Dutch Marines to East Indies Train at Camp Lejeune.

By Bianca Dias-Halpert, Washington, USA

Royal Dutch Marines 1944 Courtesy of Mr. James E. Stewart Jr. of Montford Point Marines National Museum

This story is a hidden gem in the history of Dutch-American military relations surrounding WWII.  I had the good fortune of finding this organization and talking with Mr. James E. Stewart Jr.  who has graciously agreed to share this photo and background information.

Mr. James E. Stewart Jr. is the president of MPMA 28 and Board member of Montford Point Marines National Museum.   Montford Point Camp, now Camp Johnson, was the home of the first Black Marines from 1942-1949.  He honors his father, Mr. James E. Stewart Sr. who was an original Montford Point Marine, and civil rights activist becoming one of the national leaders for the NAACP.

Why is Camp Lejeune, Montford Point significant ?  It is also the place where the Dutch military intersected with the Americans.  In December of 1944 Royal Dutch Marines arrived at Camp Lejeune for training.  Their homeland was destroyed under Nazi occupation and they had no place to drill.

The Netherlands Marine Corps is over 280 years old.  Disheveled and disorganized from the European war zone, they had to reorganize and train in preparation to go to the East Indies.  Since Holland was under Nazi occupation, they had no training facilities so they came to the USA.  The Royal Dutch Marines were the first complete military organization trained on American soil.  Their commanding officer was Lt. Col. L. Langeveld.  The men consisted of officers and non-commissioned officers from the old Netherlands Marine Corps, the Netherlands Army in the Indies, air units of the Dutch Army and Navy.  Their amphibious training operations were similar to the Americans.  They were to train and model their reformed corps as the U.S. Marine Corps. They held the same privileges and had access to the base facilities and services.  They wore U.S. issued uniforms with Dutch buttons and insignia.

The Dutch marines settled in Hadnot Point, an all-white camp.  The American marines at Hadnot Point for whatever reason picked on and fought with the Dutch marines.  Finally, the commanding officer had to move them (the Dutch) to Montford Point camp, a segregated camp for Blacks.  The Dutch marines were fully accepted as brothers by the Blacks.  Friendships grew as they were invited into their homes and they went on picnics and outings with the Black marines and their families.  They finished their training about a year later and went on to the East Indies.

Names of some of the Dutch Royal Marines:

Sytze K. Wiersma

Jan Cornelius Kuit

Source:

Montford Point Marines National Museum

Mr. James E. Stewart, Jr.

Editor’s Note:  In 2008 Dutch Royal Marines trained again at Camp Lejeune in preparation for deployment to Chad, Central Africa to provide aid to Darfur refugees.  It is said Camp Lejeune is kind of a spiritual home for them.

Source:

The Marine Corps Times

By Trista Talton – Staff writer

Posted:  Thursday May 8, 2008

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22 Comments on “Dutch Marines to East Indies Train at Camp Lejeune.

  1. I read the story about the Dutch marines that they had to go to segregated camps for blacks. I am pleased that they got fully accepted. This sounds like my story when we Indos joint the Dutch navy in Indonesia and went to Holland for training. The Dutch recruits called us the class of the “chocolate bars” because of our skin color. There were several fights but the Dutch guys got beaten so badly that they learned their lesson because Indos are much faster when it comes to figting. Later on when they got to know us we became good friends. You can not hate somebody because he or she is different because hate is a form of self destruction.

  2. My father Geradus (Gerry) van Vugt was at Camp Lejeune & Camp Davis
    I have an autograph album of his time there, we did have many photos
    also…. how would I find out his service record and certificate of discharge???? can any one tell me…
    I live in Australia, Hervey Bay Henny

    • We responded to your email but just in case, here are the resources:
      DE MINISTER VAN BINNENLANDSE ZAKEN
      http://www.rijksoverheid.nl/ministeries
      Instituut voor Militaire Geschiedenis (IMG)
      P.O. Box 90701
      2509 LS Den Haag
      The Netherlands
      tel: 0031 – 70 – 316 58 36
      fax: 0031 – 70 – 316 58 51
      e-mail: smg@army.dnet.mindef.nl

      INSTITUTE VOOR MILITAIRE GESCHIEDENIS (IMG)
      Dutch Institute for Military History
      http://www.defensie.nl/nimh
      Instituut voor Militaire Geschiedenis (IMG)
      P.O. Box 90701
      2509 LS Den Haag
      The Netherlands
      tel: 0031 – 70 – 316 58 36
      fax: 0031 – 70 – 316 58 51
      e-mail: smg@army.dnet.mindef.nl

      STICHTING ADMINISTRATIE INDONESISCHE PENSIOENEN (SAIP)DE MINISTER VAN BINNENLANDSE ZAKEN
      http://www.saip.nl/
      Stichting Administratie Indonesische Pensioenen (SAIP) (Administration of Indonesian pensions)
      P.O. Box 1263
      6400 BG Heerlen
      The Netherlands
      tel: 0031 – 45 – 579 30 58
      fax: 0031 – 45 – 579 49 04
      e-mail: ad.beijk@loyalis.nl

    • Hi Henny,

      maybe a bit late and you already got your dads records.
      My dad Jacobus Theodorus (Sjaek or Jack) Heijnders was at camp Lejeune and camp Davis he was there from 2 July 1945 till 17 November 1945
      He went on the Noordam to Indonesia.
      I got my dad’s service records from Commando DienstenCentra van het ministerie van defensive postbus7000 6460NC Kerkrade Netherlands
      I got basically a list of date with a description of what he did on those days i.e. 11/05/1945 enlisted as volunteer, 02/06/1945 departed the Netherlands etc etc
      My dad was there from 31 December 1945 till 21 June 1948 but the all details of 1946 are missing. I have no photo’s at all of my dad, I know my mum used to have one photo of dad in his khaki’s, but the photo has gone missing. I’d love to see a photo of my dad during his time as a marine. Anyway you will need to prove that you are related that’s it, then they will send you the details. I even requested the “ereteken orde en vrede” (medal) which they send me as well, only without the clasps which dad could have got, but I can’t. Unfortunately my dad passed away in 2001 just before I migrated to Australia

      • Leon,

        My grandfather Hendrik Van hilst was at camp Lejeune from 1945-1946. He then went to Indonesia and stayed until 1948. I have started looking into our family history and my grandfather is now very old. I am finding it hard and slow to get the information from him.
        Unfortunately he has no photo’s or records. I would love to know where and how I can get information and if possible images.
        I have only started in the last 2 weeks collecting information.
        Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
        Regards
        Katrina

  3. My father also was at Camp LeJeune and I am writing a book about him. I wonder if Mr. James Stewart might remember him. His name was J.A.H.M. Teunissen, called “Guido Teunissen” and he was there with his brother Jan Teunissen. He came in early April 1945.
    I would very much like to get in touch with Henrica Duxbury to see if she might have any group photos that include my father.
    I did get a copy of his military records from the IMG.

    • Hello Francesca – How interesting to hear of the connection with your father. We’ll pass your message on to Mr. James Stewart. Thank you.

    • Hello. My father Antoon Gerit Teunissen also served similarly in Indonesia from 1945 to about 1948 in the Marines
      I have some records and am seeking more
      I am resident in SE Queensland Australia and am contactable on phone 0475 918 360

  4. Hello all,

    My grandfather (his name (as is mine) was L.L. Verdonck) was at Camp Lejeune as part of “De Mariniersbrigade” (indo project) I am trying to find information about his time in North Carolina and the places he stayed in the US and the UK … I would be very grateful if anyone could help me with any information on his time there and ways I can find more information.

  5. ik was ondergedoken in tegelen,limburg,en hitchhiked my way naar maastright wwa ik tekende voor de mariniers in begin april 1945,ik was send to schotland voor een korte training,daarna ingescheept op lst,s een convooi van 30 landings vaartuigen,de overtoght van plymouth to norfolk va, deurde 28 dagen
    ik was ingedeeld bij de verbinding en vertrok met de noordam naar indie,deze trip duurde 56 dagen,wan we werden van het kastje naar de muur gestuurd ,eindelijk ontsceept in singapore en door naar ladang gedes.na een paar weken eindelijk naar soerabaya, ik wwon sinds 1956 in mesa arizon,dus sorry forthe spelling,if more info, my e mail is jvanblitte@hotmail.com

    Partial English translation: I was hiding in tiling, Limburg, and hitchhiked my way to Maastright. I signed up for the Marines in early April 1945, I was sent to Scotland for a short training, then embarked on a convoy of 30 landing craft, the overtoght Plymouth to Norfolk, Virginia; took 28 days. I was assigned to the connection and left with the Noordam to Indie; this trip lasted 56 days, where we were sent from pillar to post, finally ontsceept in Singapore and to Ladang gedes.na a few weeks finally to Surabaya. I’ve lived in Mesa, Arizona since 1956. Sorry for the spelling. If more info, my e mail is jvanblitte@hotmail.com

    • My father was from Limburg and signed up to the Royal Dutch Marines in Dec. of 1944 he too went for training in Scotland then to Camp Lejeune and Camp Davis in 1944 – 1945 then to Singapore, Surabaya and Batavia. I have a letter from him to his sister from 1946 from the Dunlop Plantation? He served from 1944 to March 1948.

      Johannes Hermens from Amstrade South Limburg, The Netherlands. I do not have any photos of his service other than one taken by a photographer in his Sergeant’s uniform. I do have a Royal Marine History book that was given each marine and it is full of the history and photos of the campaign. His commanding officer was Captain or Colonel Nolt?

      • My father Frans van Berge also was among the Marines. He was heavily involved with the underground movement in Limburg. He too left behind a Royal Marine history book. Same story, went to Scotland first then to Camp LeJeune. ANyone remember my father? hvanbergelandry@gmail.com

  6. My father Leo Faassen was in Camp LeJeune as well. I have been attempting to get information on his service but am running into similar problems that others have posted. I do have some photos of him at Camp Lejeune and some of them are group photos.

  7. Hi,

    My dad’s name was Jan Tiemens Waarheid. He was with the Dutch underground. After commiting acts of sabotage in the north of the Netherlands, he was caught by the nazis and imprisoned in a camp in the Polish Corridor. In early 1943 he was able to escape and make his way back to the nazi-occupied Netherlands. In 1943 he found his way to Camp Lejeune, NC, where he was trained for the attack on Japan. He was shipped out, but the atom bomb on Hirosjima prevented the planned invasion. Instead, he went to the Dutch Indies and returned to the Netherlands in 1948.

    If anyone has any information on him or the camp he stayed at, I would appreciate receiving it. I have a trip planned to Wilimington, NC in June 2015 to trace my father’s footsteps on American soil and try to gather as much information I can.

    Thank you,
    Frederik Waarheid

    • Hello Fredrik and Menzo and all others wanting to find out more about service at Camp Lejeune,

      Please see the sources given in the article and also the ones at the end of the article.
      We strongly urge you to contact those sources with the information that you do have.
      If you do get help from any of those sources, it would be nice to share your experience with all the people on this page.

      Thanks

  8. My Father (deceased), Corporal Chester N. Burpo was assigned to Train these Dutch Marines at Camp Lejeune, NC in ’44. I am so PROUD of my Father who had served in the Pacific during the war and was Proud of his duty to train these Dutch Marines. Thank you, Karren Burpo (Bowers) A PROUD Daughter of a US Marine during WW II. Any info would be appreciated!

    • My father was training with the USMarines at Camp Lejeune. My mother, who was a dynamic lady from the dutch Carribean island Curacao, followed him. They were re-united in november 1943 and they rented a room at 317 Bordeauxstreet te Jacksonville (NC). My sister was , was born on 22 januari 1945 in Jacksonville. They left the USA late 1945 and the family re-united in august 1946 in Soerabaja, Indonesia. My parents always reffered positively to their stay in Jacksonville and were life-long supporters of the USA.

  9. Mijn vader, Emile (Miel) Nijst is als oorlogsvrijwilliger vanuit Maastricht naar Camp Lejeune vertrokken. Hoogstwaarschijnlijk vlak na de bevrijding van Maastricht in 1944.
    Na ongeveer 1 jaar is hij teruggekeerd naar Maastricht.
    Wie heeft hem gekend en weet meer te vertellen over zijn verblijf in Amerika?

  10. Mijn broer, jan Pieter Baas, geb. 6 mei 1925, i0s vanuit zijn onderduik adres in 1945 vertrokken naar Camp Lejeune NC. Om een mariniersopleiding te volgen en naar indonesie te gaan. Overleden – 6 sep. 1946.
    Ligt begraven op Ereveld Kembang Kuning te Surabaja.

  11. MY Dad, USMC, Enlisted at age 16 (with forged papers by His Father that Chester N. Burpo) was borne in 1926. In Fact Dad was d borne Nov.28tn, 1925. In 1944-45 my Dad helped train “DUTCH MARINES” at CAMP Lejeune!!
    After serving Over Seas in his Youth, Chester did in fact face Battles in Both the EXPLOSIONS to All ships leaving West LOCK! Just next Door to Pearl Harbor, Not too Long after the Original ATTACKS! He suffered most of his life with SEVERE PAIN from a surgery done in Hawaii in 1943. That all led to Self Medication, and on and on Until the V.A. discovered PTSD!!! In about 1978-79 the VA HELPED MY DEAR DAD!!!

    • Dear Karen,
      Interesting to read of your father’s connection with the Dutch Marines! We are grateful for his service and help. Is your father still alive? Would you want to write a small article about him that we could post on our website?

  12. June 18, 2017

    Our father Willem Adriaan van Kooten was from september till november 1945 in Camp Lejeune as a dutch mariner. He died 20 november 1945 in the hospital of Camp Lejeune with peritonitis. He was buried at the militairial graveyard of New Bern. During the war he had to go to Germany as a war prisinar. He go there six weeks after my birthday. In july 1945 he came back. In september he had to go as a mariner to Camp Lejeune. At that time our mother was pregnant. He wrote from Camp Lejeune that he was very happy and that he would send babyclothes. But it was not possible because he had stomach pain. He already had that problem whenn he came from Germany. But the dutch fysicians alas did not notice that problem. 5 march 1946 my sister Willemina Adriane was born. My mother reseaved than the trunk witrh my fathers equipmenfat and some babyclothes.
    Our mother is never married again. Our little family excisted with 3 persons.
    Our mother died in 1992. My sister and I are very happy with our husbands, our children and grand children. For our mother was it a very difficult time to bring up
    her children with a very low budget
    Luut and
    Wil van Kooten-Veldman.

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