Allies in adversity, Australia and the Dutch in the Pacific War: Dutch and Australian servicemen in captivity
Dutch and Australian servicemen in captivity
In addition to the more than 100,000 Dutch civilians interned by the Japanese in the NEI, some 37,000 men were held as prisoners of war. Another 22,000 Australian soldiers were also captured in 1942, and the two groups were inevitably thrown together, particularly as working parties on the infamous Burma–Thailand Railway.
While the differing characteristics and attitudes of the two nationalities occasionally led to tension or even conflict, the shared experiences and hardships served to bind the men together, and, in general, relations between the Dutch and Australians were good.
By the end of the war, some 8,000 Dutch and just over 8,000 Australian prisoners of war had died of disease, starvation or ill-treatment in Japanese hands.