Herman Oostenbroek did his National Service in 1926 and achieved the rank of Sergeant.
At the beginning of the war he offered to join KNIL but was told that as a Oil plant Manager in Pendopo, Sumatra, he could better serve by remaining at the plant. In 1942, with the Japanese army coming down South East Asia, he took his family to Semarang on Java and joined KNIL as a Officer in Charge of transport. When the order came to capitulate he and a few other members of KNIL became guerrillas in order to sabotage many oil plants and scuttle the wells wherever possible so that the Japanese army could not use them. This lasted for three months until they were betrayed by the local people. He was then sent to Harima concentration camp near Osaka. He survived and reunited with his family at the American Base in Balikpapan on Borneo.
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