Arnold 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. After the campaign on Timor, he embarked with the unit, for Australia aboard the Royal Dutch destroyer “Tjerk Hides” on 16 Dec 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 2 Section, “A” Troop. He was medically evacuated to Australia on 21 May 1944. After medical treatment he re-joined the unit on 16 Dec 1944 and embarked for New Britain aboard “TAROONA” on 9 Apr 1945 with the unit as a Trooper in No 2 Section, “A” Troop.
He transferred to 2/2nd Forestry Company, Royal Australian Engineers on 2 May 1945 and returned to Australia on 23 Dec 1945 and was discharged on 10 Jan 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 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 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 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