Gerardus Johannes Berenschot
|Gerardus Johannes Berenschot|
General Gerardus Johannes Berenschot
|Born||24 July 1887
|Died||13 October 1941 (aged 54)
|Service/branch||Royal Netherlands East Indies Army (KNIL)|
|Rank||Lt General, Commander of the KNIL|
|Commands held||Aceh War (1910-1915)|
|Other work||Professor at the Military Academy (1925-1930)|
Lieutenant General Gerardus Johannes Berenschot (Solok, July 24, 1887 – Kemayoran, Batavia (Jakarta), October 13, 1941) was an Indo (Eurasian) born in the Dutch East Indies. Berenschot was the son of Gerrit Hendrik Berenschot, a Dutch officer in the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army (Koninklijk Nederlands Indisch Leger - KNIL), and Florence Mildred Rappa. He was sent to the Netherlands at the age of 15, where he attended a cadet school at Alkmaar. He later entered the Royal Military College, from which he graduated first in his class. He was the only commander of Indian descent (Indo) in the Dutch East Indies.
Upon graduation, he returned to his native East Indies where he distinguished himself as a young subaltern serving in the KNIL during the bloody campaigns in Aceh.
In 1934 he became the KNIL's Chief of the General Staff, and in July 1939 was replaced by Hein ter Poorten upon his promotion to Commander-in-Chief.
An extremely gifted officer with phenomenal organisational skills, Berenschot was perhaps the best Commander-in-Chief the KNIL ever knew. Not only was he well trained in the arts of warfare, but he also displayed an impressive understanding of politics and diplomacy.
Following the fall of the Netherlands in 1940, Berenschot successfully participated in the Singapore Conferences, where he was well liked and well regarded by his British and American counterparts.
On October 13, 1941, the plane carrying the General back from a conference with British Air Chief Marshal Robert Brooke-Popham crashed in one of the native suburbs of Batavia. There were no survivors. By order of the colonial authorities, all flags on public buildings were hung at half-mast. Berenschot's remains were buried in the cemetery at Bandung.
General Johannes Bereschot's post of Commander-in-Chief of the KNIL was given to Lieutenant General Hein ter Poorten, who had the difficult task of preparing the East Indies for the coming war with Japan.
Berenschot was married and with three children. His brother was Berend Willem Berenschot.
Awards and decorations
- Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau
- Knight of the Order of the Dutch Lion
- Decoration for Long Service as an Officer
- Expedition Cross with clasps "Atjeh 1906–1910" and "Atjeh 1911–1914" and Honorable Mention Crown
- (Dutch) Short biography