Berenschot, Gerardus Johannes, born on Sumatra, in Solok town on 24-07-1887, as son of the KNIL, Royal Dutch Indian Army, officer who had married an Indonesian woman. His father was Lieutenant Colonel Gerrit Hendrik Berenschot and his was mother Florence Mildred Rappa (born in Singapore, daughter of George Rappa Jr. and Charlotte Adriana Meyer, died 07-10-1937 in Winterswijk). As Gerardus, here on the right with his younger brother Berend Willem Berenschot,
was fifteen years old, he was sent to Holland a followed a course at the so-called “Cadet School” in Alkmaar. It was an education facility and it’s diploma gave access to the Royal Military Academy. Berend Willem Berenschot was the younger brother of KNIL officers George Berenschot (1884-1919) and Gerardus Johannes Berenschot (1887-1941), Lieutenant General and commander of the KNIL from 1939-1941. He married Sarah Catherine Colwell in 1926, with whom he had three children. Bernard was a Dutch engineer, management consultant and professor of business administration, known as the founder of the current management consultancy Berenschot in 1938. Bernard died age 68 in Enschede, 23-01-1964. Gerardus passed the course and became the best of his year. He was sent to Netherlands East Indies and received recommendations for his service with the MP’s, in Holland: Marechaussee, in Atjeh. Berenschot married Margaretha Catharina de Boer on 08-07-1908 in Winterswijk. Together they had a son and two daughters. He climbed ranks very quickly and passed a study at the High Military Academy, Hogere Krijgsschool. He was attached to the same school as a teacher in the period 1925 – 1930 and became chief of staff of the KNIL in 1934, a position he held until July 1939, when he became overall commander of the KNIL as successor of General Boerstra. He was a good soldier both practical as theoretical and also had an eye for the more political side of the army and he had a natural authority.
The Royal Netherlands Indies Army (KNIL) was the Dutch colonial army. It officially existed from 1814 to 1950. In contrast to the Royal Netherlands Army, which fell under the Ministry of War, the Dutch East Indies Army came under the Ministry of Colonies and the army consisted exclusively of professional soldiers (or soldiers from the Dutch army, who were seconded to the army for a specified period).
Death and burial ground of Berenschot, Gerardus Johannes.
Although he couldn’t speak English, he negotiated with the British after the occupation of Holland by Germany, so called Singapore-conferences and was also by the British and Americans considered a good leader who would keep his head cool under all circumstances. Berenschot, age 54, had a meeting in Batavia on 12-10-1941 with the British Commander-in-Chief Robert Brooke-Popham and at three o’clock he accepted the return trip to Bandung on board a Lockheed aircraft. About 5 minutes after the plane took off from Kernajoran Civil Airport, the airfield tower guard saw the plane crash down and then catch fire. The fire brigade, who was immediately warned, could no longer prevent the passengers and crew from dying in the flames. In addition to Berenschot, the aircraft contained another wing commander of the British Air Force and two officers of the Indian Army.
The pilot of the aircraft was Captain Knapp. The plane also set fire to some native homes upon impact, killing 5 to 6 men.The cause of the accident was sought in the shutdown of the left engine, but rumors circulated that it could have been sabotage. Chief of the General Staff, General Ter Poorten, was ordered to return immediately to Java to succeed Berenschot. By order of the authorities, all flags were hung on the public buildings at half mast. The remains were buried in the Pandoe cemetery in Bandung. Section V. 501. AH.
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