Letters

Ary Deijl served as a telegraphist-gunner, survived sinking of Dutch cruiser 'De Ruyter'

December 01, 2009

Hi Mac,

I recently searched my grandfather's name on the internet and your website was the only result that was
returned. My name is Andrew Layton and my grandfather is Ary Deijl, he served as a telegraphist-gunner in the Royal Netherlands Navy on the Dutch cruiser 'De Ruyter'. He was presumed dead I believe, as his ship was sunk by the Japanese on February 27th 1942 in the Java sea while defending Australia against the Japanese, and was postumhously awarded a medal for being killed in action.

However Ary (or Harry as we knew him) was not killed, he was instead picked up by a Japanese destroyer and sent to Changi prison and then to the Burma railway where he was for over 3 years. He made it out alive and returned home to Holland, then migrated to Perth, Western Australia in 1949. Unfortunately Harry passed away last Tuesday November 24th 2009, just days before his 91st birthday. My family is very proud of Harry's service, and I was hoping you might be able to help me track down any information on Harry's service on the De Ruyter or time on the Burma railway. Any help in sourcing information or photos would be greatly appreciated, I would like to make sure my future family knows Harry's full story. 

Thanks,
Andrew


Andrew,

Your Grandfather is listed here as number 355. I believe only 111 were saved from the two Dutch Cruisers Java and de Ruyter.

 ARY DEIJL MATROOS1K POW L RNN DE RUYTER 27 02 42   

Book:   Hr.Ms. Kruiser 'De Ruyter' 1933-1942

Full history of the cruiser De Ruyter throughout the 1930s and the war. Many photos etc. Written by H.J. Legemaate and A.J.J. Mulder, published in 1999 by Asia Maior, ISBN90-74861-15-6

Regret I cannot find anything about Ary on the Burma Railway.

Regards,
Mac

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