Sometimes “Pieces of History” can come from your nextdoor neighbour. In this case it turns out her (step)father was a marine in the Dutch East Indies during the war for indepence of Indonesia or during the “Politionele Acties” as it is called in the Netherlands.
A total of 200.000 soldiers participated in this “war” of which 100.000 were conscripts, 25.000 were volunteers and the rest were professional soldiers. Of those 200.000 around 5000 were marines or in Dutch “mariniers” the specially trained infantry of the navy, a classic elite unit.
Re established after the world war the first groups were trained in the US but following groups were trained by the new staff that had been trained in the US and most material the marines used was American.
Aart Aartsen was a conscript who served between 1947 and 1949 and rose to the rank of temporary sergeant. As he worked in an administrative job during his period overseas he would get the relevant medal “Orde en Vrede” but without the bars for the years he served as those were only awarded for field/action service.
He would be the administrator for the Signals Materials platoon (VINMATPEL) for the Marines during a period of almost two years.
A few pages of period pictures give a good insight in the daily live in a Marine encampment in Soerabaja:
But there was also live outside of the “wire”:
And a group of officers:
A parade of (US) material of the marines with a M3A3 Stuart tank, a Bushmaster Landing Vehicle (LVT3) and even an US Navy Fire Defense trailer:
And of course the boat trip, twice:
And a navy friend?
Thanks to his son and (step)daughter I could make this short blog to remember a marine’s life and his period in Indonesia. As it often goes there was not much knowledge of his service left within the family but with some documents and photo’s you can get an impression nevertheless.
In remembrance of Aart Aartsen