The evacuation of the reconnaissance group in Eastern Java.

February 1942 the reconnaissance school of the MLD on Java had already evacuated five Dorniers and one Catalina to Australia. The pupils and instructeurs left on February 17th on the Tjinegara from Soerabaja for Australia. The operational strength of the MLD remained intact, but was slowly getting weaker due to the enemy air attacks. In the morning of March 1st the evacuation order arrived at Soerabaja for all crews. At 12:00 a rollcall was held at the main MLD base Morokrembangan. Everybody not part of the demolition crew was ordered to get their things and report at Tjitatjap that afternoon for evacuation by train. A small group of officers and other personel received an order to go to the hidingplace of an aircraft group to be evacuated by plane. Late February already the commander at Morokrembangan had received instructions on how to evacuate the base and the planes were to leave to Australia asap. It was decided that all aircraft with enough range (the Dorniers and Catalina's) were to go to Broome in Australia non-stop. As far as the command knew that was the only place in Western Australia with facilities for flyingboats. Among the planes that left that day were those of GVT 6 at the temporary base Lengkong near Modjokerto. In the afternoon of February 28th theis group flew it's last reconnaissance mission over the Java Sea, where survivors of the naval battle were spotted. The three Dorniers left in the night of March 1st/2nd and two arrived at Broome direct with one arriving at Port Hedland and later that day flying on to Broome. The planes remained there until further order was received from the commender of the MLD. The other group to leave was GVT 7 with its base on the Grati Lake near Pasoeroean. The four Dorniers of GVT 7 departed on March 2nd just before dawn and first flew to Lengkong to leave there for Broome when the night set in. The families of the personel were also on board with the approval of the commander. Two Dorniers arrived in the early hours of March 3rd as planned at Broome. The third plane, the X-36, had a malfunction along the way and had to be beached south of Broome due to lack of fuel and a navigational error. The aircraft was set on fire by the crew in the hope to be noticed for possible rescue. The fourth Dornier, the X-24, also arrived too far south and due to lack of fuel landed near a sheepfarm at Wallal. The next day a Lockheed Lodestar of the MLD, flown by Renaud, arrived there, also blown of course. The Lodestar received the little fuel the X-24 had left and flew with that to Port Hedland to return with a number of drums of fuel for the X-24. The X-24 flew on to Port Hedland, where the familymembers changed to the Lodestar and flew on to Perth, where the X-24 also later arrived.