Another perceptionDecember 15 2010 at 4:58 PM
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|Peter Boer (Login petercboer)|
from IP address 126.96.36.199
Response to Re: Dutch Perception Of Admiral Helfrich
Bussemaker's vieuw would, had he still been alive, have infuriated the late Lgen ret. A.B. (Bertie) Wolff, former C.in C. of the RNLAF and CO of a Glenn Martin afdeling during 1941-42. Helfrich wrote in his memoirs in 1950 that Doorman did not receive air support [from fighters] during the dayfight of the battle in the Java Sea, while Doorman was in fact the one operating under a temporary local air superiority supplied by the 15 US and NEI fighters up above the two battling fleets (keeping away the Japanese artillery spotter planes). In the somewhat unforgiving words of Wolff: "Helfrich in my view lied to keep away any blame the navy might get from the historians" (interview with A.B. Wolff April 1990). Wolff thought Helfrich to be a vain man who tried to manipulate history "to stay clean himself". This is also the picture sketched to me in 1975 by the late H. Creutzberg, LL.M who was the lieutenant-adjutant of Major-general L.H. van Oyen, the Air Officer Commanding Java Air Command in 1942 (the two did not know each other and gave comments on the behaviour of Helfrich independently). Creutzberg met Helfrich a couple of times when in company of Van Oyen and said that Helfrich was vain and not (!!) communicative unless it was to his own advantage. He never answered telephone calls from Van Oyen as he thought that he was the senior (he once said this to Van Oyen when the latter was just promoted to AOC JAC). Helfrich also passed by his direct superior in the ABDA Area Hq structure, Lgen H. ter Poorten, going directy to the Governor-General for a decision a couple of times, which, according to Creutzberg, raised quite some fuzz.
Quite another sound, isn't it?