetdepot.com/medailles.html

These are al medails from the 1946 - 1950 period.

Brain what do we know ?

He served in the KNIL begin 1940 - 1941 ?
He was born in what year ?
He served in with branche ?
Did he evacuated to Australia or was a POW ?

Here a picture of the green Bamboo hat introduced in 1935 / 36
 

Schiavona13

Member
Just a quick recap if he is 93 now , he was born around 1927 and was about 14 wenn the Japs invaded so that would mean that he served in the KNIL between 1945 and 1950 . So he was part of the "Politionele Acties " https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indonesian_National_Revolution

If so he would have reveiced this medal . only question is with caps he should have

c0016569-9aa6-4af2-a545-501799f49d37.jpg
 

coert65

Well-known member
If he was in Indonesia during "De Politionele acties", I knew someone who was there too.
The father of one of my schoolfriends years ago. He told me stories you wouldn't believe..
He was regular Army, and part of the AAT, Aan en afvoertroepen. Supply, for the guy's who don't speak Dutch.
By the way, if you know his name Brian, there are registers to be found on the net of a lot of soldiers serving then, and also earlier, during WW2.
 

b.loree

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks to all for your efforts and information. I am walking a fine line here, I started this on my own out of curiosity. I don’t want to offend my new friend or perhaps interfere with his relationship with his father. We shall see.
 

Schiavona13

Member
I totally understand .

For your info . A lot of the soldiers that served in the timeframe in Netherlands Indie will or are very reluctant to talk about what they have experiencend . First of all a lot of volunteers singed up in 1944 en begining 1945 in the Netherlands to help liberate the North of the Netherlands from the Germans but where shipped out to Indië . Than oversees the where confronted with not being welcome by a lot of local inhabitants . Than things happend there that are that are totally un accepteble ( for examble I spoke with a vet how told me that on the morning patrol a mate was killed by a attack . The patrol was than send back to barracks and two hours later they where send back out. As we are talking about young
inexperienced soldiers without good counsel or leadership they shoot everybody that just moved wrong ) Messages of these things also reached the home front and after there tour was finished they came home to find a group of angry people shouting at them that they were murderers .

I hope this gives you some impression about what went on there and why they are not speaking about it

To understand the hole conflict this is a interssing film about it https://youtu.be/8U2QImMSzwE
 

coert65

Well-known member
This is exactly what the father of my schoolfriend told me.. He was there when the Politionele acties were, and he saw things that were horrible, committed by Marines and indeed unexperienced young soldiers. He was bringing up supplies, ran into ambushes, and later, when he was sent back saw
things like you speak about. He spoke freely about them to me, but indeed, most don't, or never did that.

So I also understand you Brian, this is somewhat a precarious issue to veterans who were there. But, not every soldier did those things, my schoolfriends father didn't. A few years ago, these things were quite an issue here, as lots of photo's from those day's were made public.
 
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