Willem Adrianus Goutier
Great-great-grandfather Willem Adrianus Goutier married Grietje Dekker, our great-great-grandmother, on January 3, 1897 and out of this marriage 6 siblings were born. Willem Adrianus (Wim), who was the fifth child, was born in The Hague on February 16, 1904.
Because of scarlet fever mother Grietje Goutier-Dekker and two of her children died in 1906.
With all the misery in the family son Wim became very rebellious and he ended up in a boarding school. At the age of 12 he finished the school and was allowed to leave.
Lucky for Wim a farmer gave him a job and taught him how to take care of horses. Wim really liked the job and there was such a warm connection between him and the horses that he lost his anger.
At the age of 18 Wim was called by the Dutch Government for 18 month compulsory military service and during that time he signed up for professional military service at the cavalry, because he wanted to work with horses.
At the age of 21 Willem Adrianus Goutier was promoted to Sergeant and his unit shipped to the former Dutch-Indies.
After a training period in Batavia he was transferred to the military base in Salatiga, which is located in mid Java.
At a new year’s party Wim met for the first time Juliana Niks and her brothers. She looks different then all the other women and later Wim found, that she was an ancestor of a Blanda Hitam
Juliana Niks her great-great-grandfather was Najoursie and belongs to a powerful tribe called Mossi in today’s Ghana. But his luck ended there and he became a slave.
In 1836 the Dutch KNIL army was in badly need of fresh soldiers, because most of the Blanda Totoks could not handle the tropical climate. They went to West Africa and to make a long story short they hired about 3000 of these Africans, bought them free from slavery and made them Dutch soldiers. These men had served up to 1872 and where then free to go. Najoursie then changed his name to Niks and married a local woman Saridja.
Saridja gave birth to a son and he was given the name Willem. Willem Niks married Kadisa and they both got seven children, one of them was Juliana Niks. The older brother was Willy and 5 younger ones with the following names: Joseph, Johan, Wim, Charlie and Corry.
December 24, 1930 Willem Adrianus Goutier and Juliana Niks married and they moved in in their self-build home at the address Kali Sumboweg 8 in Salatiga. Their son Willem Adrianus Goutier was born on August 30, 1031.
Early March 1942 the capitulation of the Dutch KNIL army to the Japanese was a fact and Willem Adrianus Goutier, rank Sergeant Major Instructor of the Cavalry, was taken prisoner on March 8, 1942 at Bandung and from there they were transferred to Tjilatjap “Hotel Beelevue” where he and his comrades stayed for approximately two months before being transferred to the Art. Camp Java II in Tjilatjap.
Early 1943 the POW’s were transferred by freight train to Batavia, the 10th Bat Camp.
On January 13, 1943 1700 Dutch Pow’s including Willem Adrianus Goutier was crammed in the cargo holds of the Hellship “De Wien”. There was no drinking water available. Already the second day dysentery broke out. The people polluted themselves, died and were thrown overboard without even the ship engines subsided.
They were transported to Singapore, which was known as Java Party 8. On January 17, 1943 Willem Adrianus Goutier disembarked in Singapore and all POW’s were taken to Changi Camp.
In Singapore, the day after arrival, Wim became sick and felt like a beaten dog. He was examined and had bacillary dysentery. Medicines were not there, no sheets, no sense pots. He was lying third in a row. The first died the first night, the second day the second died. After two days drinking water (10 liters per day) he was again negative. Five days later, they put him in a barrack of convalescents, where he could stay and recuperate until mid-April.
Then an order came in that the Japanese military need 300 men to build a railroad in Thailand. Our health conditions were inspected by our own doctors, which went totally wrong. These doctors know that at least half of the people were still sick and totally incapable to work. The medical staff was afraid they will be beaten by the Japs, if they do not come up with the required number of people. These attitudes of the medical staff have been repeated many times and most of the camp commanders were of the same caliber. A Japanese doctor said:” People who are not able to work, should die”.
Many who could not walk and were lying in the mud, got whipped and kicked with their booths. The next day some, who survived the punishment, found out that they had broken arms and/or ribs and others died over night.
January 22, 1943, all Dutch were moved by train, about 50 men per goods wagon with zinc roofs and walls. There was no space to lay-down, everybody sat with raised knees and there was insufficient drinking water. Several people died during the trip in the immense heat of the tropics.
On February 3, 1943 we arrived at BangPong, Thailand, which is close to Bangkok.
The next day all Dutch, after registration, were taken with trucks to the camp headquarters Tarsao of Thai group 4 and the day after Willem Adrianus Goutier and his Dutch comrades were taken to work-camp km 171 Kinsayok, where he was forced to work building a railroad under atrocious and pitiful circumstances. Very little food, long days of hard work and beatings by the Japanese, took its toll.
Willem Adrianus Goutier became ill on April 1943 and he died on July 31, 1943 in camp Rin Tin Tin, camp 181 km, which was called the death camp, due to malnutrition, exhaustion and dysentery.
After the capitulation of Japan on August 15, 1945, the POW’s who had been buried alongside the railroad, were unearthed. In 1946 those soldiers were reburied in newly build military graveyards in Chungkai and Kanchanaburi in Thailand and Thanbyuzayat in Myanmar.
Willem Adrianus Goutier was laid to rest at Kanchanaburi War Cementery, Section 5, Row F, Grave No. 24, in Thailand.
Information was given by Rudolf Goutier, Altadena, California.
Naar aanleiding van mijn verhaal “In Memory of my Mother Juliana Goutier-Niks”, geplaatst in Indisch4ever and Indo-World, heeft Luitenant-Colonel Jacques Z. Brijl het initiatief genomen om geheel belangeloos alsnog een militaire medaille aan te vragen voor mijn vader, Willem Adrianus Goutier, die op 39-jarige leeftijd stierf in een Japans gevangenkamp in Birma. Op 17 April is deze medaille gerealiseerd en uitgereikt in Zoetermeer aan mijn twee jongere broers, Ferry en Theo, door de Burgemeester, Dhr. Aptroot. Op de derde foto staat Mr. Brijl met mijn broer Theo. Bij deze wilde ik Jacques Z. Brijl bedanken voor zijn inzet. Ook Mr. and Mrs. Jeekers, die geheel belangeloos een website hebben opgesteld “Het Verhaal Bewaard” en een Japanse kamp kaart hebben aangevraagd en laten vertalen. http://www.hetverhaalbewaard.nl/persoon/52793/willem-adrianus-goutier/ Hierbij een paar fotos van de uitreiking van deze eervolle medaille.
Met hartelijke dank Ben Goutier