Seven executed KNIL soldiers have received posthumously the Mobilization War Cross. Lieutenant-General Hans van Griensven handed over the honorary metal to the next of kin during a ceremony at the Military Field in Loenen near the Tarakan monument.

The decorated were among the 215 soldiers of the Royal Dutch East Indies Army (KNIL) who were executed on 19 January 1942 off the coast of the island of Tarakan.

The soldiers served the coastal batteries Peningki and Karoengan and did not know that their unit had surrendered. They therefore fought and broke two Japanese minesweepers into the ground. In revenge, the Japanese navy executed the soldiers at the site where the minesweepers had been sunk.

"The horrible way they perished, every time we realize what war really means, they have committed themselves to our Kingdom and gave the highest sacrifice for it," Van Griensen said.

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