Sketch by Jack Chalker

Japanese at Batavia

Japanese at Batavia

Japanese at Batavia

About seven days later, he heard the sound of tyres coming along the track towards them.

 They must have sent a jeep for us, he thought as he ran out into the track waving his arms to the driver. But to his surprise and annoyance the jeep did not slow down and headed straight for him. Throwing himself onto the scrub beside the track, the jeep raced passed with two JAPANESE OFFICERS on board. By the time he was back on his feet, the vehicle was out of sight among the trees.

Minutes later to their delight, a truck did come to collect them to take them back to where the rest of the troop was camped by the side of the road. But before they had driven off the mountain area, the truck ran out of fuel, luckily near some buildings. The driver went one way in search of fuel and Dennis had a wander down a path in the opposite direction. As the path rounded a bend, Dennis met his first Jap. Both were struck dumb as they faced each other. Then to his surprise, the Jap came forward with his arm outstretched to shake his hand. As they shook hands, the Jap was greeting Dennis like a long lost brother and showed him a picture of his wife or girl friend back in Japan. The Jap then pointed along the path Dennis had come and then waved him away. Dennis quickly made his way back to the truck.

The truck driver had found some petrol and after Dennis got aboard, he drove down the road to the tents camped by the roadside.

Dennis found his mate, Jock Walsh, and with the help of a little Dutch lad named Abbas, they erected a makeshift shelter using plastic and wood boarding. They would stay here till ordered to a certain point for the Japs to take control. Once there, they were put aboard a train and taken to Jakarta. From here, on *March 8th (his cousin Vern’s birthday) they were marched to Tanjong Priok, a holding camp for all the prisoners the Japs had now taken.

 * March 9th was the date on my dad’s Japanese p.o.w. index card (applied for in 2006)as date of capture in Java, so he may have shared Dennis’ experiences in Sumatra too. Until I trace someone who knew him then, I’ll never know.

 

Next Chapter

Tanjong Priok Camp

 

 

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[Life of Riley] [Early Days] [Royal Artillery] [Empress of Japan] [SS Narkunda] [Chaos] [Escape] [Sumatra] [Action Stations] [Pladjoe] [Palembang] [Leaving Oesthaven] [Java] [Japanese at Batavia] [Tanjong Priok Camp] [Back to Singapore] [Batu-Lintang Camp] [Glimmer of Hope] [Liberation September 1945] [Going Home] [Back in England] [Mystery Picture] [National Memorial Arboretum]

 

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