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Edward Willis

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  1. Ed Willis, President of the 2/2 Commando Association of Australia, in partnership with ex-SAS officer, Jim Truscott, OAM, has been awarded an Army History Unit Research Grant of $10,556 for the 2020/2021 financial year. The grant has been awarded for the preparation of a ‘WWII in East Timor – an Australian Army site and travel guide’ with the following objective: ‘Australian Defence personnel and others travelling to East Timor and wishing to learn more about and visit sites connected with the commando campaign conducted by the No. 2 and No. 4 Independent Company’s and the clandestin
  2. Association President, Ed Willis met with Andrew Hastie, MHR for Canning, on August 20. Ed lives in his electorate and was invited to meet Mr Hastie after he had read a paper Ed had prepared on the ‘Future of the Dare Memorial and a possible WWII Memorial In Dili’. Progress on the outcome of that discussion will be the topic of a future Facebook post and Doublereds news item. Finally, Mr Hastie said would like to use the 2/2 Timor story as the basis of a new award he wished to introduce for schools in the Canning electorate (those that are presented at assemblies and the like
  3. Wayne Havenaar, President of the NSW Commando Association, has advised that the Commando Memorial in Martin Place, Sydney, will be re-dedicated in a ceremony to held at 10:30 am on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 (Remembrance Day). Wayne advises: ‘[The re-dedicated memorial] has a new plaque with all units and deployments since WWII added. If you have anyone over this way, please let them know they are invited to attend however there are limited places due to Covid 19 restrictions, so booking is essential. Please see our website www.commando.asn.au on the notices page’. For informatio
  4. Dear Mina: Thank you for your enquiry. Bobonaro and Atsabe were both important towns during WWII in Timor-Leste with Australian troops based in them for lengthy periods, especially between March – September 1942. After that time the towns were occupied and garrisoned by the Japanese. Both towns were heavily bombed by both the Japanese and Allied air forces at different times. The following description and map of the town was published in the ‘Area study of Portuguese Timor’ (1943). The location of the Chinese shops is indicated on the map: Bobonaro … is 35 miles (5
  5. NO. 4 INDEPENDENT COMPANY WAR DIARY TRANSCRIPT TIMOR CAMPAIGN COVERING THE PERIOD 10TH SEPTEMBER 1942 TO 31ST JANUARY 1943 This is a transcription of the text of the No. 4 Independent Company’s (2/4) War Diary covering the period from the unit’s embarkation in Darwin to be transported to Betano in Portuguese Timor to its return to the same port at the end of its five month long campaign (10 September 1942 - 31 January 1943). The 2/4’s war diary complements the 2/2’s Timor campaign war diary that was the topic of the previous post on Doublereds - both provide unique day by
  6. NO. 2 INDEPENDENT COMPANY WAR DIARY TRANSCRIPT 8 December 1941 - 16 December 1942 This is a transcription of the text of the No.2 Independent Company’s (2/2) War Diary covering the period from the unit’s embarkation in Darwin to be transported to Koepang in Dutch Timor to its return to the same port at the end of its year-long campaign on Portuguese Timor (8 December 1941 - 16 December 1942). A digital copy of the original War Diary can be accessed and downloaded from the Australian War Memorial’s (AWM) website. [1] However, the digital version is difficult to read with man
  7. Dear Kevyn: Thank you for contacting us for information about Gordon Chiswell. The only item that of the nature you are looking for I could locate was a moving article written by Archie Campbell, his Section officer, in the April 1991 'Courier' that I have attached - it includes a photo of Gordon. Kind regards Ed Willis, Vice-President
  8. WWII in East Timor – A Site and Travel Guide Commando Campaign Sites VIQUEQUE MUNICIPALITY LACLUTA 8°47'10"S, 126°08'14"E Timorese woven pouch on display Army Museum of WA, Fremantle Lacluta is 21 1/2 miles (34 1/2 km.) at a bearing of 155° from Manatuto. It is a small posto town of 3 stone buildings and numerous native huts. It is situated in the southern foothills and overlooks the Luca Valley. The surrounding district is fairly hilly and fertile and there are many small villages of two or three huts. There is a fair growth of forest and patches of ope
  9. Members, supporters and those who participated in either the 2018 or 2019 'Timor 1942 Commando Campaign Tours' will be interested to see the following story related to the 20th Anniversary of the death, killed in action, of New Zealand peacekeeper Private Leonard Manning. A few of us on the 2018 tour visited Private Manning's memorial at Tilomar, while most participants in the 2019 tour had the pleasure of meeting Lieutenant-Colonel Martin Dransfield who was the commander of the New Zealand 2nd/1st Battalion at the time of the soldier’s death and is now posted as a strategic advisor to th
  10. WWII in East Timor – A Site and Travel Guide BAUCAU MUNICIPALITY Situated 129 kilometres East of Dili, the Baucau Municipality covers 1,600 square kilometres and serves as a gateway for the neighbouring municipalities of Lautem, Viqueque and Manatuto. The municipality is divided into six sub-districts: Baucau, Laga, and Vemasse on the northern coastal plain, while Venilale, Quelicai, and Baguia are located inland. Baucau is the second largest municipality in East Timor with a population of 123,203 inhabitants recorded in the 2015 census. [1] During the WWII pe
  11. Dear Gerard and Brad: Thank you both for your replies and providing additional interesting information and images. As I said in my earlier reply unfortunately little has been published in Australia detailing the Dutch contribution to the campaign against the Japanese on Portuguese Timor - ready access to Dutch sources on the campaign, especially in English translations, is a problem, so your offer to share some documents (Brad) is welcome. Regards Ed Willis
  12. Dear Gerard: Thank you for contacting the Association with the information about your father’s service as a member of Sparrow Force, his award of a decoration and uploading a photo of the award ceremony. I have located some newspaper reports of the award ceremony: Dutch V.C. For Man Who Led Guerrillas Against Japanese (1943, February 3). The Herald (Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved June 18, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article245957574 HIGH AWARDS FOR NEI MEN FROM TIMOR (1943, February 4). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 5. Retrieved Ju
  13. ‘INDEPENDENT COMPANY’ DOCUMENTARY – A NEGLECTED VISUAL RECORD OF THE TIMOR CAMPAIGN The documentary film ‘Independent Company’ is a neglected visual record of the No. 2 Independent Company’s (No. 2 IC) campaign against the Japanese on Portuguese Timor during 1942. First shown on SBS in 1988 it has been rarely, if ever, broadcast subsequently. The film can be viewed through the Doublereds website: https://doublereds.org.au/archives/video-and-audio/independent-company-videorecording-the-australian-22-independent-company-timor-1941-42-produced-with-assistance-from-sbs-tv-and-film-victo
  14. THE Australian Defence Cooperation Program (DCP): Timor-Leste team in Dili in cooperation with their New Zealand colleagues prepared this special video as a substitute for the usual live dawn ceremony. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tbw_N3jOqXI&feature=youtu.be
  15. Beau, I think 'Bloss' is John Barrasford Lawrence (see link) - can't identify 'Flea' as yet. Also see the attached photo - writing on the back identifies as being taken at the 1946 or 1947 reunion.
  16. LOCATION Coordinates: 8°39'24.9"S 125°24'31.9"E INTRODUCTION The ‘Battle’ of Grade Lau was a signature ambush conducted by A Platoon of the No. 2 Independent Company on 3 March 1942 in the early part of the Timor campaign. It’s recollection has perhaps been overshadowed by the Japanese attack at Bazar-Tete that took place a couple of days before when two B Platoon men were killed in action and three were wounded. [1] The Japanese were aware other elements of No. 2 Independent Company were in close proximity further south and pressed on aggressively with columns advancing f
  17. GPS: 8°53'38.0"S 125°42'16.0"E INTRODUCTION Mindelo is a village in the Turiscai district of the Manufahi Municipality. The district had a population of 7,718 at the time of the 2015 census. The village population was 593 at that time. [1] Confusingly, Mindelo is also known as Maubisse (or Mau-Bessi), the same name as the nearby large town that is in the Ainaro Municipality with which it shares a long and sometimes violent history. LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION 1943 MINDELO (Mau-Bessi - ... ) is 15 miles (24 km) southeast of Aileu at a bearing of 140°. Mau-Bessi is
  18. GPS: 8°49'25.36" S 125°42'16.34" E TURISCAI is a town in the Turiscai district of the Manufahi Municipality. The district had a population of 7,718 at the time of the 2015 census. Turiscai lies 87.5 kilometres south of Dili by road via Maubisse. If road conditions are good it can be reached by vehicle from Dili in approximately 3 ½ hours. Map - Dili to Turiscai by road Turiscai was a significant campaign site particularly between July 1942 and January 1943, being frequently occupied as Section and Platoon headquarters by both the No. 2 and No. 4 Independent Companie
  19. JAMES STANLEY (JIM) DUNN (1928 – 2020) Members and supporters of the Doublereds will be saddened to learn of the passing of James Dunn who became best known during the 1970s and ‘80s when he stood up against Australia’s foreign policy establishment over its endorsement of Indonesia’s invasion and annexation of East Timor. The evidence presented in Dunn’s published reports and books was endorsed and appreciated by the men of the old 2/2 Commando Association of Australia who used it their representations and advocacy to government in support of the Timorese fight for independence
  20. COMMANDO CAMPAIGN SITES – EAST TIMOR BOBONARO DISTRICT MAROBO GPS: 8°58'48”S, 125°21'14"E Location of Marobo shown on map from the Area Study of Portuguese Timor [1] “Marobo is 3 miles (5 km.) from Bobonaro at a bearing of 359°. It is situated in a deep re-entrant at the foot of Mt. Uso Lau. The town is a resort on account of its sulphur springs. It is connected to Bobonaro by M.T. road. There are about 12 stone houses and the town is concealed from the air”. [2] Marobo viewed in 1927 [3] SIGNALLER HARRY WRAY’S MAROBO RECOLLECTIONS Signal
  21. THE TIMOR PONY STORY INTRODUCTION Its readily evident that the motorbike rules as the dominant form of personal transport for Timorese now, both in Dili and rural areas. Motorbikes have become increasingly affordable for many families and are used for work, shopping and social interaction. As the motorbike and vehicle based public and goods transport has become dominant, the Timor Pony is rarely seen in Dili now but out in the districts it still has an important role to play, particularly in transporting heavier loads from remote hamlets to market days in the villages and towns.
  22. With Christmas rapidly approaching those of us living in WA and old enough will fondly recall the Christmas Parties the old Association held for the children of members between 1952 and 1963. Col Doig recounted the history of the Christmas Parties in Chapter 4 his book ‘A Great Fraternity: the story of the 2/2 Commando Association, 1946-1992’. Col’s account is redolent of earlier, simpler times with free kegs of ginger beer sourced from the Swan Brewery and tubs of ice cream from Peters, while the bonds of friendship that impelled the men and their wives to organise and conduct these par
  23. COMMANDO CAMPAIGN SITES – EAST TIMOR DILI DILI HELIPORT – JAPANESE BUILT WWII AIRFIELD EXTENSION LOCATION Coordinates: 8°33'22"S 125°33'45"E The Dili Heliport occupies the site of an airfield built by the Japanese occupation force between March-July 1942. It lies just south of the Av. Pres. Nicolau Lobato, Dili, bounded on the eastern side by the Presidential Palace and on the western side by the Ministry of Defence. The Australian Embassy and Sparrow Force House reside on the opposite side of the Av. Pres. Nicolau Lobato to the north. Map showing t
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