Sid Seigel

Welcome to the Website of

Ferry van Eeuwen





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ms Japara

In September 2011 Sid Seigel contacted me after he had visited the Japara's web page. As it turned out he had sailed on the Japara during the war as a soldier:

Hello Ferry
Spent about a month on the Japara in transit from Vancouver Washington to Saipan in the Pacific.
Had a short layover in Hawaii.
Dec 15 1944 to Jan 14 1945
US Army
Have copy of the Captains Biography.
Sid     Sidkb2gek@*****.**

From the '73' at the end of the email I knew he also was a radio amateur as I am. Looking at his email adress the first part consists of his first name Sid and KB2GEK, his amateur call sign. In my reply I asked him whether he had any pictures from his period on board the Japara, but they were not allowed to take pictures, which is a pity.

Hello Ferry,
Thanks for the quick reply.
My Army battalion {about 100} were the only troops on the vessel.
We would see the Captain on the bridge every day. He always was in his  White Dress Uniform.
Someone in the battalion was able to interview him. It was printed on board and distributed to the Battalion as we left the ship.
I had fire watch duty at the bow several nights on the way to Hawaii. No troops were allowed on deck after sundown.

No escort vessels between the States and Hawaii. Joined convoy at Hawai

Sorry no photos. Had camera but was restricted from using it  Send your home address I will Mail a copy of the interview.

73  Best wishes  


Needless to say the I asked him for a copy of the mentioned inteview with captain van Driest and amongst other thing I also  inquired about the living and sleeping conditions on the ship.


Hello Ferry.
Mailed package to you today. should  arrive in a few days.
Original of  interview with the Captain. The paper old and fragile. 
On the ship we were below the main deck. During the day we sat on the hatch covers.
There were one or more in the crew from Indonesia or Java always barefooted.
We did get to see the engine room while underway.  WOW!
Some time in summer of 1942. Queen Wilhelmina was invited to the White House by President Roosevelt. I and part of the army division were the Honor Guards. We lined up on Pennsylvania Ave. The troops brought their rifles to the {Present Arms} position when the Queens vehicle passed.
In 1974 my wife and I visited Amsterdam. Just spent 2 or 3 day and visited Edam and another town  little
north.  We stayed at the American Hotel the was right along a canal. Eat in an Indonesian restaurant. Also tried
smoked eel.  Great memories!!!
 73  Best regard


The picture was taken on August 6, 1942 during the visit of Queen Wilhelmina to Washington and the White House were she met with President Roosvelt. Sid, who is 91 now,  was one of the soldiers attending to the Queen's visit.

More details about the visit to Washington can be read here.

Here is a copy of the original, I think unique, document which I received from Sid recently. The paper is brittle and the letters are fading a little bit, but it is still readable.

The Crown Princess Juliana visited the Japara while berthed in San Francisco on January 30, 1944 as mentioned in the above news letter. It is noteworthy that she must have descended all the way to the bottom of the engine room. The proof of this is the engine room's telegraph that is shown in this picture. Quite a steep climb first down and then up again by means of all the greasy steel steps and railings! Although, probably some extra cleaning took place because of the occasion.