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Transcript of No.4 Independent Company War Diary - 10 September 1942 - 31 January 1943

Edward Willis

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This is a transcription of the text of the No. 4 Independent Company’s (2/4) War Diary covering the period from the unit’s embarkation in Darwin to be transported to Betano in Portuguese Timor to its return to the same port at the end of its five month long campaign (10 September 1942 - 31 January 1943).  The 2/4’s war diary complements the 2/2’s Timor campaign war diary that was the topic of the previous post on Doublereds - both provide unique day by day accounts of events.

The original transcript of the 2/4 war diary was prepared by the recently deceased James Morey (Jim) Walker, son of Major Edward McDonald (Mac) Walker (VX53941), the Commanding Officer of the unit during the Timor campaign.  Jim was a dedicated custodian of the 2/4’s proud wartime history and provided me with copies of a number of useful documents and other records, including this war diary transcript.  He will be sadly missed by his family and friends – this post is dedicated to his memory. [1]

A digital copy of the original War Diary can be accessed and downloaded from the Australian War Memorial’s (AWM) website. [2] However, the digital version (like that of the 2/2’s) is difficult to read with some sections being handwritten and the typed sections often faint and hard to discern.  This transcription overcomes these difficulties.  In addition, the text of the transcription can be searched; for example by personal and place names.

This War Diary provides an invaluable CHRONOLOGY of the No. 4 Independent Company’s campaign on Portuguese Timor and the availability of the transcript should prove of interest and useful to Doublereds members  and supporters (there are frequent references to the No. 2 AIC), researchers and others with a more general interest in the history of East Timor during WWII.

The drawings with the post were prepared by Francis John (Curly) Papworth who was a Sapper with the Engineers Section of the 2/4 on Timor. [3]


The following Sparrow Force Headquarters War Diary entry explains the map references that occur frequently in the No. 4 Independent Company’s War Diary:


The following system of map reference will be used by Force HQ and by Units to this HQ when necessary.

Ref map Dutch or Port Timor 1 : 250000.  Eight figure references will be made.  First four figures latitude in degs and mins and second four longitude.  The one hundred of the true longitude reading is omitted.  Thus map ref ERMERA lat 8 degs 46 mins S long 125 degs 24 mins E will be indicated as 08462523. [4]


[1] Jim Walker passed away on August 23 2020 aged 84 years – e-mail received from the Australian Commando Association, .

[2] https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1363608

[3] 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: 86, 93, 151, 189 and 195.

[4] Sparrow Force war diary March-December 1942: 32 (https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1365575)

Prepared by Ed Willis

Revised 8 September 2020

93 Commando - from Tidal River to Tarakan - scan.jpeg


151 Commando - from Tidal River to Tarakan - scan.jpeg

181 Commando - from Tidal River to Tarakan - scan.jpeg

195 Commando - from Tidal River to Tarakan - scan.jpeg

Fwd Australian Commando Association Incorporated Newsletter.jpeg

2-4 war diary September 1942-January 1943.pdf

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