Adriaan Johann (Hans)
Sgt. Hans den Ouden
Dad was 18 when World War II broke out. We're not sure exactly when he joined the army (or was drafted), but do know that because of color blindness, he was not assigned to fighting duty but was involved in support - specifically he worked as a cook. There are no records of his wartime activities until August 1945, shortly before the war ended.
He served with the 1st Nica Company of the Netherlands Army. Late in the war, the company was shipped to Australia. Prior to leaving, General Bongers addressed the troops in Den Haag on August 17, 1945.
Left: General Bongers addressing the troops
He subsequently shipped out with his company to England on the Prinses Astrid. In England his company was stationed briefly at a transit camp at Malvern Wells.
Right: Aboard the Prinses Astrid
Below: Street Map of The Malverns
The troop left the transit camp for Australia in September aboard the Royal Mail Line's vessel "Andes", which had been commandeered as a troop transport shortly after it was commissioned in 1939.
Right: The Royal Mail Line ship Andes
The journey took them through the Suez Canal to Australia. A caption he entered with one photo of the journey reads "The days were filled, as shown here, with chatting, sunning, reading, and in the right background - gambling. At sea we often had time for this."
Left: Aboard the H.M.T. Andes
The photo was taken in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
After arriving in Australia, the company was stationed briefly at Columbia Camp in Wacal - Brisbane. They then moved on to Victory Camp at Casino, New South Wales (near the town of Lismore). But before they got there, they had a stopover in Sydney.
Dad in Sydney
At Victory Camp the company was engaged in many details including a sawmill. But they also had training with weapons, though this wasn't compulsory.
The photo above shows Dad with a weapon. The caption reads "Here I am lying behind a Brenn-gun. I have the complete attention of both captains. Left: with the cap on, Captain Craamer. Right: the "kaasbol" (bald fellow - literally cheese bowl), Captain Enthoven. The first is a journalist. The second is a lawyer. Standing, with cap on, Lieutenant Poules, the instructor. Standing left, Piet Trouw, who, after the captains had left, was named our commander."
Naturally, soldiers get furlough and, because Victory Camp was on the Gold Coast of Australia, there were a number of trips to the fine beaches of the area. And, naturally, they made friends with some of the local girls. The picture below is of Dad and two buddies along with two Australian girls, Mary and Joy.
This was taken at the beautiful beach at Ballina.
Left: Beach at Ballina
Right: the "Big Four"
Dad and three buddies called themselves "The Big Four". These photos were taken in November 1945.
Another beach they visited was at Evan's Head. Check out the picture below. You gotta love those military swimsuits!
Here are a few more pictures of the miltary details.
Left: The sawmill
Right: Training exercise.
Dad is second from the left behind the gunner.
Below are a couple of great photos of Dad in the army.
Finally he received orders to report to Brisbane, eventually to leave the army in 1946.
That's it for Dad's miltary story. Click on the links below to navigate ahead or back.
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