Netherlands East Indies Air Force Home Page


Subject:    Two P-40N crashes, 120 Sq. NEI-AF
Date:             Tue, 21 Dec 1999 09:10:00 +0100
From:           "MLM" <>

Dear Peter,

On 5 or 6 april 1944 two P-40N Kittyhawks belonging to 120 Squadron NEI-AF (Netherlands East-Indies Air Force) were flying from Potshot (Learmonth) to Canberra and they lost their way. Both pilots took to their parachutes and the P-40´s crashed near Mildura. A/c numbers: C3-524 and C3-527.

Pilots: 2nd Lt. A.J. Geerts and Sgt. J.D. Brameyer.


Bas Kreuger
Curator Military Aviation Museum RNlAF
the Netherlands



Subject:    Two P-40N crashes, 120 Sq. NEI-AF
Date:             Mon, 27 Dec 1999 15:36:51 +0100
From:           "MLM" <>

Hi Peter,

I´ll be happy to provide you with information on Dutch squadrons flying from Australia during the war. There were two combat squadrons, 120 Squadron flying P-40N Kittyhawks and nr. 18 Squadron flying B-25 Mitchells. 120 Squadron was send to Merauke, New-Guinea in January? 1944 and stayed there till June-July 1945 when they were stationed at Biak.

On 7 September 1944 they lost a C-47 belonging to NEI-AF transport squadron (VH-RDK) near Cairns (it flew into a mountain). They lost all crew (4), 7 fighter pilots of 120 Squadron on their way for R&R and a great number of RAAF personnel (including S/Ldr Dawson, RAAF-NEI liaison officer). Not until 1988 was the C-47 found in the rugged terrain near Cairns.

The 18th Squadron flew from Batchelor from 1942 until the end of the war.

On their losses over Australia I can give you more details later.


Bas Kreuger
Curator MAM RNlAF
the Netherlands


hline.gif (2424 bytes)


Subject:   Two P-40N crashes, 120 Sq. NEI-AF
Date:           Tue, 28 Dec 1999 10:42:23 +0100
From:          "MLM" <>

Dear Peter,

120 Squadron was founded on 10 December 1943 in Canberra. On 9 March 1944 the squadron was posted to Potshot (Learmonth) to counter a suspected Japanese naval attack on Fremantle. Through ADELAIDE, Ceduna, NULLABOR-PLAINS, Kalgoorlie, Exmouth Gulf to Potshot.

23 March they left again for Canberra and lost the two P-40´s I mentioned earlier.

On 10 April 1944 most of the groundcrew was shipped to Merauke by sea, on 10 and 11 April the fighters left for Merauke in two flights. Maintenance of these P-40´s was to be done by 86 Squadron RAAF until their own ground personnel and material had arrived.

No other operations over Australia were flown by 120 Squadron, besides rotations of crew and aircraft. In one of these rotations the C-47 mentioned earlier was lost. The C-47 left Merauke on 6 September. I have the RNLAF report on the finding of this aircraft and shall try to locate it so I can give you the names of the other RAAF personnel involved.

On 18 Squadron, I shall reread the book(s) on this unit to see if and where they lost aircraft over Australia.


Bas Kreuger
Curator Military Aviation Museum
Po Box 184
3769ZK Soesterberg
the Netherlands
+31-346338110 (tel)
+31-346351143 (fax)


hline.gif (2424 bytes)


Subject:    Other NEI-AF losses
Date:             Wed, 29 Dec 1999 09:40:29 +0100
From:           "MLM" <>

Hi Peter,

Here´s some extra info on the Broome Raid by the IJNAF.

As you write in your NEI-AF page, around 09.30, 9 Zero´s attack Allied flying boats and installations around the Broome area. The following (Dutch) losses were incurred:-

# Dornier Do-24 K Flying boats, Royal Netherlands Navy, Naval Air Service: X-1, X-3, X-20, X-23 and X-28

# PBY-Catalina´s of the RNN, NAS Y-59, Y-60, Y-67, Y-70 and two USN and two RAF (205sq) boats

# Lockheed Lodestar LT-918 of the NEI-AF

# Dakota DC-3 PK-ALO and PK-AFV of the KNILM (Netherlands East Indies KLM)

As the Dorniers were loaded up with evacuees (most of them women and children) from Java, there were at least 70 people killed by the Zero´s and while swimming through burning oil. Only 25 persons were buried at the cemetery at Karrakatta near Perth.

On the Dutch transport squadrons: there were no formal squadrons until September 1944.

There were two transport sections: NEI-Transport Section Brisbane and NEI-TS Melbourne.

NEI-TSM was equipped with a number of de-armed B-25´s and 9 Lockheed Lodestars, the NEI-TSB with 3 Lodestars and 5 B-25´s. Both were used to ferry men and materiel to 120 squadron in Merauke (later Biak) and 18 Squadron at Batchelor. In November 1944 both TS were combined in No. 1 NEI-Transport Squadron. The aircraft pool was expanded with four C-47´s and five Lockheed 12a light transports.

On 15 August 1945 the unofficial transports used by the KNILM (NEI KLM) was renamed 19 (NEI) Transport Squadron and officially taken on the strength of the RAAF. It had 13 Dakota´s.

This is it for now, more info later!


Bas Kreuger


hline.gif (2424 bytes)


Subject:    Other NEI-AF losses
Date:             Thu, 30 Dec 1999 23:16:22 +0100
From:           "MLM"

Hi Peter,

All is correct, I've two points of comment:

* the DC-3 shot down on the beach was probably the one flown by the famous Dutch/Russian KLM pilot Iwan Smirnoff. The aircraft carried a bag of jewels of the Netherlands East-Indies Bank and they were never found again in or near the wreck!

Details and final confirmation of this story has to wait until I have access to my books and archives again tomorrow at work.



hline.gif (2424 bytes)


Subject:   Other NEI-AF losses
Date:           Thu, 30 Dec 1999 23:24:25 +0100
From:          "MLM" <>

In April 1942, 12 + 5 B-25 arrived from a batch ordered and bought by the Netherlands Purchasing Committee in the US. As a new NEI-AF squadron (18th Sq.) was yet to be filled with capable crews, those first 12 were handed over to the USAAF 3rd Bomb Group, where they flew for some time with Dutch serials (N5- .......). So they were not stolen, but handed over to the US.



hline.gif (2424 bytes)


Subject:   Diamond Dakota
Date:           Mon, 3 Jan 2000 10:01:41 +0100
From:          "MLM" <>

C-47 crash (7 Sep 1944). Passenger/crewlist:

# 1Lt H.J.H. Daanen (Captain)
# SGT W.A. Torn (Co-pilot)
# SGT E. Kerdijk (W-ops)
# SGT J.F. Damijk (Eng)

# 1Lt R.T. Braakensiek
# id. H.P. Levy
# id. B. van Aken
# id. O. Leyding
# id. R.J. Salm
# id. J.S. Zwart
# SGT A.J. Scholte
# SGT M. Brogerman
All the above were fighterpilots of 120 Squadron NEI-AF on their way for R&R in Australia

# Sq/Ldr L.R. Dawson (RAAF)
# Lt H.W.H. Armstrong (RAAF)
# 2Lt Lebeu (NEI intell)
# 2Lt Boereboom (NEI Intell)

# Mr S. Jacob (reserve 2Lt)
# Mrs Waas
# Mrs Wakewaw
All civilians

The aircraft was found in early January 1989 by an Australian/New-Zealand scientific expedition NW of Mossman.

The curator RAAF Museum (F/Off P.J. Kenny) (This is my wife's cousin - Peter) and W/Off B. Hurst aided by a member of the Aus/NZ Team were winched down near the wreck on 21 January 1989 and identified the a/c as VH-RDK, being the missing Dutch Dakota. Recovery was approved on 24 Jan. and on 5 Feb the operation started.

It was carried out by personnel of 27Sqn RAAF, supported by an UH-1H helicopter of 35 Sqn. RAAF and ended on 10 Feb. 1989.

On 11 Feb. one of the former fighter pilots of 120 Sqn NEI-AF, Mr Hugo Haye, was received by the recovery team. He paid a final tribute to his comrades.

He was supposed to be on the Dakota (together with 2nd Lt. Theo Gottschalk), but was taken of the flight to ferry a P-40N to Australia. All his luggage however, was on the fatal flight and he was now able to take home his beloved shotguns!

The deceased passengers and crew were buried at the war cemetery at Cairns.

About the DC-3 that crashed near Broome:

The PK-AFV was standing at Andir airfield on 3 March 1942 to leave for Australia, when stationmaster Wisse entered the aircraft and gave Captain Iwan Smirnoff a package "that he had to safeguard very very good, it has immense value".

Also on board the PK-ALO (which had landed in Broome 3-4 March) was such a package, in the hands of a courier of the NEI Government, stamped full with lacker seals).

The PK-ALO was strafed by the Japanese Zero´s and burned completely. The package was lost.

The returning Zero´s meet the PK-AFV in the air, on its way to Broome. Smirnoff, who is an ex-fighter pilot with both the Tsarist Russian Air force as the Dutch Air Force in Europe, tried to evade the attacking Zero´s (3), but fails against the nimble fighters.

With a burning left engine Smirnoff dives for the coast and succeeds in putting the aircraft on the beach, the burning engine is put out by the seawater.

The Zero´s keep strafing the DC-3 and then disappear to report their 22nd victory of that day.

Engineer Van Romondt is later send by Smirnoff to get the package from the still smoking wreck. He had it in his hand when suddenly an eruption of smoke makes him decide to leave the aircraft and he throws the package away!

In an inquiry and search the package is found on the flood line of Carnot Bay, but without the jewels with a value of more than 500.000 guilders!.

Only years later most of the jewels were found with aboriginal families living in the neighbourhood.

So, that's enough again for a day´s work, don´t you think so Peter?




Can anyone help me with more information?


"Australia @ War" WWII Research Products

I need your help


©  Peter Dunn OAM 2020


Please e-mail me
any information or photographs

"Australia @ War"
8GB USB Memory Stick

This page first produced 28 December 1999

This page last updated 21 February 2020