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  2. Thanks for posting that, Ed. Somehow I'd never seen it before. It's a remarkable record.
  3. ‘INDEPENDENT COMPANY’ DOCUMENTARY – A NEGLECTED VISUAL RECORD OF THE TIMOR CAMPAIGN The documentary film ‘Independent Company’ is a neglected visual record of the No. 2 Independent Company’s (No. 2 IC) campaign against the Japanese on Portuguese Timor during 1942. First shown on SBS in 1988 it has been rarely, if ever, broadcast subsequently. The film can be viewed through the Doublereds website: https://doublereds.org.au/archives/video-and-audio/independent-company-videorecording-the-australian-22-independent-company-timor-1941-42-produced-with-assistance-from-sbs-tv-and-film-victoria-r21/ The 53 minute film is made up of interviews with No. 2 IC men (Bernard Callinan, George ‘Happy’ Greenhalgh, Gerry McKenzie, Jim Smailes, Colin Doig, Tom Nisbet, Rolf Baldwin, David Dexter, Percy Hancock, Joe Poynton, Arch Campbell, Keith Hayes, Don Turton, Jerry Maley, Ray Aitken, Ray Parry and Harry Sproxton), ‘Mad Mike’ Calvert (trainer of the No. 2 IC) [1], Maria Louisa Sousa Santos (wife of António Policarpe de Sousa Santos, the Administrator of Fronteira Province) and 5 Japanese veterans (Koichi Nakajima, Haruka Nishiyama, Kuwakichi Arakawa, Masatsugu Kambe and Onuki Shigenobu) who served on Timor. There are also re-enactments using of some of the key incidents during the campaign – the most notable being the rejection of the Japanese surrender demand at Hatolia and the construction of ‘Winnie the war winner’. [2] The footage is rounded out with extracts from Damien Parer’s better known ‘Men of Timor’ (1943) film. The film was produced by Colin South of Melbourne-based Media World Pty Ltd [3] and the script was based on Bernard Callinan’s book ‘Independent Company’, archival research and interviews with participants in Australia, England, Portugal and Japan. The production team had hoped to film the re-enactment scenes in Timor but access to do this was not possible during that phase of the Indonesian occupation. Tom Nisbet was ‘technical adviser’ for the film. The old 2/2 Commando Association was consulted about the production and they gave it active support. The producers flew Bernard Callinan and Rolf Baldwin to Perth to participate in the 1987 Anzac Day parade and film interviews with some of the WA-based veterans. A ‘Meet the Visitors’ get-together was held in Mandurah on the following Sunday. [4] Sir Bernard Callinan and Rolf Baldwin lead out the 2/2 contingent at the 1987 Anzac Day parade in Perth Colin South kept the Association well informed by letter regarding progress with the production and this correspondence was printed in the ‘Courier’. One matter that Colin attempted to follow up was the sudden termination by the Japanese of their ‘August push’ that had the No. 2 IC ‘on the ropes’. The cessation of the Japanese assault was signalled by a green flare or ‘rocket’ on the night of 18 August 1942. [5] Colin reported. ‘My specific quest for the withdrawal of the Japanese in August 1942 unfortunately has not been answered fully, but two sources of fact are still being investigated; research into the diaries of Col. Doi the Japanese Commanding Officer in Dili, and the translation of two chapters of the 228 Regiment History, dealing specifically with ‘the Campaign against Australian Guerrilla force in East Timor’. The 228 Regiment was based in Timor from the invasion till 6th September, 1942, when they were sent to Guadalcanal. They reached Timor after serving in Manchuria, Hong Kong and Ambon. The 1st and 3rd Battalions were based in the West, the 2nd in Dili. Of the 2nd only a handful survived Guadalcanal. Those who became P.O.W.'s still refuse, despite genuine encouragement, to join the 228 Regiment Association. The general consensus was the troops were withdrawn under orders to be sent to Guadalcanal with the other troops, which came from West Timor and the South coast mobilized to replace the 228 from Dili. Once each force made physical contact with one another, time had run out and the entire force moved back to Dili’. [6] The documentation related to the production of ‘Independent Company’ was deposited in the Research Collection at the Australian War Memorial. [7] ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I belatedly thank Colin South and his colleagues for the considerable effort they put into the production of ‘Independent Company’ that resulted in this unique and valuable visual record of the Timor Campaign. I also thank Colin for providing additional information about the production in our telephone conversation on 23 April 2020. REFERENCES [1] ‘Brigadier Michael Calvert (1913–1998) – Trainer and Long-Term Friend of the Doublereds’ https://doublereds.org.au/forums/topic/85-brigadier-michael-calvert-1913–1998-–-trainer-and-long-term-friend-of-the-doublereds/?tab=comments#comment-133 [2] ‘The story of how 300 Australians held of the Japanese In Timor: Winnie The War Winner’s Tale’ Canberra Times Monday September 28, 1987: 1, 6 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page12979370 [3] https://www.mediaworld.com.au [4] ‘Anzac Day – Dawn Service – The March – The Get-Together – Meet the Visitors’ 2/2 Commando Courier June 1987: 3-4 https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/1987/Courier%20June%201987.pdf [5] No. 2 Independent Company war diary entry, 18 August 1942 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1363501 [6] ‘Independent Company Timor Documentary’ 2/2 Commando Courier December 1987: 8-9. https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/1987/Courier%20December%201987.pdf [7] ‘Correspondence, scripts, research notes and other source material used in the production of two videos by Media World Pty Ltd ‘Flowers of Rethymnom’ (Crete 1942) and ‘Independent Company’ (2/2nd Independent Company on Timor 1942 to 1943). Language English, Portuguese, Tetum and Dutch.’ AWM PR91/136. https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C242361
  4. Peter Epps

    ANZAC Day 2020.jpg

    ANZAC Day 2020. A wreath was laid in Kings Park today to honour our Fathers / Grandfathers / Great Grandfathers. Normally it would have been laid at the State War Memorial but due to the lockdown it was placed on our Memorial in Lovekin Dr. Lest we Forget
  5. THE Australian Defence Cooperation Program (DCP): Timor-Leste team in Dili in cooperation with their New Zealand colleagues prepared this special video as a substitute for the usual live dawn ceremony. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tbw_N3jOqXI&feature=youtu.be
  6. Beau, I think 'Bloss' is John Barrasford Lawrence (see link) - can't identify 'Flea' as yet. Also see the attached photo - writing on the back identifies as being taken at the 1946 or 1947 reunion.
  7. Thanks for the info, not surprised there was 2 separate pages...
  8. I see that the autographs have a category for "respectable types" and "border line cases", with only a few placing themselves in the former category and most squeezing in on the latter. The last of the translations at the top of each of those pages seems to be Pidgin. Gutpela is "good fella", so the first category is for good fella men. In the second category, "liklik" is little. Therefore, "Gutpela liklik" is for blokes who are only a little bit good...
  9. Me too, must have been red cordial
  10. And I enjoyed the reference to "Liquid refreshment". Who would have thought these chaps would have such a thing?
  11. I thought it was good to see the autographs too, rereading 'The Men Who Came Out Of The Ground', and interesting to see names mentioned in the book as autographs on my grandfathers placecard. The menu still reflects the time period too, sauteed pigeon in particular catch my eye. Kind Regards to all. Beau As you can see most signatures are peoples name except 2. Flea and Bloss, does anyone know their names, in particular Bloss who has written 'Rusty you beaut' (Rusty being my grandfather) Thanks Beau
  12. Thanks, Beau. That's wonderful. Great to see the autographs, too. Cheers Rob Crossing
  13. After going through some old stuff I had in storage I found my grandfather's, (Albert Edward Friend), table place card from the 2/2 first reunionin 1946, see pics.
  14. Louis Crossing

    April 2020 Courier

    The latest edition of Courier is available for download here. Courier is edited by @Edward Willis.
  15. Great work dad. Any idea why he used a different name....
  16. LOCATION Coordinates: 8°39'24.9"S 125°24'31.9"E INTRODUCTION The ‘Battle’ of Grade Lau was a signature ambush conducted by A Platoon of the No. 2 Independent Company on 3 March 1942 in the early part of the Timor campaign. It’s recollection has perhaps been overshadowed by the Japanese attack at Bazar-Tete that took place a couple of days before when two B Platoon men were killed in action and three were wounded. [1] The Japanese were aware other elements of No. 2 Independent Company were in close proximity further south and pressed on aggressively with columns advancing from Bazar Tete and Railaco towards the A Platoon positions at Grade Lau. Cyril Ayris in Chapter 14 of ‘All the Bull’s men’ titled ‘The unit strikes back’ gives an account of this action conducted under the astute leadership of Captain Rolf Baldwin of A Platoon who had anticipated the direction of the Japanese advance, set his Sections well in prepared positions, timed the ambush in order to inflict maximum casualties on the enemy and planned an organised withdrawal that enabled all the men under his command to escape unharmed. An estimated 30 or more Japanese soldiers were killed in the ambush. Fortunately, detailed first hand accounts of the ambush were recorded by Rolf Baldwin, 2 Section soldier Jack Hartley and some other participants. The information they provided enables the site to be fairly accurately located, which is often not the case with other actions during the campaign. THE OFFICIAL RECORD Unit War Diary Entry The unit war diary recorded the action as follows: 3 Mar At approx. 1000 hours approx. 150 Japanese moved to A Platoon position to attack it. They were ambushed by No. 2 Section (now rested after the aerodrome action) under Lieutenant MCKENZIE and a few of Platoon HQ, the whole operation directed by Captain BALDWIN. The Japanese lost two officers and 30 ORs but there were no casualties to our troops. The enemy withdrew after that action and A Platoon commenced to move to HATOLIA. [2] Rolf Baldwin’s Report Lieutenants Rolf Baldwin and Bernard Callinan, Wilsons Promontory, early 1941 [3] A few months later Rolf Baldwin submitted his report on the action to Bernard Callinan: MAPE 1 AUG 42 Dear Bern, Below are my reminiscences of the great battle of GRADE LAU, which I think is the name given to the locality by the natives. You can modify its sensational tone if desired. For some days before the night of 3/4 MAR 42 A Pl[atoon] was dispersed in section positions over approximately 1 ½ miles of the big ridge SOUTH of RAILACO. On the morning of 3 MAR it was reported to Capt BALDWIN that a large party of Japs was at BOIBAO. Cpl PALMER was despatched with a party of 5 men to O.P. this body of the enemy. Soon after the departure of Cpl PALMER it was reported. that the Japs attacked Lieut NISBET'S section on KOOT LAU, near BAZAR TETE. Almost at the same time Japs were reported in RAILACO. In the early evening of 3 MAR a conference of section leaders was held in which L/Sgt DENMAN took the place of Lieut DEXTER who was absent on recce duty behind DILLI. The following dispositions were then made: 2 section, under Lieut McKENZIE, to guard the approach from KOOT LAU at the WEST end of the ridge; 3 section, under Lieut TURNER to guard the approach from RAILACO at the EAST end of the ridge; 1 section under L/Sgt DENMAN and Pl H.Q., under Capt BALDWIN in the centre to be in reserve. Soon after daylight on 4 MAR Aft many heavy explosions were heard from the general direction of TOCOLULLI. Then followed reports from 1 section that enemy could be seen advancing up [the] ridge from RAILACO, and from 2 section that approx. 60 enemy were advancing from the WEST end of the ridges. Orders were sent to 3 section warning them of the approach of the RAILACO party and to 1 section to be ready to move to support 3 section if necessary. After the despatch of these orders Capt BALDWIN moved Pl H.Q. to the support of 2 section. When he arrived at 3 section's area Japs could be plainly seen advancing along a track about 800 yards away. Our troops were rapidly put into positions on the hilltop above the track along which the Japs were moving, with 2 section flanking and PI H.Q. enfilading at a range of 150 - 200 yards. Almost as soon as these dispositions were complete, came the first burst of concentrated fire against the Japs. As far as our troops could see half a dozen Japs were killed immediately, and a similar number in the half hour sniping duel which followed. Native reports however put the enemy's casualties as 31. Our own were nil. No contact being possible between 2 section and H.Q. during the firing, the skirmish was broken off at discretion some half hour after the commencement. 2 section then retreated to the EAST along the ridge, H.Q. to the NORTH, into places of concealment. During the day of 4 MAR there was much movement of Japs on the ridge and our own men lay in successful hiding, save for a few chance meetings between individuals and the enemy. From these encounters our men all escaped. During the night of 4 MAR the movement of our sections to the SOUTH began, independently, according to prearranged plan. No casualties were incurred. R.R. Baldwin, Capt [4] JACK HARTLEY’S STORY Jack Hartley, 11 December 1941, just before he joined the No. 2 Independent Company in Dili John Frederick (Jack) Hartley (NX78025) was a member of the First Reinforcements for the No. 2 Independent Company that arrived in Dili aboard M.V. Koolama on 22 Jan 1942. [5] Jack recorded a very full and informative memoir of his Timor campaign experiences that was heavily relied upon by Cyril Ayris in Chapter 14 of ‘All the Bull’s men’ that begins with an account of the ‘battle’. [6] Relevant extracts from Jack’s memoir follow here: To Railaco [After arriving in Dili] We had a meal at the drome, after which we were given a lecture by Captain Bernard Callinan, the 2 I/C of the Company. Then humping our gear again we set out on a twelve mile trek up into the hills. The first stop was at Three Spurs camp where we had lunch and then pushed on up to Railaco. The camp at Railaco was only in its infancy and very little had been done to make it comfortable, so we had to pitch in next morning to get things shipshape. One long grass hut was sufficient to quarter most of us, plus the "Q" store and kitchen. New huts had to be built for Headquarters, the hospital, sigs wireless hut and the ammunition dump. Slit trenches had to be dug for defences and protection from air raids. Latrines ten feet deep were one of the more urgent tasks. Water was pretty scarce and we were obliged to carry it in buckets and bamboos from a small spring a couple of hundred yards down the slope from the camp. There was a large pineapple plantation nearby which was given quite a caning by the troops, with obvious results. Too much tropical fruit is not to be recommended as a suitable diet when one is not used to it. The days passed quickly enough and after the work was done and the camp completed we settled down to serious training in weaponry. ….. Sent to No.2 Section Meanwhile the men at Railaco had been allotted to go to different Sections and I was fortunate enough to be sent to No.2 Section, the first Section to go into action. The camp was broken up and everyone left there carrying as much food and ammunition as he was capable of humping. I personally had a change of clothing, a blanket and battle jacket, some tins of food and a Thompson submachine gun with about six hundred rounds of ammunition and three hand grenades. The weight of the ammunition was terrific, but I had no idea when we would be able to replenish our supply and I had no intention of running out, so I chose to carry as much as I possibly could pack. I later acquired a drum magazine which added to the load. Water Pipe Camp Tom Mildren, Keith Brown, Harry Cole and George Miller had been drafted to No.2 Section with Lt. Gerry McKenzie and only had to move a couple of miles to join them. Most of "A" Platoon were at Water Pipe Camp and it was to here that the men from the drome made their way. The camp derived its name from the bamboo pipe line built to carry water from a small spring about half a mile from the camp around the side of a mountain. In charge of the camp was Captain Rolf Baldwin as O/C "A" Platoon. Lieutenant David Dexter was in charge of No. 1 Section, and Lieutenant Clarrie Turner was in charge of No. 3 Section. Among the first of 2 Section to come in were Joe Poynton and Neil Hooper. The others straggled in over the next couple of days until all were present with the exception of the 3 men who were lost on the drome. Lt. McKenzie took charge of his Section again and with the five reinforcements to bring it up to full strength, the Section was soon ready for action again. By this time the Company C.O. Major Spence had moved with his headquarters to Hatolia and for the present there was no definite plan of action. "B" Platoon under Captain Geoff Laidlaw had its headquarters at Liquiça on the north coast and would stay there until it was pushed out. "A" Platoon were about ten miles inland from "B" Platoon, and "c" Platoon were at Hatolia. ‘… moved a couple of miles north’ As soon as "A" Platoon were properly organised, we left Water Pipe camp and moved a couple of miles north along the range we were on and set up three sectional camps at the most strategic points we could find. The ridge ran roughly north and south and on either side of it was a deep river gorge. A fairly good track ran along the top of the ridge and it was the most logical place for the Japs to come from the north coast when they wanted to move inland. Most of us had by now learned a smattering of Tetum, the native language, and we were able to buy fruit and eggs, vegetables and rice to supplement our own meagre rations. Also we had acquired some young criados who were willing to stick with us and carry our packs. For a couple of days things were quiet enough, but this happy state of affairs was not to last long. Contacting "B" Platoon One evening Cyril Doyle, Bruce Smith and I were assigned the task of contacting "B" Platoon with the idea of finding out what their positions were and what plans of action they had. We had to go down into a valley and then up a steep range to reach Liquiça where we expected to find their headquarters. We reached the top of the range and were only a short distance from their headquarters when we met Cpl Norm Thornton and from him we heard some bad news. "B" Platoon had been attacked the night before by a strong party of Japs and had been forced to withdraw into the hills. The problem was at this period we had no radio contact between platoons and runners were the only means of communication. Norm had been given the job of getting clear with a load of ammunition and had no idea of how the rest of the platoon were faring. ….. ‘… moved back up onto the top of the ridge’ As soon as it was light to see we moved back up onto the top of the ridge and took up a position covering the main track. We had a scratch breakfast of fruit and then sent our native boys off with our packs containing the odds and ends of gear we didn't need. That was the last we saw of those boys and our packs for as soon as the shooting started they just went bush. About nine o'clock the Japs made an appearance at a village about a mile away and we took up our positions. There were twenty of us lined up along the ridge running parallel with and above the track about fifty yards away. About a hundred yards away further up the track headquarters took up a position in an old stone fort to fire down the track. 1 Section and 3 Section were too far away to get to the scene in time to join in the fun. Being a tommy gunner I thought I could do more damage by being a bit forward of the Section, so I moved about another ten yards down the slope and took cover behind a tree. There was a small side track only a few yards below me and I thought if they came along this I could play merry hell with them. The Japanese Ambushed However, the Japs came along the lower track with an officer leading them on horseback and the rest in close single file. There were about fifty in the first group and we allowed the leaders to get slightly past us before we opened fire. The officer on the horse and a lot more went down under the first burst of fire, but the others dived for cover and in what seemed only a few seconds were firing back with machine guns and mortars. One mortar bomb exploded in the trees above me and another landed in the stone fort, but no one was hurt. Most of the mortars went over the ridge and exploded behind us. One Jap ran straight towards us and dropped behind a log about twenty yards below me. I put a few rounds into the log to keep him down and then Tom Mildren who was firing over my head with a snipers rifle got him through the thigh and put him out of action. Withdrawal The warning came from our rear scout that another big party of Japs were coming around the hill behind us so Gerry McKenzie gave the order to withdraw. I was too occupied and didn't hear the order and carried on firing. Tom Mildren looked around when the Section had gone about fifty yards and saw I wasn't coming, so he stopped and yelled out to me. By the time I'd scrambled back up the ridge the others were out of sight. Just then the first of the second bunch of Japs put in an appearance about thirty yards away so I took off down the hill after the Section. I could hear a submachine gun blazing away behind me and expected to cop it any second, but the Jap must have been a poor shot and I managed to outrun him. About a quarter of a mile down the hill I caught up with Pte Lou Marchant who was on the point of exhaustion from malaria. I urged him on and we finally caught up with the others who were waiting for us. We moved on immediately as the Japs had seen us and were firing down the hill with what sounded like Bren guns. They were getting too close for comfort, so we kept on going around the mountain and finally ended up down in the river gorge on the wrong side to where we wanted to be. The Japs kept firing for a couple of hours after we were out of sight, but we didn't see any more of them. ESCAPE Corporal Kevin Curran later recalled how some of the men escaped from the ambush site: After the mortaring the Australians fell back to a position, but it was found here that they had been outflanked by a second Japanese party. In the movement which followed, Two Section and Pl HQ became separated, the section going to one side of the track and the troops to the other. They were forced then to take cover in the bushes, lying low all day. Cpl Curran and fourteen privates on one side of the track stayed in hiding until four thirty, watching the Japanese walking about, at times so close that they could have reached out and touched them. When the night fog came down the whole of the forces left their hiding places and trekked onto the main Dilli to Ermera Road. The Section men were the first to leave and they, shortly followed by Platoon HQ set off for Hatu-Lia, the pre-arranged rendezvous. [7] LOCATING THE BATTLEFIELD TODAY Railaco can be reached comfortably by vehicle from Dili – the 30 kilometre drive will take approximately 50 minutes. A walk into the nearby hills will then be required to reach the ‘Battle’ of Grade Lau site. Drive route from Dili to the ‘Battle’ of Grade Lau site The site of the ‘Battle of Grade Lau’ can be approximated using relevant location information derived from the available first-hand accounts in the unit war diary, Baldwin’s report and Jack Hartley’s reminiscences. The following map based on a current Google Maps satellite view of the area attempts to illustrate where the A Platoon sections were situated, the directions from which the Japanese approached. The map also indicates the direction in which the A Platoon men left after the battle. I emphasise that if the indicated location is correct, the landscape would have to have been more heavily vegetated and less closely settled in March 1942 than it is now, otherwise they would not have been able to conceal themselves as effectively as they did prior to the ambush and afterwards when making their escape. ‘Battle’ of Grade Lau site The efficacy of nominating this location for the battlefield can be best tested by visiting Railaco, assessing the terrain and speaking to local residents who could be asked questions such as: · Are you aware of a battle nearby during WWII where the Australians fought the Japanese? · Is there a place nearby called Grade Lau? · Is there a track that runs from Bazar-Tete to Railaco? · Is there an old stone fort on the high ground nearby? · Do you know where the Australians camped in Railaco and nearby The answers given to these questions should determine whether the nominated battlefield site is correct or the ambush occurred in another place that can then be visited, surveyed and documented. It is hoped that visiting and surveying this location and other commando campaign sites can be accomplished as soon as practicable after the current health crisis is over and travel restrictions are lifted. This post will be updated once more definitive information is available. Those visiting the location beforehand may wish to ask the aforementioned questions of local residents before attempting the walk – employing a guide before proceeding is also recommended. REFERENCES [1] https://doublereds.org.au/forums/topic/214-commando-campaign-sites-–-east-timor-liquica-district-bazar-tete/ [2] No. 2 Independent Company war diary, Item number 25/3/2/5 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1367000. [3] https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-136262775/view [4] Baldwin’s report is included in No. 2 Independent Company war diary, Item number 25/3/2/5 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1367000. [5] https://doublereds.org.au/history/men-of-the-22/nx/john-frederick-hartley-r181/ [6] Jack Hartley ‘… glossary of personal experiences during the time I spent with the 2/2 Commando Squadron in Timor’, copy of printed notes held in 2/2 Commando Association of Australia archives. [7] S.A. Robinson, [Timor (1941-1942) - Sparrow Force and Lancer Force - Operations]: The Campaign in Portuguese Timor, A narrative of No 2 Independent Company. Story prepared by Corporal S.A. Robinson, No. 5 Military History Field Team: 30-32. – Australian War Memorial file AWM54 571/4/53. ADDITIONAL READING Ayris, Cyril. - All the Bull's men : No. 2 Australian Independent Company (2/2nd Commando Squadron) / Cyril Ayris. - [Perth, W.A.] : 2/2nd Commando Association, 2006: Ch. 14 ‘The unit strikes back’, esp. 162-166. Cleary, Paul. - The men who came out of the ground : a gripping account of Australia's first commando campaign : Timor 1942. - Sydney : Hachette Australia, 2010: 109-110. Wigmore, Lionel. - The Japanese thrust. - Canberra : Australian War Memorial, 1957. Ch. 21 ‘Resistance in Timor’: 466-495 (Australia in the war of 1939-1945. Series 1, Army ; v. 4): 481. Wray, Christopher C. H. - Timor 1942 : Australian commandos at war with the Japanese. - Hawthorn, Vic. : Hutchinson Australia, 1987: 76. Prepared by Ed Willis Revised: 13 April 2020
  17. Safari Reunion during the1970's?
  18. © Smith Family Collection

  19. Dear Lorraine On behalf of the 2/2 Commando Association of Australia Inc. and its members, I would like to express our sincere sympathy to you and family members on the passing of your father on Thursday 26,March 2020. If a Vale or Tribute was prepared for him, or there was a story about him in the local newspaper, perhaps you could send us a copy so that we can add this his record on the ‘Doublereds’ web page. As far as we are aware John (Jack) Trelease Hanson from Queensland is the last man standing.
  20. GPS: 8°53'38.0"S 125°42'16.0"E INTRODUCTION Mindelo is a village in the Turiscai district of the Manufahi Municipality. The district had a population of 7,718 at the time of the 2015 census. The village population was 593 at that time. [1] Confusingly, Mindelo is also known as Maubisse (or Mau-Bessi), the same name as the nearby large town that is in the Ainaro Municipality with which it shares a long and sometimes violent history. LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION 1943 MINDELO (Mau-Bessi - ... ) is 15 miles (24 km) southeast of Aileu at a bearing of 140°. Mau-Bessi is a small posto and market town and must not be confused with Maubisse in the same province. The buildings comprise posto and administrative block and barracks, also a church. The posto is surrounded by trees which give fair air cover. The town is connected to other districts by pony tracks only. There is a good water supply in the district. Australian troops occupied this town during October, 1942. [2] Location of Mindelo shown on map from the ‘Area Study of Portuguese Timor’ [3] The following oblique aerial photo from December 1942 gives an excellent idea of the terrain in which Mindelo is located and the directions to the nearest significant locations – Tutuloro and Turiscai/Maubisse. Central mountain country. Mindelo looking southwest – November 17 1942 [4] Visiting Mindelo Today Mindelo lies approximately 127 kilometres south of Dili by road via Same. If road conditions are good Same can be reached by vehicle from Dili in 3½ hours. Mindelo is located 13.7 kms north of Same and can be driven along a track suitable only for a four-wheel drive vehicle. [5] Driving conditions and the time required to reach Mindelo from Same will vary depending upon if there has been recent rain and how recently the track has been maintained – landslides, rock and tree falls, slippages and collapses are persistent problems on these types tracks in Timor-Leste. Map - Dili to Mindelo by road Trekking in, if you are fit and time is available, or using a motorbike are alternative modes of transport. If trekking you may wish to try and follow the track described in the Area Study of Portuguese Timor: 32a. Track Same to Junction Track 32 to Alas to Maubisse: Two hours' walking. A good track goes north from Same, crossing three or four creeks and climbing divides between. At a junction of tracks two miles (3 km.) north of Same, the track swings east, descends to the Carau-Ulo River, climbs the divide on the other side, and drops steeply to another branch of the Sue River, where one track leads north to Mindelo (Maubessi) and the other track continues east to Alas. Both rivers cause delay in the wet season. [6] Track from Same to Mindelo – GERTIL map Mindelo – satellite view – Google Maps HARRY WRAY’S RECOLLECTION OF MINDELO – October 1942 Corporal Harry Wray of the Signals Section, as is often the case, can be relied on to provide a good description of Mindelo: [7] Description Our journey ended at Mindelo where we arrived on the 15th October 1942. Mindelo was the site of a Posto and was in an area that consisted of hills and mountains as far as the eye could see. The Posto was located on the top of a long mountain ridge that rose upward from the end on which the Posto was located. The ground where the Posto stood had been levelled off for about three hundred yards and was about one hundred yards wide. As well as the Posto residence there were a number of other buildings, one a school. The inevitable cock fighting ring stood in the middle of the space used for the weekly markets close by the Posto. In order to make the level space I have described, stone retaining walls had been built along parts of the ridge, and these at one end near the Posto were covered with thick growths of passion fruit vines. As I have said the Posto was at the lower end of the ridge or spur, which rose upwards from the Posto for several hundred yards going upwards and away from the Posto. The ridge was razor backed and just wide enough for a bridle path. This widened out further up and there stood the ruins of a large stone building, gutted by fire, and a little further on the huts of a large village lay about in heaps of ashes. Local Situation This district had been ravaged by internecine war and villages and crops destroyed wholesale. The Posto and school were deserted, and very few natives to be seen. Those still remaining in the area were miserable frightened people who were rarely seen. Food was very scarce around Mindelo and as we were living on the land we fared badly, and for weeks our diet consisted of inferior sweet potatoes for the most part, and even these were hard to come by. Living Conditions George, the Platoon commander [8], chose a small hollow in the side of the ridge beyond Mindelo Posto, and roughly just below the burnt out village I have mentioned. There was a small U-shaped patch of ground like a shelf sheltered in the hillside, and well hidden from view. A spring seeping from the hillside made the ground rather boggy all the time. We built ourselves a small hut just large enough for us three Signallers to sleep in and to shelter the wireless set, but it was rather leaky when it rained. The other men were camped here and there round about in twos and threes in little huts. Role After the first few days there were only about seven or eight of us and the Captain (George) camped there. The others were camped here and there around Mindelo to keep and eye on the approaches. We were on the fringes of, if not actually in a pro-Jap area, and the Japs were occupying a Porto town [Maubisse] in force, not far away. Mindelo was in a district where heavy mists came down over the mountaintops during the afternoon and persisted all night until well after sun up in the morning. The result of this was that guarding a path or keeping a look out from a hilltop was not the easiest of jobs when the mist was about. Morale and Events Morale was bad among a number of the men in the Platoon at this time, and they were very nervy and jumpy, not without some cause, I must admit, and some of them had harrowing experiences at various times to add to their present frayed state. At night we used to have a guard posted on the ridge among the ruins of the village above us. I know that when I had my turn I would often find the guard had spent his hour or two just within sight and call of the camp instead of several hundred or more yards away on the ridge. It was lone and eerie walking up and down among the ruins of the village, one seemed utterly alone and miles away from anyone. I often used to speculate as to the fate of the villagers, and on some bright moonlight nights I used to scratch about in the ashes of the huts to see if I could find any bones of the inmates. I do not know whether the inhabitants were murdered, or just driven off. One thing in favour of the post on this ridge, it always seemed to be above the mist, and one had a good view for a reasonable distance about. In most parts of Timor the hillsides for miles around were bright with tiny dots of light from the village fires. These were often seen twinkling through the nightly mists, but at Mindelo there was not a fire to be seen in this desolated district. SIGNIFICANCE By the middle of October 1942 pressure was increasing in all areas as the Japanese spread disaffection among the Timorese. Maubisse was now well established by the Japanese who were using the town as a base for the training and collection of rebel natives, some of whom more shirts and shorts, living in the village with the Japanese. Whenever Australian patrols approached this area, the natives from the surrounding country withdrew back into the township and there sought the protection of the Japanese. Parties of fifty or sixty natives, urged on from the rear by two or three Japanese, carried out raids against the units at Mindelo and Turiscai. Almost daily, Australian patrols fought actions against these parties resulting in the deaths of ten, twenty or thirty natives but only one or two Japanese. The Japanese were not only using the natives as a weapon in their fight against the Australians but also as a means of destroying Portuguese authority on the island. [9] TWO MEN MISSING IN ACTION - PTES ANDY SMEATON AND GEORGE THOMAS It was during this period, on 11 November 1942, that the 2/2nd lost two men, Privates Andy Smeaton [10] and George Thomas. [11] They were members of C Platoon No. 8 Section. The Unit War Diary entry recorded what happened as follows: 11 November 1942 "C" P1 have had another clash with the Japanese and their natives. At 0845 hrs Lieut McKENZIE reported hearing rifle fire and also Brens from the direction of No VIII Secs position. His HQ OP saw movement on skylines in that direction also. Some creados came in from there and said many natives and Japanese were attacking No VIII and had burnt their shelters. At 1300 hrs he reported further the forward sub-sec had been attacked and the rear sub-sec had opened fire on another party of enemy. By 0930 hrs both sub-sections had been forced out of their positions by weight of numbers. They inflicted numerous casualties all of whom were carried out by other natives. Unfortunately one Bren gun was lost. Another party which was moving out to MINDELO was intercepted and attacked by No VII Sec. This party left their dead and wounded and scattered. Both sub-sections are safe but two men, Ptes SMEATON and THOMAS, are missing. [12] TWO EYE-WITNESS ACCOUNTS OF THE ACTION Stan Sadler’s Story Stan Sadler provided this personal account: 8 Section was then sent to man an observation post forward of Mindelo and this we did for about a week. We were camped in a hut in a small thicket of trees and the O.P. was up a 'steep, bare rise - about 500 yards away. There was some cover on top of the O.P., which was on a flat ridge and gave a good view of the countryside towards Turiscai. Two men would go up at first light in the morning and two would relieve them at lunch time and go on until dark. This lasted a week and we saw some movement of small parties of Japs and some natives at times. Chas and I were on O.P. the afternoon before the attack and we saw a lot of native movement and heard a big gathering of them in the distance. We reported it when we came off at night. In the morning, George Thomas and Andy Smeaton went up at 1st light. That morning also, some bombers from Darwin had come over us on their way to bomb Dili. We had been cheered by that. Chas, Tom Coyle and another had gone down to the creek about half a mile down the hill to have a wash and get water. Then we heard the sound of machine gun fire from the O.P. There were four or five of us in the hut and we soon packed up and retreated. Bullets were cutting off the leaves of trees above us as we slid down the steep slope. We managed to get down to a steep gully and after some trouble, made our way down this and back to a place called Fai Nain. We never saw George and Andy again, but the native boy who was with-them got away and he told us that George was hit. Andy had run away but had gone back to help George and that was the finish. It was a blow to us and we never really got over it. [13] Alan Adams Story Alan Adams was also present: We lost George Thomas and Andy Smeaton on the 11th November 1942, a day I remember only too well. We stood to at dawn, and then George and Andy went to our O.P., which was located fairly close to our camp. They did not report back so it was all clear, so we set about getting breakfast ready. There was a little spring nearby where we used to wash while breakfast was cooking. Another mate and I went to the spring to wash. Walking down a little ridge on the way down he went to relieve himself, at that stage the Japs opened fire on us from the O.P. He came flying over to me unhurt. The only way we could go was downhill to the valley. A cliff face blocked us. The only other way was open country so we were trapped. There was a small patch of scrub near the spring and we had to make a quick decision - open country or hide in the bushes which was hardly big enough for us and our creado to hide in. We chose the bushes, the Japs came down to the spring and were talking away not knowing we were a few yards away. After a while they went away. Then we had to decide what to do next. We decided to stay, as we didn't know if they were still in the area. It was a very long day and as it got dark we moved out. We didn't know what happened to the rest of the Section or where they went. We walked all night to where they might be and found them safe and all well, so ended a very traumatic and lucky escape. We never found out what happened to George and Andy as far as I know. [14] JIM SMAILES ON ANDY SMEATON AND GEORGE THOMAS Jim Smailes wrote about the personal backgrounds of Andy Smeaton and George Thomas: Towards the end of November No. 8 Section under Lt John Burridge, had a very bad time of it in the Maubisse area. There was trouble with natives, and much Japanese activity. They had developed a habit of sleeping in the bush rather than a hut in case of ambush during the night. This particular night it had rained so they slept inside except for guards. Just on daylight two men went out to man the observation post. Shots were heard which of course aroused the rest of the section and they made their escape in various directions. The other two men were never heard of again. Neither on the island, through natives or even after the war. It is certain that they were not taken prisoner, so must have been killed by those shots, but if that is so, it saved the lives of the others who were encircled by Japanese, and most likely would have killed more with their ambush. As it was all the others escaped and were able to regroup and re-establish again as a section. George Thomas The two lost were Andy Smeaton and George Thomas. George had been over and spent a few days with me only the week before. He had had malaria rather badly and become run down. When he left to rejoin the Section he gave his wallet and a few odds and ends to me to look after, as he thought it was very bad where they were, and would I do the right thing if anything happened to him. I did just that after we got home and visited his parents and brother who lived in Boulder. They had hopes of George returning when peace came, but I did not encourage this view. They were fine folks but had no idea about what George had been through, and what was involved in this class of warfare. George had been a storeman on the Great Boulder Mines and was highly regarded by management. Andy Smeaton Andy Smeaton was a real loner, did not appear to have any friends or relations, and was very inclined to get into trouble with officers and higher authority. He was a very, likable young chap, and I had always got on well with him. Once out on a patrol with him, he had confided to me that he had never known his father, and in fact nobody knew who he was. He said that back in Scotland his mother became involved with a young soldier from Australia who was in hospital with wounds from France in 1916. He evidently used a false name and after he had taken her out a few times, he returned to his unit, and was never heard of again. The girl later found herself pregnant, and nobody of this soldier’s name could be found. Thus he had his mother’s surname of Smeaton, and he grew up in one of Dr Bernado's homes in Britain. He made light of his origins and held no malice for his mother or her family. He was sent out to Australia at about six years of age to the Fairbridge Farm School at Pinjarra in Western Australia. At 14, in 1931, he was found a job with a wheat farmer, and moved about on labouring and farming work until enlisting in Wagin in 1941. His sole aim in defending this country was to do his bit to make sure the Hannan's Brewery was intact when he got back again. It was the best beer he had ever tasted, and I think he had been quite a good judge of lager in his short life. Just before the Japanese invasion, Andy was on guard duty one night at Three Spurs Camp and fired a shot at a noise of some sort. This was taboo with the situation so tense, and Andy was on the mat next day for disobeying orders. Each man had five rounds in his rifle, but we were not supposed to fire unless ordered to do so. Major Spence and Sgt. Major Craigie slept in a tent on their own, and they had some boxes between their beds upon which stood a bottle of whiskey. With the firing of the shot, both men came to the scene, and after conferring, decided to take disciplinary action next morning. When they returned to the tent the whiskey was gone. This of course made things worse, and Andy was fined 5 pounds, and this put as a deduction in his pay book. When he got outside the ‘court’ he picked up his rifle and let off the other four rounds for good measure. He was then arrested and had to come up again next day. I was one of his escort that morning, and I got chatted by Spence because my safety catch was off, which, he pointed out, was not required in guard duties. In his defence Andy mentioned being a Fairbridge boy, and Spence did not know what he meant, and being from W.A., asked me to explain. This I did, which revealed his start in life and hard time since, Spence then let him go with a caution and quashed the fine for yesterday’s misdemeanour also; Paddy Knight, Andy and the others said they enjoyed the whisky. [15] Smailes also provided this additional comment in the vale he prepared for William (Scotty) Taylor, the 8 Section Corporal: He was terribly upset over the deaths of Smeaton and Thomas almost at the end of a year without loss in the Section. He wrote me a note together with some private papers of George Thomas, to deliver to his parents in Boulder if I should get home and try to find somebody who new Smeaton. He felt that the lives of the Section had been saved by the sacrifice of these two mates. [16] REDEMPTION - DAMIEN PARER FILMS THE MINDELO RAID In November 1942 Damien Parer, the renowned war correspondent and film maker/photographer travelled to Portuguese Timor to film the No. 2 Independent Company in action. He was accompanied by William Marien, an Australian Broadcasting Commission journalist, and an English journalist Dickson Brown, who was reporting for English and American publications. [17] Parer and his companions arrived at No. 2 Independent Company HQ at Tutuloro, a few kilometres southeast of Mindelo on the afternoon of 13 November 1942 as recorded in the unit war diary: 13 November 1942 Ptes SMEATON A and THOMAS GE are still missing and so must be presumed captured. [18] …. Lieut Doig, who is reporting back to the Coy for duty, Lieut SNELL, of the RNEI Army, and DAMIEN PARER, the official cinematographer for the Department of Information, arrived at Coy HQ [TUTULORO], at approx. 1530 hrs. The scene was set for subsequent events at Mindelo by Lieutenant Gerry McKenzie’s report and recommendation of the previous day: 12 November 1942 Later the same morning more natives attacked No VII Sec’s position near MINDELO but these were driven off with losses. During the rest of the day No VII Sec sent out small patrols to shoot up a lot of stray natives who had been very friendly to the Japanese natives. Also a large patrol was sent out to locate the main force. Lieut McKENZIE states the native chief at TUTULORO is loyal and has a lot of natives who will fight with us if armed. The hostile natives from Maubisse probed towards Mindelo again on the 14 November: 14 November 1942 A quiet day the only activity being reported from “C” Pl who at 1245 hrs reported their forward OPs had seen approx. 200 natives approaching their positions from the direction of MAOBISSE. Forward sections were in position to oppose them. The C Platoon men actively opposed the intruders the following day: 15 November 1942 No V Sec of “B” Pl stationed at TURISCAI reported seeing fires burning and hearing shooting from the direction of MINDELO this morning. They were advised these activities were part of “C” Pls campaign against the hostile natives in that area. …. “C” Pl report early this morning the party of natives reported yesterday as moving towards MINDELO turned back and returned to MAOBISSE the same evening. It seems a plan of action was put together by the HQ staff of No. 2 IC and Lt McKenzie for C Pl to attack Mindelo next day with the assistance of local warriors provided by the sympathetic chief of Tutuloro. There was long standing animosity between the people of Tutuloro (‘good boongs’) and Mindelo (‘bad boongs’). [19] 16 November 1942 "C" Pl advise a detachment of our troops and 100 loyal natives under Lieut McKENZIE ATTACKED THE hostile area between MINDELO and MAOBISSE. The operation was very successful. Forty-six natives were killed and forty-one captured; approx. 110 huts were burnt down and many buffalos pigs etc captured. Our native friends acquired themselves a lot of native women who originally were the property of the men who were killed by our troops. Private Harry Sproxton carried a Tommy gun when they went into the village that day. The 9 Section men machine-gunned the huts and the Timorese followed through with spears and machetes, causing what Sproxton described as ‘a bit of carnage’. Sproxton saw more than 40 dead people being thrown into huts, which were then set alight. [20] Parer filmed the assault remotely and the vision includes a long distance shot of a burning village that is almost certainly Mindelo from the descriptions given above. [21] Mindelo ablaze – still from Damien Paper’s film ‘Australian guerrillas on Timor’ [22] He also witnessed the tragic aftermath of the events just described as the victorious warriors brought home their captives and booty. In a sequence that he called ‘native victory march’, Parer wrote in his ‘dope sheet’ for those later preparing the movie commentary: ‘They have just returned from doing up the bad boongs; in the fight they killed 46, captured women 28, captured boongs 3, children 7, pigs 3, horses 6. All our boongs returned safely and there were 8 Aussies with the boongs in the show. The three captured were later killed by the natives when our boys left them’. [23] Australian guerrillas In Timor. Natives in victory parade. Natives friendly to the Australians attacked a tribe which was in the pay of the Japanese. Picture shows natives captured in the raid. (Negative By Parer). [24] 17 November 1942 Having secured the Mindelo site: “C” Pl have commenced a drive against the hostile natives in the area. Five men of No. IX Sec with 40 natives attacked approx. 500 Japanese natives near the junction of the MINDELO-MAOBISSE-TURISCAI tracks and forced them to retire. They are now in a position to meet a counter attack. Parer used the less hazardous circumstances to recreate and film some of the previous day’s action during the attack on the village. Pan shot (staged). Good boongs dash through with blazing spear to set fire to huts. [25] Mindello [Mindelo], Portuguese Timor, 1942-11. Members of the 2/2nd Australian Independent Company, assisted by friendly natives, burn down pro-Japanese natives' huts. (Film Still) [26] NORFORCE apparently sent two Hudson bombers to reconnoitre the area probably after receiving Sparrow Force reports of these events. The planes presence was recorded in the No. 2 IC war diary: “C” Pl from MINDELO saw one large unidentified twin-fuselaged [sic] plane heading NORTH at 0615 hrs. They also saw two unidentified planes flying low up the bed of the SUE River at 0630 hrs. [27] Lts McKENZIE, BURRIDGE and COLE arrived at Coy HQ late this evening. Also DAMIEN PARER arrived here on his return to FORCE HQ [at Alas]; he has now almost completed his film on TIMOR. [28] A Hudson bomber reconnoitres the burning Mindelo, 17 November 1942 [29] The men of C Platoon enjoyed a bit of ‘down time’ and sustenance after the intense activity and action of the previous few days. A meal of water buffalo and rice is enjoyed by (L-R): Dave Richie, Eric Herd and Harry Sproxton (9 Section) after the burning of Mindelo. (Rear): Bill Curtis and Roy Wilson. [30] REFERENCES [1] http://www.statistics.gov.tl/category/publications/census-publications/2015-census-publications/volume-2-population-distribution-by-administrative/ [2] Allied Forces South West Pacific Area. Allied Geographical Section. - Area study of Portuguese Timor. – [Melbourne?]: Allied Geographical Section, South West Pacific Area: The Section [Brisbane], 1943: 50. https://repository.monash.edu/items/show/26455#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=0 [3] Area study of Portuguese Timor: Map 1. [4] Area study of Portuguese Timor: Map 30 [5] http://east-timor.places-in-the-world.com/1635225-place-Maubisse.html [6] Area study of Portuguese Timor: 49. [7] Corporal Arthur Henry Kilfield ‘Harry’ Wray (WX11485). - Recollections of the 2nd Independent Company Campaign on Timor, 1941-42: 220-222. Manuscript in the 2/2 Commando Association of Australia archives. [8] Captain George Boyland, WX6490, Officer Commanding, C Platoon. See Doublereds ‘Men of the 2/2’ entry https://doublereds.org.au/history/men-of-the-22/wx/george-boyland-r34/ [9] Christopher C.H. Wray. - Timor 1942 : Australian commandos at war with the Japanese. - Hawthorn, Vic. : Hutchinson Australia, 1987: 144. [10] Andrew Smeaton, WX5537 – See Doublereds ‘Men of the 2/2’ entry https://doublereds.org.au/history/men-of-the-22/wx/andrew-smeaton-r605/ [11] George Edgar Thomas, WX12592 – See Doublereds ‘Men of the 2/2’ entry https://doublereds.org.au/history/men-of-the-22/wx/george-edgar-thomas-r669/ [12] No.2 Independent Company War Diary, 11 November 1942 -https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1363501 – all subsequent references to the War Diary use this source. [13] Stan Sadler. - War service 1941-1945: 12. Manuscript in the 2/2 Commando Association of Australia archives. [14] Alan Adams ‘A close shave’ 2/2 Commando Courier March 2002: 11-12 https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/2002/March/ [15] Jim Smailes The Memoirs of James Palliser Smailes Chapter 6 – The 1940s: 145-146. Manuscript in the 2/2 Commando Association of Australia archives. [16] Jim Smailes ‘Vale – William (Scotty) Taylor’ 2/2 Commando Courier February 1987: 8-9 https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/1987/Courier%20February%201987.pdf [17] Wray. - Timor 1942 : Australian commandos at war with the Japanese: 154. [18] The story persists to this day amongst the local population that both men were captured alive and tortured in Maubisse before being executed. [19] See Doublereds disclaimer on the use of such now inappropriate language – ‘Important Notice’ https://doublereds.org.au/archives/articles/ [20] Paul Cleary. - The men who came out of the ground : a gripping account of Australia's first commando campaign : Timor 1942. - Sydney : Hachette Australia, 2010.: 260; author interview with Harry Sproxton, 10 October 2007. [21] See ‘LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION’ and ‘HARRY WRAY’S RECOLLECTION OF MINDELO – October 1942’. [22] https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C189152 [23] Paul Cleary. - The men who came out of the ground: 255. [24] https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C33234. [25] Paul Cleary. - The men who came out of the ground: 255, quoting Parer’s ‘dope sheet’ for the filmed sequence. [26] https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C56377. [27] The Sparrow Force war diary entry for 17 November 1942 is illegible. [28] No. 2 IC war diary for 18 November 1942 records ‘DAMIEN PARER departed Coy HQ for Force HQ at 0900 hrs. [29] https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C48293. Note this photo is officially, and probably incorrectly, labelled ‘HUDSONS OF NO. 13 SQUADRON WITHDRAWING AFTER BOMBING A JAPANESE POST AT MINDELO, IN MOUNTAINOUS COUNTRY IN CENTRAL PORTUGUESE TIMOR, ON 1942-12-17. (RAAF)’. I think the photo was more likely taken on the reconnaissance mission one month earlier on 17 November 1942. [30] https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C33181. Prepared by Ed Willis Revised 3 April 2020
  21. On Thursday 26 March 2020, John Went, known as Snowy, passed away at the age of 96 in Bateau Bay, NSW. He joined the army on 31 March 1942 and served with the 2/2 Commando Unit in New Guinea. he proudly attended many reunions over the years. I sadly reflect that he may well be the last of those heroes to die. His funeral will be held on 2 April. Lorraine Hickey (daughter)
  22. GPS: 8°49'25.36" S 125°42'16.34" E TURISCAI is a town in the Turiscai district of the Manufahi Municipality. The district had a population of 7,718 at the time of the 2015 census. Turiscai lies 87.5 kilometres south of Dili by road via Maubisse. If road conditions are good it can be reached by vehicle from Dili in approximately 3 ½ hours. Map - Dili to Turiscai by road Turiscai was a significant campaign site particularly between July 1942 and January 1943, being frequently occupied as Section and Platoon headquarters by both the No. 2 and No. 4 Independent Companies. The indigenous population of Turiscai revolted, attacked, and robbed the government posto there in July as a result of Japanese propaganda. The rebellion was brutally suppressed in August 1942 by 700 moradores(Timorese troops serving the Portuguese) from Laleia, Laclo and Laclubar. From then on Turiscai was on the front line of the action as the Japanese controlled ‘black columns’ of hostile Timorese warriors frequently probed the area and created mayhem. LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION 1937 The 1937 report of the Allied Mining Corporation provided the following description of the Manufahi district that, to a large extent, is still apposite: MANUFAI DISTRICT The Manufai District is located on the southern slope of the Central Divide Area, in the C.C. de Suro and Manatuto. It embraces practically all the land drained by the Sue, South Laclo and Cler River systems, consisting of a roughly shaped trapezoid with the southern base at the Timor Sea, 24 kilometres (15 miles) long. Its northern boundary running along the Central Divide is approximately 16 kilometres (10 miles) in length, while the two sides are 40 kilometres (25 miles) long. The District is reached by motor road from Dilly [Dili] through Vila General Carmona [Aileu] to Maobisse [Maubisse], thence four hours by horse to Turiscai, which is on the northern extremity of the area. A new motor road is under construction between Maobisse [Maubisse] and Turiscai. [1] 1943 The Area Study of Portuguese Timor provides this description of the terrain: The Central Divide Area is the most elevated, and the watershed follows a NE/SW trend. The mountains are extremely steep and high, but the foothills are gentler and more fertile than in the northwestern region. Transport is extremely difficult, both roads and tracks having normally to follow the ridges when possible and to zigzag over the mountain passes and cross deep valleys. [2] 1973 The following notes were prepared for participants in the 2/4 Commando Squadron Association’s pilgrimage to Portuguese Timor in 1973: Maubisse to Turiscai and Fatu-Maqueric Turning off east a short way north of Maubisse the road to Turiscai generally follows the old Kuda Trail along which 6 Section advanced under Bob Fleming to raid Maubisse, passing the tortuous route followed by Steve Stevenson, John Dalton and another couple of 6 Section to make a close daylight recce of the town - finding the Japs had moved out the previous night. Some excellent examples of vertical "Dallan Timor" [track Timor] on the way which follows closely the top of the backbone ridge of the island, now through scattered stunted Eucalypt forest of the type to be found on the south coast plain north of Betano on the road to Same. The country is very precipitous and Tata-Mailau is often in view until the road dips into the Turiscai Valley. The beautiful old posto on the knoll on the Fatu-Maqueric side is now a burnt-out shell surrounded by a big coffee plantation. The new one is a mile or two away on another knoll bare of trees and not so attractive. [3] 2019 When visited in May 2019, it was noted that road conditions seemed to have recently been improved between Maubisse and Turiscai. The road ascends in gradual fashion, is wide, mostly graded gravel, bituminised in parts and seems to be well maintained. There is a new plant for the preparation of surfacing material by the roadside not far out of Maubisse. TURISCAI TOWNSHIP 1943 ‘Turiscai (see Photo No. 53) is 13 miles (21 km.) at a bearing of 126° from Aileu. It is at an elevation of about 3,500 feet (1,075 m.) in the central mountains and looks south down the valley of the Sue River. It is a small posto town with the typical posto on a high hill surrounded by wall and gardens. There are some Chinese shops and houses and a few native huts. The town was heavily bombed by the Japanese in August 1942 and several houses have been damaged. The surrounding country is fairly heavily timbered and good air cover is available’. [4] Location of Turiscai shown on map from the Area Study of Portuguese Timor [5] 2019 The town has grown since WWII but the main thoroughfare leading up to the ruined posto that can be viewed on the following aerial photo from December 1942 is still extant. The once elegant posto building is positioned centrally in a large elevated expanse that was terraced and landscaped in its heyday. [6] [7] Aerial view of Turiscai, June 2019 SIGNIFICANCE March 1942 Turiscai first came to the notice of No. 2 Independent Company in March 1942: In March a small patrol under Lieutenant H.J. Garnett had left Villa Maria to report on the countryside and towns of Suro Province. The patrol had travelled to Villa Maria, then through Ermera and south to Atsabe. From there it had moved to Ainaro, then on to Same carrying out a thorough reconnaissance of the country, noting the attitude of the local Timorese towards the Australians. Finally the patrol had moved north through Mindelo and Turiscai towards Dili. [8] In the following months Turiscai was a rear echelon position behind Laidlaw’s B Platoon that in the last weeks of April and the beginning of May had moved into the area around Remexio from which they could cover Dili. The following map of the Australian positions in July 1942 show the Japanese were pressing south and east from Dili but with Turiscai still not on the front line – that situation changed dramatically in July and remained so for the remainder of the campaign. July 1942 According to Joao da Cruz Caleres Junior, the administrator of Manatuto District, the indigenous population of Turiscai revolted, attacked, and robbed the government post in July as a result of Japanese propaganda. [61] In this incident, though, no ‘Dutch native’ or Japanese officer was found to be involved. The rebellion was suppressed in August 1942 by 700 moradores (Timorese troops serving the Portuguese) from Laleia, Laclo and Laclubar. It became the first war between two Timorese groups during the ‘foreign occupation’. [9] Alfredo Pires recalled these events: War allows a lot of evil. I was with my father in Laclubar late in 1942 when the people from Turiscai revolted. The Japanese let out all the prisoners who were in gaol in Dili who fled to Turiscai, as many were from there, and raised the area up, wanting vengeance on those who put them in prison. So all the other districts went against Turiscai to restore order. The Portuguese troops were mainly young Timorese with a gun between two or three, the rest with traditional weapons. The Turiscai people live high in the mountains and it is very hard to get there. No roads, only tracks around the mountains, but even the children are so used to it they never fall, and people make gardens in places flattened out up high. The authorities captured one of the leaders of the revolt and brought him in to question. He told a long story in Portuguese to the administrator who replied, 'I don't believe you, and if you don't tell the truth you will have your head cut off.' Two Timorese guards were on each side of the prisoner with their big swords. One guard didn't understand Portuguese very well, but he understood that phrase 'to chop off the head' and without a pause he just did it, quickly sliced through. For one moment the head and body still stood together. Then on one side fell the body and on the other side the head. Everyone stood amazed. I saw the people of Turiscai being brought through Laclubar. They were mainly women and children. They were not crying, they just looked very serious. Their cattle and horses would belong to the victors. This was the main reason Timorese had wars in the past, to steal those, but the Portuguese administration had stopped them until order broke down when the Japanese came. The Turiscai people had to go and be the slaves of those who won. To be a slave in Timor was at first like a servant; you work for that family but you are not paid, but after a while the slave usually marries into the family. That is something I admire about the Timorese: slavery is not like it was in Europe or America or is now in India. The slave, after a time, if they are a good person, is accepted as part of the family and they or their children can marry in or inherit property from their new family. [10] August 1942 The Japanese advance [at the beginning of the ‘August Push’] had forced Dexter and Turton's platoons back to positions covering the tracks from Atsabe across the terrible 3000-metre Ramelau Range to Hatu-Builco and thus to Ainaro. Enemy forces had moved around Boyland's platoon into Maubisse forcing it to fall back to the Maubisse-Ainaro saddle covering the approach to Same. In this position it would be able to slow any Japanese attack to enable Laidlaw's platoon and the Platoon Headquarters to fall back from Liltai to positions between Liltai and Turiscai, leaving a small party forward to watch the Japanese movements. [11] Japanese pressure was forcing the Australians inexorably eastwards but Callinan, conscious that an eastwards move would end in the Australians being bottled up with no room to manoeuvre, was determined to resist the pressure for as long as possible. The platoons were ordered to hold every ridge and spur until forced from it. [12] Another problem facing the Australians was the increasing hostility of the Timorese. Those in the frontier areas were decidedly pro-Japanese, or, perhaps more accurately, anti- European. As the Australians moved away from the frontier areas the Timorese were noticeably less hostile, but their morale had been badly shaken by the Japanese bombings of Same, Hatu-Udo, Maubisse and Turiscai. They were no longer as ready to support the Australians as they had been before when the 2/2 Independent Company had had the run of Portuguese Timor. [13] The ‘Black Columns’ The ‘black columns’ of 1942, the frightening columns of smoke and the dark- skinned Timorese warriors with their Japanese military support, were a critical part of the war in Timor during 1942. The fractured ethno-linguistic situation in Timor meant that the Australians were based with several different ethno-linguistic groups, some of whom harboured ill will towards the Portuguese administration who had subjected them to hardships or indignities, especially after the Boaventura Revolt in the 1910s, or against other Timorese ethnic groups who had been allied with the Portuguese. Turiscai was one such area, having been a central part of the 1911-12 revolt, and an early ally of the Japanese. The aforementioned Maubisse area, located across the provincial border in Suro Province, was an early anti-Portuguese, pro-Japanese area, and Portuguese observers describe this area as always having been bad. [14] Indeed, as many Australian authors have taken care to note, many Timorese may have initially supported Australians in the mistaken belief that they would assist them in removing the Portuguese. On the other hand, not every conflict can be explained by reference to the Portuguese, as traditional rivalries between Timorese groups may have had even deeper roots. The situation in Portuguese Timor was a rather complex one during 1942, with many native Timorese changing sides during the course of the year. As was acknowledged by Australian observers, this was in part due to the changing balance of power in the area. As a result, whole villages would switch sides, and suddenly cease to support the Australians, and even begin to aid the Japanese. Before that time, some Timorese were cooperating with both sides, withholding eggs from the Australians and kicking them out of the villages before Japanese troops would arrive in search of food. However, the revolt against the Portuguese illustrates well that certain ethnic groups were more than happy to attack their neighbours and the Portuguese. The relatively early participation of people from Maubisse and Turiscai in attacks on the Portuguese and on neighbouring areas like Fatu Maqueric provide a clear indication of this. Whether or not one attributes this to their prior 'victimization' by the divide-and-conquer strategies of the Portuguese who utilized natives from other areas to subdue anti-colonial revolts in the early 20th century, divisions did follow ethnic and traditional political divisions. [15] On the night of 18 August the Japanese ‘Push’ came to a sudden and surprising end. Australian fighting patrols pressed forward through the areas previously occupied by the Japanese. Villages had been destroyed and maize fields burnt. In many areas the Timorese were still frightened and confused, while some were actively hostile. On 23 August large parties of natives moved from Maubisse to Turiscai to loot the village. Lieutenant Mackintosh's section was in Turiscai and opened fire to disperse the thieves. The increasing restlessness of the natives was a worrying and potentially dangerous phenomenon. [16] September 1942 As September began Sparrow Force, having recovered from its experiences during August, reorganised so as to be ready for further offensive action against the Japanese. The Force Headquarters was now at Alas on the southern plains, while the Independent Company Headquarters was located at Tutuloro. Laidlaw's B Platoon covered the approaches from Dili and the north coast, with headquarters and 4 Section at Fatu-Maquerec, 5 Section at Liltai and 6 Section at Turiscai. In accordance with Callinan's policy of aggressive action patrols were pushed forward from the platoon and section bases. After carrying out tasks of reconnaissance or ambushing un- suspecting Japanese, the patrols would pull back to their secure bases. But the Japanese did not take the commandos' activity lying down. Enemy columns pushed out along the north coast and into the mountainous interior seeking contact with the ever-elusive Australians. [17] October 1942 In early October the Australians set about reorganising their forces. On the far right flank at the eastern end of the island was Doig's H Detachment and the Dutch group. Laidlaw's platoon and that of Captain E.D. O'Connor of the 2/4 were to their left in the area of Laclubar, north-east of Maubisse, where they could observe Dili and the coast road. To their south-west around the Mindelo-Turiscai area, Boyland's platoon covered the Independent Company's Headquarters [at Alas]. [18] By the middle of October pressure was increasing in all areas as the Japanese spread disaffection among the Timorese. Parties of fifty or sixty natives, urged on from the rear by two or three Japanese, carried out raids against the units at Mindelo and Turiscai. Almost daily, Australian patrols fought actions against these parties resulting in the deaths of ten, twenty or thirty natives but only one or two Japanese. The Japanese were not only using the natives as a weapon in their fight against the Australians but also as a means of destroying Portuguese authority on the island. [19] November 1942 This map from Callinan’s book ‘Independent Company’, shows Turiscai right on the frontline of the eastern front in the centre of the island opposite Maubisse in November 1942. The Japanese had established effective control of this central core from Dili in the north to Same and Ainaro in the south. Callinan described Lancer Force’s dispositions at the time: ‘C platoon of the 2/4 Company in the Ainaro area was a link with the platoon on the north coast. Dexter's platoon was held in Same, and between Ainaro and Same was Turton's platoon, overlooking Maubisse from the south-west. On the east of Maubisse in the Mindelo-Turiscai area was Boyland's platoon, and north of him were Laidlaw and O'Connor, of the 2/4, each with a platoon and working in conjunction to maintain a watch on the north coast road and on Dili, also to prevent a drive north-coastward from Maubisse. To watch activities at the east end of the island we maintained the detachment under Doig’. [20] 12 November … The Timorese who had been recruited by the Japanese in Dutch Timor were proving very troublesome to the Australians, particularly in the Mindelo-Maubisse-Turiscai area. The Australians’ food supplies had almost dried up and some of No. 9 Section’s creados were attacked by Dutch Timorese. Soon afterwards a patrol, led by L/Cpl Sep Wilson and including Harry Sproxton and Tom Crouch, met four of them at a fork in a track. [21] With platoons spread in a great semi-circle from Manatuto to Bazar-Tete, many opportunities for harassing the enemy were available. The traffic along the north coast was particularly vulnerable, and O'Connor's platoon did some excellent work inflicting heavy casualties on more than one occasion. It was a pity that we could not spare more troops to spread eastwards along the north coast, and so reap a greater harvest. But we had a cancer that was growing and extending. The Japanese were spreading disaffection amongst the natives from Aileu and Maubisse, and it required continuous activity by the platoons around this area to keep this growth down to a minimum. There were raids by Japanese and natives down towards Ainaro and Same, and to the east towards Mindelo and Turiscai. A vigorous patrol by Australians would turn them back, but only to erupt again. The Japanese were playing the game carefully; with each party of fifty or sixty natives there would be five or ten Japanese who kept well to the rear and urged the natives on. Almost daily, sections reported brushes with these bands, and invariably the report would state killed and wounded ten, twenty, or thirty natives and possibly one or two Japanese. [22] An Incident at Turiscai Sproxton: “They had some gear with them and they were plainly not pleased to see us. Our creados told us in Tetum that they were Japanese imports. When we searched their gear we found Australian equipment and some of the missing items from the attack on our creados a few days earlier. It was decided to take them back to Jack Denham as prisoners. Our creados were frightened of the four strange Timorese and were not happy with the idea. Nevertheless we took them along. We were crossing a fast-flowing stream just before dark when they made a break for it. We had no alternative but to shoot them.” Cpl Eric Thornander was leading a sub-section to Turiscai when news came through that a large mob of hostile Timorese was on its way to ransack the town. Thornander: “With instructions to save the town we took up positions from where we could meet the situation. The mob made straight for the store and was ready to break down the door when we opened fire. We killed ten of them. It was something we did not want to do but it was the only way. The rest of the gang made off and did not come back.” More and more Timorese were being moved over the Dutch border into Portuguese Timor to fight the local Timorese – and, of course, the Australians. [23] December 1942 Meanwhile there were discussions going on for the withdrawal of the Dutch forces, and various dates were mentioned. A Lieutenant Snell, who had escaped from Ambon to Australia, came over in advance of the sixty Dutch troops who were to replace the one hundred and fifty who would be withdrawn. I decided that they would be placed in the Mindelo-Turiscai area, which was compact, and flanked by well experienced platoons under Turton and O'Connor; in addition, McKenzie was there, and he had shown himself to be very successful in dealing with the Dutch. So Snell was sent to McKenzie to become acquainted with the area. With the drive through the Maubisse area pending, it was probable that Snell would get a good view of how things were done. [24] The position then was that the Dutch and some of the Portuguese were still at' Betano, but I was not unduly worried about their evacuation as I thought that these would be taken in the two further phases which were to take the Australians. The 2/2 Company was organizing its withdrawal to the beach head, and the 2/4 Company was preparing to settle into the areas selected, but still I had no advice of the loss of the Dutch replacement force. Just a few days before the date fixed for the first phase of the evacuation by the Company, I received a message telling me that this would be delayed for twenty-four hours. This was serious as all of our carefully worked out timings would have to be altered. Platoons which were about to leave areas had to be told to remain, and to send out vigorous patrols, as we could not afford to give the enemy twenty-four hours’ notice of our intentions. Then rather belatedly I was told by Australia of the loss of the Dutch force, and that no further replacements were available. This meant that I would have to reorganize the placing of the 2/4 Company, and it was my turn to ask for a delay. I asked for twenty-four hours delay in the carrying out of the next phase. Australia replied that they did not wish to hold the destroyer for that time unless there were an operational emergency. To this I replied that there was an emergency as far as I was concerned. As usual I received full co-operation from Darwin, and the second phase was delayed. Murphy's platoon was moved to take over the Mindelo-Turiscai area, which was to have been held by the Dutch, and the delay I had asked for was to permit McKenzie to hold it until Murphy could get there. The advance guard of Murphy's platoon, consisting of a sub-section, was in Mindelo the morning McKenzie moved out, and O'Connor moved a section down to cover Turiscai. [25] Any hopes we had entertained that after the departure of the 2/2 Company there would be a quiet period in which the new organization could be adjusted, were not fulfilled. It almost appeared that the enemy had been waiting for the slightest weakening in order to press in on us. In addition to the Japanese occupation of Same there was also a thrust down into the Ainaro area, and the Turiscai area became very difficult. [26] With the pressure on us increasing, the only thing to do was to push out, and so we organized drives, usually with as many natives as could be collected and a nucleus of Australians. Baldwin and I took a high-class raiding party out into the Turiscai area. It was, of course, a compliment to any chief to be asked to accompany the Tuan Boort (myself) and the Tuan Cataus (Baldwin). It was a strange thing that Baldwin's red hair and beard, and generally dilapidated appearance, had earned for him long before this the appellation of "old" from the natives. So this day we set out with the chief of Belulic and his underchiefs and their retinues. We pushed well up into the area, but unfortunately encountered no opposition. We were disappointed as we wanted to give a lift to morale, but the chiefs were quite happy; they took it for granted that we had frightened the enemy away, and that was just as effective as far as they were concerned. [27] The End Game - January 1943 Mac Walker touched on Turiscai’s ‘swan song’ as a significant site in the campaign before the No. 4 Independent Company’s evacuation from Timor in early January 1943: And so did Major Walker and his troops. In his summary of the events recorded in his Unit's War Diary during December 1942, which is the only record of those events - the original document having been destroyed in the course of the subsequent evacuation of the 2/4th Company to prevent it falling into enemy hands - he commented: "After the evacuation of the 2/2 Indep. Coy it was evident the enemy had realised some move had occurred and moved into the newly vacated areas - Daralau, Atsabe and Hatu Builico on the West, Hatu Udo and Same on the South and Laclo and adjacent villages on the East. …. By these actions, three sections of 'C' Pl were cut off whilst simultaneous attacks around Turiscai, Dili OP, Fatu Maquerec and the L of C between the last two places forced the Unit to again reconsider the position of sub-units and guard a basic area which we considered was vital for the continuance of the force on the island. This basic area, in our opinion, was the last portion where we could continue to live as a fighting force; but by further splitting into smaller units it was thought possible to live and fight as individuals. "The basic area was that part contained by Alas on the South, Fai Nia and Fatu Maquerec on the West, and around in more or less a circle Cribas, Lacluta, Barique. All offensive action was to take place outside these areas and Japs and their natives to be kept out at all costs. Numerous actions took place on the fringe of the circle: Turiscai, Fatu Maquerec, Mindelo. Offensive actions took place at Ainaro, Cablac Ridge and along the road Manatuto-Baucau. [29] [28] MEMORIES John Burridge and the ‘Scrap of Newspaper’ Like all those who spent time in Timor in 1942 John Burridge has many memories - one of which was an incident which was personal and very strange. Before recording the incident itself I must go back a very long way. Early in the 20th century my father, Stanley, and his friend Eric Warren were both working in the firm of Paterson & Co. Ltd. In Perth. My dad was "office boy" and Eric was stock book keeper. They later joined in forming a private company which lasted 75 years. Now, back to Timor. 8 Section at this time was based in a little village next to Turiscai. One morning I found it necessary to exercise a normal bodily function. At the conclusion I looked around to get something to take the place of toilet paper and seized upon two large leaves from a nearby bush. The result of the use of these leaves is not the reason for this report - other than to say I had a red hot bottom for weeks every time I took a shower from the abundant little streams. (Sometime later Ray Aitken told me the name of the bush but I forget it!). The purpose of this story is to highlight that while searching for a suitable leaf I noticed a scrap, a very small scrap of newspaper on the ground. Idly I picked it up and saw it was from a newspaper in English. This in itself was very odd - what was an English newspaper doing a few thousand feet up in the bush in Portuguese Timor? I read the words which were quite legible. It read – ‘The death is announced in Perth, Western Australia, of Duncan Paterson, a very well-known and respected business man who founded the company which bears his name’. I posted this scrap of paper to my father who carried it around in his wallet as a sort of lucky charm until the day he died. I hope this incident may be of some interest to readers. Perhaps it shows how we never know what lies around the corner. John Burridge [30] Article from ‘The West Australian’ reporting Duncan Ferguson’s death [31] John Burridge’s Return to Turiscai The road to Turiscai was unbelievable. There is only room for one vehicle, so heaven knows what would have happened if we had met someone on the way. It was by far the worst road we travelled and George Vasco Solas, the Second Lieutenant who was with me, told me that if it rained we would probably have to remain in Turiscai. It started to rain halfway there, and I was prepared for a long wait in Turiscai. However, most unexpectedly, the rain petered out. I particularly wished to visit Turiscai to get news of my old creado, Cookie. He was a well-known character in Turiscai and was a sort of minor chief. He died 14 years ago but was well remembered by the present Chief - and many others. It was market day in Turiscai, but it was only a small affair. I thought that it was about time I sampled tuaca. Upon asking for it there was a good deal of shuffling and uneasy looks and it appears that it is illegal to sell tuaca. However, when George, who was resplendent in a cavalry uniform, assured the locals that there would be no repercussions, a bottle was obtained. Unfortunately, it was not tuaca but tua-sabe the fermented brew. (Later on, with much difficulty I got the genuine tuaca in Dili and as I had remembered, it is certainly a very pleasant drink). The Chief in Turiscai was most co-operative and arranged a cock fight for my benefit. Although a non-smoker these days I asked for tabac, bata cuiic and doodook (perhaps better known as wampum). The tabac and bata culic were of course available, but no doodook. The standard of living has apparently improved and all the Timori use matches nowadays. I tried in many places for doodook but without success. Undoubtedly it would be available in the little villages, but we kept to the main roads As I am in no condition for long marches nowadays, I had to finish that wretched cigarette otherwise I may have offended someone, but I cannot really claim to have enjoyed it. The road back from Turiscai to Maubisse had become worse during the previous three hours due to the rain and it was greasy as well as rough. Both George and I were very happy when we reached home. Several months ago, a truck with 21 Chinese went over the side and they were all killed. [32] JACK HANSON’S CREADO Jack Hanson’s, the ‘last man standing’ of the Doublereds, creado was named Mau Asu and he came from Turiscai. Post WWII several commando veterans returned to Timor to seek out the men who were their creados as well as visit the sites where they campaigned. The account of the 2/4 Commando Squadron Association’s pilgrimage to Portuguese Timor in 1973 reveals: "D" Group, comprising veterans of "C" Platoon, had focussed their tour around their old area of responsibility - Ainaro, Same, Hatu Builico, Nunamogue and Bobonaro - reliving memories and endeavouring to locate old friends, with little success. The explanation for this was provided by a group of Timorese, of whom Ken Piesse enquired what had happened to the criados and other Timorese people who had accompanied the Australian soldiers to Quicras, for the evacuation in January 1943. Joseph, the Timorese driver translated their answer: "When you left, the Japanese, who were at Turiscai, Fata Maquerec and Same all closed in. The Japanese shot many people who had helped the Australians and burnt their houses, at Same, Alas and a Jot of other places. "A lot of the criados were killed by the Japanese. Some were lucky. They hid in the bush, or in holes in the ground and came out only at night." [33] Mau Asu survived the Japanese recriminations but not the equivalent suppression during the Indonesian occupation. A qualitatively new phase of the Indonesian campaign began in September 1977. Troop numbers were increased and draconian controls imposed upon the population, isolating the territory from the outside world. In an operation named "Encirclement and Annihilation", mountain areas in which people had taken refuge were bombed. Saturation bombing was accompanied by defoliation of ground cover. Famine aggravated the effects of injury, disease, and displacement. ….. Following the bombing campaigns, the population was placed in newly created resettlement camps. Inhabitants were prevented from traveling beyond the confines of these camps, and were restricted in their cultivation and harvesting. Dependent on the military for basic medical supplies and foodstuffs, they received little, and starvation became widespread. A letter received from Dili in June 1979 told of people "slowly dying in the villages of Remexio, Turiscai, Maubara, Betano and Suro". [34] Mau Asu and several other members of his family were victims of this atrocity. In May 2019 Martin Morris, Jack Hanson’s nephew, visited Turiscai and met with one of Mau Asu’s daughters, Marta das Dores, now 71 years of age. Martin passed on a message of gratitude from Jack for the friendship and support provided by Mau Asu and his compatriots to himself and the commandos. Marta sadly, but proudly, showed Martin the family tomb where Mau Asu’s name is listed first on the tomb stone. Mau Asu’s daughter, Marta das Dores, indicates her father’s name on the family tombstone REFERENCES [1] Exploration of Portuguese Timor / report of Allied Mining Corporation to Asia Investment Company, limited. - [Dilly, Portuguese Timor? : Allied Mining Corporation, 1937: 31 - National Library of Australia digitised item at http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-51222414] [2] Allied Forces South West Pacific Area. Allied Geographical Section. - Area study of Portuguese Timor. – [Melbourne?]: Allied Geographical Section, South West Pacific Area: The Section [Brisbane], 1943: 58. https://repository.monash.edu/items/show/26455#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=0 [3] ‘Return to Timor 1973 - Notes on some places and points of interest’ 2/4 Commando Squadron Association Circular – copy in 2/2 Commando Association archives. [4] Area study of Portuguese Timor: 29. [5] Area study of Portuguese Timor: Map 1. [6] The town was visited by 2/2 Commando Association Committee members Ed Willis, John Denman and Martin Morris on 7 May 2019. [7] Area study of Portuguese Timor: Photograph 53. [8] Christopher C.H. Wray. - Timor 1942 : Australian commandos at war with the Japanese. - Hawthorn, Vic. : Hutchinson Australia, 1987: 97. [9] Kisho Tsuchiya ‘Indigenization of the Pacific War in Timor Island: a multi-language study of its contexts and Impact’ War & Society 38 (1) February 2018, 1–22 [12]. [10] Alfredo Pires ‘The boy with the red lepa’ in Telling East Timor: personal testimonies 1942-1992 / [compiled by] Michele Turner. – Sydney: N.S.W. University Press, 1992.: 38-39. [11] Wray: 123. [12] Wray: 123. [13] Wray: 124. [14] Antonio de Sousa Santos ‘Fragments of a tempestuous life or Fragments of six years of struggles’ (Unpublished manuscript, March 1944). AWM PR 00684. [15] William Bradley Horton ‘Ethnic cleavage in Timorese society: the Black Columns in occupied Portuguese Timor (1942)’ Journal of International Development 6 (2): 35-50 https://www.academia.edu/1425518/Ethnic_Cleavage_in_Timorese_Society_The_Black_Columns_in_Occupied_Portuguese_Timor_1942_. [16] Wray: 126. [17] Wray: 134. [18] Wray: 143-144. [19] Wray: 144. [20] Bernard Callinan - Independent Company : the Australian Army in Portuguese Timor 1941-43. - Richmond, Vic. : Heinemann, 1984.: 171. [21] Callinan: 169 [22] Callinan: 171-172. [23] Cyril Ayris. - All the Bull's men : No. 2 Australian Independent Company (2/2nd Commando Squadron). - [Perth, W.A.] : 2/2nd Commando Association, 2006.: 356. [24] Callinan: 193. [25] Callinan: 199. [26] Callinan: 203. [27] Callinan: 207. [28] Callinan: 213. [29] Lambert: 173. [30] John Burridge ‘Memories’ 2/2 Commando Courier September 2007: 17. https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/2007/Courier%20September%202007.pdf [31] ‘Mr Duncan Paterson - death in London’ West Australian June 27 1936/ 35 https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/3691699. [32] John Burridge ‘A report on a trip to Portuguese Timor, June 15 to June 22, 1966’ 2/2 Commando CourierJuly 1966: 9. https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/1966-07%20-%20Courier%20July%201966.pdf [33] G.E. Lambert. - Commando, from Tidal River to Tarakan : the story of the No. 4 Australian Independent Company AIF later known as 2/4th Australian Commando Squadron AIF, 1941-45. - Loftus, N.S.W. : Australian Military History Publications, 1997: 434. [34] John G. Taylor ‘”Encirclement and Annihilation'': the Indonesian occupation of East Timor’ in The spectre of genocide: mass murder in historical perspective / edited by Robert Gellately [and] Ben Kiernan. – Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003: 167. Prepared by Ed Willis Revised 24 March 2020
  23. JAMES STANLEY (JIM) DUNN (1928 – 2020) Members and supporters of the Doublereds will be saddened to learn of the passing of James Dunn who became best known during the 1970s and ‘80s when he stood up against Australia’s foreign policy establishment over its endorsement of Indonesia’s invasion and annexation of East Timor. The evidence presented in Dunn’s published reports and books was endorsed and appreciated by the men of the old 2/2 Commando Association of Australia who used it their representations and advocacy to government in support of the Timorese fight for independence from Indonesia. A copy of Dunn’s influential report ‘The Timor story’ (1976) is held in the old Association’s archives. An informative and respectful obituary for Jim Dunn was prepared by Dr Peter Job for Jim Dunn’s memorial service that was held in Canberra on Saturday 15 February 2020 appears below. An abridged version of this obituary was published in Friday’s “Sydney Morning Herald”: https://www.smh.com.au/national/campaigner-for-east-timor-during-indonesian-occupation-20200214-p540t8.html OTHER MATERIAL Expression of Grief for the Death of James Stanley Dunn http://timor-leste.gov.tl/?p=23534&lang=en JAMES DUNN Death Notice https://tributes.canberratimes.com.au/obituaries/canberratimes-au/obituary.aspx?n=james-jim-stanley-dunn&pid=195320640&fhid=15599 Canberra Conversations: James Dunn AM https://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2011/03/30/3177728.htm OBITUARY Diplomat, writer and researcher who campaigned relentlessly for the people of East Timor during the Indonesian occupation. James Dunn, who died on 31 January at the age of 92, was a diplomat, intelligence officer, soldier, researcher for the Parliamentary Library, writer and human rights activist. Over a long and versatile career, his most significant achievement is the crucial role he played in campaigning for the rights of the Timorese people under Indonesian occupation and bringing their plight to the attention of the world. Born into a family of six children in Bundaberg, Queensland, Dunn’s humanitarian outlook was strongly influenced by the two years he spent as an Australian soldier in occupied Japan, particularly the six months on the outskirts of the devastated city of Hiroshima. He later described witnessing ‘children, hundreds of them, dying from atomic radiation’, an experience which “thrust me in the direction of focusing on the lot of ordinary people rather than on governments’. He returned to Australia to complete an Honours degree in Political Science and Russian at Melbourne University, followed by studies in Indonesian politics and history at the Australian National University. In a lengthy career in government service he worked first as a defence analyst specialising on Indonesia, then as a diplomat, serving in Paris and Moscow and visiting and working in Yugoslavia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland and other Eastern European countries. The posting which would prove most significant, however, was his first, as consul to what was then Portuguese Timor from 1962 to 1964, an experience which led to a lifetime of empathy and engagement with the people of East Timor. During the years 1970 to 1986 he was Director of the Foreign Affairs Group of the Legislative Research Service of the Federal Parliamentary Library, making him the most senior foreign affairs advisor to the Australian parliament. When the Carnation Revolution in Portugal put the decolonisation of its colonial possession in Timor on the agenda, Dunn was chosen as one of a two-person Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) research team sent to the territory in June 1974. To the annoyance of many in the department his report broke with DFA orthodoxy by arguing that independence was viable, disparaging those who thought integration with Indonesian inevitable and advocating “a more positive course’; for Australia to encourage Indonesian cooperation in the birth of a new state, if it became clear that was what the Timorese wanted. He advocated the reopening of the Australian consulate to monitor developments and recommended a joint Australian/Indonesian mission to make recommendations regarding the territory's economic and social development. Dunn later wrote that these recommendations fell, “on unresponsive ears as far as the government was concerned. Dunn forged a life-long friendship and alliance with East Timorese independence campaigner and later Nobel laureate José Ramos-Horta, who he first met as a teenager during his posting as consul. Soon after Dunn’s death Horta described him as “a mentor, fatherly figure to me’. When a twenty-five-year-old Horta visited Australia in July 1974 as representative of the independence movement that was later to become Fretilin, he made the first of a series of many stays with James and his wife Wendy in their home in Canberra. Dunn assisted his cause by introducing him to sympathetic Australian politicians, including Ken Fry, Gordon McIntosh, Tom Uren, Arthur Gietzelt, and others who would prove vital contacts for Horta and who would later take up the Timorese cause during the Indonesian occupation. In late 1975, after an Indonesian inspired coup and a brief but brutal civil war left Fretilin as the somewhat reluctant de facto governing body of the territory, Dunn returned as head of an Australian Council for Overseas Aid (ACFOA) delegation in October to determine the humanitarian situation and aid needs of the Timorese people. He reported Fretilin to be “a sensitive and responsible organization” that enjoyed widespread support and was prepared to be flexible in negotiating a return to an orderly decolonisation process under Portuguese auspices. This position, supported by a number of others who visited the territory during this period, would later provide a foil for those in the Australian government and elsewhere who claimed the Indonesian invasion had come about in response to a situation of intransigence and instability caused by Timorese irresponsibility. It was during the early years of occupation that Dunn arguably made his strongest contribution by breaking the embargo on information coming from East Timor to make known to the wider world the catastrophe that was occurring there. A year after the full-scale Indonesian invasion, information was trickling out, via elements of the Catholic church, smuggled letters and a clandestine radio link established by solidarity activists near Darwin, reporting an ongoing conflict, serious human rights abuses and severe food shortages. In this context Dunn, under the auspices of Community Aid Abroad, visited and interviewed Timorese refugees in Portugal who had escaped the territory and could report on the situation. The Dunn Report on East Timor, published in February 1977, detailed accounts, largely since verified, of severe human rights abuses, including massacres, sexual violence, deliberately induced famine and other abuses. The report concluded that claims from Catholic sources of 100,000 deaths were credible due to widespread killings in the mountains. In early 1977 Dunn took his message to the international community, visiting Britain, France, Sweden, Portugal, the Netherlands and the United States, where he gained media coverage and met with government officials, activists and concerned politicians. The Fraser government, which viewed good relations with the Suharto regime as vital and sought to protect it from criticism, greeted the report with consternation. It cabled its missions in the countries Dunn visited as to how to discredit his claims, contending the scale of the atrocities to be “highly exaggerated” the death rate greatly overstated and, despite the fact that Dunn’s information came from direct eye witnesses who he stressed were willing to speak to government officials, his allegations based upon “hearsay and second-hand evidence”. When the Dutch government considered supporting an international investigation, Australian government officials worked successfully to dissuade it. In the wake of his report Dunn was invited to speak at the US Congressional House Committee on International Relations on 23 March 1977. In the leadup to the hearings DFA worked with Indonesian and US officials to background against him, contending that his allegations were ‘hearsay’ and claiming, based on little more than briefings from Indonesian officials, that a “thorough study” of all the information available to them had failed to corroborate his claims. Nevertheless, Dunn’s testimony proved influential, galvanising a US Timor solidarity movement, drawing attention to the issue by a number of prominent US politicians and leading to a series of further congressional investigations in subsequent years. In the broader public arena in Australia and elsewhere the Dunn Report was crucial, energising the Australian Timor solidarity movement and providing an evidence-based tool for long term international campaigns. Dunn continued to lobby on the issue in subsequent years. In October 1978 he produced “Notes on the present situation in Timor”, a report which belied the narrative propagated by the Fraser government to document the nature of Indonesian offensives, the targeting of food supplies, the extent of human rights abuses, the misuse of Australian aid and the extent of the death toll. Respected for his academic integrity by all sides in the Australian parliament, his efforts were supported by a cross parliamentary Timor lobby, including tom Uren, Ken Fry, Gordon McIntosh, Arthur Gietzelt in the ALP and Alan Missen, Michael Hogmann and Neville Bonner in the Liberal Party, who used the evidence Dunn provided to raise the issue in parliament on a regular basis. Dunn testified on the Timor issue at the UN Fourth (decolonisation) Committee in October 1980, and at the Permanent Peoples Tribunal, an international Rome based human rights organisation that held hearings into the Timor issue in Lisbon in June 1981. In 1983 he published a book, “East Timor: a people betrayed”, a thoroughly researched academic work that produced a detailed and evidence-based exposé of the situation in East Timor and role Australia played in covering it up. Dunn’s advocacy was not without personal consequences. Officials of the Suharto regime demanded action against him, asking why an employee of a Federal government agency was able to act in contradiction to the expressions of “understanding” it was receiving regarding the Timor issue from the Fraser government. In 1977 the Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Richard Woolcott warned that Dunn’ activities had the potential to “undo much of the good work’ achieved by a recent visit by Fraser to Jakarta and create hostility towards Australia within the Suharto regime. Government lobbying efforts had a certain impact, with the “Melbourne Herald” in October 1979 accusing Dunn of “reckless use of dubious information” and working to damage the Australian/Indonesian relationship. Other journalists and academics supporting the government position attacked Dunn in a similar way on a regular basis, as did parliamentary supporters of the Fraser governments Timor policy. In 1982 former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, by then a confirmed lobbyist for the Suharto regime, accused Dunn of “waving a flag” for Fretilin and spreading disinformation. Under pressure from the Suharto regime and with complaints from senior echelons of the Fraser government concerning Dunn's “lack of objectivity”, there was an attempt in April 1980 to transfer him from his research position in the Parliamentary Library. In parliament Dunn was defended by MPs from both major parties. A letter from him was tabled in which he revealed that in the new position he would not be able to write on East Timor, would not have access to DFA material and would not have contact with MPs. Opposition leader Bill Hayden, amongst others, defended Dunn, speaking of the “high regard” accorded to him by members from both sides of the house. In recent years Dunn recounted to the author how the matter came to a head when he was met on his arrival at work by a group of cross-party parliamentarians and their staffers who in a show of support escorted him to his office. The attempted transfer was abandoned. After leaving his Parliamentary Library position in 1986 Dunn worked and lobbied on international human rights, amongst other things participating in missions in West Africa and Latin America. He was co-president of the Second World Congress on Human Rights in Dakar, Senegal in 1986. He was president for a time of the Human Rights Council of Australia, an organisation he helped found in 1978. Dunn continued advocating on the Timor issue throughout the occupation. He testified regularly at UN bodies and addressed a variety of international forums, including seminars at Yale, Oxford and McGill University in Canada. In 1995 he was Coventry Peace Lecturer and a key- note speaker at a conference on East Timor in Dublin. He contributed to a number of academic publications during this period, including a paper on East Timor in the 1995 collection “Genocide in the Twentieth Century” (Garland Press NY). Dunn returned to East Timor during the independence vote in 1999, remaining during the militia violence until evacuation in September. He returned shortly after the INTERFET intervention to work as an advisor to the UNTAET mission. He was commissioned as an expert on crimes against humanity in East Timor by the UN in 2001. In the years leading to independence in 2003 he conducted a course on diplomacy for the new nations diplomatic corps. He wrote extensively on foreign policy as a columnist for a number of publications, including “The Bulletin”, “The Age”, “The Sydney Morning Herald” and the “Illawarra Mercury”. In 1999 Dunn was awarded the ACFOA human rights award. In 2001 he was invested as member of the Order of Australia. In 2002 he was awarded the Grande Official of the Order of Prince Henry by Portugal. In 2009 President José Ramos-Horta conferred on Dunn the Medal of the Order of Timor-Leste. Coming from a background of Australian public service and diplomacy, Dunn’s involvement on the Timor issue set him on a course of dissidence and political non-conformity, of truth telling and activism in support of human rights in the face of his own governments policies to the contrary. It was a course which consumed much of his life, and a course for which he paid a price. In a conversation with the author in recent years Dunn discussed how if circumstances had been different he would likely have earned an ambassadorship or higher. My response was what it only could have been. Whatever else he may have been able to achieve, none of it would have been more significant than his role in bringing to the world’s attention the truth about the situation in East Timor and contributing to the birth of a new nation. Whatever its cost, that pathway of integrity and truth telling made a far greater contribution than any other course he could have taken. DUNN IS SURVIVED BY HIS WIFE WENDY AND HIS SONS, IAN, MURRAY AND CHRIS. THE COUPLE’S SON BRIAN PASSED AWAY IN 2011. Written by Dr Peter Job JD service program.pdf A disturbing journey - James Dunn.pdf J.S._Dunn_-_The_Timor_story_-_1976.pdf
  24. In my view an excellent piece of work, Ed. Congrats.
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