Haroekoe Island
(Also known as Haruku POW Camp)

Part of a complex of POW camps on Ambon, Haruku and Ceram Islands,
Netherlands East Indies

Main Page    Main Camp List

Labor camps staffed mostly by Australian and British soldiers captured in Malaya. Dutch soldiers only on Ceram
Primary purpose was to build an airstrips using crushed coral.

Major sub-camps known in area:

LIANG [airfield construction and Naval base]
LAHA [existing airfield on Ambom]
RUMAH TIGA [transit?/]
WAIJAME [ex native camp - transit for POW]
SAPARUA- [Seashore camp on South Ceram Island]

Carl Patterson Memoir
- Journey maps (courtesy of Alan Patterson)
"My father was in the Royal Navy and participated in the Battle of the Java Sea, alongside American and Dutch Naval forces. From the age of 21, he was held prisoner by the Japanese for 3.5yrs and released in 1945 to return to the UK for rehabilitation. Here is his memoir as well as his map of his movements, once having been appointed to HMS Jupiter and subsequent capture and transportation by the Japanese."
Related research: Shot Down in Bay of Biscay and Became Prisoner of the Japanese by Arthur Arculus

Recommended Books:

"Darkest Hour- The True Story of Lark Force at Rabaul" by Bruce Gamble. Extraordinarily well done narrative using pre-war writings and official history. He brings to life the individual men and covers their bravery under the lack of support. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

"Spice Island Slaves" by L.J. Audus [ISBN 0951749722] is a very detailed account of the journey on the Amagi Maru, camp life in Amahai on Ceram[all Dutch prisoners], Haroekoe, Liang [on Ambonia], Ambon itself and the ship transports back to Java. Its available by mail order from:
L.J. Clark
5 Barrons Close
Ongar Essex CM5 9BJ
Price 14.80 including airmail delivery

"My Life with the Samurai" (How I survived the Japanese Death Camps) by Anthony Cowling, 2nd Edition - includes a roster of 200 British at the Semarang POW Camp plus good description of the Jaar Market POW Camp (former Dutch barracks)- contains excellent map of NEI camp locations.


Tom Pledger's War Diary - Pledger's diary is the most extensive account covering the use of Gull Force being sent to Ambon. Fortunately for Pledger, he was moved before the later massacre of the POWs to a camp on the west coast of Hainan Island (Haisho, now Basuo).

Death in the Spice Islands
and Prisoner Under the Rising Sun [complete transcript of book]

Haruku Island Story
- Excellent narrative of the story of Flight Sergeant Eric "Johnny" Johnston

Story of L.W. Abbs
- RAF ground crewman (Photographer) from Java taken to Haruku and then to the Sumatra Railway