- Title: PARACHUTE TESTS, CAPTURED VEHICLE MAINTENANCE AND EXHUMATIONS FOLLOWING A MASSACRE NEAR BATAVIA, DUTCH EAST INDIES [Allocated Title]
- Film Number: ABY 188
- Other titles: ROYAL AIR FORCE OPERATIONS IN SOUTH EAST ASIA DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR [Allocated Series Title]
- Summary: A three-item film shot in and near Batavia, Dutch East Indies (Jakarta, Indonesia) showing various parachute systems being tested for suitability for use in supply dropping; RAF Servicing Commando Unit personnel repairing Japanese tracked vehicles before taking them for a spin; exhumation of corpses following the murder of RAF and Indian Army personnel by Indonesian nationalists.
- Description: Part 1: A series of different parachutes are tested. A container of some sort is dropped from a low-flying RAF Douglas Dakota transport aircraft without any parachute. It hits the ground and bursts in a cloud of dust. Another bundle is dropped, this time using a small pilot or drogue parachute which pulls open a larger main parachute. The main parachute malfunctions and fails to inflate, the container also hits the ground in a cloud of dust. The drogue flutters to earth. A container is dropped using a triple-parachute arrangement; one of the three round canopies fails and the bundle appears to hit the ground quite hard. Yet another bundle is dropped, this time with four parachutes attached to it, and the test appears to be successful. Men inspect the supply bundle on the ground; the test object appears to be an empty oil drum which has ruptured on impact. Part 2: RAF mechanics service a light tracked vehicle, probably a Japanese artillery tractor or personnel carrier. The mechanics install an engine; most wear plain dress or are stripped to the waist but some are wearing bush hats with the insignia of an RAF Servicing Commando Unit. The mechanics take the vehicle for a spin and it proves to be surprisingly fast and agile. At one point it passes very close to camera. Mechanics at work on various components; one has an elaborate tattoo on his left forearm apparently of a scroll or parchment with a sword behind. Part 3: A local woman speaks with British troops; a photographer stands behind her. Civilian men digging at a riverside burial site with spades and picks. A column of motorised infantry and Stuart ('Honey') light tanks drive along a road. An RAF Republic Thunderbolt Mk II fighter circles low overhead. The bodies of RAF aircrew are exhumed. A corpse is pulled out of the ground; the man appears to have died with his hands bound behind his back.
- Access Conditions: IWM Attribution: © IWM
- Featured Period: 1939-1945
- Production Date: 1945-12-01
- Production Country: GB
- Production Details: Air Ministry, Directorate of Public Relations (Production sponsor) Royal Air Force Film Production Unit (Production company) Clot, Dennis Francis Emile1919-07-04 (Production individual)
- Personalities, Units and Organisations:
- Keywords: Allied Occupation of the Netherlands East Indies, Allied Occupation of South East Asia post-August 1945 (event) Batavia, Java, Netherlands East Indies (geography) Bekassi, Java, Netherlands East Indies (geography)
- Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W Sound format: Silent
- Technical Details: Format: 35mm Number of items/reels/tapes: 1 Footage: 597 ft; Running time: 7 minutes
- HD Media:
- Notes: Part 2: Captions for contemporary photographs name the mechanics seen in this section as follows: Sergeant J Jowett. Leading Aircraftman (LAC) H Jackson. LAC H Bridge. LAC H Ellis. The Servicing Commando Unit seen is either 3205, 3207, 3209 or 3210. Part 3: On 23 November 1945 a Dakota en route to Semarang crashed 6 miles from Batavia, with five RAF aircrew and twenty Maratha (Mahratta) riflemen aboard. Before they could be found, they were abducted by extremist Indonesian nationalists and murdered, apparently one-by-one, on 25 November, their bodies being buried by a riverbank. They were exhumed on 1st December, initially by 1st Battalion, 16th Punjab Regiment, the task later being taken over by personnel of the Dutch East Indies Red Cross. In reprisal, the population of the nearby village of Bekassi (Bekasi) was moved out and the village burned. In an interview given in 1990 the cameraman of this piece, Flight Sergeant Dennis Clot of No.3 RAF Film Production Unit, described the attitude of British soldiers after this atrocity in the following terms: 'It's like a silent anger, mixed with disgust, and it takes all the speech away from you. You can't describe it, you can't write about it, you can only film it, and the picture must speak for itself. It's as simple as that'. This interview can be found under the reference below. See related items. This incident, and following reprisals, were also recorded in film and photographs by RAF (CF/ABY series) and British Army (SE/JFU series) personnel. See related items. No dopesheets survive for this film. Clot identified as cameraman from interview referenced below and date from contemporary photographs.
- Link to IWM Collections page:
Related IWM Collections Objects:
ABY 190 (REPRISALS FOR THE DAKOTA ATROCITY AT BEKASSI, DUTCH EAST INDIES [Allocated Title]) JFU 443 (AMBONESE ROADBLOCK, RELEASE OF DUTCH INTERNEES AND EXHUMATION OF BODIES [Allocated Title]) JFU 477 (BURNING DOWN THE TOWN OF BEKASSI AS A PUNITIVE MEASURE BY THE ALLIES [Allocated Title]) JFU 524 (RECONNAISSANCE IN FORCE TO BEKASSI [Allocated Title]) 11381 () Documents.17155 (System.Xml.XmlElement)