Biography of F.J. Zantvoort

Monteur III z.m., Royal Dutch Navy & MV Poelau Bras Survivor, WWII

   I am a survivor of the Poelau Bras, the name of the ship was not Poelav but Poelau Bras { In Indonesian "Poelau" means "island" and "bras" is (uncooked) "rice"}. If you go to: Poelau Laut (on Wayback Machine), you'll see a picture, not of the Poelau Bras, but of its identical sistership Poelau Laut, with two others, they were built almost simultaneously for the Stoomvaartmaatschappij Nederland, with 58 1st class passenger-accommodation. The 1000 deck passengers refer to the pilgrimtrade mentioned, a lot of Muslims went from Java to go on pilgrimage to Mecca as cheap as possible. According to my information the Poelau Bras was built in 1929 at the Koninklijke Mij. "De Schelde" in Vlissingen.

   The number of people aboard, when it left Java was certainly not 2800; exact numbers are not known, since to start with, it was not known how many people came aboard in Pelabuhan Ratu, on the S.W.coast of Java, about a 150 km. drive through the mountains from the city of Bandoeng. It was the last ship to leave Java, before the capitulation on March 8, 1942. After the bombing three lifeboats managed to get ashore on Sumatra's South-coast one in 5 days, one in 6 and one in 7 days. A list of names compiled by the shipping-company after the war, mostly as registered from the memories of the survivors, shows a crew of 90, partly people from its sistership the Poelau Tello, which was bombed in a Sumatra-harbour on February 27, and a further 149 passengers, totalling 239 people, this figure could be somewhat higher, possibly about 260; 41 crew-members and 70 passengers came ashore in the lifeboats.

   McDougall has written a sequence to his book "Six bells off Java", which is named "By Eastern Windows" and describes his experiences in the prison-camps.

   Finally I can draw your attention to a site: The Netherlands East Indies 1941-1942, a solid piece of work, which was compiled by history-students about the invasion of Japan in the Neth. East Indies, in it is an interview taken from me about my experiences (here Interview with Franciscus Johannes Zantvoort), so if you're interested be my guest. I have noticed that some of the info I give there about the Poelau Bras is not quite correct.

   Some time ago I got an inquiry from relatives of a sailor on the Poelau Bras, I could not give them any more information, than that I had found his name on the list, but since John Schrijvers also was a sailor, they must have been colleagues and he might have more information.

   If you have any further questions, let me know and I'll try to answer them.

     Greetings, Frans Zantvoort

     fzantvoort@chello.nl

LINKS

MV Poelav Bras History, Unit History

MV Poelau Bras Photograph, Beautiful Photograph

Biography of Johanus "John" Schryvers, MV Poelau Bras, POW, Dutch Merchant Marine

Brief history of the MV Poelav Bras and her sister ships, with a photo, Use Back Key To Return

Back To Justin Oral History, Navy Biographies

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