Rear-Admiral J.J.A. van Staveren
Rear-Admiral Johan Jasper Abraham van StaverenBorn Geertruidenberg August 24, 1889 - Died Indian Ocean, March 7, 1942
The naval career of Rear-Admiral van Staveren is intertwined with that of Admiral Helfrich, as Van Staveren served as Helfrich's chief of staff on two occasions. First time was during Helfrich's appointment as Commanding Officer of the N.E.I. Squadron during 1935-1937, and later when Helfrich became Commander-in-Chief of all Dutch naval forces in the Netherlands East Indies.
Between the surrender of Holland in May 1940 and the outbreak of the Pacific War in December 1941, the Allied nations with interests in the Far East met on several occasions to discuss the best course of action in case of a war with Japan. During these so called Singapore conferences, Van Staveren respresented Helfrich because it was feared the presence of the Commander-in-Chief himself would provoke the Japanese. As early as November 1940, the Dutch advocated the formation of a cruiser squadron, tasked with offensive actions against the enemy's supply lines. The idea was, however, not supported by the other attendees.
After the outbreak of war, the Allied formed ABDA command, with ABDAFLOAT as the highest authority for all naval forces. This post was initially held by Admiral Thomas C. Hart, USN, but he was succeeded by Admiral Helfrich in February 1942. From this point onwards, Van Staveren held the post of acting C-in-C of Dutch naval forces until the dissolution of ABDA-command. He however continued to hold this post, because Helfrich was ordered to leave for Ceylon shortly after. Just prior to the fall of Java, Van Staveren informed Helfrich that it was his intention to join him on Ceylon. Van Staveren left Java on the Dutch merchant ship Poelau Bras, which was sunk south of Java by Japanese carrier aircraft. Van Staveren was not among the survivors.
: The rank of sublieutenant had not been introduced at this time.