Chapter 23.


Bob, the Dutchman Black, Neville and four of the policeboys, patrolled to Boendroe and surrounding area and saw plenty of evidence of Japanese occupation, but no Japs. The camp where the Dutch had been jumped was visited but nothing was found and they then decided to go towards the Nawa River, in case the missing men had returned, and look around in some of the old huts where they may have been sheltering.

After arriving at the river, a half hearted search was being made when suddenly one of the constables drew their attention to smoke coming from among the trees halfway up a neighbouring hill.  A policeboy was quickly sent to recce and, in an old broken down hut, heard what he thought were Japanese voices, but, sensibly rather than attack, returned and told of his discovery.  He was unsure of the numbers so Bob decided that a concerted attack would be made on the hut to be on the safe side.

But, perhaps the voices belonged to the missing members of the Dutch patrol?  We could not be sure so Neville and the policeman made another recce to see whether they were friend or foe.  In less than thirty minutes they returned to report that the voices belonged to two Japanese soldiers and Neville said they were both armed, one had a rifle and the other had something that looked like a machine pistol.  He said they were preparing a meal and were quite relaxed and certainly were not expecting any interruptions.

The decision to split up and attack on each flank was quickly taken; Bob and Neville and one policemen to the left, and the others to the right.  Quietly the hut was approached.  They were ready for anything!  Suddenly, Neville, who as usual in these situations was leading, motioned for them to wait and then disappeared round the front of the hut. Next they heard two quick, short bursts of Owen gun fire and then Neville reappeared and beckoned them forward to view his handiwork.  He had found the two Japs eating their meal, with their weapons at least 10 feet away leaning against the hut wall, and shot them both before they could make a move.  Their astonishment at seeing him suddenly appear around the corner of the hut had been so great that they had not made a move toward their weapons and it had been a simple matter for him to account for them both in a matter of seconds!

From previous experience I had held the opinion, that despite a lot of talk about Japanese fighting qualities, they were at times careless and often failed to keep a proper lookout when on patrol and their lack of precautions left a lot to be desired.  In this case their slackness had caused their deaths.

The two Nips seemed to be well supplied with cooked rice and dried fish and were in good condition and well turned out and probably were part of a patrol that was in the area.  One of them was an officer as he was carrying a sword and quite a lot of invasion money in a bag.  Bob thought he could have been a paymaster; though what a paymaster was doing so far away from his headquarters was puzzling.

A quick look was made for any information in the shape of papers, etc and the bodies were searched but nothing that seemed important was found.  They had the usual paybooks, photos and the apparently all important, strip of cotton cloth covered with stitches which appeared to be some sort of good luck charm, but little else.  Neville, ever on the lookout to make a profit selling to an American soldier, was disappointed to find the officer wasn't carrying the Jap imitation of a German Luger pistol!

Go to Chapter 24 ->