Ghosts of the Java Sea, 30 Years Ago

March 1992: Here we see the Dutch anti-air frigate Hr.Ms. Tromp (F 801), left, steaming next to the Jacob van Heemskerck-class ASW frigate Hr.Ms. Witte de With (F 813) with an SH-14AB Sea Lynx helicopter aloft between them. Trailing is the Kortenaer-class ASW frigate Hr.Ms. Van Kinsbergen (F 809) and a replenishment ship that looks to be Hr.Ms. Poolster (A835). Importantly, the photo-ex was taken right around the 50th anniversary of the Battle of the Java Sea.

Fotoafdrukken Koninklijke Marine photo Via NIMH (ON 2158_018605)

Further, if you have keen eyes, you will notice the Marineluchtvaartdienst Lynx has an ode to The Pink Panther on its nose, the cartoons a tradition for the service’s Lynx

Of note, Tromp carries the name of a Dutch cruiser/destroyer leader that only missed being sunk at the Feb. 28, 1942, Battle of the Java Sea while Witte de With carries the monicker of a Dutch destroyer that survived that clash only to be damaged by Japanese planes on 1 March 1942 at Surabaya and scuttled as the Dutch left Java. Meanwhile, Van Kinsbergen, named for a Dutch naval hero, was a name also carried by a sloop during WWII that, like Tromp and Witte de With, sailed with the Free Dutch forces– capturing 12 German steamers in the West Indies in the early part of the conflict.

Three of the four of the above-shown vessels were evidently so well-maintained in service to the Royal Netherlands Navy that after full careers with the Dutch they sailed for Greece (Van Kinsbergen as Navarinon), Chile (Witte de With as Capitán Prat), and Pakistan (Poolster as Moawin).

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