My knowledge of the Dutch Navy do need shaping up.
These small ships are just an example of the thousands of small vessels, often obsolete and old, which were used in 1001 roles across the globe during the war. It's amazing how many we know about the larger ships or the ships which were "popular" in the war (like the U-boats, the S-boats and MTB's) and how few information is available on the men and accompliced tasks of these small vessels.
Indeed so - and here is one such
Thomas Wilkinson VC (1 August 1898 – 14 February 1942) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Wilkinson was 43 years old, and a temporary lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserve during the Second World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 14 February 1942 in the Java Sea, off Malaya, HMS Li Wo, a patrol vessel, formerly a passenger steamer, commanded by Lieutenant Wilkinson, sighted two enemy convoys, one escorted by Japanese warships, The lieutenant told his crew he had decided to engage the convoy and fight to the last in the hope of inflicting some damage, a decision that drew resolute support from the whole ship's crew. In the action that followed, a Japanese transport was set on fire and abandoned, and Li Wo engaged a heavy cruiser for over an hour before being hit at point-blank range and sunk. Lieutenant Wilkinson ordered his crew to abandon ship, but he went down with Li Wo.
England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805