British Army dispatches reporting from Batavia and Surabaya, Indonesia, after Japanese surrender (includes personal diary entries), 1945
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British Army dispatches, reporting from Batavia and Surabaya, Indonesia, 29 Sep 1945 – 28 Nov 1945, after Japanese surrender. The series includes two typescript documents titled Diary 1945, capt p r s mani indian army observer, 25-28 Oct 1945. Dispatches and diary written by P.R.S. Mani, captain in the British Army. Documents annotated.
Initial group are some dispatches reporting on Indian troops in the month after first landing at Batavia (Jakarta), September to late October. Then dispatches from short period in lead up to what became the dreadful battle of Surabaya, when Indian troops were used against Indonesian nationalists in the port city of Surabaya, late October to December 1945. Very important inclusion is a double-sided closely typed page of Mani’s diary entries over these four crucial days October 25 to 28th, which reveal Mani’s grave doubts about British decisions. Mani and accompanying soldiers were then interned for a number of days after their surrender on October 29th. Mani’s first dispatches on his release give a grim account of the severe battle and of the heroism of local Indian merchants in attempting to save lives. Final section includes dispatches covering British retaking of city, with massive and relentless bombardment and significant loss of Indonesian lives. Mani’s writing reveals dilemmas facing Indian troops, many of whom were themselves nationalists like him. Mani reports Indian troops’ efforts, at risk to themselves, in rescuing Eurasian, Chinese and Chinese-Indonesian internees in severe danger but previously abandoned by the British.