AMBONESE ROADBLOCK, RELEASE OF DUTCH INTERNEES AND EXHUMATION OF BODIES (24/11/1945)
This film is held by the Imperial War Museum (ID: JFU 443).
Part 1: On the main thoroughfare in Batavia Ambonese troops have established a roadblock and stopped a passing car. The car is flying red and white Indonesian pennants. The Indonesian occupants have been forced out and the car is searched. A British Military Policeman (MP), Captain J R Hammersley of Brighton, stops his jeep and intervenes. The Ambonese (Moluccans) protest saying they are under orders. One of the Ambonese is armed with an Australian Owen machine carbine (submachine gun). Hammersley…
Part 1: On the main thoroughfare in Batavia Ambonese troops have established a roadblock and stopped a passing car. The car is flying red and white Indonesian pennants. The Indonesian occupants have been forced out and the car is searched. A British Military Policeman (MP), Captain J R Hammersley of Brighton, stops his jeep and intervenes. The Ambonese (Moluccans) protest saying they are under orders. One of the Ambonese is armed with an Australian Owen machine carbine (submachine gun). Hammersley examines the Indonesians' identity cards and allows them to proceed. They get back in the car.
Part 2: At Batavia docks the troopship SS Egra, formerly of the British India Steam Navigation Company, prepares to berth. She is carrying Dutch civilian internees who had been held by the Japanese at Semarang until their evacuation under the Allied 'RAPWI' (Recovery of Allied Prisoners of War and Internees) programme. They were evacuated after the political and security situation at Semarang became precarious. The ship draws alongside and is tugged into her mooring; her decks are crowded with freed internees. Scenes from the dockside showing waiting ambulances and medical personnel. Internees crowding the rails. Sick or weak children, some of them very young, are carried down a gangway staircase by nurses or servicemen before being put aboard ambulances.
Part 3: A column of parked vehicles near the village of Bekassi (Bekasi). Troops of 1st Battalion, 16th Punjab Regiment advance across paddy fields in open order. A Stuart ('Honey') light tank passes camera, followed by a White Scout Car. The column halted. An RAF Thunderbolt fighter overhead. An Ordnance QF 25-pound field gun is manhandled into position 'to support if necessary' (from the dopesheet). An Indian 3-inch mortar team setting up their weapon. Troops enter local buildings; one the buildings apparently a local jail where the victims were held. A riverbank; camera tilts down to the unexcavated burial site. Indian troops start digging. Some of the men have tied handkerchiefs around their noses and mouths. Onlookers watch the men at work.
Three-part film showing scenes during the re-occupation of the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) including an Ambonese roadblock, the arrival of SS Egra carrying released Dutch civilian internees in Batavia (Jakarta) and the discovery of the bodies of British and Indian personnel captured and murdered local extremists.
Part 1: The Ambonese (Moluccans) are an Indonesian ethnic group of mixed Malay-Papuan ancestry and many are of Christian faith. As such, they were more supportive of Dutch colonial authority than the majority Indonesian population, a fact that led to inter-communal friction and violence when the Dutch sought to reinstate their pre-war administration.
Part 2: The Japanese conquest of the Dutch East Indies led to the internment of tens of thousands of European and Eurasian civilians in large camps. Following the Japanese surrender in August 1945 the conditions of these camps became increasing insecure and Allied forces were obliged to deploy troops to defend them against bands of radical nationalists. Some of these bands had obtained arms which had been surrendered by the Japanese. These and other RAPWI operations are covered by other British Army and RAF photographers and cameramen. See related items.
Part 3: On 23 November 1945 a Dakota en route to Semarang crashed 6 miles from Batavia, with five RAF aircrew and twenty Maratha (Mahratta) riflemen aboard. Before they could be found, they were abducted by extremist Indonesian nationalists and murdered, apparently one by one, on 25 November, their bodies being buried by the riverbank seen in this film. They were exhumed on 1st December, initially by the troops seen here, the task later being taken over by personnel of the Indonesian Red Cross. In reprisal, the population of the nearby village of Bekassi (Bekasi) was moved out and the village burned. This incident, and following reprisals, were recorded in film and photographs by RAF (CF/ABY series) and British Army (SE/JFU series) personnel. See related items.
The dopesheet for Part 3 includes a reference to an apparently missing roll of film. However, the shotlist closely matches film seen in ABY 188, so need not be of great concern and coverage is not impaired.
- AMBONESE ROADBLOCK, RELEASE OF DUTCH INTERNEES AND EXHUMATION OF BODIES (24/11/1945) (Allocated)
- Running Time:
- 7 minutes
- Film Gauge (Format):
- 573 ft
- Production Countries:
- War Office Directorate of Public Relations
- Miller, E E (Sergeant)
- Production company
- SEAC Film Unit
- Sergeant; cameraman
- MacTavish, Duncan