Bernardus Jacobus Fiedeldij was born on February 25, 1907 in Amsterdam, Netherlands to Jacobus Fiedeldij and Maria van der Laan. He had two brothers, Hendrik and Willem, and one sister, Catharina.

His parents were both from Amsterdam. His father was a carpenter and his mother was a homemaker. They were a devout Catholic family and Bernardus attended Catholic school.

Bernardus was a bright and inquisitive child. He was always interested in flying and dreamed of becoming a pilot. After graduating from high school, he joined the Dutch Air Force in 1929.

He trained as a pilot and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1931. He was assigned to the Dutch East Indies in 1934 and served there until 1939.

When the Japanese invaded the Dutch East Indies in 1942, Bernardus was evacuated to Australia.

On April 21, 1942 he took over as Commanding Officer of 18 (NEI) Squadron RAAF from Lt. G. Van Rijn. The squadron was equipped with B-25 Mitchell bombers and was tasked with conducting bombing raids against Japanese targets in the South West Pacific.

Fiedeldij led 18 (NEI) Squadron on a number of successful bombing raids, including a raid on the Japanese-held oil refinery at Balikpapan, Borneo. He was a highly skilled pilot and was known for his coolness under pressure. He was also a compassionate leader who cared deeply for his men.

Fiedeldij was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Force Cross, and the Dutch Bronze Lion for his bravery and service during World War II. After the war he remained in the Dutch Air Force. He was promoted to Wing Commander in 1950. He retired from the Dutch Air Force in 1954 and died in The Hague on January 16, 1988.

Wing Commander B.J. Fiedeldij was a highly decorated and respected officer who played a key role in the defense of the Dutch East Indies and the liberation of the Netherlands. He was a true hero and his legacy will live on for generations to come.

From l to r. Captain Vries, 1st Lieutenant G. Cooke, 1st Lieutenant A.D.M.Moorrees, Major B.F. Fiedeldij, 2nd Lieutenant A.Hagers, 2nd Lieutenant Ch Budder and 1st Lieutenant H van den Broek. Source: De Militaire Luchtvaart van het KNIL in de jaren 1942-1945
Lieutenant Colonel Aviator Observer in Netherlands East Indies. Source: Military Aviation KNIL Photo Archive
Bernardus Jacobus Fiedeldij. Source: Military Aviation KNIL Photo Archive
Farewell reception of Commodore pilot-observer B.J. Fiedeldy (right). On the left the Chief of Air Staff and Commander of the Air Force, Lieutenant General Observer A. Baretta. Commodore Fiedeldij retired from service on March 1, 1956. Source: Royal Dutch Airforce.