Robert was a member of the First Reinforcements that arrive at Dili, Timor, aboard M.V. “Kalama”, on 22 Jan 1942, prior to the Japanese landing. He joined the unit as a Private. He embarked for Australia on 16 Jul 1942. After leave and reorganization, he embarked with the unit for New Guinea aboard S.S. “DUNTROON” on 17 Jun 1943 as a Trooper in No 4 Section, “B” Troop and returned to Australia with them aboard “TAROONA” on 3 Sept 1944.
After leave and reorganization, he embarked for New Britain aboard “TAROONA” on 9 Apr 1945 with the unit as a Private in Headquarters Group.
He left the unit and retuned to Australia aboard “KATOOMBA” on 6 Dec 1945.
He was discharged on 12 Jun 1946.
Extracted from C D Doig’s “A History of the 2nd Independent Company and 2/2 Commando Squadron”.
After the Japanese landed, there was a party of 4 of these first reinforcement men, who had not been attached to any of the Sections, who decided to try and get back to Australia by boat and advise that the 2nd Independent Company was still intact and fighting on. The party consisted of Privates, Robert Sydney Larney, Johnny Freeman, Desmond Laurence Lilya and Arnold Samuel Webb. They eventually reached Darwin and then embarked with the No 4 Independent Company for Timor aboard H.M.A.S “VOYAGER” on 22 Sept 1942.
The men’s service papers state the following
Robert Sydney Larney He was in 119th Australian General Hospital, Darwin from 11 Sept – 17 Sept 1942 and disembarked at Darwin from Timor on 16 Dec 1942.
Johnny Freeman Disembarked at Darwin on 16 Aug 1942, He was in 119th Australian General Hospital, Darwin from 25 Aug – 8 Sept 1942 and disembarked Darwin from Timor on 16 Dec 1942.
Desmond Laurence Lilya Disembarked at Darwin on 16 Aug 1942, He was in 119th Australian General Hospital from 16 Aug – 17 Sept 1942. Research shows he returned from Timor with the unit either 11 Dec 1942 or 16 Dec 1942, as the embarkation rolls do not differentiate.
Arnold Samuel Webb Now reported “Returned to Australia” No Date, Disembarked at Darwin from Timor on 16 Dec 1942.
He was entitled to the 1939-45 Star, Pacific Star, War Medal and Australian Service Medal 1939-45, pictured below. He is now also entitled to the Australian Service Medal 1945-75 with a clasp "S.W.Pacific".
Edited by Peter Epps