A most unusual sight in Queen Street to day was a party of Javanese cavalrymen. This is the first time soldiers of the kingdom of the Netherlands have visited New Zealand. The eight troopers concerned are on their way to Sydney to take charge of over 100 remounts for the Netherlands Indies Army. The men are under the command of Corporal Laheh, but at Sydney will he met by two Netherlands Indies cavalry officers, and a Netherlands Indies army veterinary surgeon. The men are making the round trip aboard the Maetsuycker.

Although none of these cavalrymen has been engaged in actual war service, they are called upon to perform various dangerous duties. For instance, recently there was a serious disturbance among natives in Netherlands Borneo. A mixed military force was dispatched from Java, ready for a minor war, but the mere presence of a Netherlands Indies force comprising cavalry, infantry and air force secured the submission of the natives without a shot being fired.

Source of Trouble.

The principal danger spot in the Netherlands Indies is the sultanate of Atchin, in the northern part of Sumatra. This was once British territory, but it was exchanged for Singapore, and the Dutch have never forgiven the British. The people of Atchin have been a source of trouble ever since.

Frequently the people of this sultanate make raids on adjoining Government outposts, raids which are prompted by their proud spirit and opposition to domination by another country. However, the Dutch principal is not to make war on them. They station forest outposts comprising a Dutch officer and probably one cavalryman and one infantryman. When a raid occurs these men follow the jungle trail, and, like the Canadian Mounted Police, "get their man" without the necessity of plunging the countryside into war. In this manner the Dutch are pacifying the few isolated areas which still object to their overlordship.

Excellent Soldiers.

Practically all the cavalrymen are recruited from the Ambonese of the south. These men are taller and stronger than the people of Java and Sumatra and make excellent soldiers. They have been employed in fighting all over the Netherlands Indies, which stretch from Singapore to Australia. Many, of the best fighting men come from the island of Timor, just off the coast of Australia.

Owing to the nature of the country, the operations of the Javanese cavalrymen are naturally somewhat restricted. Except on the flat areas of Sumatra, the mountains and jungles prevent the effective use of cavalry. In these areas cavalry is chiefly used for the transport of mountain batteries.

The Javanese cavalrymen who visited Auckland to-day were delighted with their" experience and the kindness extended to them here, but they are apprehensive of the situation in the Far East and are keen to get back to their regiment. (Credit to: Auckland Star Newspaper, Wednesday, 17 Nov 1937)

The Pepper War in Sumatra

PENANG, Straits of Malacca, June 4.--One of the Dutch men-of-war cruising off the north coast of Sumatra fired into three British merchant vessels as they were leaving the harbor of Atchien. The Atchinese have sent messengers to this place asking for assistance. The coolies here are already enlisting in their service. If the Dutch persist in the war they will meet with stronger resistance than ever. The pepper plantations of North Sumtra are going to ruin in consequence of drafting the laborers into the ranks of the Atchinese army.



Associated Press Cable to the Star.
AMSTERDAM, August 12.-- A special cable has been received by the Government from the Governor General of Sumatra, announcing the result of a bloody battle between the Dutch government forces and a large body of warriors from the Achinese tribe. A pitched battle was fought. Three hundred of the Achinese forces were killed, seven Dutch soldiers were killed and 50 were wounded, including several officers. 

It is thought that this blow which the government forces have in flicted upon the Achinese, will have a salutatory effect in restrain ing them from further operations against the Dutch. The Achinese have been persistently struggling against the Dutch government for many years in Sumatra.

Published : The Hawaiian Star., Honolulu, Wednesday, August 12, 1903


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