Lieutenant-General Gerardus J. Berenschot
Lieutenant-General Gerardus Johannes Berenschot was born on Sumatra in 1887 as son of a KNIL officer who had married an Indonesian woman.
As he was fifteen years old, he was sent to Holland a followed a course at the so-called "cadetschool" in Alkmaar. It was an educationfacility and it's diploma gave access to the Royal Military Academy. He passed the course and became the best of his year. He was sent to Netherlands East Indies and received recommendations for his service with the MP's (in Holland: Marechaussee) in Atjeh. He climbed ranks very quickly and passed a study at the High Military Academy (Hogere Krijgsschool). He was attached to the same school as a teacher in the period 1925 - 1930 and became chief of staff of the KNIL in 1934, a position he held until July 1939, when he became overall commander of the KNIL as successor of General Boerstra.
He was a good soldier both practical as theoretical and also had an eye for the more political side of the army and he had a natural authority. Although he couldn't speak English, he negotiated with the British after the occupation of Holland by Germany (so called Singapore-conferences) and was also by the British and Americans considered a good leader who would keep his head cool under all circumstances. Unfortunately, when he returned from a meeting with the overall commander of the RAF in the Far East (Air Marshal Brooke-Popham) on October 13, 1941, his plane crashed in one of the native suburbs of Batavia. All passengers and the crew died.
Copyright © Klemen. L. 1999-2000
Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941-1942