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Hector Fleetwood (Jack) Burn - Timor 1942. Looking for help/information


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My name is Jane Chugg, I am the granddaughter of Hector Fleetwood Burn. His army number was TX1582. He was a member of the 2/40th Battalion who escaped the surrender in February 1942 and who I believe joined up with the 2/2. I am attempting to research/write about his war experiences - not for publishing, just for our family. I was very excited to find this website as there is little to be found on this aspect of the 2/40th.  Most of the research I have been able to find focuses on those members of the battalions who became POWs. I know little of this period of his service and would be thrilled if anyone has any information/contacts etc. they would be able to help me with.

Thank you,

Jane Chugg.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Site Admin

Hi Jane,

The following information has been relayed to me from one of our committee members.



Hector Fleetwood Burn’s digitised service record is available on the National Archives of Australia web site: http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/NameSearch/Interface/ItemDetail.aspx?Barcode=6357762&isAv=N

His record does give dates and some other details of his service with the 2/2.

All the 2/2 unit histories make scattered references to the 2/40 and men from other units who escaped from Dutch Timor to Portuguese Timor and were incorporated into the 2/2.  Reading these references would give Jane a good idea of Hector’s personal experience that would have essentially been the same as all the other men.

The only specific reference I could find to Hector Burn was in Ayris: 2/2 Nominal Roll p.498, 2/2nd men who joined from Dutch Timor, BURN, HF TX1582.

See Cyril Ayris. - All the Bull's men: no. 2 Australian Independent Company (2/2nd Commando Squadron). - [Perth, W.A.]: 2/2nd Commando Association, c2006.

The other unit histories are listed at:


See also: 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.

All these unit histories can be sourced using your local public library service.


I hope it's able to help a bit.

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Thanks Louis, so much for this. I have a further question, if anyone can help. I have some information that my grandfather worked with/knew a Norman Demmery (NX39548) - the database here has the last number of his service number as 7 but it is 8. Norman was a member of the 2/2 itself, not just joined from the 2/40th. I have found his service record but would love to know if anyone knows more about him.


Thanks again,



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  • Committee

Hi Jane:

Hope the following info about Norman Demmery helps:

Listed as one of the 1st Reinforcements on Timor; see 'Historically yours! War clouds gather' Courier, November 1959, p.9 (attached)

Listed as participant in Safari; see Courier, June 1968, p.14 https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/1968-06%20-%20Courier%20June%201968.pdf

Listed in 2/2/ nominal roll, Ayris, All the Bull's men, p.493.

Service record photo: http://www.sparrowbook.com/#!nx39548--demmery,-norman-francis/zoom/c50a/image_mv6

Nice little wartime anecdote about Norm found on Trove database: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/112521201?searchTerm=%22Norm%20Demmery%22&searchLimits=exactPhrase=Norm+Demmery|||anyWords|||notWords|||requestHandler|||dateFrom|||dateTo|||sortby

Worth searching Trove under all variations of Norm's name: http://trove.nla.gov.au

Burial reference for Norman Francis Demmery (1924-1998), Grafton, N.S.W cemetery


If you're a member of Ancestry.com or can get access to it through your local library, there are also references to him there.


Ed Willis


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Your Grand Father joined in the same unit as my Uncle. Your Grand Father came from the 2/40th and my Uncle was in the 2/2nd. My uncles name is John Trelease HANSON WX12804 who was on Timor for the duration and is very much alive and well. He would love to have a chat with you.

Please contact me so that we can arrange something.

My name is Martin MORRIS - 0427097766. email: martin.morris@westnet.com.au

Martin Morris

11 Cowan Way, Merredin WA 6415


0427 097 766

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