The Java Sea has own its distinguished legend. At least before 1945, it has been noted that there were extensive three military and naval invasions to Java, across Java Sea. However, these invasions gave the considerable history in the land of Java.First, the military and naval invasion by Kubilai Khan. He was a prominent Mongol ruler in the 13th century and the founder of the Yuan Dynasty, also as a grandson of Genghis Khan. The invasion fleets were landing in Rembang coast in 1293. Their invasion has impact indirectly to delivery the new throne of The Majapahit Kingdom. This kingdom would change the history of kingdoms in the land of Java, because their descendants will be trickling of the kings over the Java.Second, military and naval invasion of Royal British Army under command of Lieutenant General Sir Samuel Auchmuty in 1811. Their mission was to eliminate the authority of French influence from the Eastern Seas. At least 12,000 men and 100 ships, its size was unmatched until the Second World War. They had succeeded to touch and start their military invasion from Chillinching in 1811. The British was officially occupied the Java in 1812 – 1816. For this reason, Governor General Lord Minto promoted Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles as the Lieutenant Governor of Java, settled in Buitenzorg.Third, Japanese military and naval invasion in 1942. Commanded by Admiral Takeo Takagi. After furious assault and capturing Philippines, Tarakan, and Makassar Straits, they have met a badly assault in Java Sea on 27th of February 1942. It was known as “Battle of Java Sea”, a major naval battle of the Pacific theatre of Second World War. However, the battle was unequal consequence. More than 1,000 men were lost their life. Finally, The Japanese landed their military in Kragan straightforwardly, northern coast near Rembang in 1st of March 1942. The following campaigns, The Japanese captured The Dutch Indies in eight days!Since the three invasions of military and naval above, only The Battle of Java Sea in 1942 that has an extensive assault in Java Sea and also considerable of casualties, even though The Allies defense was unequal strength.As the magnitude meaning on the subject of the history of Battle in Java Sea, The Royal Dutch Kingdom established a monument in Soerabaja for respecting all casualties by the time of the end of Dutch Indies.
In February 1942, the Allies established a naval “Combined Striking Force” for the protection of Java. The ABDA force consisted of 2 heavy cruisers (HMS Exeter, USS Houston) and 3 light cruisers (HNLMS De Ruyter, HNLMS Java, HMAS Perth), and 9 destroyers (HMS Electra, HMS Encounter, HMS Jupiter, HNLMS Kortenaer, HNLMS Witte de With, USS Alden, USS John D. Edwards, USS John D. Ford, and USS Paul Jones).The Japanese convoy was escorted by 2 heavy (Nachi, Haguro) and 2 light cruisers (Naka, Jintsu) and 14 destroyers (Yudachi, Samidare, Murasame, Harusame, Minegumo, Asagumo, Yukikaze, Tokitsukaze, Amatsukaze, Hatsukaze, Yamakaze, Kawakaze, Sazanami, and Ushio) under the command of Rear Admiral Shoji Nishimura.Allied navy casualties were heavy, 2 cruisers sunk and 3 destroyers sunk, whereas the Japanese was 1 destroyer damaged. They suffered a series of disastrous defeats at the hand of the Imperial Japanese Navy. On 27th of February 1942, Admiral Doorman was lost along with both of the Dutch cruisers and almost all of their crews.
KAREL WILLEM FREDERIK MARIE DOORMAN
23rd of April 1889
Born in Utrecht1906
Student in the Royal Netherlands Naval College in Den HelderAugust 24th, 1910,
He became an officer and after serving on various ships,
in the Far East as well as in the Dutc.August 1915
He went in to the air division of the Navy at Soesterberg.1921
He attended a staff course at the naval staff college in The Hague.
Then there followed several postings: the naval department in Batavia, on board the armored ship De Zeven Provincien and on the naval staff in The Hague.
He served as a commanding officer on board destroyers and cruisers.17th of August 1938 – 16th of May 1940
He was in command of the Royal Dutch Naval Air Service in the East Indies,
while on the latter date he was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral (Schout-bij-nacht) and appointed commander of the Dutch Squadron in the East.February 1942
He was made commander of the combined American, British, Dutch and Australian (ABDA) fleet in the Dutch East Indies, a force consisting of cruisers and destroyers.
26th of February 1942
He told the Naval Commander Surabaya that he sincerely hoped he could rely on the necessary information and assistance from the air. Fate would have it otherwise; there were just no aircraft available.
27th of February 1942
His supposed last words to the fleet: “Ik val aan, volg mij!” (”I’m attacking, follow me”). In reality, he only issued the command all ships to “follow me”
to prevent confusion when the damaged HMS Exeter sailed back to harbor.
Doorman just wanted to indicate that his ships should follow him and not the Exeter.
He was lost along with both of the Dutch cruisers and almost all of their crews.
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THE KAREL DOORMAN MONUMENT
There are three bronze plates in this monument. The following sections, I would try to interpret this monument that describes the man behind the Battle of Java Sea and the Dutch Naval history.
THE FIRST BRONZE PLATE
Featuring the profile of K.W.F.M Doorman in the role of ”Schout-Bij-Nacht”, a rear admiral. This naval rank was honored him by Royal Dutch Navy in 1940. Above his profile, there is a his legendary words, ”IK VAL AAN, VOLGT MIJ”, means “I’m attacking now, all follow me”.
THE SECOND BRONZE PLATE
Position in the right wing of the monument. It describes the Dutch war ship in 17th century. On the plate, we can see the words ”DE ZEVEN PROVINCIEN 10 JUNI 1666” and accompanied by old Dutch quotation from Michiels Adriaanszoon de Ruyter in a night before “Four Days Battle” that had the furious hostilities closed to the eastern coast of England on 11th – 14th of June 1666:
”DE HEEREN HEBBEN MY NIET VERZOEKEN, MAAR TE GEBIE DEN, EN ALL WIERDT MY BEVOOLEN’S LANDSVLAGH OP EEN ENKEL SCHIP TE VOEREN IK ZOU DAARMEE’TZEE GAAN, EN DAAR DE HEEREN STAATEN HUNNE VLAGH BETROUWEN, ZAL IK MYN LEVEN WAAGEN”.
The meaning of this plate as follows: “The Lords did not ask me, but they ruled me, and they give me for the command to display our national flag on the ship, I will across the seas as long as The Lords trust this flag, I sacrifice my life for them”.
About Michiels Adriaanszoon de Ruyter (1607-76), he was an Admiral of ”De Zeven Provincien”. He was a Dutch brave man, a Dutch hero as well in 17th century while The Anglo-Dutch Wars in several period of 1652-54, 1664-67, and 1672-78.
Michiels Adriaanszoon de Ruyter (1607-76)
“The Four Days Battle” 1st – 4th June 1666
near North Foreland, England
For the respect and commemorate of his distinguished spirit, at least six of war ships owned by Royal Dutch Navy has entitled “De Ruyter”, including the unluckiness war ship which commanded by Karel Doorman in The Battle of Java Sea.
THE THIRD BRONZE PLATE
Position in the left wing of the monument. It describes four cruiser ships of Royal Dutch Navy. We can see Hr.Ms. De Ruyter is in the frontline. As known before that Hr.Ms. Java, Hr.Ms. Kortenaer, and Hr.Ms. De Ruyter has been hit by Japanese torpedos and sunk in Java Sea with the Rear Admiral Karel Doorman on 27th of February 1942. On this plate, there are short words as follows:
”IN EERBIED OPGEDRAGEN AAN ALLE MANNEN DER KONINKLIJKE MARINE DIE NIET UIT DE STRIJD TERUG KEERDEN. SLAG IN DE JAVA ZEE
27 FEBRUARI 1942
HARER MAJESTEIT KRUISER DE RUYTER”
It means as follows, ”With respect to the entire crews from the Royal Navy who does not return from war. Drowned in the Java Sea, 27th of February 1942 – Her Majestic Cruiser De Ruyter”.
“Harer Majesteit Kruiser De Ruyter” in February 1942
Monument of “De Onbekende Zeeman”
The Karel Doorman Monument is also accompanied by a monument in front of it. Designed as like tombstone labeled by ”DE ONBEKENDE ZEEMAN” (The Unknown Seaman) . It was built for the respect of unknown casualties in the sea on the Battle of Java Sea.
Thus, Karel Willem Frederik Marie Doorman, a Rear Admiral of Royal Dutch Navy has become part of the history of resistance the Dutch East Indies against Japanese fleet.
Leichter Kreuzer Jintsu [Japanese]
Schwerer Kreuzer Naguro [Japanese]
De Ruyter [Dutch]
Karel Doorman died when his flagship De Ruyter was struck by a Japanese torpedo and sank during the Battle of the Java Sea. He voluntarily remained with the crippled and wounded who couldn’t abandon ship, thereby honoring the naval tradition to go down with the ship he commanded.
He was died on Java Sea, 28th of February 1942
Several ships of the Royal Netherlands Navy have been named Karel Doorman.
THE MAP: BATTLE OF JAVA SEA, FEBRUARY 1942
About Ereveld Kembang Kuning in Soerabaja
In this ereveld (war cemetery) there are about 5,000 graves that consist of the POW’s casualties in Japanese occupation (children and adult), soldiers of Koninklijke Landmach (Royal Forces), KNIL (Royal Dutch-Indies Soldier), Koninklijke Marine (Royal Dutch Navy), and others civilians.Part of them who buried in the Ereveld Kembang Kuning were formerly from the graves which scattered over the Tarakan , Kupang , Ambon , Balikpapan , Makassar , and Nieuw Guinea .For the reason of monument which established by OGS in seven war cemeteries, it represents to remember with respect those who are not called their name, but it has been the expense of their selves and do not rest in honor within the war cemeteries.