At the age of 18, Hans de Vries took a perilous sea voyage, constantly at risk of being torpedoed, from his home in the Dutch East Indies. His father was a shipping company manager and the lifestyle, until then, had been good. But now it was 1942 and the Japanese were invading. He made it to Australia – where he put his ability as a qualified pilot to good use, enlisting in the RAAF and being deployed on bombing raids against the invaders of his homeland.
Hans’ story was collected as part of a oral history community project called World War II in Words where South Australian World War Two veterans shared their stories in their own words.
Subscribe to our updates! Get the latest news from the veteran community straight to your inbox.
We acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of country throughout Australia and acknowledge their continuing connection to land, water, sky and community.
We pay our respects to the people, the cultures and the elders past, present and emerging. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.