ABDA Command (ABDACOM) was the first , unsuccessful attempt at combined Allied Theatre command. It had been suggested by the Chinese, initialized by America and Britain at the Arcadia conference (22 December 1941 -14 January 1942) and thrust upon the Dutch (for the Netherlands East indies) and Australia. Its objective was to protect the Malay barrier, but the theatre of operations was vast and the available forces spread too thin and were too diverse in terms of equipment, training and coordination to provide more than a minor impediment to Japanese advances. The story told in Tjideng Reunion touches on some of the most significant events.
The lessons learned here led to the much more successful NATO alliance. The most significant operation carried out was the last ditch defense of Java and the battle of the Java Sea under Admiral Karel Doorman. The ABDA command under General Wavell was briefly based in Bandoeng after the fall of Singapore. Thereafter the Command ceased to exist
Java Memorial Window
The Java memorial windows commemorates the brief existence of the ABDA command. It was the stunning creation by a British naval officer, Lt Cdr H.C. Upton RNVR , survivor of he battle of the Java Sea , and while being a prisoner of war interned in Tandjong Priok camp. Here the two windows were originally installed in the tiny St George’s Chapel that the prisoners of war built between April and July 1942. After the war the windows were moved to the Anglican church of All Saints in Jakarta, where the originals still are displayed. This church dated from the early part of the nineteenth century and for years was known as the Engelse Kerk, or the gereda inngris.
A copy of the memorial windows was made after the war and is now installed in the Far East Prisoners of War Building National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, Staffordshire, England. The Java Memorial windows are dedicated to the memory of all those of whatever nationality, Allied service men or civilians, who were taken prisoner by the Japanese on Java.
The windows display the crest of the four countries forming the ABDA command (America, Australia, Britain and Netherlands) that came into being to thwart the Japanese war of conquest. Reference to this novel Allied initiative, a precursor of the creation of NATO is made in chapter 4 of Tjideng Reunion.