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  3. 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
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  5. 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
  6. In my view an excellent piece of work, Ed. Congrats.
  7. COMMANDO CAMPAIGN SITES – EAST TIMOR BOBONARO DISTRICT MAROBO GPS: 8°58'48”S, 125°21'14"E Location of Marobo shown on map from the Area Study of Portuguese Timor [1] “Marobo is 3 miles (5 km.) from Bobonaro at a bearing of 359°. It is situated in a deep re-entrant at the foot of Mt. Uso Lau. The town is a resort on account of its sulphur springs. It is connected to Bobonaro by M.T. road. There are about 12 stone houses and the town is concealed from the air”. [2] Marobo viewed in 1927 [3] SIGNALLER HARRY WRAY’S MAROBO RECOLLECTIONS Signaller Corporal Harry Wray [4] described Marobo as it was in July-August 1942: Leaving Rita Bau “We left the house in Rita Bau …. The country from the house sloped more steeply as one progressed from the house, to a very deep gully with a small swift stream running along the bottom. After crossing the stream, we came to a village after a climb, and obtained some sour mandarins, then the path ran along the sides of the mountains for some distance then turned to the right and downwards. The path sloped downwards very steeply, so much so that in places it almost made one dizzy to look downward to the rocky river bed far below. Just as we commenced this descent I was seized with the most agonising cramp all over the body, but chiefly in my legs. Once or twice I nearly took a header downwards as my legs stiffened with a spasm of cramp. I made the long steep descent suffering acutely most of the way. Approaching Marobo Once on the riverbed, which was a mass of huge granite boulders and about twenty yards wide, we had not far to go. After reaching the other side of the river, a path led up a cliff for about a hundred feet or perhaps a little more, and there on what can be likened to a flat shelf, lay Maroubra [Marobo]. As the path into Maroubra [Marobo] was provided with steps to make the ascent easier, I had to take a more difficult path, but easier for me, as when I lifted my foot to climb a step I would be seized with cramp, but by climbing the slope alongside the steps I was able to escape the cramp to some extent. Marobo Described I went to the house in which Archie [Campbell] was staying to see him, and collapsed on the veranda doubled up with cramp again. I had to be very careful to keep still and make no sudden movement or I would get another attack. We arrived not long before the evening meal, and after finding out which cottage we could stay, several of us went off to take a hot sulphur bath, as Maroubra [Marobo] was the watering place for the island. Along the edge of the cliff overlooking the river I have mentioned, were about a dozen neat little cottages, all well-built bungalows with tiled roofs. All well finished too. The drains simply shot over the side of the cliff down the cliff side, so the Portos easily disposed of all drainage and sewage problems. Archie and his Section were quartered in some of these cottages, and the Porto and his daughters I have mentioned earlier had one cottage, and a few of our unit passing through, or at Maroubra [Marobo] for a few days were in other cottages. About quarter of a mile from the cottages a large stream of almost boiling water issued from the earth. This water was heavily sulphur laden, and the smell of sulphur was very much in evidence. A concrete erection marked the place where the water issued out of the ground, and the hot water ran along an open concrete ditch for a short distance to the bathhouses. One bathhouse was apparently for the natives, and us, the other a fine looking building for the Portos. There were no shops at Maroubra [Marobo], just the row of cottages, and the bathhouses, as apparently it was simply a rest place and health resort for the Portos. The Bathhouse The bathhouse we used was along low building with a thatched roof. The interior was divided up into a number of small rooms. Each room had a sunken bath in it like a miniature swimming pool. The bath extended the width of the building, and each was about four feet wide. On the right hand side of each bath was the wall dividing off the next bath, and on the left hand side was a concrete floor about three feet wide. Along the back of the bathhouse ran a concrete drain open at the top. The hot sulphur water raced along this drain, which was about six feet from the back of the bathhouse. Between this drain and the back wall of the bathhouse was a deep drain into which the baths could be emptied. To fill the bath, it was necessary to manipulate a large bamboo pipe into the drain of fresh sulphur water and so conduct the water across the six foot gap to the bath selected. The water was so hot that if the bath were filled it would be unbearably hot, but if one entered the bath immediately the water began to run in, and remained in the bath as it was filled, it was possible to endure the heat of the water without too much discomfort. I had a hot bath the evening I arrived at Maroubra [Marobo] suffering so acutely with cramp, and found that it worked wonders so far as the cramp was concerned. The heat of the bath left one feeling somewhat weak for a time afterwards. The constantly running drain of fresh water discharged into a large concrete pit below and beyond the two bathhouses. This pit would be about ten yards by fifteen yards at a guess. The cavalry from Bobonaro made a practice of riding their Timor ponies over once a week and swimming them in this hot sulphur pool as it kept their ponies skins in good condition. The overflow from the pool ran down into the river below. There were other hot sulphur springs not far out of Maroubra [Marobo]. I came across them later as you will hear. Healing Qualities of the Waters The Porto and his family of daughters were still at Maroubra [Marobo] while I was there, and the old man used to take a daily visit to the sulphur baths, as did one of his daughters. I saw her sitting at the edge of the drain bathing her legs with the water. Her legs were in a bad state with tropical ulcers. I do not know if the treatment did any good or not. One of our men had to go the Doctor with a severe form of dermatitis all over his body, and the condition took a long time to cure. It was caused through taking too many of the hot baths. I believe the Doctor told him that by having too many too hot baths he had mildly scalded himself all over. … a Jar of Vegemite The next morning, I wrote out a report on Rita Bau and sent it off to Bobonaro as Dex was there. I was talking to one of the unit cooks who told me that he was going with Dex to Rita Bau or wherever he was going as cook. That afternoon a message came that the cook was to proceed to Bobonaro at once. He had wind, unofficially but correctly, that he was required there, as he was to be sent back to Australia. He was in a jubilant mood, and presented me with a jar of Vegemite, and with a tin of cheese, and a tin of meat”. [5] SIGNIFICANCE Marobo first came to notice and significance in late March-early April 1942 when Sparrow Force reconstituted itself in the more secure environs of south-west Portuguese Timor. Christopher Wray described the circumstances at this time: “Before long [Brigadier] Veale decided it was necessary for him to move closer to the Independent Company Headquarters then located at Bobonaro, and accordingly moved his headquarters to Mape. Soon after his arrival, Veale berated some of Lieutenant David Dexter's men for not shaving. Dexter's prompt reply was, 'We lost our razors not our rifles' - an obvious dig at the unarmed state of the Brigadier's party on its arrival in Portuguese Timor. Mape was taken over as Force Headquarters, and Dexter's section was relocated at Marobo. Major Spence, realising that the way from Dutch Timor was unprotected, decided to station a party at Maliana to cover the Nunura Plains. These plains were covered with head-high grass and extended from Balibo on the Dutch border through Maliana to the hills below Cailaco. Spence wanted a small force at Maliana to patrol towards Balibo, Memo and other frontier postos to watch out for any Japanese approach from that direction”. [6] The veracity of these dispositions became apparent later on during the ‘August push’ by the Japanese against Sparrow Force; the ‘Official history’ records: “On 9th August the Japanese methodically bombed Beco and Mape. Next day the bombers were over Mape again and also attacked Bobonaro, where Callinan had his headquarters, and the near-by Marobo, thus ushering in a series of raids on the villages which the Australians had been using as their key points. It quickly became clear that the Japanese were launched on a widespread and well-organised move to envelop and destroy the Australians and the Dutch”. One column “… crossed the border at Memo and drove at Bobonaro through Maliana”. [7] After the fierce fighting in the area, in which the No. 2 Independent Company lost two men killed in action, Marobo remained more within the Japanese controlled sphere of influence and was not as frequently occupied by our men. Following the departure of Lancer Force from Portuguese Timor in February 1943 the colony settled into a harsh regime of Japanese occupation and the spa at Marobo was used as a ‘Rest and Recreation’ site by the garrison forces. MAROBO “COMFORT WOMEN” SITE A less well known aspect of the Japanese occupation of Portuguese Timor was the sexual exploitation of Timorese females known as “comfort women”. Military Sexual Slavery during WWII The so-called “Comfort Women” system, i.e., military sexual slavery under the former Japanese military regime before 1945, is a typical case of rape as a form of torture in which the State was directly involved. During the Second World War, the Japanese Imperial military set up the “comfort stations” all over the occupied and colonized areas in Asia and the Pacific, where women and girls were forced to sexually serve the rank and soldiers. Many of these women, most of whom were minors, were tricked by fake job recruitment or taken by force and then confined in small rooms where they were raped by more than twenty men a day. When the Japanese military were defeated, most of these “comfort women” were abandoned or even killed. Although this crime against humanity has been addressed at some of the international human rights organizations, the Japanese State has continuously failed to meet its obligations to investigate, prosecute those responsible, bring just and adequate redress and remedy for the victims, and to educate the public about the issue. [8] The “Comfort Women” System in Portuguese Timor Cleary describes the introduction of the “comfort women” system to Portuguese Timor as follows: “Shortly after arriving in the colony the Japanese rounded up young girls, many of them only about 12, and forced them to work in as many as 15 comfort stations around the country. This policy was often aided by village chiefs, who were acting under duress and frequently found their palatial huts turned into comfort stations. The Portuguese governor, de Carvalho, who feared that Portuguese women would be targeted by the Japanese, also supplied Timorese women to the Japanese. De Carvalho ordered prostitutes who had fled Dili to be brought back so they could serve the Japanese. He called this the ‘lesser of two evils’”. [9] The Struggle of Avo Marta [10] Along with Ms. Esmeralda Boe, who passed away in February last year, Avo Marta was a forerunner of the activities to investigate the harms of sexual violations by the Japanese Army. She also served as a bridge to connect Japan and East Timor. At the Women's International War Crimes Tribunal on Japan's Military Sexual Slavery, Avo Marta and Esmeralda publicly announced for the first time as Timorese women the fact that they were turned into “comfort women.” Asked by the court clerk to speak the full truth upon making testimony, the two women replied, “We did not come to Japan for sightseeing. We came to speak the truth. What is there for us to do but to speak the truth?” and received huge applause from the audience. Documentary Japan later interviewed the two, interviews which were meant to be broadcast via NHK (National Broadcasting Corporation of Japan). [11] In August 2001, Avo Marta cooperated and gave testimony for the filming of the onsite investigation at the Marobo “Comfort Women” site, where she once faced cruel violence. Marobo “Comfort Women” site, photo taken 28 April 2018 …. When Avo Marta faced cruel violation, she was still little, and it was before her menstruation began or her breasts grew. “When I had to deal with 10 people, it was so painful that I couldn’t even move. It felt as if my vagina and anus became one,” she said. “Dealing with soldiers at night, and constructing roads in the day... The kind of labour I had to tolerate was worse than an animal. Why? Animals can sleep at night.” She expressed her anger and said, “Japanese men were also born from mothers... How could they have done something so cruel?” VISITING MAROBO TODAY Marobo Springs (Bobonaro District) “Location (spring M I): 754465 E, 9005792 N, elevation 459 m. A second spring (MII) lies 20 m to the west. MI is a non-flowing pool with temperature of 47°C and strong gas ebullience. M II discharges clear 46°C water with a flow of 10 kg/s. It forms a sludgy deposit of calcite and possibly some gypsum and sulphur. There was a minor odour of sulphur. The geology of the area consists of Pliocene Ainaro Gravel with limestone outcropping on ridges above the springs. An off-set in this formation suggests the springs are located on a fault contact”. [12] Getting There The Marobo hot springs are justifiably recognised as one of the premier rural tourist attractions in Timor-Leste. The site can be reached in a long days drive from Dili most directly via Gleno, Lete Foho and Atsabe, though road conditions are poor beyond the first way point; the final last few kilometres steep, winding descent into Marobo are the worst. The site was extensively and expensively redeveloped around 2016-2017 with the bathing pools and water channels resurfaced and properly retained, toilets and change rooms installed, and timber walkways, viewing platforms and picnic spaces put in place. [13] The sign at the turnoff to Marobo from the road between Maliana and Zumalai, taken 7 May 2019 All these facilities (except the toilets) were in good condition and being well-used by local people during a weekend visit in late April 2018. Unfortunately, when visited a year later in 2019, the whole site had degraded significantly in the harsh weather conditions, with the toilets unusable, the timber structures requiring urgent maintenance and the main bathing pool essentially empty. Cultural Tourism Potential The following report provides an assessment of Marobo as a cultural tourism site: “The Marobo Complex The area surrounding and including Bee Manis has been identified by leaders in Bobonaro as a potential tourist precinct. This area includes many aspects of culture attractive to tourists. There is living evidence of traditional cultural beliefs that the Kemak people are happy to share with tourists. The local leaders are actively pursuing ways to reinvigorate their traditional ceremonies and see tourism as a way to help achieve this goal. The Kemak people have been fortunate to have had their history recorded by the Ethnographer Brigitte Clamagirand whose written and pictorial records provide an invaluable starting point for cultural tourism; Timor Aid and the Fundasaun Alola have created a high quality exhibition based on this work. In addition, there are people who are able to articulate the history of the area from Portuguese, WW2 to Indonesian times. Through the support of NGO’s such as OHM and the Fundasaun Alola there are women’s groups active in the area who have the capacity to showcase Timorese culture through production of high quality weaving as well as local products and traditional farming techniques and crops. Additionally, these groups are eager to work together to learn more about providing hospitality for tourists. OHM has been exploring the possibility of conducting farm stays for tourists interested in learning more about traditional crops and agricultural techniques. In terms of destination, the hot springs are an excellent example of Portuguese times and of themselves provide a reason for tourists to visit the area. The surrounding environment is pristine and affords tourists with abundant opportunities to engage with nature. The missing elements are amenities and access. There are plans in place to address the issue of amenities. Local leaders have a clear understanding of how to go about filling this gap in an environmentally sustainable way, but they need resources and leadership. Of more concern is the road access to the Marobo complex, without significant investment in improving the road the area will remain accessible to only the most intrepid travellers. The ILO and The Secretariat of State for Employment and Training (SEFOPE) plan to complete this work in 2013. Given the access issues to the Hot Springs an interim compromise strategy could be to support improvements to amenities in Bobonaro Vila and or Maliana. The fort area in Bobonaro Vila while quite degraded could provide an ambient back drop for a guesthouse and café complex. [14] The redeveloped Marobo site viewed April 2018 REFERENCES [1] Allied Geographical Section, “Portuguese Timor,” Monash Collections Online, accessed January 11, 2020, http://repository.monash.edu/items/show/31869 [2] Allied Geographical Section Area study of Portuguese Timor (ASPT): 27, Monash Collections Online, accessed January 11, 2020, http://repository.monash.edu/items/show/26455 [3] Timor Português : nos banhos termais de Marobo. - Timor: Missão de Timor, [ca 1927]. - 1 postal: castanho; 9x14 cm http://purl.pt/23917/1/index.html#/1/html [4] Arthur Henry Kilfield Wray, WX11485 https://doublereds.org.au/history/men-of-the-22/wx/arthur-henry-kilfield-wray-r727/ [5] Corporal Arthur Henry Kilfield ‘Harry’ Wray (WX11485) Recollections of the 2nd Independent Company Campaign on Timor, 1941-42, manuscript in 2/2 Commando Association archives.: 138-141. [6] Wray, Christopher C. H. Timor 1942: Australian commandos at war with the Japanese Hawthorn, Vic. : Hutchinson Australia, 1987: 89; the location map for Marobo reproduced from the ASPT clearly demonstrates the tactical significance of the site in relation the villages referred to. [7] Dudley McCarthy South-west Pacific area - first year : Kokoda to Wau Canberra: Australian War Memorial, 1959. (Australia in the war of 1939-1945. Series 1, Army ; v. 5): 607-608. [8] The truth of the Japanese military "Comfort Women" compiled by Northeast Asian History Foundation. Seoul: Northeast Asian History Foundation, 2014: 15. http://www.sfcomfortwomen.org/img/comfort-women.pdf [9] 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: 122. https://www.hachette.com.au/paul-cleary/the-men-who-came-out-of-the-ground-a-gripping-account-of-australias-first-commando-campaign-timor-1942 [10] ‘Remembering two “Comfort Women”’ Women‛s Asia 21, Voices from Japan No. 19 Summer 2007: 19-20 http://www.ajwrc.org/english/sub/voice/19-2-2.pdf and The truth of the Japanese military "Comfort Women" compiled by Northeast Asian History Foundation. Seoul: Northeast Asian History Foundation, 2014: 15. http://www.sfcomfortwomen.org/img/comfort-women.pdf [11] The interview was not broadcast. In Japan, the effort for media coverage of the Tribunal encountered a number of obstacles. One such obstacle was the right wing pressure exerted to change the content of the NHK programs aired in January 2001. The second episode of this series, which was going to focus on the Tribunal, was mostly edited and replaced with new scenes by the NHK staff just a few days before broadcasting. For more information, please see http://www1.jca.apc.org/vaww-net-japan/english/backlash/mediasabotage.html [12] James V. Lawless, Brian G. Lovelock, and Greg N. Ussher ‘Geothermal potential of East Timor’ Proceedings World Geothermal Congress 2005 Antalya, Turkey, 24-29 April 2005: 4. https://www.geothermal-energy.org/pdf/IGAstandard/WGC/2005/2604.pdf [13] US$500,000 was spent on the renovations; see https://www.lonelyplanet.com/timor-leste/attractions/be-manis/a/poi-sig/1582353/356190 [14] Jose Ximenes and Shirley Carlos The potential for cultural tourism Bobonaro, Ainaro & Lautem DistrictsDili: Timor Adventures, 2013. http://www.timoradventures.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Cultural-Tourism-Report-2013.pdf Prepared by Ed Willis Revised: 11 January 2020
  8. THE TIMOR PONY STORY INTRODUCTION Its readily evident that the motorbike rules as the dominant form of personal transport for Timorese now, both in Dili and rural areas. Motorbikes have become increasingly affordable for many families and are used for work, shopping and social interaction. As the motorbike and vehicle based public and goods transport has become dominant, the Timor Pony is rarely seen in Dili now but out in the districts it still has an important role to play, particularly in transporting heavier loads from remote hamlets to market days in the villages and towns. Timor ponies tethered at the cemetery – market day, Maubisse, 27 April 2014 Today’s circumstances are vastly different from those prevailing during the commando campaign on Timor during 1942 where the Timor ponies played an essential logistical support role. Sapper Paddy Wilby, an experienced bush horseman, is credited with getting the Timor pony trains into effective operation early in the campaign by using them to relocate ammunition and other stores from their vulnerable situation in Hatu-Lia to Atsabe and other platoon HQ locations further south. Once communication was re-established with Australia and regular supplies were provided by ship, Timor pony trains were used to transport weapons, ammunition, food, clothing, currency and other goods inland from the southern landing places at Suai, Beco and Betano to where the fighting men were located. The signallers were particularly reliant on the ponies to carry their heavy radio equipment and became very adept at loading them up in a timely fashion when having to move at short notice. THE TIMOR PONY DESCRIBED The ‘Area Study of Portuguese Timor’ (1943) provides the following description of this unique and interesting animal: PORTUGUESE TIMOR. 1942. HORSES (TIMOR PONIES) BEING LOADED WITH GEAR, PART OF A PACK TRAIN USED BY MEMBERS OF THE 2/2ND INDEPENDENT COMPANY The Timor pony will take a load of 100lbs., and it should not be overloaded. It has a speed of about 2 ½ miles an hour on an average, and it can maintain this for long periods. Normally, only males are used for transport, and these are always stallions, the mares being kept for breeding. Mares were used by our troops for transport. The loading of a Timor pony, which stands from 8-10 hands high, is either by pannier or packed on to a wooden saddle. Saddle sores are a constant source of trouble. There are no statistics as to the number of the animals, but it is known to be very considerable. In many districts it is estimated that there would be more than one pony for each family in the area. Timor ponies are extremely hardy and live off the country. They are tethered for grazing when not turned out to run in the hills. If grass is not plentiful, they are fed with maize or grain. This is particularly necessary when engaged in heavy work. Note: The Japanese brought to Timor some Australian type horses which they had taken out of Singapore. Some of these horses died shortly after being put to work in the hills. They were probably mismanaged and not fed, but even so this illustrates the well-known fact that the local ponies will stand up to the arduous conditions and non-nutritious pasture much better than imported animals. Mules also have been tried on several occasions, but reports on the results are conflicting. [1] DOIG’S ASSESSMENT OF THE TIMOR PONY Col Doig also wrote perceptively about the Timor pony: Magnificent Little Animals …. Everything else seemed to grow small and be in miniature. We will deal with the Timor pony first. These were magnificent little animals, real thoroughbreds in miniature - beautiful hoofs and lovely carriage and came in every equine colour imaginable. The best were real beauties. They did not go in for castration on the Island - everything was an entire either stallion or a mare. The stallions were the riding stock and the mares used for carrying things. As they broke down, they were turned out and these were the ones most likely to breed and the breed was inclined to go backwards because the worst stock was doing most of the breeding. Luckily the Portos and others had gone to the trouble to establish studs to upgrade the stock. It is said that normal horses taken to Timor will pygmyise in passing generations, the reason being given the lack of iodine in the mountainous areas. Much the same as happens in the Alps in Europe. Mural on wall outside the old Portuguese stables, Bobonaro – 30 April 2019 Sousa Santos’s Stable at Bobonaro As said the best had to be seen to be believed; there was one establishment at Bobanaro where the native cavalry was ensconced. This was a huge circular stable with all the mounts graded for colour. The piebalds together, and then skewbalds, blacks, greys, bays, chestnuts, roans and what have you. They were well looked after as Sousa Santos the Administrator was a very keen disciplinarian and kept everyone upon the collar. As an old cockie from way back I don't remember a sight in my life to quite outdo his contingent of at least 100 horses. They used to be fed on the local grass and it was a great sight to see a string of young boys come in daily with a sheaf of grass on their heads and carriers all dressed in the "Bari Pole". Old Portuguese stables, Bobonaro Sousa Santos' personal mount was a magnificent piebald stallion as frisky as they come and named "Whisky" after the famous brand of Scotch. The horse would come out of his stable with his ostler practically walking on his hind legs and as soon as Sousa mounted him would prance about and take off at a solid canter. Generally speaking their gait was an amble meaning that the legs on the off side moved together as did the other side in the same manner as a modern pacer. Loading and Riding the Ponies Unfortunately, the saddles both riding and pack were abominable, made of raffia and cane tied on with rope or "tarley" and these didn't take long to give a horse a sore back and some of them were a hideous sight after a short while. The ability of these ponies to carry loads over terrible tracks was truly amazing. Your author had quite a bit to do with packing horses in the Kimberly in WA and these little beauties would out carry Australian packhorses any day. It was not uncommon for these ponies to be loaded with a 90 to 100 lb. box of ammunition on either side of the saddle or a peco of rice or tobacco on either side - a peco is 62 lbs. An Aussie horse would be lucky to carry 25 lbs either side. I really think these animals were grossly overworked, especially on this impossible terrain. The riding saddles were much the same except a primitive bridle of rope. The horses were not mouthed in any way and of course with the narrow tracks this was not really needed. [2] PADDY WILBY AND THE TIMOR PONY TRAINS Paul Cleary has told the story of Paddy Wilby and the Timor pony trains in his book ‘The men who came out of the ground’ [3]: Beginnings The ammunition left near Hatu-Lia was still within striking distance of the enemy, and had not been safely hidden, so Callinan told a small party of men to pay the Timorese to help move the stores to a safer place. One of the men whom Callinan relied on to carry out this crucial task was not a senior officer or even an NCO; it was a lowly ranked sapper, or private, in the engineers corps. Vincent Wilby, 20, from Bendigo, Victoria, had met Callinan years before when he worked for a short time as an assistant in Callinan’s drafting office, and Wilby had joined Callinan on his journey into Dutch Timor. While returning to Portuguese Timor, Wilby had acquired a team of Timor ponies that he had stolen along the way. Callinan later admonished Wilby for taking the ponies, insisting that he should pay or at least promise to pay for any property that he acquired. These first few ponies proved to be very useful, forming the nucleus of the transport corps used by the 2/2 Company. [4] Vincent Patrick (Paddy) Wilby, VX60836 Wilby’s Background Wilby was one of the more worldly men in the 2/2 Company whose horizons in his teenage years had been unlimited. After the death of his father when Wilby was four, he was raised in a strict Christian Brothers’ orphanage in Melbourne until the age of 14. Wilby then travelled around Australia with his swag, hitching rides on freight trains, before working his way to the United States as a merchant seaman. By the time he enlisted in the army, Wilby had been to every state in Australia, working odd jobs during the tough Depression years, relying on the charity of people in the bush. During those bleak years, Wilby avoided cities because he found them full of despair, whereas people in rural Australia would give him a meal and other help when he needed it. Wilby found that all he had to do was ask for help. Bere Mau Again, in Timor Wilby found himself in a desperate situation with no money, but the resourceful sapper knew instinctively how to get help. After two months in Timor, Wilby possessed a good ability in Tetum and an exemplary rapport with the Timorese people. He had settled into life in the mountains of Timor better than most, and he was enthralled with the place. He had gone on patrols up into the mountains and seen forests populated by monkeys and postos on the hilltops ringed by terraces, flowers, and creepers. He had seen rainbows straddling the island after the afternoon dump of rain. For Wilby it was a fascinating place of endless ‘hills and hollows’. He was one of the first to gain the support of a Timorese offsider, whom the men came to call criados, meaning servant. Just after the Japanese invasion, Wilby met a Timorese boy who was fleeing Dili and heading back to his village at Atsabe. The boy was hungry and when he met Wilby he said makan, the Malay world for food. Wilby thought the boy, Bere Mau, had a commanding presence and might be a useful aide, so the two teamed up. The Timor Pony When Wilby got his assignment from Callinan, he and Bere Mau went off in search of more of the Timor ponies, a hardy animal that is believed to have been bred in the colony from ponies brought from Flores Island and India. The Timor pony had a strong connection with Australia, as the horse ridden in Banjo Paterson’s ‘Man from Snowy River’ had a ‘touch of Timor pony’. The Timor ponies formed the backbone of the transportation system on the island; as many as 100,000 were believed to be hauling goods and produce up and down the mountains. Standing at 1–1.2 metres tall, the ponies could carry as much as 60 kg. Wilby and Bere Mau garnered as many as 39 ponies, together with 59 Timorese who handled the ponies or carried goods themselves, with the aim of moving all the supplies left at Hatu-Lia to Atsabe. Each pony was capable of moving 500 rounds of ammunition, which Wilby thought was ‘a bit too much’, but they got through. The extra load meant that the pony train could move about 30,000 rounds of ammunition on each round trip. While the Timor ponies held up, an old man keeled over and died during one journey. The Timorese rushed him back to his village for burial, and then returned to the pony train. [5] To Atsabe Wilby personally took part in six return trips to Atsabe, each leg taking about a day, traversing the rugged terrain on narrow walking tracks, until they reached a hiding place just outside Bere Mau’s home village. Some of the journeys started early in the morning and took until late in the evening; others went through the night. The hiding place was located about 200 metres from the town in a cave. The cave could only be entered by going through a ravine, and then up a steep slope. Over the course of six weeks, the pony train hauled a steady stream of ammunition - over 100,000 rounds of .303 bullets for rifles and Bren guns, 45,000 .45 inch bullets for the Tommy guns, and 2,000 grenades. [6] Frank ‘Grandpa’ Browne As the ammunition was being put into safe hiding, the soldiers realised that some of it had become wet after being stored outside at Three Spurs. It had to be dried quickly before the brass casing corroded and made the bullets unserviceable. One of the older men in the unit, Frank Browne, knew of a practice of using pig fat to grease ammunition and suggested it to his senior officer. Before working in the outback mining town of Big Bell, WA, Bristol-born Browne had served with the British army in Afghanistan after the First World War, among other places, where animal fat had been used on ammunition. Browne was officially 39 when he enlisted, but he was undoubtedly much older; the men in the company called him Grandpa Browne. [7] The men asked the Timorese to find as much pig fat as they could obtain. Fortuitously, the 2/2’s hospital had been set up in Atsabe, so able-bodied patients were sent down to the cave to grease the ammunition day and night. Surats Wilby succeeded in pulling off this Herculean logistical effort without actually having any money. Callinan had told him that the Timorese should be paid to move the stores, but given that the company had no money of any value, he could only write a promissory note—known in Malay as a surat - in order to get the job done. Wilby wrote out numerous surats in the local currency; a rate of 1 pataca per day for a handler and pony, and half a pataca for porters. The pataca converted into 1 shilling and 8 pence, about a third of the daily salary for an Australian soldier. The Timorese accepted these surats even though Wilby’s company had no conceivable way of honouring them, given that it had no radio contact with Australia. Still, the Timorese accepted Wilby’s word that one day they would be repaid. The ‘Hide-Out’ Principle Put into Effect Over time, the Australians spread out their reserves of ammunition and weapons in bases held by each of the four platoons. They put into place the ‘hide-out’ principle conceived of by Callinan and Baldwin a week after the invasion - bases for operation that contained reserves of ammunition, weapons and food. But they quickly realised that they could hide nothing from the Timorese. They were entirely dependent on their ‘goodwill’ as it was impossible to conceal anything whatsoever from their ‘ever-watching eyes’. Instead of hiding their reserves, they placed them in the hut of the village chief, ‘and we lost nothing’, wrote Callinan. In mid-March, just days after Wilby had hauled the last remaining cases of ammunition from Hatu-Lia, the Japanese arrived in force. Callinan later wrote of Wilby’s incredible effort: ‘The situation is fabled to produce the man, and Sapper Wilby certainly came into prominence’. [8] The pony train demonstrated that the Australians were innovative and adaptable and had established a very good relationship with the Timorese people. NOT THE END OF THE ROAD FOR THE TIMOR PONY’S MILITARY ROLE? Taking on the point made in the last comment by Cleary, Captain James Barrett has made some interesting observations about Timor ponies in an article in the ‘Australian Army Journal’ primarily devoted to the Army’s experience with camels in recent desert environment peacekeeping operations [9]: Since then, conflicts have continued to demand resourcefulness from the Australian soldier, and there is a need for a non-motorised support platform. Despite the effects of mechanisation, the precarious early battles of the World War II in New Guinea may not have ended in our favour if we did not have the support of both local human porterage and our own pack animals along the Kokoda Track. At the same time, our commandos in Portuguese Timor had guidance from their faithful ‘criados’, food and shelter from the local population and the trusted Timor pony to do the heavy lifting in the mountains and valleys. Over 50 years later, when Australian forces returned to East Timor with INTERFET, it was again the Timor pony that offered occasional support, along the high border tracks beyond vehicle range, taking vital supplies to observation posts and re-trans sites. [10] Barrett concludes by making the following recommendation: Regional Engagement Options Animal transportation could be seen as an alternative engagement opportunity. Regionally, our important military association with Timor Leste, as documented, goes back to World War I. The Timor pony helped our commandos at a critical time in our national history. If the ADF wished to further engage with the Timor Leste Defence Force (F-FDTL), a combined animal transportation activity could provide a practical opportunity. This would allow ADF members to formally understand the use of small ponies in mountainous environments and share with the Timorese our knowledge of camels in the desert. The activity could help to maintain our valued historical links to the Timorese people and nation, allow the Timorese to display their own military heritage with the pony, and further develop our professional relationship as defence forces. Beyond our engagement, there would be opportunity for the United States, New Zealand and Timor Leste to share common learning in common terrain: joint participation at respective military exercises employing animal transportation. REFERENCES [1] Allied Geographical Section, South West Pacific Area. - Area study of Portuguese Timor [cartographic material] / Allied Geographical Section, South West Pacific Area. - [Brisbane] : The Section, 1943: 56. https://repository.monash.edu/items/show/26455#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=0 [2] A history of the 2nd Independent Company and 2/2 Commando Squadron / compiled by C.D. Doig. - Carlisle, W.A. : Hesperian Press, 2009: 100-101. [3] 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: Ch. 9 ‘People and Pony Power’, esp. pp.116-119. https://www.hachette.com.au/paul-cleary/the-men-who-came-out-of-the-ground-a-gripping-account-of-australias-first-commando-campaign-timor-1942 [4] Vincent Patrick (Paddy) Wilby, VX60836 https://doublereds.org.au/history/men-of-the-22/vx/vincent-patrick-wilby-r737/ [5] Paul Cleary interview with Vincent ‘Paddy’ Wilby. [6] Wilby interview with Paul Cleary; B. Callinan, Independent Company: 50. [7] Francis (Frank) Ernest Browne, WX8263 https://doublereds.org.au/history/men-of-the-22/wx/francis-ernest-browne-r35/ [8] Bernard Callinan. - Independent Company : the Australian Army in Portuguese Timor 1941-43. - Richmond, Vic. : Heinemann, 1984: 50. See also (a) ‘Vale - Paddy Wilby - VX60836’ Courier September 2010: 7-11 https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/2010-09%20-%20Courier%20September%202010.pdf. Paddy’s vale includes the reprint of one of his reminiscences of working with the pony train ‘Shades of Caruso’ and (b) Paddy Wilby ‘Timor Memories - Series 10 “Dutch Courage”’ Courier June 2001: 19-21. https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/2001-06%20-%20Courier%20June%202001/ [9] James Barrett ‘In their steps: the ADF and camels’ Australian Army Journal Autumn 2019, Volume XV, No 1: 117-132. https://www.army.gov.au/sites/default/files/publications/australian_army_journal_-_autumn_edition_2019_volume_xv_number_1.pdf [10] See Robert Garran ‘Timor pony patrols restock spirit of Sparrow Force’ The Australian, 1999 Dec 31, p.7. and Doug Macdonald ‘East Timor RAAF Caribou operations - Wallaby Airlines reborn’ National Emergency Response, Vol. 15, No. 1, 2000 Mar: 26-7.
  9. Last year, the association donated money to St Anthony's International School in Dili, for the construction of a classroom building. In April 2019, members of the committee attended the opening of the Keith Hayes Building, named in honour of 2/2 veteran, the late Keith Hayes OAM. The school recently invited members of the association to attend its annual graduation ceremony, on 14 December 2019. A granddaughter of 2/2 veteran Warwick Crossing, Adelaide Crossing, who was in Dili as part of her studies with the University of Sydney, accepted the association's invitation to attend the ceremony on the association's behalf. Adelaide says she was honoured to be invited to attend and was very impressed by the students and the school. In speeches, staff and students paid tribute to the association's generosity.
  10. With Christmas rapidly approaching those of us living in WA and old enough will fondly recall the Christmas Parties the old Association held for the children of members between 1952 and 1963. Col Doig recounted the history of the Christmas Parties in Chapter 4 his book ‘A Great Fraternity: the story of the 2/2 Commando Association, 1946-1992’. Col’s account is redolent of earlier, simpler times with free kegs of ginger beer sourced from the Swan Brewery and tubs of ice cream from Peters, while the bonds of friendship that impelled the men and their wives to organise and conduct these parties shines through. Col Doig’s ‘President’s Christmas Message’ and an account of the ‘Christmas Party’ are shown in the attached images from the December 1954 ‘Courier’. BEST WISHES TO ALL MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS FOR CHRISTMAS AND THE NEW YEAR!! CHAPTER 4 CHILDRENS PARTIES & OUTINGS When the Association was formed only a few of our Members were married so we had to wait quite a few years for the 'Stork Stakes' to provide enough offspring to indulge in children’s’ parties but, of course, the inevitable had to happen sooner or later. The huge task of collating the names, sex and ages of the children took up considerable space in many Couriers. Having decided on a Christmas Party, the matter of appropriate presents had to be looked into, as well as catering, cool drinks, ice cream etc. Also, it was necessary to have a good venue and adequate entertainment. Many were the meetings until everything fell into some sort of order. There were special working bees to packet lollies, wrap and label the parcels for the children. What order out of chaos used to occur at Col Doig's office. Sticky fingers from lollies, cut fingers from string and all the foibles that such preparations could bring. In those days it was possible to get kegs of free ginger beer from the Swan Brewery. Someone would scrounge cheap cool drinks and we would try Peters for at least one free churn of ice cream, and the hall had to be decorated. We had some sort of priority with the 16th Battalion Drill Hall through Tom Nisbet who was the then C.O. of the 16th Bn. (Cameron Highlanders). The first of these great days was held in December 1952 and what a day of bedlam! We engaged Frank Fenn to act as clown and handle, proceedings. We had Alvero the Magician pulling white rabbits, pigeons and guinea pigs out of the hat and allowing the kids to cuddle them. He also ran a good Punch & Judy show. Clem Booth, a mate of Jack Carey, showed some good cartoons. Ken (Curly) Bowden made an enormous top hat which was strategically placed over a tunnel and the presents were pulled from this by our clown. The sweat and tears of the poor buggers in the tunnel handing out the presents had to be endured to be understood. It was a marvellous day, enjoyed by everyone except a few harassed mums. There were over 100 children present and gifts were sent to the known children who did not attend, especially those in the country. The usual small raffle was conducted to defray expenses. As a result of this successful function a lot more names of children started to come forward so, by the time the second party was held in December 1953, numbers had increased quite considerably. The same panic in the purchase of presents occurred and the working bees and the hassles were probably even greater. In a moment of aberration Frank Freestone offered to make toffee apples and either Bernie Langridge or Bill Rowan-Robinson supplied the apples - that was the easy part! Nobody was game to speak to Frank, going by the look on his face. According to 'Murphy's Law' everything that could go wrong did go wrong. The toffee got all over their kitten and stuck to everything but the apples and had to be boiled again. Frank had a big laugh about it all a few days later but didn't see anything funny on that Sunday. We still had Frank Fenn and the magician to provide fun and the cartoons had the kids enthralled. The number had grown to 120 in 1953 and we forwarded heaps of presents to the country. This pattern continued until 1959. As the children grew older the purchase of appropriate gifts became more difficult and eventually it was decided that books were a better proposition. At one function a 'horse suit' was hired and George Strickland and Spriggy McDonald provided the front and rear portions of the steed. The kids had great fun - afraid the same couldn't be said for the innards of the horse. Curly Bowden manufactured a reasonable sleigh in which Father Christmas was pulled around the hall by some stalwart adults and heaps of kids. As Fred Napier or Arthur Smith donned the suit it was quite a weight to handle. A lot of people worked really hard for these functions. In 1957 Gerry & Lal Green worked like tigers to get the show going and Spriggy McDonald, Curly Bowden, Bill Epps, Mick Calcutt to name but a few, gave of their time and abilities to make these shows a success. We were lucky to have the services of Frank Fenn who was a minor genius at keeping children amused. In 1959 an innovation was a fairy floss machine which was really appreciated by the children. The blokes operating the machine didn't have it all that easy, as the sticky, sugary substance clung to their aprons. Because the children were growing up it was decided that the Zoo would be the best venue for future shows. This was commenced in 1960 and proved to be an immense success. A good roll up, plenty of fun with rides on the train, thanks to Harold Brooker who controlled this function as well as looking after the elephants. Races of all natures and the fairy floss managed to keep everyone happy and the wide open spaces of the Zoo gave plenty of scope for exuberance. Frank Fenn was still Master of Ceremonies. This venue was used until 1963, when functions ceased as the children were really growing up. In the period 1952-1963, many children, and adults, had a good day out. During this time there was no grog available as it was felt that, for one day of the year we should not indulge and get off centre with the ladies and children. [1] [1] Col Doig. - A Great Fraternity: the story of the 2/2 Commando Association, 1946-1992. – Perth: C.D. Doig, 1993: 23-26. The book is unfortunately out of print.
  11. COMMANDO CAMPAIGN SITES – EAST TIMOR DILI DILI HELIPORT – JAPANESE BUILT WWII AIRFIELD EXTENSION LOCATION Coordinates: 8°33'22"S 125°33'45"E The Dili Heliport occupies the site of an airfield built by the Japanese occupation force between March-July 1942. It lies just south of the Av. Pres. Nicolau Lobato, Dili, bounded on the eastern side by the Presidential Palace and on the western side by the Ministry of Defence. The Australian Embassy and Sparrow Force House reside on the opposite side of the Av. Pres. Nicolau Lobato to the north. Map showing the location of the Dili Heliport Though never carried forward, at various times during late 1942 and early 1943 consideration was given to re-taking Timor. Horner states that ‘In December [1942] the Advisory War Council had instructed the Chiefs of Staff to prepare to capture the island. The Chiefs had refrained, claiming that they had insufficient information’. [1] This was the context in which the 'Area Study of Portuguese Timor' [ASPT] was prepared by former No. 2 Independent Company Section Commander, Captain David Dexter. The ‘Terrain study’, as it is subtitled, was released on 27 February 1943 and provides the following detailed description of the airfield in Dili that was such a critical focus of the Commando Campaign. It will be noticed in the text that particular attention is given to landing places and how to approach it in order to mount an effective attack. [2] 3. Airdromes: This airdrome is located on a level stretch of land on the north coast of Portuguese Timor, 11/2 miles (2 km.) west of the town of Dilli, and now consists of two prepared strips, one N/S [North/South], 1,290 yards (1,180 m.) and the other E/W [East/West], 1,250 yards (1,140 m.). This latter runway and the southern portion of the former are situated on ground to the south of the main coast road which formed the south boundary of the old Portuguese airdrome area and constitute an extension by the enemy. Further extension of the N/S runway to the South appears possible. Dili ‘aerodrome’ plan (1943) from ASPT map of Dili, Portuguese Timor [3] It may also be possible to extend the E/W runway to the East by removing trees and houses. Extension to the West appears impracticable, as this would run out into the paddy fields, which are periodically flooded by the Comoro River. Coral and limestone surfacing material are available and have been used for repairing the runways. The airdrome is between one and two miles (11/2 km. and 3 km.) to the north of the foothills of a mountain range which rises to 6,000 feet (1,840 m.) approx. 5 miles (8 km.) from the site. There is open sea to the North and northeast. On all other sides the only obstructions are trees and native houses near the boundaries of the landing area. The topography of the foothills is such that a rather sharp turn is necessary in approaching from the southeast. In the wet season, December to March, clouds with a base of 1,000 feet are common on the foothills of the mountain range. Dispersal facilities are limited. The enemy appears to make use of a clump of trees along the eastern edge of the N/S runway and just south of the E/W runway and in the coconut plantations to the west of the old airdrome area. This latter area was used to disperse fighter aircraft seen on the field in March and April, 1942. The prevailing wind in the dry season (April to November) is from the northeast, and in the wet season (December to March) is from the northwest. Communication with Dilli town is by the main coast highway and by the old Dilli-Aileu road, each of which, in this area, is a good M.T. road. Beach landings can be made about 3/4 mile (1 km.) to the west of the airdrome, which is then approached through coconut and banana plantations between the coast and the main road. A.F.V.'s [Armoured Fighting Vehicles] may approach through this area with fair cover. Both Australian and Japanese troops have already landed on the beach and made the above approach to the airdrome. In view of this, there might be certain advantages in landing further to the West between the Comoro River and Tibar. The approach from here by A.F.V.'s must be made along the coast road until the Comoro River is reached or tropical undergrowth and cactus make the area most difficult for A.F.V.’s. This area is enclosed by the mountains to the South and spurs running to the coast at Tibar and to the west of the Comoro River. The Dilli coastal area from Hera to the west of the Comoro River is also enclosed by a ridge of mountains running parallel to the coast south of Dilli, with spurs running to the coast at Cape Fatu Cama and to the west of Comoro River. A good foot and pony track runs along the top of the range from Remexio to Lau-Lora and overlooks the whole of the Dilli area. Spurs of the range run as close as 1,000 yards to the airdrome, O.P.'s were established by Australian troops in these spurs. Lau-Lora is reached by a good track leading up the mountain from the Comoro Valley just south of Comoro village. [4] SIGNIFICANCE Control of the Dili airfield by the Allies and the denial of its use by the Japanese was the main justification for the landing of the No. 2 Independent Company and Dutch troops in Dili on 17-20 December 1941 without the approval of the neutral Portuguese colonial administration. The airfield was in flying range of north-western Australia and enemy aircraft based there would also threaten vital shipping routes serving that region. [5] If deterrence by the Australian-Dutch presence did not dissuade the Japanese from attacking the airfield, then it was decided to defend it for as long as was practicable against what were anticipated to be overwhelming odds and then blow up the runways with pre-laid demolition charges. This was what actually happened when the Japanese landed in Dili on 20-21 February 1942. [6] The destruction of the runways was a temporary inconvenience for the Japanese who through pre-invasion reconnaissance and intelligence reports we well aware of the airfield’s deficiencies – it was a low-lying, boggy and subject to flooding. Soon after taking control of Dili they put into effect plans to extend the airfield on dryer land further to the south on the other side of the Dili-Tibar road as described in the ASPT. [7] For the remainder of the Timor campaign Japanese activity and operations at the airfield were recorded and reported on by No. 2 and No. 4 Independent Company soldiers from observation posts located on the eastern and western outskirts of Dili. These reports often resulted in Australian or American bombing raids on the airfield. CALLINAN AND TURTON’S AIRFIELD RECONNAISSANCE – MARCH 1942 When Mr David Ross, the Australian Consul at Dili who had been held captive there by the Japanese, was sent to seek out the guerrillas with demands for their surrender, he was amazed to find them in good heart. The senior officers of the Company had gathered at Hatu-Lia to meet him on 16th March. He gave to each of them a note saying that any orders for food or other commodities signed by that officer would later be honoured by the British and Australian Governments. He also gave them detailed information regarding the defences of Dili and the near-by aerodrome to aid them in raids they were planning. He took back with him to Dili their scornful refusal to surrender. After Ross set off on his return to Dili, having given the Independent Company officers details of the Japanese defences at the aerodrome and around Dili, Captain Callinan's thoughts turned to a raid on the Japanese positions around the aerodrome. Callinan, who was a bold leader as well as an excellent tactician, decided the best way to concoct a plan was by personally going to Dili to carry out observations of the Japanese positions and movements. Accompanied by the company's engineer officer, Lieutenant D.K. Turton, Callinan set off from Hatu-Lia a few days after Ross. After stopping overnight at Railaco, where they salvaged some explosives left behind in the company withdrawal, they arrived late the next day at a small village [Beduku] on a ridge above the Comoro River, a short distance from the aerodrome. Looking towards the hill village of Beduku from the heliport – May 5 2019 Moving the following day to a nearby village Callinan and Turton were fed and assisted by friendly Timorese who were caring for a Dutch native soldier who had escaped from Dili. This soldier and a friendly Chinese trader were questioned at length by Callinan. Neither was able to speak English, but with his slight knowledge of Malay and frequent recourse to an English-Malay dictionary, Callinan was able to obtain, by painstaking questioning and use of a sketch map, detailed information of the Japanese dispositions around Dili and at the aerodrome. Callinan and Turton then moved to a carefully selected observation post from which they could watch the aerodrome. For several days they noted the Japanese defences and made plans for a raid on the airfield, awaiting the arrival of Lieutenant Dexter whose section was to carry out the attack which had been fixed for the last night of March. After Dexter's arrival Turton returned to Railaco to collect his sappers in order to rehearse the attack. However, before the arrangements could be completed orders arrived from Company Headquarters that the raid had been called off. Callinan's disappointment was intense. At first he contemplated turning a Nelsonian blind eye to the orders and carrying out a small raid at once, but then decided that it would be better to pull out as ordered and to return later to carry out a properly planned, large-scale raid. However, the opportunity was lost, and no raid on the aerodrome ever eventuated. [8] Airfield plan prepared for Callinan and Turton’s report on their reconnaissance POST WWII Post WWII the airfield continued in use by the Portuguese administration until it was replaced by the new airfield, now named after President Nicolau Lobato, a little further west and closer to the sea front at Comoro. The old airfield was not suitable to receive international flights that instead landed at the longer airfield at Baucau. Incoming passengers were then transhipped to Dili on smaller aircraft. This was the route followed by the 2/2 contingent that attended the opening of the Dare Memorial Pool and Resting Place in September 1969. [9] 1960s view of the airfield hangar and control tower Heliport - hangar and control tower – 5 May 2019 After the opening of the Nicolau Lobato airfield during the Indonesian era, the section of the old airfield closest to the terminal and control tower were utilised as a military heliport. The Australian connection with site was re-established at the beginning of the INTERFET peacekeeping operation: On 21 September [1999] HMAS Jervis Bay delivered the Third Battalion the Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR) to Dili port and HMAS Tobruk landed twenty-two ASLAV 8 x 8 armoured vehicles of C Squadron 2nd Cavalry Regiment (C Sqn 2 Cav). On the same day twelve Black Hawk helicopters self-deployed into Dili heliport to provide tactical mobility, and A Company Second Battalion, Royal Gurkha Regiment, secured the UNAMET compound. The atmosphere of that early deployment can only be described as tense. Coalition troops fanned out to secure positions in the smoky haze that covered the city and were shocked by the devastation that they encountered. [10] During this period the Response Force was established at the Dili heliport with 5th Aviation Regiment elements and primarily conducted reconnaissance missions, not in the classical long-term surveillance/reconnaissance mission sense, but more overt, vehicle-mounted operations. Once forces were lodged and established, the command element of the Response Force was co-located and established with Major General Cosgrove's headquarters in the Dili Public Library. The main tasking undertaken by the Response Force throughout the INTERFET operation was as follows. Special Forces provided the INTERFET Ready Reaction Force (RRF) with 5th Aviation Regiment helicopters and crew based at the heliport at Dili on thirty minutes notice to move. This tasking was maintained throughout the duration of the INTERFET campaign and fortunately was required to be deployed on only a handful of occasions. [11] Heliport entrance control post – 5 May 2019 REFERENCES [1] David Horner. – Blamey: The Commander in Chief. – Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1998: 386-387. [2] Allied Forces. South West Pacific Area. Allied Geographical Section. Area study of Portuguese Timor / Allied Geographical Section, South West Pacific Area: The Section [Brisbane], 1943. https://repository.monash.edu/items/show/26455#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=0 [3] http://arrow.monash.edu.au/hdl/1959.1/1202293. Note, as portrayed in the previous map, the current Dili Heliport occupies the same area and has the same alignment as the Japanese built extension to the old Portuguese airfield portrayed here. [4] ASPT: 1-2. [5] ‘75 years on: The Australian and Dutch Landings at Dili 17-20 December 1941’ https://doublereds.org.au/forums/topic/89-75-years-on-the-australian-and-dutch-landings-at-dili-17-20-december-1941/ [6] ‘Enemy occupation Of Dili: report on events 20-21 Feb. by Lt. McKenzie’ 2nd Independent Company AWM52 25/3/2/5 - Reports, statements and maps - [August to November] 1942 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/RCDIG1026118/ [7] The Australians were also aware of the airfield’s deficiencies but a different solution to them was recommended in a report by Johnston, Bradfield and Ross who stated ‘The aerodrome is quite satisfactory for use in dry weather for Lockheed 10 or D.H. 86 aircraft, though certain improvements at relatively small cost should be made. It is too small for Lockheed 14 aircraft. During the wet season, December to March, however, the ground would be soft and boggy, and to make it available for wet weather use an expenditure of £7,000 on the provision of a gravel runway would be necessary’. ‘Report on a visit to Portuguese Timor by Captain Johnston, Dr. Bradfield and Mr. Ross’ NAA: A816, 19/301/778 https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/DetailsReports/ItemDetail.aspx?Barcode=170182&isAv=N [8] Christopher C.H. Wray. - Timor 1942: Australian commandos at war with the Japanese. – Hawthorn, Vic.: Hutchison Australia, 1987: 90-91. Fuller accounts of Callinan and Turton’s airfield reconnaissance can be found in: Bernard Callinan. - Independent Company: the Australian Army in Portuguese Timor 1941-43. – Melbourne: Heinemann, 1953 (repr. 1994): 74-83. Cyril Ayris. - All the Bull's men: no. 2 Australian Independent Company (2/2nd Commando Squadron). – Perth: 2/2nd Commando Association, c2006: 203-208. C.D. Doig. The history of the Second Independent Company. C. Doig [Perth, W.A.] 1986: 76-83. [9] See https://doublereds.org.au/forums/topic/114-opening-of-the-dare-memorial-pool-and-resting-place-13-april-1969/?tab=comments#comment-180. [10] Alan Ryan - ‘Primary responsibilities and primary risks’: Australian Defence Force Participation in the International Force East Timor. - Land Warfare Studies Centre - Study Paper No. 304: 84. [11] East Timor intervention: a retrospective on INTERFET / edited by John Blaxland. – Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2015: 116. PREPARED BY: Ed Willis 29 November 2019
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