My grandfather in Indonesia; a photo album

Hellevoetsluis Travel Blog

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During the war my grandfather had been working in Germany as a skipper and when he got back, the whole of Rotterdam was occupied. He signed in with the marine because they told everyone they would be helping to free the Netherlands and he left for Scotland for a Marine training. After some months they got on boats and they were told they were sailing for America to fight against the Japanees. They finally landed in Indonesia. So they were tricked with a lot of lies. He never wanted to go there and he never went back there later on.

In the last week they went on patrol. They had been driving on that road a lot and had to watch out for landmines.

My grandfather was driving in the frontcar since he led 7 cars under his care. They heared that that night new landmines might have been placed. So some men with metal detetors were walking before the cars. One of the men got home and got married and just had a son. He would go home the next week and see his son for the first time. Unfortunately he stepped on a mine and his legs were blown away. My grandfather jumped up to him to help. He begged him to end his life, but that is not allowed and an officer was coming up to them. On top of everything the men was carrying a belt with grenades. Quickly they ran for it, cause it was about to explode. The mens life ended hereby fast.

One day in the beginning they found a supply of pinapples. They ate and ate till they were sick in their stomachs.

My grandfather couldnĀ“t see, smell, let alone taste another bite of pinapple for the rest of his life. It was about the only vitamins they could get their hands on. SO my grandfather got scurvy and lost all his teeth. Since the war he had to walk with a set of dentures.

The first day they came they all had to stand in line. They asked the men who could drive. They were young and almost nobody had a drivers licence, let alone a licence for trucks. But my grandfather was bold and stepped ahead thinking 'how hard can it be'. He got all his papers to drive all vehicles, never have driven a truck or anything. After the war he changed his papers for a drivers licence for all vehicles.

After a while there was an area they had 'set free' (personally I'm against war all together, no matter which side.

.. But our history is full of them and we all have some one we know who fought in one, no matter which side...). The send a new group of man, who had been hardly trained, never even touched a riffle, let alone used one. The Dutch government thought was just a waste of bullets. The group of my grandfather moved on, while the new man occupied the liberated area. That day was a holiday in Indonesia on which all inhabitants think themself invulnerable. So they fought like maniacs like they had never encountered before. With all of their might they won that day. When they returned the area which they had liberated the day before was occupied again. The group of fresh men, about two thousand proved not capable for the task.

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photo by: johanhoogstad