A visit to HMAS Stirling by Colonel Harold Jacobs, Defence Attaché for Australia and New Zealand at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, provided the Royal Australian Navy with the opportunity to return some World War II Netherlands artefacts.
Three of the four artefacts are ship’s Bridge voice pipes, from the six inch light cruiser HNLMS De Ruyter which was sunk by Japanese torpedo on 28 February 1941 in the battle of the Java Sea, with the loss of 345 men.
The fourth item is the top of the starboard running light from the Dutch submarine HNLMS KVI. On 24 December 1941, KVI torpedoed and sank the Japanese destroyer Sagiri, the first Allied submarine to sink a Japanese warship. A day later, the Dutch submarine was torpedoed by the Japanese submarine I-66 off Borneo, with all aboard killed.
The artefacts were recovered, along with other naval items, from a Perth auction house on behalf of the Australian Chief of Navy’s office.
Captain Angela Bond, Commanding Officer HMAS Stirling presented the items to Colonel Jacobs.
“On behalf of the Royal Australian Navy, I am pleased to be able to return the artefacts to their rightful owners.”
In accepting the artefacts Colonel Jacobs revealed an interesting Australian link to where the artefacts will reside on their return to the Netherlands.
“The handover of the artefacts will take place on the Abraham Crijnssen at the Dutch Naval Museum in Den Helder,” Colonel Jacobs said.
Press Release, July 03, 2014; Image: Australian Navy