Karel Willem Frederik Marie Doorman (Utrechtapril 23, 1889 — Java Sea28 February 1942) was a Dutch schout-bij-nacht. The English name for his grade is Rear Admiral, and so he became to the allies under his command, and later in the English speaking world, known as Admiral Doorman. Doorman was killed during the battle of the Java Sea. In memory, the Royal Navy to four ships named after him, namely in 194619481991 and 2014.


[hide]*1 youth, training, active flight period

Youth, training, active flight period[Edit]Edit

[1][2]Doorman in his adelborsten outfit(1907).

Doorman, born in Utrecht and raised Catholic, descended from a family of professional soldiers. In 1906, he, along with his younger brother Lou ACM Doorman, midshipman and in 1910 came his appointment as officer. In the latter year he left on board the Cruiser hnlms Tromp to Dutch East Indies. During his first tour of three years he was from January 1912 to december 1913 placed aboard the survey vessels Vaughan and Lombok with the primary aim of mapping the coastal waters of New Guinea. At the beginning of 1914 he returned to the Netherlands with battleship De Ruyter and in March 1914 came his request for placement at the Army Aviation Group.

[3][4]Doorman in a Farman F-22 during his pilot training.

From april 1914 he was posted aboard the armored Cruiser North Brabant. With this ship he made just before the outbreak of the first world war the mission to Albania with the remains of the fallen major Louis Thomson to pick up. Its application to placement with the flight service was in the summer of 1915 after a rigorous inspection and so he became one of the first Navy officers who took a pilot's licence . From 1915 to 1918 he was stationed at the Army Aviation Group (LVA) at Soesterberg under command of Captain Henk Walaardt. He met, among others, Albert Plesman, who resided there first as an observer but later was trained as a kite but then of the ground forces. Also other famous fliers such as the instructor William Versteegh, G.A. heads and the later professor P.M. Vimal belonged to his colleagues. In 1915, he obtained under the leadership of the first lieutenant civil (FAI) pilot's license and in 1916 the more important marinevliegbrevet. From 1917 to 1921 he was instructor, first to Soesterberg and from October 1918 on the naval air base De Kooy at Den Helder. Navy aircraft carriers of the latter country, he was also the Commander from 1919 to 1921. For his services as organizer of the still very early Naval Aviation he was in 1922 Royal differentiated (Knight of the order of Orange Nassau).

From 1919 to 1934 Doorman is married to Justine A.D. Schermer; they had three children: Charles, Ank and Joop. From 1934 he was married to Isabella J.j.j. Heyligers.; they had one son, Theo, who after the death of his father was taken by his mother to Australia.

A serious armkwetsuur, suffered by a fall in a hole at a skating trip to De Kooy beginning 1919 and where he would like his life long burden of, plus the fact that cuts in naval aviation in the making were, made sure that Doorman are active flight career had to specify (and wanted). From november 1921 to november 1923 he attended the training at the Higher Naval school to the new Hague, essential for a career as a naval officer, particularly for staff positions. After successfully completing this training, in which he included the communication of aircraft with ships examined, followed in december 1923 a placement on the Department of the Navy to Batavia. Doorman had there under more sit in committees that were supposed to lead to the fusion of the naval aviation with the Aviation Department of the KNIL. This amalgamation has never taken place by opposition from both Navy as the Aviation Department of the KNIL.

Continued career in the Royal Navy; various commands[Edit]Edit

[5][6]Doorman as Lieutenant-Commander of the first class in 1932.

In 1926 after eleven years followed a longer appointment to board a Navy ship, namely on the armored ship hnlms De Zeven Provinciën. Until the end of 1927 he was on board this ship as officer of artillery later in combination with the function of first officer. Early 1928 he returned to Netherlands and he was placed on the Department of the Navy in the Hague as the first responsible for the procurement of equipment for the naval aviation. Early 1932 followed his first command of a ship, the Minelayer Prins van Oranje. With this ship he sailed in the same year to Dutch East Indies for the third time. This command from 1932 was quickly exchanged for that of a destroyer, the Witte de With first and later from late 1932 the Evertsen. With this last ship he was also involved in the action against the mutiny on De Zeven Provinciën, February 1933.

In January 1934 Doorman returned back to Netherlands with hnlms Evertsen. This was followed by a period of three years as Chief of staff of the Naval Commander in Den Helder. In 1936 Doorman wrote a request to the Secretary of Defense to the command of a cruiser in Dutch East Indies to be allowed to play. As a result, he left, now with the rank of captain at sea, in 1937 to Dutch East Indies respectively as Commander of the cruisers Sumatra and Java to take command. In August 1938 he was appointed commander of the naval aviation in Dutch East Indies. From his headquarter at Surabaya Morokrembangan naval air station, he made many inspection journey through the archipelago.

Second World War[Edit]Edit

[7][8]Image of Karel Doorman

On 16 may 1940 , he was promoted to Rear-Admiral and on 13 June 1940 he took aboard the light cruiser De Ruyter command of the squadron of Rear Admiral Gw Stöve to Surabaya. In early 1942 he was given command of the Combined Striking Force ABDACOM's, the American British Dutch Australian Command. Before the battle of the Java Sea had a telephone conversation took place between Lieutenant-Admiral Helfrich and Doorman. Doorman reported to Helfrich that he estimated the chances of a very small Allied victory.Literally he said: we still have a chance? I believe very few. Is it not better to leave on time and the allies outside Java to help? Helfrich, on the other hand: in advance was that the allies would fight in the Java Sea, that withdrawal was unacceptable as an indication that the allies of the Java Sea would not fight and that the instructions from Washington were ringing: holding out, even with the fleet. He said to the Doorman that these had to stay and fight it out; that the chance of success was small but present. Doorman felt lousy, plagued by diarrhea but said it could and that he would carry out his mission. [1]

Doorman was killed when his ship De Ruyter during the battle of the Java Sea was sunk. Some of the crew could be saved, but chose, according to old Navy tradition, Doorman with the ship to go down. De Ruyter the burning about an hour and a half remained afloat. On the Java one had no time to bring in the wounded to safety, on the De Ruyter did that with the slightly injured-the seriously injured one had to leave behind. About By mans fate is no absolute certainty but the most probable is that he has remained on board his flagship and has elected to go down; did also his Chief of staff Dan and the Commander of the De RuyterLacomblé. At about one o'clock in the morning, the ship suddenly high on and down to then quickly disappearing below the surface. [2]

On 5 June 1942 , he was posthumously awarded the military William order, 3rd class, granted on 23 May 1947, commanded by Lieutenant-Admiral C.E.L Helfrich, on board hnlms Karel Doorman in the presence of Prince Bernhard, was awarded to the eldest son of Rear-Admiral.

[9][10]Prince Willem-Alexander at the scheepsbel of Hr.Ms. de Ruyter and the Doorman's memorial plaque in the Hague monastic Church.

In the Hague a monastic Church memorial plaque and commemorations are held regularly for the battle of the Java Sea.

Literary Work[Edit]Edit

Since 1946, with four vessels between periods in service of the Royal Navy named after Karel Doorman, including a former British Colossusclass aircraft carrier, of the, the largest ship ever sailed by the Navy.

In 1946, there is a street named after him in Amsterdam , later in 1949 a street in the Centre of Rotterdam. In 1959 gave the retailers Association to sculptor Willem Verboncommissioned a bronze bust. On the pedestal is the Invia virtuti, nulla est via text (for courage is no way impassable). Also in over 120 other Dutch cities have streets named after him. Later in Flevoland also called a road to Karel Doorman, near Urk). the year 2011 in Netherlands there are about 30 streets, avenues, roads and squares which are called to Doorman.

Sea Scouts groups in the places Rotterdam, Amersfoort, Bergen op Zoom , Terneuzen and Maassluis also his name, as well as wear a scouting group [3in Zutphen.

"I attack, follow me"[Edit]Edit

Karel Doorman is often honoured because he during the battle of the Java Sea "I attack, follow me" would have said, what very dapper was found. Longs is much more prosaic.

On 27 February 1942 at around four o'clock in the afternoon, the Japanese and Allied squadrons each other in sight. [4the guns of the two Japanese cruisers had a longer range than the Allied artillery and at about five o'clock the British cruiser HMS Exeter affected. Twenty minutes later, the Dutch destroyer hnlms Kortenaer was torpedoed. The ship exploded and broke in two pieces. In the Allied Squadron confusion arose over the way forward, inter alia because the Exeter could only sail at half power and wanted to port at Tanjung Priok return. In order to put an end to this confusion sent Doorman to all ships All ships follow methe signal. Thus he stated that they are not the Exeter, but the flagship De Ruyter had to follow.

See also[Edit]Edit



  • Steketee, Menno & Saul David (2001) I attack, follow me; Military blunders in the twentieth century, publishing house Prometheus/Bert Bakker ISBN 90-351-2061-2
    This book is named after the alleged Doorman pronunciation and there is a chapter dedicated to the battle of the Java Sea.