THE DEFENSE OF ARUBA IN WORLD WAR II
Aruba was a Dutch protectorate and when the Germans marched into Holland Aruba was left undefended. There was a large American Refinery on the island but America was neutral and had not entered the war.
The Lago Refinery was producing high octane gasoline for the British war effort so it was decided to send the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders to Aruba to defend the island and the refinery in the event of an attack by German troops.
The Cameron Highlanders left Inverness by train on August 9, 1940 bound for Gourock where they boarded The Empress of Australia and put to sea. The ship steamed to Halifax, Nova Scotia and the group of Highlanders were split into two smaller groups. One said for Bermuda and the other for Aruba. The Aruba contingent arrived on the island on September 3, 1940. They made camp at Saveneta and were then assigned to defend the two refineries on the island, The Eagle (Shell) refinery in Oranjestad and the Lago (Esso) refinery in San Nicholas. The Highlanders were in Aruba at the request of Holland's Queen defending vital British war suppliers but they lacked for any armament with which to defend the island. It is dubious as to weather or not they could have repelled a German attack.
The Cameron Highlanders remained in Aruba until February 13, 1942 when they were replaced by the U. S. Army 498 Coastal Artillery Battalion. The Ship that brought in the well equipped American troops took the Highlanders off the island and they were back in Britain by the 24 of March, 1942.
The 498 Coastal Artillery Battalion took up residence at the camp in Saveneta that was vacated by the Highlanders.
America troops remained in Aruba for the duration of World War II.
SEE THE STORY OF THE ATTACK ON ARUBA