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Edward Willis

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Hatu-Udo (Nova Luca)

9°07’06”S, 125°35’20” E [1]


Hatu-Udo location map [2]

Hatu-Udo (Nova Luca - see Map No. 17) is 28 miles (45 km.) south of Aileu at a bearing of 177o.  This is a small posto town situated only four miles (61/2 km.) from the south coast.  Several buildings of stone with galvanized iron and tile roofs constitute the town.  These are posto surrounded by stone walls, secretary's house and barracks and Chinese shops.  A good water supply is always on hand within a few hundred yards from the posto.  The town is exposed to the air except for a few odd trees here and there.  There are some small and scattered coconut plantations in the town area.  This town was bombed by the Japanese during August, 1942, while Australian troops were stationed there.  During November, 1942, it was again bombed by the R.A.A.F. [3]



This is a wide track in places (12 feet: 3 1/2 m.) with other sections much narrower (4 feet: 1 1/4 m.).  First follows a ridge crest falling gently to North.  

At two miles (3 km.) out of Hatu-Udo the country flattens out for one further mile to the Be-Lulic River.

River can be crossed in dry season, but after heavy rain it may obstruct traffic for up to two days.  Track then rises (grade 1-10) for 1 1/2 miles (2 1/2 km.) to large village of Sucu-Rai, and then follows contour along west slopes of Suro Range.  Half a mile from Ainaro the track descends steeply to cross tributary of Be-Lulic River.  Similar crossing place.  Then rises gently to Ainaro, where three tracks branch out.  Patches of air cover, but mainly open country throughout. [4]


Hatu Udo, Portuguese Timor 1945-12-14.  A Group of native Timorese who helped men of the 2/2nd Independent Company when they occupied the area in 1942.  (Photographer Sgt K. Davis) [5]


Hatu-Udo (Nova Lusa [sic]) 27/11/42 [6]


Hatu-Udo current map [7]


Next day [in late March 1942] they arrived in Hatu-Udo where they found No. 4 Section firmly established with the wounded Mick Morgan back in charge.  The carriers were dismissed, and a new crew was chosen to take the supplies through to Same and The Bull.  Aitken and Thornton remained behind in Hatu-Udo.

The Hatu-Udo chefe de posto was a man with an incredibly long name that began with José Eduardo da and drew to a conclusion with Silva-Marques. [8] The Australians called him Joe Marks which appeared to please him immensely.  He was a young man who, like Luis, was well liked and respected by the villagers.  He was the proud owner of a sturdy Timorese racing pony which had a mouth of leather and the heart of a lion.  The horse was called ‘Samurai’, which the Australians thought less than appropriate.  It spent most of its time being groomed and exercised, though Joe Marks assured anybody who would listen that Samurai was no mere show pony – it had once, in an emergency, carried him to Dili and back in one day.  ‘No other horse in Timor could make such a journey in such a time’, was Joe’s assertion.

The King of Hatu-Udo was Francisco [Nai-Chico?], a wealthy, cunning old Mombai who, in the early months of the war, had travelled to Portugal by sea.  While crossing the Mediterranean, his ship had been attacked from the air, prompting every man, woman and child to dive for cover – except, of course, King Francisco, who remained on deck taking photographs of the aircraft.  There must have been another equally brave soul on board because a photograph was taken of His Majesty at work with his camera.  The photograph, which he produced at the drop of a hat, showed him standing on a deserted deck, camera in hand against a backdrop of attacking enemy aeroplanes.  If anybody asked him where the crew was he invariably replied: “Jesu, I never managed to find out, but they all came back later.”  King Francisco, Joe Marks and the Australians got on very well together.

Hatu Udo was a pleasant place, made the more agreeable by the King’s insistence that the Australians accompany him on his frequent hunting expeditions, which often produced deer.  Venison, it was decided, was a welcome change from buffalo and wild pig.

Village tug-of-wars became the unlikely conduit for the cementing of good relations between the 2/2nd and the locals.  Daily competitions between the Australians and the Timorese were held in the immaculate posto square to cheering and near-hysterical coaching from both sides.  The rules were elastic – it was decreed that because the Australians were physically bigger than their opponents they would be restricted to nine men, while the Timorese were allowed ten.  However, “adjustments” were often made, particularly by Joe Marks who was not above attaching his considerable weight to the end of the Timorese line if he thought the occasion demanded it.

Hatu Udo offered a brief spell from the horrors of war; it was as though the village had been transplanted away from the battle for the sole purpose of re-charging the batteries of those Australians fortunate enough to spend a few days there.  However, there was a war on and the 2/2nd was in need of supplies, mountains of which had already been destroyed to keep it out of enemy hands.  There was also a most urgent need to build a radio transmitter that would reach Australia”. [9]


Administrative Posto - 28 April 2014

Australian Official history:

As from 11th November Callinan took over command of the whole of Sparrow Force, with Baldwin, unfailingly loyal and efficient, as his staff captain, and soon afterwards Spence returned to Australia.  Laidlaw succeeded to the 2/2nd Independent Company.  By this time it was known that the Japanese were working hard to develop the eastern end of the island where they were building airstrips and laying down supply dumps; in the centre Maubisse festered as the main centre of hostility to the Australians; along the south coast the Japanese were slowly moving eastward and were beginning to consolidate in the Hatu-Udo area. [10]


A further worry from the west was developing on the south coast.  The Japanese were driving along eastward; their advance was slow and careful, but the areas behind them were desolated, and those natives remaining there were hostile to us.  To assist us in countering this move I asked for the bombing of Hatu-Udo with all possible aircraft; we knew five was the maximum we could hope for, but that was a large number for us.  On the morning of the raid we listened and watched carefully, and then we heard the bombs, but the direction sounded wrong.  Soon the reports came in from Dexter who had patrols close in to observe and profit by the bombing; it was the most effective raid of the campaign.  The first planes bombed the town itself very accurately, and the others coming in from the north-east bombed the outskirts, while above them the Beaufighters stood by to protect the ever gallant Hudsons.  The patrol counted fifty Japanese dead, and nearly one hundred dead natives.  Some of the natives had ropes around their necks preparatory to their being hanged, and all the evidence pointed to the Japanese having arranged a ceremonial hanging before an assembly of natives.  This was their usual procedure for commencing the subjugation of an area, but in this case the R.A.A.F. reversed the action.  The Japanese withdrew westward, and that area remained an invaluable buffer for some months. [11]

Jose Eduardo De Abreu De Silva Marques (‘Joe Marks’), Chefe de Posto, Hatu-Udo

The first Portuguese evacuees appear to have departed on the ‘Kuru’ from the south coast on 7 November 1942  - i.e., Ademar Rodrigues dos Santos (and family) – the Portuguese chefe de posto of Ainaro; and José da Silva Marques – the Portuguese chefe de posto of Hato-Udo - both in the western area.  These Portuguese officials were accepted as “guests of Government” in Australia and accommodated at Ripponlea, Victoria. [12]


“I didn't know Railaco.  From a few shops at the side of the road, it has grown to a fair sized township, mostly on the opposite side of the road.  The Flat plateau which was the bazaar area, the site of a Portuguese house, and the big open sided thatched building now boasts a big Besser block building equally as large.  It was here that Major Spence ordered Pte 'Cisco' Coles to have no conversation with a personable young Portuguese on the grounds that he could be a spy.  The gentleman in question was Jose Da Silva, Comandante of Hata Hudu, nephew of the Governor of Portuguese East Timor.  Spoke four languages, fluently, one of which was English.  When the momentous meeting attended by each Platoon Commander, the 2IC and the C.O. was convened, it was held at Hata Hudu.  Jose acted as host and withdrew, saying "I will leave you gentlemen to your discussions, I have no desire to spy on your confidential business" or words to that effect.  I'd say he was a man for all occasions.  We came to like him greatly while we were at Hata Hudu.  Goodbye Railaco”. [13]


Dili, Portuguese Timor 1945-12-09.  Jose Eduardo De Abreu De Silva Marques, known to the Australian troops as "Joe", was commandant at the Hatu-Udo posto (administrative headquarters) when the Australian guerrillas were in the area in 1942.  He And Private G. Milsom of the 2/2nd Independent Company were discussing the disposition of Japanese troops using a map drawn by Milsom, and by extreme coincidence, a drop of oil from their gourd lamp fell on the exact spot at the exact time as HMAS ‘Voyager’ ran aground at Betano on 1942-09-25.  Marques later escaped to Australia on HMAS ‘Castlemaine’ and returned to Dili on SS ‘Angola’ on 1945-12-08 where he again met Milsom who was now acting as a guide with the Military History Section.  They are seen examining a photocopy of Milsom's map as he points out the oil spot.  (Photographer Sgt K. Davis) [14]


This new found habit of writing to the ‘Courier’ is going to die a sudden death at the completion of this letter; this business is a bit beyond me but Paddy Kenneally's letter in the special of November has prompted me to weigh in with some information that I know will be of interest to the few survivors who knew 'Joe' of Hato-Huda.  His full and correct name was Jose da Silva Marcos and he was related not to the Governor of Timor but to the Governor of Goa in the then Portuguese India.

Joe was always a good and generous friend to all Australians and his position as Posto in that area was a God send to us.  Unfortunately for him he was junior (in rank only) to the Commandant of Suro Province who was based in Ainaro.  Unfortunately because of the dislike and jealousy of this area commandant a lot of the hurdles we Aussies encountered at Ainaro sprang from this bloke's hatred of Joe and because of our obvious goodwill and gratitude to Joe.

Sir B.J., in his 'Independent Company' expresses his annoyance and rage at the fact that a young and fit Portuguese had been evacuated from Timor.  Eric Weller and I are hopeful that B.J. was not alluding to Joe - he had more than 100% for us, the Japs had a price on his head, he was liable to be ordered to report to Dili by his Suro Comandante - and he had spent all of his cash in the Australian cause.  I will never forget the sad day that he ordered all of those beautiful horses of his to be led out one at a time as he shot them with my rifle.  He did not even have any ammunition for his Porto Army issue weapons!  He wept like a child when it came to the turn of the mighty Samir (snake).  Every Aussie will remember that horse!

In early 1946 my employer in Sydney was commissioned to make an inventory and valuation of the property of the Brazilian Consul who was about to be relieved of service in Australia and return to Brazil.  There was no such thing as a Portuguese Consul in those days - all affairs for Lisbon were handled by the Brazilian staff on behalf of Portugal.  The Brazilian chief was a Dr. Labhorino who, when mention of Timor etc came up in discussion, became a good friend indeed.  He remembered Joe, Joe's courtship of Brendalina (of Atsabe) and Joe's stay at Kirribilli.

He went further for me, within two weeks he had traced Joe to Portugal and thence to Goa where he was in service, presumably under his uncle the Governor.  The address I wrote to was in Goa but there was never any reply, that is, if he ever received it.

A point of interest also ties in the naming of Hato-Hudo.  The spelling and pronunciation of Hato-Hudu is in the Tetum and means 'the place on the hill'.  The alternative spelling and pronunciation very often encountered of Hato-Uda is in the Mombai and means 'the hill place’.  A place of beauty and generosity needlessly razed and ruined.  The photos in B.J's book say it all.

That's the lot, a Merry Christmas and a great 1991 to each and every one of the Association.

Bert [15]

Monument To Francisco Corte Real, Hatu-Udo

“In 2004 I visited the posto of Hato-Udo, the place where in 1943 the massacre took place in which about 300 Timorese perished, including D. Aleixo and his brother Nai Chico or, after receiving Catholic baptism, Francisco Corte Real.

The foundations practically remain from the old wall.  However, one can sense a strange atmosphere that hurts our memory as if the spirits of the people who died there are still in the place.  Perhaps because in the background, in an imposing setting, the Mate Bian Mountains of Cablac and Tata Mai Lau transport the visitor to an unreal world ...

In the centre of the roundabout of the old constructions from the time of the Portuguese administration, there is a monument, standard type, in every way analogous to that of Maubisse.  It pays homage to the former head of the Leo-Lima village, Hatu-Udo, Francisco Corte Real, brother and comrade-in-arms of Grand Aleixo, with whom he was also treacherously killed in 1943 for not making a pact with the Japanese and honouring the Portuguese”. [16]



Monument to Francisco Corte Real (‘Chico’) – Hatu-Udo - 2 May 2019 [17]

Photos And Art Work On The AWM Website


Hatu Udo, Portuguese Timor 1945-12-14.  This road was often strafed by Japanese aircraft when the Australians of the 2/2nd Independent Company occupied the posto (administrative centre) at Hatu Udo.  In the distance is the home of the late King of Hatu Udo.  (Photographer Sgt K. Davis) [18]

Road at Hatu-Udo - Charles Bush - pen and watercolour on paper

A village in Portuguese Timor which figured prominently in the operations of 2/2nd Australian Independent Company in their guerilla tactics against the Japanese. It was frequently strafed by Japanese Zero aircraft when the place was occupied by the Australians and bombed by Hudson bombers based on Darwin when the Japanese were in possession. [19]


Hatu Udo, Portuguese Timor 1945-12-15.  The posto (administrative centre) seen from the road to Betano. (Photographer Sgt K. Davis) [20]


Hatu Udo, Portuguese Timor 1945-12-14.  A group of natives in the bazaar.  (Photographer Sgt K. Davis) [21]


Hatu Udo, Portuguese Timor 1945-12-14.  A group of natives in the bazaar.  (Photographer Sgt K. Davis) [22]


Hatu Udo, Portuguese Timor 1945-12-14.  A native Christian woman in the bazaar.  (Photographer Sgt K. Davis) [23]


Hatu Udo area, Portuguese Timor 1945-12-14.  Portion of the high wall around the posto (administrative centre) showing the west gate.  (Photographer Sgt K. Davis) [24]


Hatu Udo, Portuguese Timor 1945-12-14.  These old battlements of the posto (administrative centre) provided the Australians of the 2/2nd Independent Company with excellent observation points during their occupation.  The posto was severely damaged by both Japanese and Australian bombing.  (Photographer Sgt K. Davis) [25]


Hatu Udo, Portuguese Timor 1945-12-14.  This small posto (administrative centre) was bombed by the Japanese during 1942-08 when the Australians of the 2/2nd Independent Company were stationed there.  In 1942-11 the post was again bombed by the RAAF.  (Photographer Sgt K. Davis) [26]


Hatu Udo area, Portuguese Timor 1945-12-14.  The gateway and sentry box of perhaps the most picturesque posto (administrative centre) in Portuguese Timor.  This posto was heavily bombed by the RAAF when the Japanese occupied it.  (Photographer Sgt K. Davis) [27]


Hatu Udo, Portuguese Timor 1945-12-14.  The two small buildings on the left were used by the Australians when the 2/2nd Independent Company occupied this posto (administrative centre) when they were forced to leave they hid stores in the roof of the small out house on the right.  (Photographer Sgt K. Davis) [28]


Village of Hatu-Udo – Charles Bush - pen and watercolour on paper

This village was one of the Japanese strongholds during the latter stages of the guerilla operations carried on by 2/2nd and 2/4th Australian Independent Companies. [29]


Hatu Udo, Portuguese Timor 1945-12-14.  Residential buildings occupied by men of the 2/2nd Independent Company during their occupation of this posto (administrative centre) during 1942.  (Photographer Sgt K. Davis) [30]


Hatu Udo Area, Portuguese Timor 1945-12-14.  A house that was occupied by men of the 2/2nd Independent Company for some months during 1942.  (Photographer Sgt K. Davis) [31]


Hatu Udo, Portuguese Timor 1945-12-15.  A spring used by Australian troops of Sparrow Force, particularly by men of the 2/2nd Independent Company.  (Photographer Sgt K. Davis) [32]


Hatu Udo Area, Portuguese Timor 1945-12-14.  A Portuguese blitz truck, used by the Australian Military History Section Field Team, at a damaged Japanese bridge.  Note the Japanese sign on the bridge post. [33]


Hatu Udo Area, Portuguese Timor 1945-12-14.  The Portuguese blitz truck and Jeep and trailer used by the Military History Section Field Team cross the Belulic River.  (Photographer Sgt K. Davis) [34]


[1] ASPT: 82.

[2] Adapted from ASPT: Map 1.

[3] ASPT: 28

[4] ASPT: 46-47.

[5] https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C200648

[6] ASPT: Map 17.

[7] Adapted from MapCarta map – 1 February 2024

[8] Jose Eduardo De Abreu De Silva Marques.

[9] Ayris, All the Bull’s men: 170-171.

[10] Official history – Appendix 2 Timor: 616.

[11] Callinan, Independent Company: 190.

[12] Chamberlain, Forgotten men : Timorese in special operations during World War II: 36; Fraser, Bob's Farm cadre camp: refugees from Timor in Port Stephens during World War II: 8.

[13] Paddy Kenneally “Paddy returns to Timor - June 6, 1990” 2/2 Commando Courier November 1990: 7, 9.

[14] https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C200599

[15] Bert ‘[Re Jose da Silva Marcos] 2/2 Commando Courier February 1991: 7.  The author was Herbert William PRICE (TX2781).

[16] Fonseca, Monumentos Portugueses em Timor-Leste: 86-87

[17] Leo Lima suco is located 2 km north of Hatu-Udo.  The date on the monument inscription should be 5 May ‘1943’.

[18] https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C200651

[19] ART26311 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C168672

[20] https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C200658

[21] https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C200653

[22] https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C200654

[23] https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C200652

[24] https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C200644

[25] https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C200650

[26] https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C200647

[27] https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C200643

[28] https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C200649

[29] ART26312 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C168677

[30] https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C200655

[31] https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C200645

[32] https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C200656

[33] https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C200641

[34] https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C200642

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