Maarten Jan Knottenbelt joined the Netherlands Army in the UK after surviving the sinking of Alwaki and became an officer in 1941. He first fought the Japanese in Burma in early 1944, then joined the Allied airborne landings in Operation Market Garden in Arnhem, Netherlands in September 1944 and escaped capture while wounded. He was again dropped by parachute in occupied Holland in early 1945 and coordinated resistance attacks on the enemy armed forces until the German surrender. For his actions he received the highest Netherlands decoration for gallantry, the Militaire Willems-Orde, Ridder 4e klasse.
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