Thread: My father
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Old 26-06-19, 10:42
Hanno Spoelstra's Avatar
Hanno Spoelstra Hanno Spoelstra is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: The Netherlands
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Originally Posted by Hanno Spoelstra View Post
When he heard about the Japanese surrender in August 1945, he fled the camp to travel to the last known camp of his father. He was picked up by a British convoy driving trucks with those peculiar back-slanted windows...
An exposition about the MS Oranje (see link below) triggered a recollection of my late father, Rob Spoelstra. He lived in the Netherlands East-Indies (now Indonesia) from 1931-1945. After V-J Day, he fled from a Japanese interment camp and went looking for his father, mother and sister. Note: his family was separated: his father was in a mens camp, his mother and sister in a women and children camp. At 12 years of age, he was taken away from his mother and put in a boys only camp.

So, in August 1945 they hear the war is over and as a 14 year old boy my father and a friend decide to go and find their family. They had some letters via the Red Cross so they had a clue where they could be, not knowing if they were still alive. They traded some clothes for a couple of goose eggs, made a knapsack and crawled under the barbed wire and headed in the direction of their father's camp.

Out on the road they were stopped by a Japanese patrol (who were now tasked with protecting the Dutch against the Indonesians). They were about to be taken back to the camp, when a column of British-Indian Army trucks passed by. A British officer asked what was happening and after his explanation, my father and his friend were taken along by the British-Indian troops as they were heading in the direction of their father’s camp.
My father told me they “drove in trucks with peculiar back-slanted windows”, identifying them as Cab 13 CMP trucks. My father told me this story when I first showed him my Ford F15A CMP.

Luckily, my father was reunited with his father, mother and sister and they were repatriated to the Netherlands very much in the same was as can be seen in the link below.

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