Marjo's Blog

Empower, Inspire, and Transform: Your Path to Personal Growth

Honouring Hille Kleinstra's WWII Service

My great-grandfather, Hille Kleinstra, served in the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army during World War II as a Dutch soldier who was "Laatste Sergeant der Infanterie." He was among the 5,620 Dutch, English, Australian, and American prisoners of war and Javanese slave labourers aboard the Junyo Maru ship when the British submarine HMS Tradewind torpedoed it on 18 September 1944.

World War II was a global conflict that lasted from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations, including the major powers of the time, organised into two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. The war began with the German invasion of Poland and the declaration of war by Britain and France against Germany. The conflict expanded as other nations joined the war, including Italy and the Soviet Union.

Germany invaded the Netherlands in 1940, marking the start of Dutch involvement in World War II. The Royal Netherlands Army, also known as the Dutch Army, fought against the German forces but succumbed to the invasion and occupied the country. Notwithstanding the occupation, the Dutch resistance kept fighting against the Germans and assisting the Allies. Meanwhile, the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army, a branch of the Dutch Army, was responsible for defending the Dutch East Indies, which is currently known as Indonesia.

Personal Information

Born on 1 February 1904 in the Netherlands, my great-grandfather married Maria Hendrina Reedeker on 1 September 1926, and they had at least two daughters.

Military Service and Death

During World War II, he served in the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army and was aboard the Junyo Maru when the HMS Tradewind torpedoed it. Tragically, he did not survive the sinking and went missing, presumed dead.

Places of Residence

The document discovered mentions a village called Rajamandala Kulon in West Java, Indonesia, which may have been where he lived or passed through. It also says the city of "Bandoeng" (now known as "Bandung") was an important centre of Dutch colonial administration and military activity during that time.

Bandung is famous for its Dutch colonial architecture, vibrant arts scene, and numerous shopping districts. Travelling to Bandung is generally considered safe, and the official language there is Indonesian, though many residents also speak English.

Further Research

As the information is limited, more information or resources may be available through national archives, historical societies, and organisations. The Dutch War Graves Foundation may also be able to provide additional help or information. Genealogy research can be furthered through platforms like Geni, Ancestry, and FamilySearch, which offer extensive databases and resources for tracing family history.


We can now pay tribute and keep alive the memory of my great-grandfather's life and military service, an integral part of our family history. While our information about his life and wartime experiences is limited, we are committed to unearthing more details and preserving his legacy for future generations.

The study of families, family history, and lineage tracing is called genealogy. People use genealogy for various reasons, such as exploring family connections, uncovering medical records, and safeguarding family narratives. Many online and offline resources are accessible to help individuals trace their family history and genealogy.

Indonesia has a rich historical background, with significant historical events, including the arrival of Hinduism and Buddhism, the Dutch colonisation, and the struggle for independence. Before it was called Indonesia, the country was known as the Dutch East Indies during Dutch colonisation.