A Carrier

Way earlier Karel Doorman (a couple of weeks perhaps) I was reminded of the fact that the Dutch navy at one time had a carrier (actually two but that’s a different story) which served a small amount of time in and around New Guinea to convince the Indonesians not to claim that last bastion of Dutch colonialism.

I mention this because my dad, who in his travels and search for a new life after surviving the Second World War and the violent Indonesian independence fight eventuallly ended up in New Guinea (or, rather ‘Netherlands New Guinea’), in the city of Hollandia, (now Jayapura), regularly recalled this particular stunt the Dutch navy pulled in Australia:

When the Doorman arrived at Fremantle, Australia, the local seamen’s union struck to show sympathy with Indonesia, refused to man tugs or docking lines. The Doorman cranked up her aircraft and maneuvered to her berth by using the propeller blasts to nudge alongside the dock. At Hollandia, New Guinea, the Doorman unloaded twelve obsolescent Hawker Hunter turbojets to bolster the small Dutch defense forces. Crying “Horrid imperialists,” Indonesia’s President Sukarno broke off diplomatic relations with The Netherlands.

I don’t think Dad was still in Hollandia at that time of that incident: although New Guinea was like heaven on earth for him, after witnessing a botched Indonesian landing in or around 1961 (“I saw the paratroopers hanging in the trees”), he decided that enough was enough and finally made it to the land of his forefathers, The Netherlands.

Hollandia was eventually let go by the Dutch authorities and after a controversial election or plebiscite, New Guinea was eventually annexed by Indonesia in 1963.