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Re: Ternate

April 8 2017 at 9:19 PM
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Klemen L.  (no login)
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Response to Ternate

Hello Simon,

Can anyone clarify the Japanese forces that captured Ternate in Jan 1942 and the strength of the Dutch forces that held the island? From Graham Donaldson's map it appears to have been by the 228th Regt of the 38th Div enroute to Ambon, but I can find no actual mention of the operation. Similarly, can anyone advise the garrison and attack forces at Banda Islands soon after the Ambon capture?

The Dutch garrison at Ternate consisted of a KNIL company (four platoons) at Fort Oranje drawn from the KNIL Garrison Battalion on Ambon Island. Like elsewhere across the Dutch East Indies archipelago the company was probably reinforced by local European/native reservists and volunteers at the outbreak of the war. There was also a small military hospital in the fort with 13 beds. As Taki already pointed out what happened to them and who captured Ternate you can find here:

For more information about the Japanese invasion and life in Ternate during World War II I would recommend the memoirs of Jeanne van Diejen-Roemen who lived there when the war started in 1941.

Ron Heynneman: ''Ibu Maluku: The Story of Jeanne Marie Van Diejen-Roemen'', Sid Harta, 2002


For the occupation of the Banda Island I would recommend you to first take a look at the following webpage:


Taki will probably confirm that the Japanese landing party on Banda Island in May 1942 most probably came from the 24th Special Base Force. To read the first-hand description of the Japanese landing on Banda Island I'd recommend you the memoirs of Des Alwi who as a young teenager lived on the island when the war started. Judging by his description (p. 82-83) the Japanese most likely came from that platoon of the 3rd Yokosuka SNLF. The island was mostly undefended when the Japanese arrived, except a small Dutch police force and a few local Home Guard volunteers armed with hunting rifles. Anyway, here is the title of Alwi's memoir:

Des Alwi: ''Friends and exiles: a memoir of the Nutmeg Isles and the Indonesian nationalist movemen'', Ithaca (NY), 2008


If you can give me your email address or any other means of contact I can even send you the NEFIS WWII study about Ternate if you would like to have it.

Could I please ask if you know, by any chance, if the Japanese forces on Terante used the old Dutchh Fort Orange as their headquarters, and if they also used Fort Victoria in central Ambon as their HQ for that town? I am interested in any known use by the Japanese forces of old fortifications in Ambon, Banda and Ternate during WWII.

I cannot fully confirm this, but I think it's safe to assume that the Japanese used Fort Oranje in some capacity either as their military headquarters or prison. It's also possible that their HQ was later transfered to the palace of the Sultan of Ternate, who was rescued from Ternate by the Australian Z Special Unit in April 1945 (Operation OPOSSUM).

I was able to find this article from the Australian Journal of Military History, which you might find helpful.

Best regards,


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