News and information



Order and Peace Medal of Honor

Last Monday, February 20, in the hangar of the B25 Mitchell at Gilze en Rijen Air Base, the posthumous presentation of the Decoration of Order and Peace to Mr. G.J. Heitinga took place. His son Mr. Beer Heitinga received the decoration from the Commander of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, Lieutenant General J.D. Luyt.

Also, and rightfully so, attention was paid posthumously to Mr. J. H. Benthem, friend and colleague of G.J. Heitinga, joint bearer of the Medal of Honor. Both men as flight engineers of the 18th sqn NEI during the police actions in the period 1947-1949.

Honor is due them, served for Queen and Fatherland.

This award has come about thanks to the efforts of many people. For this great thanks.

A special day!

For a photo impression click on the Dutch page



Looking back on the National Commemoration 15 August 1945
on Monday, 15 August 2022 at the Indisch Monument in The Hague

Retrospective commemoration 2022 | We look back on a dignified and emotional commemoration 2022. After two years in which fewer people were able to attend the commemoration due to covid, this edition was again freely accessible to everyone. For the first time, the commemoration took place in the evening hours, enabling more people to experience it live at home and on the field. Thousands of people had gathered at the Indisch Monument in The Hague for a reception as usual with coffee and bacon cake, while the sun was still shining brightly. The sea cadets and students of the VCL placed hundreds of sunflowers in the monument, donated by those who could not physically be present this year.

Speakers | When chairman Thom de Graaf took the floor, dark clouds gathered above the field and thunderstorms sounded in the distance. But during the commemoration it remained dry and a rainbow appeared on the horizon. Up here they are listening,' said Wieteke van Dort, who recited a poem written specially for her by the deceased poet Willem Wilmink.

This commemoration was certainly emotional and dignified. Mark Rietman read a poignant adaptation of the poem "There are not many people left who can recount it" by Wim Kan.
Keynote speaker Beau Schneider was moved by his story about his father Eric, his grandfather Jan and his uncles Carel and Han. Student Flo Huijsmans made a deep impression with her personal story about her grandfather.

Wreath laying | Prime Minister Mark Rutte laid the first wreath together with State Secretary Maarten van Ooijen. The ambassador of Indonesia then laid a wreath for all the victims of the Second World War. Ambassadors from Indonesia have been laying a wreath during the National Commemoration on 15 August for years. Mayerfas said in the Volkskrant: "I will do this as a proper and deeply felt gesture to remember all the victims of the Second World War and to show them respect."



We are very pleased with our new board members Helga de Wilde and Bart Kamans.

Helga takes over the treasurer's job from Marion and Bart joins as a general board member and perhaps in the future as secretary.



Reunion Children of the 18th sqn NEI-RAAF

A great success!

Sunday, 3 April was finally the day, after two long (corona) years of waiting, now it was time to organise our long awaited reunion. The number of registrations and the attendance of the Children of. , families, friends and others who are in any way connected with the 18th sqn NEI, was overwhelming. This time it was organised at the Bronbeek Estate, the home for veterans of the Dutch armed forces and the former Royal Netherlands-Indies Army (KNIL).

Prior to the actual reunion, there was an impressive and respectful ceremony in the presence of the Ambassador of Australia, the Deputy Commander of the Royal Air Force and the Mayor of Arnhem, who were all present.

Large flag display, national anthems, a respectful minute of silence and a guard of honour.

Speeches by the chairman of the Foundation of De Kinderen van het 18e sqn NEI-RAAF, the Australian ambassador and the deputy commander of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, whereby all attention went to the Dutch, Dutch-Indian and Australian men and their squadron who at the time made an enormous, often forgotten contribution for our freedom, for Queen and Fatherland.

Standing still and remembering them, that is what we did this day.

We also remembered that it was exactly 80 years ago that the 18th Squadron was founded.


After the ceremony, we walked to the Kumpulan of Bronbeek. For a delicious Indonesian  meal. The cosy get-together we have been waiting for for so long. With guests from the United States, Canada and Luxembourg.

Two special presentations about families and research.

We caught up a lot, sharing knowledge through many books, photos and stories. Also new friendships were made, all with a common background, namely our fathers, grandfathers and even great-grandfathers who once stood side by side there in far away Australia for their Dutch 18th Squadron NEI - RAAF.

And the sun was shining at just the right time!

For more pictures Reunion 2022 the Dutch page: Voor de Camera/ Reünie 2022


1 February 2022

Online presentation research results 'Independence, Decolonisation, Violence and War in Indonesia, 1945-1950' on 17 February

On 17 February 2022 the results of the research programme 'Independence, Decolonisation, Violence and War in Indonesia, 1945-1950' will be presented.

Because of the Corona measures, the presentation will take the form of an online broadcast that can be followed by everyone via a live stream. No audience can attend the presentation.

The broadcast starts at 9:00 and ends around 12:00 local time. Dutch and Indonesian researchers who have worked on the research programme will present the results of all sub-studies in this broadcast. The broadcast will end with a presentation of the summary conclusions of the entire research programme.

Everyone can follow the broadcast online. You do not have to register in advance for this presentation. Further information on the programme of the presentation and the link to the live stream will be shared on the project website and via the newsletter.

The results of the research project will be available in book form from 17 February. Eventually, 12 books will be published. A few weeks after the presentation, the books will also be available free of charge digitally (open access). More information on the books and their current release dates can be found at Amsterdam University Press:

New! 17 februari 2022:

The results:


January 7, 2022

On behalf of the board of our Foundation Children of the 18th sqn NEI we would like to wish you all a prosperous and healthy 2022.

For the time being we are planning to organize our long awaited and planned reunion in Bronbeek Arnhem in The Netherlands on 3 April 2022. As a board we are busy with the preparations, which are going on at the moment. Of course, time will tell if this year it will happen because of the -at this moment- uncertain times surrounding Covid-19, also here in The Netherlands. 

Of course, we will inform you about what perspective there will be at the beginning of April 2022. Let us hope that the tide will turn and that we may again see each other at our reunion.


The board of the Foundation Children of the 18th sqn NEI


December 8th 2021



Today, 80 years ago, on December 8, 1941, the Netherlands went to war with Japan

In the early morning of December 8, Paul Blokhuis (State Secretary of Health, Welfare and Sport) and Thom de Graaf (Chairman of the National Remembrance Day on August 15, 1945) laid a wreath at the Indisch Monument in The Hague in memory of all the victims of the war with Japan.

Quote Paul Blokhuis: 'The Second World War in Asia is part of a traumatic war history for very many Dutch people. This underexposed, terrible part of the war began 80 years ago today. One day after the attack on Pearl Harbour. That is why, here at the Indisch Monument, I am expressing my sympathy and respect to the victims and their families on behalf of the Cabinet.'


The Netherlands' Second World War in Asia

On December 7, 1941, Japan, an ally of Nazi Germany, attacks the American naval base at Pearl Harbor. This made war inevitable for the Dutch East Indies as well. On December 8, the Netherlands declared war on Japan, following in the footsteps of the United States and Great Britain. Almost immediately Dutch air and sea battles took place against the advancing Japanese troops. Several warships are destroyed or damaged by Dutch submarines, ships and aircraft. However, the casualties and damage on the Dutch side rapidly increase, resulting in thousands of casualties.



New chairman

May 16th 2021

After four years of chairing our Foundation, as of today I am going to hand over the chairmanship to my fellow board member Mrs. Mathilde Pelder Molenberg.

This decision was passed at our board meeting on May 16, 2021, with full approval of the entire board.

I wish Mathilde all the best and have faith that she will provide the Foundation with new leadership for the future and survival of our Foundation.

I myself will continue to serve as a co-director within the Children of the 18th SQN NEI Foundation and enjoy doing other necessary activities.

Kind regards,


Pieter Ward


April 4th 2021: Founding day

Today 79 years ago the 18th Squadron NEI (Netherlands East Indies) was founded. That happened on April 4th, 1942 at Fairbairn Air Base in Canberra Australia. A special day to commemorate. Lest we forget ……

These photos are laterthat year  in 1942, august 30th of the "swearing ceremony". 


New Childrens only page

April 4, 2021,

On April 4, 2021, the new "Children Only" video went online.

All members/children received an email on this day, April 4 with a password to access this page.

This page on our site is restricted because the Children use this place to share personal stories. If it appears that this information is of interest to a wider audience (with permission of the owner of the story concerned), the information will be made accessible to everyone.

Did you not receive an email on April 4, but you are a Child of ... or immediate family' or do you have questions about this? Then please send your response using the form next to this text on this page.


March 18th 2021

Who is Who?

Who can help Jo Lugt. The person on the right is my father Jan Lugt (I believe). This would have most likely been at batchelor from 1943 on. No other info. This is the only photo of my father up there that I have.

There is an answer!!!

From left to right: 1st Lt. J.W. Broekuizen, Sgt. A.J.H. Hulsman, W. Cortenbach and 2e Lt. H. Maaskant


July 10th  2020


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