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Edward Willis

Wwii In East Timor – a Site and Travel Guide - Commando Campaign Sites- Viqueque Municipality - Lacluta

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WWII in East Timor – A Site and Travel Guide

Commando Campaign Sites

VIQUEQUE MUNICIPALITY

LACLUTA

8°47'10"S, 126°08'14"E

1788441379_Laclutawovenpouch1942.thumb.jpeg.e73ebb9ca96fdffdda9746e5f3a94404.jpeg

Timorese woven pouch on display Army Museum of WA, Fremantle

Lacluta is 21 1/2 miles (34 1/2 km.) at a bearing of 155° from Manatuto.  It is a small posto town of 3 stone buildings and numerous native huts.  It is situated in the southern foothills and overlooks the Luca Valley.  The surrounding district is fairly hilly and fertile and there are many small villages of two or three huts.  There is a fair growth of forest and patches of open grassland in the district. [1]

705017414_Laclutamap.thumb.jpg.f1d2c7bf02de1866786ae1dafb72794b.jpg

Lacluta location map [2]

SIGNIFICANCE

EXTRACTS FROM NO. 2 INDEPENDENT COMPANY WAR DIARY

15 September 1942

In view of the Japanese activity in the EASTERN end of the island, No VI Sec today arrived at LACLUTA (08482609) having come from TURISCAI (08502543).

15 November 1942

Force HQ desire "B" Pl to move to the LACLUTA (05472605 ) area and from there maintain OPs on the roads MANATUTO-BAUCAU and BAUCAU-VIQUEQUE also to harass any Jap movement in the EASTERN end of the island.

16 November 1942

Conforming with yesterday's instructions from Force HQ "B" Pl were instructed to commence to move to the LACLUTA area as soon as possible.  During the move they will contact Coy HQ by W/T daily and one Signalman will be sent through Coy HQ to pick up extra W/T equipment.

Lieut NISBET advises his movement will be as follows: on 17 Nov No IV Sec at present at CRIBAS (08412600) will commence to move to LACLUTA and from there will recce FATUCHILI (08362609) and MUNDO PERDIDO (08432620) as likely section areas.  HQ will move to LACLUTA via BARIQUE and will maintain contact with No IV Sec.  No V Sec will move one day after HQ and No VI Sec two days after HQ.  It is anticipated section areas will have been located in time for these two sections to move there directly.  Immediately section areas were fixed Coy H. will be notified.  All this information was passed to Force HQ. [3]

1763302311_49.LakeLacluta.....thumb.jpg.ce1eeab7e77e8e10910c96046696a232.jpg

[4]

1333636264_LookingSEfromapointnearLakeLacluta.thumb.jpg.34a0988d4b2ddaf2a5acd26ee86d9adf.jpg

[5]

JAPANESE MASSACRE AT LACLUTA

In an interview with the former headman, and a member of the royal lineage, we learned that nineteen members of the royal (liurai) lineage from the Lacluta and Uma Tolu line were massacred by the Japanese on August 4, 1945.  This former headman who is also related by family to Luca was a young boy at the time.  The story was that when the Japanese were in pursuit of Australian and Portuguese troops hiding in the forest in the Viqueque area, they asked the Luca people whose land they were hiding on.  Not wanting to be implicated, the Luca people claimed it was the Lacluta kingdom’s (Uma Tolu’s) land.  The Luca people disavowed ownership of the land and their disavowal resulted in the massacre of the royal Lacluta family.  So, the former headman argues that Luca cannot be very vocal about wanting Uma Tolu to go back to its ancestral land, because they have the responsibility of the massacre hanging on their heads.  The Luca people apparently indicated an area that is far closer than the area that Uma Tolu now occupies. [6]

681001019_51.ViewfromLaclutalookingNE.thumb.jpg.a060300df18f655a98013bf54564a8b6.jpg

[7]

 

MONUMENT TO THE LACLUTA HEROES

The tragic consequences for the Portuguese and Timorese residents of Viqueque of their support for getting their fellow nationals evacuated to safety in Australia is vividly portrayed in the Monument to the Lacluta Heroes.

The memorial is located at the old Portuguese posto, situated on high ground on the left bank of the River de Rade Uma some distance from the existing township of Lacluta and is difficult to access by vehicle.

The main inscription on the monument (translated from the Portuguese) states:

HISTORICAL MONUMENT OF WORLD WAR 2 PERIOD 1942-1945 IN LACLUTA

HERE LIE THE REMAINS OF:

 

Nomes

Observações

01.

LUIS DA FONSECA SOARES

CHEFE DE SUCO DE DILOR

02.

CASIMIRO FERNANDES DE CARVALHO

CHEFE DE SUCO DE UMA-TOLU

03.

ESTEVAO DE CARVALHO

CHEFE DE SUCO DE LALINE

04.

ALEXANDRE DE CARVALHO

CHEFE DE SUCO DE DILOR

05.

AFONSO FONSECA SOARES

CHEFE DE SUCO DE DILOR

06.

MATEUS DE CARVALHO

CHEF DE SUCO DE UMA – TOLU

07.

FRANCISCO SOARES

CHEFE DE SUCO DE AHIC

08.

TAI-BERE

CHEFE DE POVOACAO FATUCADO

09.

GILBERTO SOARES

CHEFE DE POVOACAO DE FAHI-LAIN

10.

MIRANDA XIMENES

AJUDANTE DE CHEFE POSTO DILOR

11.

MARIANO CARVALHO

CATEOUISTA

12.

JOSE LINO FERREIRA

CATEQUISTA

13.

VITAL DE NORONHA

PRINCIPAL DE DILOR

14.

FELICIANO SOARES

AGRICULTOR

15.

FRANCISCO SOARES

CABO DE MORADORES

16.

TOMAS SOARES

AGRICULTOR

17.

CAI-MODO

AGRICULTOR

18.

FUNO-UAI

AGRICULTOR

19.

ESPERANCA FONSECA SOARES

PRINCIPAL DE DILOR

The secondary inscription on the monument states:

KILLED BY THE INVADER 1942 - 1945

IN THEIR MEMORY PORTUGAL RECOGNIZED

Narration:

1.     They were savagely massacred for having hidden a group of Portuguese on the plains of Aitara and Bua-Daran;

2.     They were massacred in three different locations: a) We-Lamilo; b) Cai-Cobi-Lari; c) the last one was in Ossu on August 14, 1945, their remains were collected and buried in the Historical Monument of Lacluta, built under the direction of Pinto Crisostomo, Administrator of the circunscriçõe of Viqueque, Teofilo de Deus Maia, Chefe de Posto de Lacluta and Miguel, Cabo Verdano, in the Economic Year of 1963-1964. [8]

1466387352_MonumenttotheLaclutaHeroes.thumb.jpg.7a1f1b78338b0dba31d3a119073faad4.jpg

Restoration work on the ‘Monument to the Lacluta Heroes’, November 2000

REFERENCES

[1] Area study of Portuguese Timor / Allied Geographical Section, South West Pacific Area. - [Brisbane] : The Section, 1943. – (Terrain study (Allied Forces. South West Pacific Area. Allied Geographical Section) ; no. 50.): 31.

[2] Area study of Portuguese Timor: 163.

[3] War diary No. 2 Independent Company, August to November 1942 (https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1363504)

[4] Area study of Portuguese Timor: Drawing 49.

[5] Area study of Portuguese Timor: Drawing 50.

[6] Claudia D’Andrea ‘The Customary Use of Natural Resources in Timor Leste: a discussion paper prepared for a regional workshop on Land Policy Administration for pro-Poor Rural Growth, Dili, December 2003: 35.

[7] Area study of Portuguese Timor: Drawing 51.

[8] Rui Brito da Fonseca. - Monumentos portugueses em Timor-Leste. - Dili, Timor Leste : [Crocodilo Azul?], 2005: 22-25.

 

Prepared by Ed Willis

Revised 16 August 2020

Lacluta 1970.png

Lacluta c.1970.png

Lacluta posto c.1985.png

Edited by Edward Willis
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