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Edward Willis

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In the 80th Anniversary Year (1942-2022) of the Timor Commando Campaign, Ed Willis and Murray Thornton travelled to East Timor between 1 August – 1 September in an attempt to finalise the survey of WWII sites.

Background to the site survey can be viewed on Doublereds: https://doublereds.org.au/forums/topic/360-wwii-in-east-timor-an-australian-army-site-and-travel-guide-completing-the-remaining-site-survey-work-august-2022/

The harsh realities of travelling in East Timor given overall poor road and track conditions meant that many key sites were not able to be accessed and investigated.  The attached map shows the sites accessed and the route followed during the month long tour.


Notable sites accessed during the tour included those at Fatu Bessi, Lautem, Fuiloro, Los Palos, Lore, Calicai, Ossu, Lacluta, Soibada, Alas, Lolotoi, Cailaco and Lete Foho.  Sites visited that were particular highlights included (1) an overgrown Japanese cave complex located behind the chicken house at Dom Bosco EscolaFuiloro that rivals the better known and more accessible examples at Venilale and (2) the recently revealed Portuguese era posto at Alas that includes a separate hospital, substantial gateway and walls – all these structures were hidden from view until vegetation cleared recently under a Timorese government funded work programme.


Ed will now focus on completing the ‘WWII site and travel guide’ incorporating the information and images gathered during the site visits.


Ed and Murray express their appreciation to Major Guy Warnock and other members of the ADF’s Defence Cooperation team based in Dili at Sparrow Force House for the assistance they provided to them during the tour.

A big thank you to Julio dos Santos and Alicio Amaral for their guiding and interpretation support and Manny Napoleon for his site and travel advice.

Ed is also extremely grateful to his travelling companion Murray for his exemplary driving work under such demanding conditions, navigation and generosity in supplementing the grant and donated funds for the project by covering much of the costs involved in completing this exercise including accommodation, meals, vehicle hire and fuel – we could not have progressed without Murray’s involvement and support.



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