Jacob van Helsdingen
Infobox Military Person
name= Jacob Pieter van Helsdingen
7 March 1907– 7 March 1942
Soerabaja, Dutch East Indies
serviceyears= 1941 – 1942
Battle of Malaya
Battle of Java
Order of William
CaptainJacob Pieter van Helsdingen ( 7 March 1907– 7 March 1942) was a pilot of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army Air Force. Jacob is credited with having shot down three Japanese aircraft during combat missions over Malaya, Singaporeand Java. He was twice awarded the Order of Williamfor bravery in battle.
World War 2
Captain Helsdingen's squadron, 2-VLG-V, was stationed at
Kallang Airfieldduring the Battle of Malaya. His only known kill was a Ki-27 Nateon January 12, 1942, during a Japanese air raid on Singapore. His squadron returned to Javaon 18 January. Helsdingen lead 8 Brewster Buffaloaircraft to Semplak, while 23 others flew to Andir and Tjilitian.
Helsdingen was awarded his first
Order of Williamon 11 February, 1942, for carrying out attacks against Imperial Japanese Navyships in the Makassar Straiton 23 January. Twenty Buffalo fighters carrying two 50 kg bombs each attacked a fleet of IJN ships from high altitude. Eight hits were scored on four Japanese ships, one destroyer and two cargo ships, with the Dutch losing one aircraft.
Jacob was shot down on his 35th birthday by a Japanese
A6M Zerowhile providing close air supportto ground forces in Lembang with three Brewster Buffaloaircraft on March 7, 1942, during the Battle of Java.
Despite the Japanese having an almost complete air superiority over Java, Helsdingen nevertheless chose to take off from Andir airfield to give support to ground troops fighting in Lembang. He ordered another pilot to stand down and hand over his Buffalo aircraft to him because he was married, despite the fact that Helsdingen was himself married. Three other pilots,
1st Lieutenant August Deibel, Lieutenant Gerardus Brugginkand Officer Cadet Jan Scheffervolunteered to join him using the last three working Buffalo aircraft on the airfield.
Helsdingen's squadron travelled 200 metres before they ran into three Japanese
A6M Zeros. Deibel's plane was hit in the oil tank and had to break off from combat. His wingman, Jan Scheffer escorted him back to Andir airfield, where Deibel crashed landed his aircraft without suffering any injuries. Helsdingen and Bruggink remained above Lembang, but were now dogfighting six Zeroes. Helsdingen was soon shot down, but Bruggink managed to escape into the clouds before returning to Andir airfield. Dutch forces in Lembang surrendered the next day. All four Dutch pilots were awarded the Order of William, while Helsdingen and Scheffer (who died a PoW) were posthumously awarded the honour on July 14, 1948.
* [http://www.geocities.com/dutcheastindies/helsdingen.html Captain Jacob P. van Helsdingen]
* [http://www.warbirdforum.com/dutch.htm Brewster Buffalo: in Dutch service]
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