Jakarta War Cemetery, South Jakarta

Makam Perang Jakarta, or Jakarta War Cemetery, located in Menteng Pulo area, South Jakarta, I visited several months ago with some friends. It was Olyvia Bendon who had arranged the memorable visit, and that was the first time I had met her on face.

After picking up Rika at Tebet Railway Station, we drove on Jl Cassablanca, passed 'Eling-Eling' Sroto, made U-turn over Kuningan tunnel, and was lucky to recognize Olyv who was sitting at Puri Cassblanca Bus Stop since I thought she was at Cassablanca Apartment Bus Stop. Not long after that joined Lita Jonathans, who previously said she could not come.

We turned left about 70m after Staco House to get to Jl Menteng Pulo 2, turned left at the second fork, turned left again and continue following the street, then turned right, and stopped at courtyard of the back access to Jakarta War Cemetery. Aripin, 30-year-old guard, came to see us, and brought us to entrance of the tomb complex, built and maintained by Commonwealth War Graves Commission. He let us to go on our own exploring the cemetery.

jakarta war cemetery
At the initial part of Jakarta War Cemetery there are graves of Indian Army Medical Corps, Indian Pioneer Corps, Royal Indian Army Service Corps, and 8th Punjab Regiment. On the pillar there's inscription read 'Pakistan", "Indian Forces' and '1939 - 1945'. The year marks period of the fallen armies in various battlefields since the Japanese invaded the Dutch East Indies until the Allied Forces came in after the Japanese surrendered. Anyone who visited Jakarta War Cemetery is sure to be amazed. Area of the tomb is very elegant, neat, beautiful, and very well maintained.

When strolling the site there the tomb of an 8th Punjab Regiment soldier who died December 29, 1945 at the age of 28 years. The regiment was from the 49th Brigade of the Indian Division that is part of the Allied Forces Netherlands East Indies (AFNEI). The Arabic script on the headstone reads Huwal Ghafur (You are the Forgiver), then Innalillahi wainailaihi raji'un (We belong to Allah, and to Allah we come back). The inhabitants of the cemetery are indeed composed of many tribes and religions.

jakarta war cemetery
In front of the previous area, there's the much wider part Jakarta War Cemetery, passing down several steps. In the middle of the are there is a cross-shaped Memorial Monument, as most of those buried in this location appear to be Christian, though some are Jewish, and some have no religious symbols on the headstones. I believe in life after death there is no religion. Everyone meets the same God. Religion is a guide for the living.

Behind the monument is a small building that became the main gate of Jakarta War Cemetery, where there is a landmark for the dead soldiers and history of the Pacific War in the Dutch East Indies. On the right, the broadest part of Jakarta War Cemetery looks very neat and beautiful. I think anyone would be happy to be a tomb dweller in this place, so would the family. A flower is seen in the grave of a Warrior of the Australian Imperial Force Machine Battalion who died on July 21, 1944 at the age of 37. The number of graves here are 1,181, consisting of Navy 105, Army 783, Air Force 271, 12 Trade Crew, 10 Malaya Police etc. They are from England 715 people, India 304, Australia 96, Canada 4, New Zealand 2, South Africa 1 , Burma 1, Malaya 22, and 36 other Allied citizens. The unknown graves were made by the Memorial Monument at their home bases.

jakarta war cemetery
Jakarta War Cemetery area is seen from the right end of the central aisle which is about 75 m from the monument. Behind the plant wall, behind the Memorial Monument is the location of Ereveld Menteng Pulo, Or the Dutch Honorary Garden of Menteng Pulo, or Netherlands Field Of Honour, managed by the Dutch Tomb Foundation (Oorlog Graven Stichting). Looking to the left side, the Jakarta War Cemetery tombstones were placed with high precision. There was no tolerance to deviations, such as military discipline that is exemplary by civil society. Allied soldiers killed in Ambon, Sulawesi and Timor areas, were buried at the Ambon War Cemetery.

There are headstones in Jakarta War Cemetery that do not provide names. Among them "An Airman of the 1939 - 1945 War. Royal Air Force. Known Unto God", with Air Force Wing inscribed Per ardua ad astra or Through adversity to the stars or Through struggle to the stars" which becomes the motto of Royal Air Force and Air Forces of Commonwealth Countries.

On the right side of Jakarta War Cemetery there is the tomb of Brigadier Aubertin Walter Sothern Mallaby CIE OBE, commander of the 49th Indian Infantry Brigade, whose unexpected deaths in the city of Surabaya on October 30, 1945, triggered a massive Allied invasion of Surabaya on November 10, 1945 and lasted until three weeks later. Before the outbreak of events, Mallaby had time to negotiate with Moestopo on PTPN XI Building. Lalu ada insiden penembakan pada 27 Oktober 1945 terhadap truk pejuang yang tengah melintas di depan

Then there was the shooting incident on 27 October 1945 against a truck of fighters passing in front of Darmo Hospital by the Allied forces which was considered to be the beginning of tension in Surabaya, in addition to flag incident in Majapahit Hotel.

jakarta war cemetery
The two memorials in Jakarta War Cemetery. While on the right there is a church then on the left there is a mosque which tower was seen on the left. This photo was taken with my back to the entrance gate where there are inscriptions and history surrounding the Pacific War. Some stories before and during the Allied forces invasion to the city of Surabaya and heroic as well as historic speech of Governor Soeryo to the people of Surabaya can be found in Suryo Monument, also story of battles that brouht many casualties to both sides, including Gurkha troops, in RRI Building of Surabaya.

The battle story of 1941 - 1945 in Indonesia was written on the gate wall of Jakarta War Cemetery. It was told that along with Japanese Imperial Army landing in Malaya on December 8, 1941, the Japanese simultaneously initiated offensive operations to conquer the Dutch East Indies. Thousands of Australian troops named Gull Force in Ambon surrendered on February 3, 1942. Bali was conquered on 19 February. Timor maintained by Australian and Dutch troops was occupied by Japan on 23 February. Japan fielded paratroopers in Palembang on February 14, controlling oil refineries and airfields. Singapore fell on February 15th. All the Allied forces in Sumatra were withdrawn to Java on 17 February. Java was maintained with the power of 86 Commonwealth fighter planes, a number of similar Dutch fighter planes, several American warplanes, 12 Dutch soldiers battalions, a British tank squadron, five anti-aircraft regiments, two Australian war battalions and 16 joint warships of England, Australia , Dutch and American.

But all Allied warships were drowned by Japanese troops in Battle of the Java Sea on February 27, 1942, despite causing great damage to the Japanese army. On March 1, 1942, the Sixteenth Japanese Army landed in three places, namely in Banten Bay, Eretan Wetan in Indramayu, and Kragan in Rembang. On March 7, the Japanese entered Batavia, invaded Bandung, and almost occupied Surabaya. On March 8, Surabaya was captured by Japan. On March 9, 1942, Governor-General Jonkheer Tjarda van Starkenborgh Stachouwer and Lt. Gen. Hein ter Poorten, Commander-in-Chief of the Dutch East Indies Army, came to Kalijati to meet Lieutenant General Imamura.

LetJen ter Poorten, representing the Governor-General, signed an unconditional surrender statement. Dutch East Indies officially under Japanese rule. In 1944 the wind began to turn, until Japan surrendered September 1945. The task of disarming Japanese troops in Java and Sumatra was conducted by the 5th, 23rd and 26th Divisions of India Brigade and the British 5th Umbrella Brigade. The other islands were handled by the 7th and 9th Divisions of the Australian army. The task that was originally thought to be simple turned into a disaster, commencing the death of Mallaby in Surabaya. Now almost all of those who are involved in combat in various places in Indonesia, including those who had managed to escape from death, have also followed into the afterlife.

In the grave they find peace. In grave there are no evil deeds and act of hostilities. All are heroes. It's fate that made them in opposite positions. Jakarta War Cemetery can be accessed from Jl Dr Saharjo and Jl Casablanca. From Jl Saharjo entered via Jl Menteng Pulo, and from Cassablanca entered via Jl Menteng Pulo 2, after Wisma Staco.

Jakarta War Cemetery

Address : Menteng Pulo, South Jakarta. GPS Location : -6.222212, 106.840222, Waze ( smartphone Android dan iOS ). Open : 08.00 - 17.00, Monday to Friday, but I made the visit on Saturday. Entrance ticket : free. Reference : Map of Jakarta, Destination in Jakarta, Hotel in South Jakarta.
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