It’s March 1942, and a Dutch ship, the Abraham Crijnssen, is sailing in the Java Sea. She’d been on a mission to defend what were the Dutch East Indies and is Indonesia today. But days earlier the Japanese Navy had crushed the Allied fleet that the Abraham Crijnssen was part of. Now the only option for the Dutch vessel is to escape to the safety of Australia. But she’s a slow-going, poorly armed ship, so her future looks bleak to say the least.
We’ll reveal the fate of the Abraham Crijnssen and her 45-man crew soon. But first let’s find out what was going on in the Java Sea around the islands of the Dutch East Indies back in 1941. The events that unfolded around those islands formed part of what became known as the Pacific War.
Imperial Japan had opened hostilities in this Second World War Theater, on a Sunday morning early in December 1941. That was the day the Japanese made their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, dragging the U.S. into the Second World War. It was a day that President Roosevelt famously described as “a date which will live in infamy.”