|Above: Eerste-Luitenant Adolph Elisa Nicolaas Berthold Ötken of the Dutch East Indies Forces. Ötken was a Ridder der 4e Klasse, Militaire
Willems-Orde or Knight 4th Class of the Military Order of William I. The order was given for the most conspicuous acts of bravery, leadership and
extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy. At the time the photograph was taken Otken seems to have held the rank of Eerste-
Luitenant (First Lieutenant) as indicated by the two stars on his collar.
Ötken was a Ridder der 4e Klasse, Militaire Willemsorde or Knight 4th Class of the Military Order of William. The order was given for the most
conspicuous acts of bravery, leadership and extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy. Ötken was awarded the Order for services
during the war against the Sultanate of Aceh between November 1896 and August 1897 specifically during the storming of the fortifications
defended by Panglima Polem Muhammad Daud on May 16, 1897.
At the time the photograph was taken Ötken seems to have held the rank of Eerste-Luitenant (First Lieutenant) as indicated by the two stars on
his collar. He wears a miniature medal on his tunic and this appears to be the Dutch Expedition Cross (Expeditiekruis) or more formally the Cross
for Important Military Operations (Ereteken voor Belangrijke Krijgsbedrijven). A general service campaign medal the cross was awarded for a
large number of campaigns between 1846 and 1942. It was issued with clasps naming specific campaigns in much the same manner as British
campaign medals and Ötken’s appears to have one such clasp attached to the ribbon.
Adolph Elisa Nicolaas Berthold Ötken was born on 20 August, 1851 in Leiden, Netherlands the son of Diederich Cornelis Ötken and Catharina
Petronella Johanna Saportas. He married Johanna Beatrix Kruthoffer on 28 May, 1878 in Batavia, Dutch East Indies. He died in 1918 at Den
Haag, Netherlands a victim of the Spanish Influenza pandemic. Sadly his daughter Caroline Leontine "Lilie" Ötken died on the same night in Den
Haag also a victim of the Spanish Influenza.
A portion of his military career translated from Dutch follows:
Instruction Battalion - 21 August, 1868
Cadet Corporal - 8 December, 1869
Cadet Sergeant - 10 February, 1871
Corporal - 17 May, 1871
Enlistment for 6 years - 5 June, 1871
Assigned to Dutch East Indies Forces, Batavia, Dutch East Indies - 19 October, 1871
(Transferred to 16th Infantry Battalion)
Sergeant - 2 September, 1872
Transferred to 10th Infantry Battalion - 26 April, 1873
Military College - 16 August, 1873
Appointed 2nd Lieutenant - 4 April, 1875
Transferred to 14th Infantry Battalion - 12 December, 1875
His military records are apparently lost after this point but he was later promoted Eerste-Luitenant (pictured here), captain then major and held the
rank of colonel under General Van Heutsz when he died in 1918.
Apparently Ötken’s wife Joanna was not quite up the standards required of officers by Dutch military society. A story exists that Ötken was up for
promotion to general but Van Heutsz his commanding officer responded to the idea by saying: "Anna Ötken a general's wife?! Never!"
On the reverse side of the photograph someone has mistranslated Ötken's name as Otmer. Ötken himself inscribed the photograph to "Fritz".
Carte de Visite
Woodbury & Page - Photographer
Batavia, Java, Dutch East Indies
17 April, 1878
|Special historical note: Walter Bentley Woodbury (26 June 1834 – 5 September 1885) - the Woodbury in Woodbury & Page would go on to
invent the woodburytype photomechanical photo printing process in 1864. He had already returned to England when the above photograph was
taken although the firm still bore his name.