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Edward Willis

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  1. Members and supporters of 2/2 Commando Association of Australia will be saddened to learn that one of the last three surviving members of the 2/2, Fred Otway, passed away in Brisbane on the 3 April 2018 aged 97 years. The two surviving members of the unit are Keith Hayes (W.A.) and John ‘Jack’ Hanson (Queensland). Source: RSL Virtual Memorial Born in Pingelly, W.A., Fred was an original member of the unit and served in No. 1 Section, A Platoon throughout the campaign in Portuguese Timor. He was promoted to Corporal before the end of the campaign. Deployed to New Guinea with the 2/2 in 1943, Fred left in June 1944 along with several other men to serve with the Z Special Unit, and after training, was based in Darwin. As a Sergeant, Fred participated in three Z Special operations to Portuguese Timor in mid-1945. Post-war Fred undertook a government sponsored training course and qualified as a painter and decorator and worked in that trade for the Queensland Government until he retired. He was an active member of the Queensland branch of the Association, from the beginning to the end, and he and his wife Ellen participated in all the safaris and reunions, including the special trip back to Portuguese Timor for the opening of the Dare Memorial Pool and Resting Place in 1969. He was a regular correspondent to the ‘Courier’ and contributed several interesting articles related to his personal life, family history and wartime experiences. In August 2012 Fred along with Keith Hayes was invited by the Department of Veterans Affairs to be a member of the Commemorative Mission Timor-Leste for the 70th Anniversary of the Timor Campaign. The Committee extends its condolences to Fred Otway’s family, salutes his service to the nation during WWII and recognises his supportive involvement with the old Association from its beginning to the end. LEST WE FORGET Fred Otway photo April 2016 Source: Paul Cleary ‘Remembering Australia's first commandos: the men who stopped the Japanese in Timor’ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-25/remembering-the-diggers-who-stopped-the-japanese-in-timor/7356020 Ian McPhedran interviewed Fred for his recent book on the history of Australian special forces; see the following extract: Source: Ian McPhedran. – Too bold to die: the making of Australian war heroes. – Sydney, NSW: Harper Collins Australia, 2013: 39-45. CHAPTER 3: Behind Enemy Lines Living hard was part and parcel of Fred Otway’s life from a very early age. Little did he know as he struggled through a poverty-filled childhood that one day the hardships that had forged him would help to keep him alive in the jungles of East Timor and elsewhere as a commando and ‘Z’ Special Unit operative during the fight to save Australia from the marauding Japanese Imperial Army. Early Life Fred’s early years around Pinjarra in Western Australia were tough. The son of a drunkard railway-sleeper cutter and a sickly mother, he was born in 1920. By the time he was eight, he and his four brothers and one sister had been removed from their parents and sent to live in institutions in Perth after their mother contracted tuberculosis. Fred, the second youngest, was sent to a Salvation Army Boys Home in the inner-city suburb of Nedlands. It was a grim existence and 92-year-old Fred recalls, with the clarity of someone who has known real hunger, being permanently famished and having cracked feet in winter because he had no shoes. “When he was 12 years old Fred remembers the wife of the manager coming down the path and blurting out, ‘By the way, your mother has died.’ ‘Just like that,’ he says. Young Fred had never even had a letter from his mum and was never able to write to her to say hello, to tell her to get well and that he loved her.” “No kid in that home ever wrote a letter and no kid ever received a letter. They [the supervisors] got any letters that came and just told us, “Your father wrote to us”,’ he says. ‘What a terrible thing it must have been for that woman to be in that house, or in that place, wherever it was. They separated us because it was a contagious disease, living there for eight years and no contact with her family, just waiting to die.’ Off to Work At 14 Fred was sent to work on a poultry farm. He lasted six months, sleeping in the feed shed and eating in a corridor of the main house, never at the table of the farm owners. One day he said, ‘I’m sick of working my guts out for you, I’m going back to the home.’ So he went back to Nedlands and they immediately sent him to another farm as virtual slave labour. His second job was on a mixed farm where at least he was taught some skills, including harnessing and driving a team of eight horses. The sleeping arrangements were no better and he dossed down in a flea-ridden hessian bed as he “as he toiled six days a week for the paltry sum of two shillings. The only reason he got Sundays off was so he could wash his clothes. ‘There was no 40-hour week back then and you worked longer in summer than you did in winter.’ At 17 Fred was finally reunited with two of his brothers, Jack and Charlie, and the trio worked an unsuccessful mining lease together before they went travelling, jumping freight trains, with all their worldly goods, including the mandatory frying pan in a sugar bag, slung over their shoulders. Eventually Charlie got a job on a dairy farm in Coolgardie and Fred snared a start as a general hand in a boarding house in Kalgoorlie for ‘ten bob’ a week and his tea. Fred Joins the 2/2 His next job was as a barman in a pub at Leonora, where there was a nickel rush on. After returning for a “brief stint in the mines, Fred eventually made his way back to Perth and enlisted in the army in May 1941. Due to his bush upbringing and his ability to live off the land, he was transferred from the training camp at Northam north of Perth across to the 2/2nd Independent Company at Wilsons Promontory in Victoria. The British commandos ran a training camp there to teach fresh recruits the dark arts of commando warfare — from demolitions and hand-to-hand combat to guerrilla warfare and how to recruit and train the locals. Fred says the 2/2nd was very different from any other unit in the Australian Army. He didn’t like the rigid formality and spit-and-polish traditions of the ‘big army’, but he loved the informal approach of the commandos. ‘In the 2/2nd you might be a captain, but you are just Bill or Tom, that’s all, nothing else, just one of us, we were all the same. Each depended on the other, none of this bloody army stuff saluting, yes sir, none of that stuff,’ he says. ‘We were free and easy, and the unit was allowed to do what it liked, “The 350 or so Australian commandos joined other allied fighters from the 2/40th Battalion and British and Dutch units to form Sparrow Force, which would harass and occupy an entire Japanese division in Timor for a year. Unfortunately, the army’s knowledge of tropical diseases was rudimentary at best, and the men, dressed in shorts and light shirts, succumbed en masse to malaria. On Timor Just before the Japanese arrived in Timor in late February 1942, the commandos decided to leave Dili and head for a healthier environment in the hills to the south of the capital. The town is built on a narrow coastal strip and immediately behind the built-up area the mountains rise almost vertically to provide a natural barrier to the interior and the island’s south coast. The high ridges overlooking Dili made ideal observation posts for the diggers and their comrades, who included local fighters drafted to the cause. Visitors to Dili today can clearly see how vital the high ground was to the Aussie guerrillas of Sparrow Force by visiting the Commando Memorial at the village of Dare high above the town. The views from the memorial to the 2/2nd Company (double red diamond insignia “ 2/40th Battalion [i.e. 2/4 Company] (double blue diamonds) and their local helpers take in a panorama of the coastline, the town and the roads leading up into the hills. During the East Timor independence battles in 1999 the Dare area would once again take on crucial tactical significance as Australian troops moved inland in pursuit of pro-Jakarta militia thugs. Following some alcohol-fuelled skylarking in the town prior to the Japanese invasion, the Australians had been banned from taking their rifles into Dili, and they only found out the enemy had arrived when a supply truck carrying 17 diggers was intercepted by a Japanese patrol. The men were all shot and bayonetted, and only one, Keith Hayes, escaped with his life. He was treated and sheltered by locals, including a middle-aged woman called Donnabella Martins, who nursed him back to health using mudpacks and banana leaves to heal his wounds. Source: Cyril Ayris. – All the Bull’s men. – Perth: 2/2 Commando Association of Australia, 2006: 386 Guerrilla Fighters The Australians eventually split into small bands of guerrilla fighters and would spend most of 1942 and 1943 killing and harassing the enemy across East Timor. “You can do plenty of damage even if there is only four or five of you,’ Fred says. ‘As a guerrilla fighter there are certain rules to be observed and number one is you cannot exist without the support of the civilian population. You don’t interfere with them, you don’t interfere with their women, you don’t interfere with their customs and if you want food, you pay for it, which the Japs didn’t do. ‘I had information about one native boy that was helping the Australians; they [the Japanese] wiped his whole little village out. That was how the Japs worked, trade on fear, “This is what will happen to you if you help the Australians, if you give food to the Australians.”’ The threat of death or torture didn’t deter most of the hardy and God-fearing East Timorese, who remained loyal to the Aussies throughout the war. Respect for the locals and paying their way whenever possible were basic tenets of Australian special operations during the war. According to Fred Otway, every time the Australians killed a goat or got some rice, they gave the farmer a chit that he could later convert into silver or gold “courtesy of the Australian Government. Unfortunately, this system didn’t always work, and many Timorese were left out of pocket, but this did not stop them from risking their lives to support the commandos in their quest to rid the island of the invader.” “Many veterans of Sparrow Force spent decades after the war fighting for justice for the East Timorese people in return for their vital help in the campaign to save Australia. In 1999 the Prime Minister, John Howard, provided the ultimate ‘thank you’ when he encouraged the Indonesians to leave the island and the international community to step in and to help bring independence to East Timor (Timor Leste). During its year-long guerrilla campaign, Sparrow Force killed about 1700 Japanese troops and delayed Japan’s eastwards advance. Fred Otway took to army life like a duck to water. Finally, at the age of 21, he had found a home. To New Guinea After returning from Timor and with yet another serious bout of malaria under his belt, Fred was sent to New Guinea in June 1943 to chase and harass the Japanese again. From Port Moresby the men of the 2/2nd were flown up to a place called Bena Bena near Goroka in the Highlands where the Japanese were expected to try and take the airstrip in order to attack American bombers on their runs from Port Moresby to Wewak. ‘Our task was to give the impression that we were 2000 strong “rather than 200,’ Fred says. They accomplished their mission and the Japanese force withdrew towards the north coast. Z Special About this time, he got word that his old commanding officer from Timor, Captain Dave Dexter, who had been seriously wounded in New Guinea and had joined ‘Z’ Special Unit in Melbourne, was looking for volunteers. Regarded as a fine officer, Dexter was well liked and trusted by the men, so in October 1944 Fred and eight of his mates from the unit decided to make the move. After completing parachute and submarine training and learning how to operate a variety of boats, Fred Otway was sent back to Timor to train the locals and to “observe the Japanese, who by then controlled the island. ‘A lot of the natives were with us, some were against us, they’d be telling the Japs where we were, setting up the ambushes and so forth,’ Fred says. ‘The Australian Government decided that we would help Portuguese civilians to escape from the occupied island. I’ll never forget how we were loading these nuns up and we were all naked, except for our boots. We weren’t going to get our clothes wet so that once the boat had gone we could lay down in the wet soil but keep our clothes dry. We didn’t mind wet boots.’ Some Portuguese didn’t want to leave, and they took the Japanese at their word that they would be placed in a secure enclave and looked after. Fred says it was nothing more than a concentration camp and many Portuguese, including five children, starved to death or succumbed to disease. Despite being from a neutral country, nine Portuguese soldiers were executed during his time there. Reflections Looking back, Fred says he enjoyed being in East Timor because he regarded it as a civilised place when compared with New Guinea. ‘I hated New Guinea. There wasn’t “There wasn’t even anyone to talk to, whereas in Timor you could talk to the locals, including the women,’ Fred says. ‘There were plenty of people there; it was really like being in Brisbane, only you’d have to go out and do a bit of fighting every now and then — simple.’ After the War After the war, Fred Otway retrained as a painter and decorator, and in 1956 he moved to Brisbane where he settled with his family. A motorcycle accident put paid to his ambition to be a politician, so he spent the next 22 years working for the Queensland Government. FRED OTWAY’S CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE ‘COURIER’ ‘Random Harvest’ 2/2 Commando CourierJune 1973: 9-10 [web address to be advised] ‘[Otway family history – letter to the ‘Courier’] 2/2 Commando Courier September 1998: 11-12 ‘[Burial locations of 2/2 men killed in action, brief recollections of Northam, Caulfield, Foster and Wayville and parachute training with Z Special]’ 2/2 Commando Courier December 1999: 16-17 ‘Hard times – part one’ 2/2 Commando Courier March 2002: 14-15 ‘Hard times – part two’ 2/2 Commando Courier June 2002: 17-19 ‘An old soldier's memories - New Guinea 1943’ 2/2 Commando Courier September 2003: 18-19 ‘An old soldier's memories. Part II - On the way to Z Special’ 2/2 Commando Courier December 2003: 17-18 ‘An old soldier. Part 3’ 2/2 Commando Courier March 2004: 12-14 ‘The missing fortune’ 2/2 Commando Courier March 2005: 17-18 ‘Life and times of an old soldier’ 2/2 Commando Courier March 2006: 9-11 APPENDIX FRED OTWAY’S SERVICE IN Z SPECIAL Fred participated in three Z Special operations to Portuguese Timor in June 1945 - STARLING – SUNDOG, SUNDOG RAID and BRIM. The stories of these two raids was told in the official history of Special Operations Australia: STARLING – SUNDOG This project was first planned in 1942 in conjunction with Lagarto, for the insertion of a party into the western districts of Portuguese Timor under the leadership of Sr A. da Sousa Santos who had been administrator of Fronteira Province. The insertion in the original plan called for the cooperation of Dom Alexio, a ruling chief of the western districts and to get his good will, a party of 4 members of PORTOLIZARD was despatched from the Dilor area about June 1942. A month later it was learned that the PORTOLIZARD men had been killed and that Dom Alexio and his family had been massacred. In these circumstances, the project was suspended. From time to time thereafter it was revived, first under the name STARLING as a division of the SOUNDER plan and last as a division of SUNFISH when it was renamed SUNDOG or SUNFISH D. The purpose of the project was to set up a HQ in the vicinity of Ramelau Range in the Bobonaro district from which intelligence, propaganda and resistance activities could be carried out. The original composition of the party was: Da Sousa Santos, A. (Leader) Sgt Shand J.A. (AIF) (Sig) Sgt Hartley (AIF) Robello Soares Rente Da Sousa, A. Felix Barreto Insertion was to be performed by ML’s in the vicinity of the mouth of the Be Lulic River on the south coast. Source:https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C998734 Following disaffection among the Portuguese and Timorese personnel and in particular to their failure to volunteer to serve under Santos, in March 1945 the party was completely recast, Australian personnel being substituted for the Portuguese. Shand and Hartley were omitted from the party, the former joining SUNABLE. The new party, all AIF comprised: Lt D.B. Austin (Leader) Sgt Otway F.A. (2 i/c) Cpl Stewart A.S. Cfn Jones H.J. Tpr Criddle C.R. Cpl Grinham L.A. Sig Poole W.P. A support party comprising: Capt Florence J.M. Lt Middleton P.V. Bdr Burrow F.W. Bdr Felstead N. Sgt Hartley J.F. Sig Bale W.R. was allotted the task of making the initial landing and of assisting the main party to land and cache its stores. On 6 June 1945, the party sailed from Darwin in HMAS ‘Seasnake’ (Lt D. Jarvis. RANVR). On 8 June, the vessel closed the south coast of Timor in the vicinity of the mouth of the Sue River, the approach being made in poor weather some hours ahead of the scheduled time. As the mountains were cloud covered, the position of the vessel could not be fixed and at about 1500 hours, when probably less than 10 miles off the coast, columns of smoke were seen on the land. These were interpreted as smoke signals advising the approach of the vessel and the success of the mission was considered prejudiced thereby. The landing was therefore abandoned and ‘Seasnake’ returned to Darwin. The difficulties of navigation were underestimated in planning this operation. At the same time, while the exact position of the vessel off the Timor coast was not known, its distance offshore was capable of better estimation. The precipitate approach in broad daylight was highly prejudicial. However, in the circumstances, withdrawal was the only logical procedure. The mission was replanned to leave Darwin on 17 June. On 15 June, Advanced HQ of SRD instructed that the insertion of the party was to be preceded by a raid for the extraction of natives for interrogation. The arrangements which had already been made were adopted for the raid, which was given the name SUNDOG RAID. SUNDOG RAID The personnel of SUNDOG were allotted to SUNDOG RAID with the addition of Dr Carlos Brandãoas interpreter and adviser on native matters. The party left Darwin aboard ‘Seasnake’ on 19 June 1945 and landed at the mouth of the Sue River at 2130 hours on the night of 21 June. The support party under Captain Florence made the initial landing and then held the beach head while the main raiding party under Lt Austin moved inland. The raiding party was unable to locate the village for which it was aiming. While reconnoitring, the party discovered a number of fresh tracks of enemy patrols and heard a rifle shot. Dr Brandão advised the party that on hearing the shot, the natives in the vicinity would have gone into hiding and considering that the discovery of natives in these circumstances was most unlikely, the raid was abandoned. The whole party re-embarked on ‘Seasnake’ at 2305 hours and sailed for Darwin. BRIM The operation BRIM was originally planned for the purpose of extracting SUNCOB party from the south coast of Portuguese Timor by surface craft. The plan was based on the Emergency Procedure of SUNCOB and took effect on the sighting of rather doubtful ground signals reported by search aircraft on 20 July. These ground signals, calling for extraction, were seen in the vicinity of one of the alternative extraction points prescribed in the SUNCOB plan, namely at the mouth of the Jre Bere River on the south coast. The extraction was arranged for the night of 28-29 July 1945, being the prescribed 8 days after the sighting of the ground signal, and an additional visit by the extraction craft on the following night was provided for. While the planning was in progress, ‘Krait’ returned from the unsuccessful LAGARTOUT mission for the extraction of SUNLAG and after interrogating the LAGARTOUT party, it was arranged to extend the BRIM plan to enable [the] extraction vessel to visit the extraction points of both SUNCOB and SUNLAG on each of the two nights. At the suggestion of NOIC, Darwin HDML 1324 of the RAN was detailed for the task with Sub Lt Bramley as extra navigator. A boat party comprising Lt J. Crombie (Leader), Sgts Boyle C.D. (2 i/c), Reid L.A., Otway, F.A., Gnr Hugo J. and Pte Young G. (all AIF) were allotted as boat party and were equipped with one 2-man rubber boat, one 7-man fitted with outboard and a spare 7-man boat. The intention was for Lt Crombie in the 2-man boat to proceed ashore as scout leaving the rest of the party in a 7-man boat outside the surf. On contacting the party ashore, Crombie was to ferry them through the surf to be picked up by the 7-man. When the plan had been finalised, broadcast messages were sent to both SUNCOB and SUNLAG giving them the essential details of the plan, in the hope that although they were not in contact by wireless, they might be keeping listening watch. HDML 1324 sailed from Darwin with BRIM party on 27 July 1945. On the afternoon of the 28th a signal reached Darwin from SUNLAG acknowledging the broadcast message but requesting that the extraction be delayed until 1st August as the party could not reach the rendezvous any earlier. By this time the ML was approaching the rendezvous point of SUNCOB. By arrangement with NOIC Darwin the vessel was recalled and returned to a sheltered anchorage at Snake Bay, Melville Island. SUNCOB later deferred to the rendezvous to the 3rd August to the 5th August and the ML returned to replenish fuel, water and stores. The vessel with BRIM party aboard finally left Darwin on the afternoon of 3rd August 1945 under a revised plan which provided for a rendezvous with SUNLAG at dawn on 5th August at the mouth of the Dilor River. When off this point at 0600H on the 5th SUNLAG’s flares were seen on the shore. The ML approached within 150 yards of the beach and launched the boats at 0615H. Owing to breaking its towline the 2-man boat with Lt Crombie was last to reach the beach. SUNLAG party with one native prisoner was waiting on the beach and was ferried off immediately to the ML which was reached at 0640H. After taking the boats aboard the vessel sailed for Darwin at 0645H arriving at LMS on the evening of 6th August. The success of this mission as compared with LAGARTOUT is ascribed to the time of the rendezvous being at dawn with the immeasurable benefit of the light and to the more seaworthy and commodious nature of the vessel used. The success however was due in a very large measure to the excellence of the signals communication maintained by SUNLAG’s signaller, Sgt Dawson, which permitted all details of the extraction to be worked out between the party and base. It is significant that whereas [the] SRD vessel had been operating off the Timor coast alone the HDML was provided with the AMS ‘Parkes’ as support standing 50 miles off Timor and fighter aircraft were at immediate standby in Darwin. The decision to withdraw the ML when within striking distance of SUNCOB’s extraction point on 28th July was based on the positive nature of the SUNLAG extraction and the indefinite nature of that of SUNCOB. It proved a most fortunate decision as the Japanese having captured SUNCOB and received the broadcast message had a strong reception party with light artillery waiting at one of the two alternative emergency evacuation points of the SUNCOB party. Source: The Official History of the Operations and Administration of] Special Operations - Australia [(SOA), also known as the Inter-Allied Services Department (ISD) and Services Reconnaissance Department (SRD)] Volume 2 - Operations - copy no 4 [for Director, Military Intelligence (DMI), Headquarters (HQ), Australian Military Forces (AMF), Melbourne. - NAA: A3269, O8/A
  2. On 7 February, the 2/2 Committee approved funding of US$5,315 (AUD$6,432) to support Compact Teacher Training (Professional Development) for Calohan-Letefoho Villa Primary School, Letefoho Subdistrict, Municipality of Ermera, Timor-Leste. [1]. This amount included a $3,800 donation from the Melville Friends of Hatolia which comprised the balance of their funds when that group would up at the end of 2017. The Committee is pleased to announce that the training has been successfully completed and reports and photos of the training sessions are now available . The photos and the teacher profiles indicate that the teachers and students involved were engaged and appreciated the experience. The teacher profiles provide a nice human touch to the reports that will enhance their interest to 2/2 Association members and supporters. [1] https://doublereds.org.au/news/22-commando-association-funds-compact-teacher-training-for-calohan-letefoho-villa-primary-school-r33/ 2/2 CONNECTION WITH LETE-FOHO The No. 2 Independent Company (2/2) campaigned actively in the Lete-Foho area in 1942 and frequently used the township as a base and enjoyed great support from the Portuguese chefe de posto and the local Timorese people. Bernard Callinan, one-time commanding officer of the 2/2, held great affection for the place and named his house in Melbourne “Lete Foho”. Map showing the location of Lete-Foho from the 'Area study of Portuguese Timor' (1943) The 1943 ‘Area study of Portuguese Timor’ included the following description of the town: “Lete-Foho (Nova Obidos-see Map No. 18) is 12 miles (19 km.) from Aileu at a bearing of 234°, situated on a high ridge halfway between Ermera and Atsabe. Open to aircraft excepting in a small coffee plantation on the south of the posto. Its buildings are of stone with galvanized iron roofs, and constitute the posto which overlooks 7 Chinese shops, and market square, also the school and teacher's residence (stone and tiled roofs). A good M.T. road branches from the main Dilli road about 3 miles (5 km.) south of Ermera and leads to the town through the valley north and below Lete-Foho. This town was used as Platoon H.Q. for Australian troops from May to August, 1942. It has a small water supply by pipeline from springs”. Lete-Foho today THE TRAINING A three member team led by Snr Francisco Jorge dos Santos, Program Manager of Dili-based Learning Resource Development Center (SDRA) successfully completed the training over the five week period 27 August – 28 September 2018. Some of the teachers at a pre-training meeting 12 teachers (5 male, 8 female) completed the assessment and received attendance certificates. 557 students from grades I to VI were involved during the training. Snr dos Santos report included week by week evaluations of the training sessions by the teachers that were all very positive; one final concluding comment was: ‘We Just want SDRA team to keep continue delivering this training to all primary teacher in our territory because this is a very good and relevant strategy that we need in the teaching and learning process to be a professional teacher in the future’. Also included in the reports are profiles of all the teachers who completed the training. The reports and photos from the training are attached to this story. 1. CTT report summary.pdf 2. Teachers Profiles.pdf 3. Weekly evaluations.pdf 4. Teachers Assessment profile.pdf
  3. Edward Willis

    John Reginald DENMAN

    John (Jack) was born in Kanowna, W.A. on 14 Nov 1915. Prior to the war he worked on the staff of the local newspaper, the Kalgoorlie Miner. On the outbreak of WWII, John was a Corporal in the 28th Battalion, Militia, with service No 460230. He was offered a commission in the A.I.F. but declined, as he wanted to join the R.A.A.F. The application to join the R.A.A.F. was rejected for health reasons (enlarged heart), and he continued serving with 28th Battalion now with service No W29791. He was discharged from the Militia on 6 Sept 1940. He joined the A.I.F. on 29 Apr 1941, completed his commando training and was an original member of the unit, embarking aboard “S.S. ZEALANDIA” on 8 Dec 1941 for Timor as a Lance Sergeant in No 1 Sect, “A” Platoon. Nov 1942 he was commissioned in the field and took command of No 9 Sect. After the campaign on Timor, he embarked with the unit, for Australia aboard the Royal Dutch destroyer “Tjerk Hides” on either 11 Dec 1942 or 16 Dec 1942, as the embarkation rolls do not differentiate. He was Mentioned in Despatches, London Gazette, 25 May 1943 and in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, No 119-3 Jun 1943. These are the two Gazettes for the Timor Campaign. After leave and reorganization he embarked with the unit for New Guinea as a Lieutenant, Officer Commanding, No 9 Sect, “C” Troop, aboard S.S. “DUNTROON” on 17 Jun 1943. The unit was involved in the patrolling of the 350-mile (570Km) front along the Bismarck Range and during one of the many patrols he led, he was awarded the Military Cross, London Gazette, 9 May 1944 and in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, No 81-27 Apr 1944. After the New Guinea Campaign, he returned to Australia with the unit aboard “TAROONA” on 3 Sept 1944. Transferred to 2/7 Cav Cdo Sqn, 1 Nov 1943. John was discharged on 27 May 1946. He was the founding President of the 2/2 Commando Association, a position he held for 2 years until his job transfer to the country. Jack passed away on the 13 Oct 1969, aged 53. Military Cross “Commanded a party which made a daring night raid on strongly held enemy positions at “KILAU” N.G. During the night 10/11 Jan 1944, Lieut Denman led his men right into the enemy defences unobserved and exploiting the element of surprise to the utmost inflicted numerous casualties. During the withdrawal one man was badly wounded and unable to walk or crawl clear. Lieut Denman ignoring his own danger and in the face of heavy enemy fire went back to the wounded man who was lying within 20 Yds of the enemy and dragged him to safety over open ground which was continually swept by heavy small arms and mortar fire. Lieut Denman displayed great gallantry in the face of the enemy to rescue a badly wounded man. He has consistently shown outstanding courage under fire. ” Note. 20 Yds means 20 Yards, which equates to approx. 18 Metres
  4. Edward Willis


    Hi Chantal: There is a problem with opening that issue; it will be fixed. In the meantime please see the issue attached. Regards Ed Courier_December_1976.pdf
  5. Edward Willis

    2/2 Commando Association Safaris

    Safaris were recurring events conducted by the old 2/2 Commando Association. Over the lifetime of the Association 19 enjoyable and well-attended Safaris were completed between 1956 and 2003 at various locations around Australia. Jack Carey provided the following brief history of the Safaris just before the last one got underway: The Last Hurrah! Our 19th and last Safari is now less than 8 weeks away and although we acknowledge that all good things must come to an end, the final night on the 18th November will surely be a nostalgic occasion. More than a few tears will be shed especially by those who have enjoyed participating in our Safaris. Bert Tobin is accredited with coming up with the idea that members from all states should get together every now and then to renew wartime friendships. As a result of Bert's proposal, the first reunion or Safari as Doigy preferred to call them, was held in Melbourne in 1956 when the Olympic Games were on. The second Safari was held in Perth to coincide with the Commonwealth Games. Both were successful, and the Safaris really took off. Sydney was the 1968 venue, then followed Perth in 1971, Tassie/Melbourne 1973, Sydney 1976, Adelaide 1978, the Gold Coast, Qld 1981, Perth 1983, Canberra 1986, Phillip Island 1988, The Barossa Valley 1990, Port Macquarie 1992, Busselton 1994, Maroochydore, 1996, Canberra 1998, Hobart 2000, Mildura 2002 and yet to come Perth 2003. Each had its highlights. The 44 Sandgropers had a memorable Safari in 1968. Led by Colin Doig and travelling by train spending time at Kalgoorlie, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra including a trip over the Snowies, finally arriving at Sydney. We were treated like lords at all stops; the hospitality was overwhelming. It culminated with our grandest Anzac Day march ever. Led by 'the Bull' with Sandy Eggleton and Tony Bowers proudly carrying our Double Diamond banner followed by 112 members on their very best behaviour, we did the old Unit and Association proud. We remember with gratitude all those members, families and friends, many who are no longer with us, who worked so hard to ensure the 18 Safaris were such great and happy events. Your WA committee will do all it can to ensure our last Safari will also be one to remember. See you in Perth on the 12th November. God bless. .. J. Carey. A listing of all the Safaris including references to the Courier issues where they were reported follows. The list also indicates whether a photo album or other material related to a particular Safari is held in the Association archives. Also attached is a copy of the chapter from Col Doig’s history of the Association to 1992 covering the Safaris. YEAR LOCATION COURIER REPORT PHOTO ALBUM OTHER MATERIAL * 1956 21 November – December 2 Melbourne Courier March 1957: 7-10 https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/1957-03%20-%20Courier%20March%201957.pdf Olympic Games Safari 1962 22 November – December 2 Perth Courier January 1963: 1-5 https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/1963/Courier%20January%201963.pdf Commonwealth Games Safari Yes 1968 April 6 - 22 Perth-Adelaide-Melbourne-Canberra- Sydney Courier June 1968: 5-14 https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/1968-06%20-%20Courier%20June%201968.pdf The Great Safari Yes 1971 September 2 - 11 Perth Courier September 1971: 2-8 https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/1971/Courier%20September%201971.pdf Jubilee Safari Yes 1974 22 February – 16 March Melbourne-Tasmania Courier May 1974: 10-14 https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/1974/Courier%20May%201974.pdf Tasmanian Safari 1976 30 August – 11 September Sydney Courier December 1976: 2-4 https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/1976/Courier%20December%201976.pdf Yes Yes 1978 7 – 16 October Adelaide Courier December 1978: 11-13 https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/1978/Courier%20December%201978.pdf South Australian Safari Yes Yes 1981 5 – 18 October Gold Coast-Brisbane Courier December 1981: 2-5 https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/1981/Courier%20December%201981.pdf Gold Coast Safari Yes Yes 1983 3 – 16 October Perth Courier December 1983: 2-8 https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/1983/Courier%20December%201983.pdf Sandgroper Safari Yes 1986 8 – 16 March Canberra Courier June 1986: 1-8 https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/1986/Courier%20June%201986.pdf Canberra Safari Yes 1988 18 – 27 March Cowes - Phillip Island Courier June 1988: 2-4 https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/1988/Courier June 1988.pdf 1990 16 – 25 March Adelaide-Barossa Valley Courier June 1990: 2-4 https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/1990/Courier%20June%201990.pdf Barossa Valley Safari Yes Yes 1992 13 – 23 March Port Macquarie Courier April 1992: 4-7 https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/1992/Courier%20April%201992.pdf Port Macquarie Safari Yes Yes 1994 7 – 14 April Busselton Courier June 1994: 3-8 https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/1994/Courier%20June%201994.pdf Busselton Safari Yes 1996 20 – 30 April Maroochydore, Sunshine Coast Courier August 1996: 12-13 https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/1996/Courier%20August%201996.pdf Maroochydore Safari Yes Yes 1998 10 – 18 March Canberra Courier June 1998: 2-4 https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/1998/Courier%20June%201998.pdf Canberra Safari Yes Yes 2000 8 – 15 March Hobart Courier June 2000: 6-11 https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/2000/Courier%20June%202000.pdf Hobart Safari Yes Yes 2002 1 – 8 May Mildura Courier June 2002: 14-17 https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/2002/Courier%20June%202002.pdf Mildura Safari Yes Yes 2003 12 – 18 November Perth Courier March 2004: 9-10 https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/2004/Courier%20March%202004.pdf Perth Safari – The ‘Last Hurrah!' * Note: other material includes itineraries, dinner menus and commemorative service programmes, etc. REFERENCES C.D. Doig. – A great fraternity: the story of the 2/2 Commando Association 1946-1992. – Perth: C.D. Doig, 1993: Chapter 15 – Interstate Safaris (pp.96-111). J. Carey ‘The last hurrah!’ CourierSeptember 2003: 1. INTERSTATE_SAFARIS_-Great_fraternity_complete_copy.pdf
  6. Edward Willis

    Safaris & Reunions

    Hi Chantal, your enquiry prompted me to have a look at the items related to the Association Safaris in the old Association Archives - these include photo albums, itineraries, etc. and I knocked together the attached list which I hope you find useful + the relevant chapter from Col Doig's history of the Association. The Courier issues can be read/downloaded from https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/ 2003 was the last Safari - the 'last Hurrah!' Regards Ed INTERSTATE_SAFARIS_-Great_fraternity_complete.pdf Interstate Safaris - revised.pdf The last hurrah! - Courier September 2003.pdf
  7. Edward Willis

    Clarence William TURNER

    Clarence (Clarrie) was an original member of the unit, embarking aboard “S.S. ZEALANDIA” on 8 Dec 1941 for Timor as a Lieutenant, Officer Commanding, No 3 Section, “A” Platoon. After the campaign on Timor, he embarked with the unit, for Australia aboard the Royal Dutch destroyer “Tjerk Hiddes” on either 11 Dec 1942 or 16 Dec 1942, as the embarkation rolls do not differentiate. He was discharged on 6 Jan 1944. Clarrie Turner was born in 1917, the fourth of eight children and was educated at Capel School and later, Narrogin Agricultural College. At seventeen, he returned home to work in the family Butcher shop and did both shop work and slaughtering until he joined the Army in December 1939. He completed his elementary and Non-Commissioned Officer training and in late 1940 completed his Officer Training on the banks of the Hume Weir at Albury-Wodonga. He underwent commando training in 1941 at Foster on Wilson's Promontory in Victoria and the 2/2nd Independent Company of commandos was formed shortly thereafter. The unit traveled by train to Alice Springs and then by truck to Katherine in the Northern Territory. Along the way, Clarrie's butchering skills were called upon to slaughter an alleged stray sheep. It was later discovered that the sheep was half of a local farmer's flock and there was hell to play. The commandos embarked for Timor from Darwin in December 1941 and Clarence recalled that the officers had to draw their own maps of the area, as there were very few maps of Timor in existence at the time. He used this map throughout his time on Timor and brought it back to Australia with him. After the tough Timor Campaign he arrived home in early February 1943 and on the 27th of that month married Grace in "All Souls "Church across the road from the Murnane horse stud. They only had a three-day honeymoon before Clarrie had to report back. He left the Army a year later, but continued his association with the commandos for the remainder of his life. He and Grace enjoyed great friendships and many good times with them and their partners for many, many years. Clarrie had No.3 Section of "A" platoon in Timor which included Bernie Langridge, Arthur Marshall, Bill Rowan-Robinson, Eric Weller and Alf Hillman to name a few. Clarrie was a good officer and was well respected by his men. Clarrie and Grace were loyal and generous supporters of the Association of which he was a Life Member. Clarrie Turner Timor reminiscences.pdf Vale Clarence William Turner - Courier September 2006.pdf
  8. Edward Willis


    2/2 Commando Association of Australia Committee members Murray Thornton and Colleen Thornton-Ward (brother and sister) are the children of Norm Thornton an original member of No. 2 Independent Company (2/2). [1] Norman (Norm) Douglas Thornton WX11995 (above) Murray Thornton and Colleen Thornton-Ward (below) For 20 years and more they have been actively involved in various ways supporting the people of Timor-Leste to help repay the ‘debt of honour’ the 2/2 men felt they owed them for the assistance they received during their campaign against the Japanese occupiers of their country during WWII. One way Murray and Colleen have helped is by volunteering as election observers, most recently in the May 2018 parliamentary elections which were completed very peacefully; a sign of the maturing democracy in that still young nation. [2] This was not the case with their first experience as observers in the south-western town of Suai during the independence referendum held 20 years ago on August 30 1999. The excitement and eager wish of the local people to participate in the referendum is evocatively conveyed in these photos that Colleen took at the time. Local people gather to vote, Suai, August 30 1999 Two days after Murray and Colleen had left Suai pro-Indonesian integration supporters occupied the town and massacred as many as 200 men, women and children who had sought sanctuary in the church. Three of the church priests were amongst the victims. The Timor 1942 Commando Campaign Tour group visited Suai on 29 April 2018 and were moved when observing the memorial to the massacre victims outside the church and the magnificent cathedral, now completed, that can be seen under construction in the background of one of Colleen’s photos. Suai church massacre monument Busts of two of the priests killed in the church massacre in front of the new Suai cathedral In his address at the Anzac Day ceremony at Denmark (W.A) in 2013, Murray told the story of his family’s connection with Timor-Leste that began with his father Norm’s service there in WWII and has been sustained by Colleen and himself. DENMARK AND EAST TIMOR, EDUCATION AND FRIENDSHIP This is the story of Denmark and its bonds to East Timor over 70 years, forged in adversity and war, but for the past 12 years celebrated in education and friendship. East Timor is an island 600 km north of Wyndham at the top of Western Australia. On a good day if one is high in the southern mountains of East Timor you can actually listen to ABC radio through its Kununurra transmitter. Dark Days of 1941 This story begins in the last days of 1941. These were dark days for Australia. Japan had attacked Pearl Harbour and the East Indies on7th December1941. The main part of the Australian army, the 6th, 7th and 9th Divisions were in the Middle East. Two thirds of the 8th division were in Malaya, as the clouds of war had been gathering with Japan, whilst the 8th divisions other battalions were in West Timor, Ambon and New Britain protecting airbases that was Australia’s eyes to the North. The Japanese were able to defeat the allies on the Malayan peninsula, the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies in a matter of months. Sparrow force, the Tasmanians of the 2/40th battalion guarding the Airfield at Kupang in Dutch West Timor fort valiantly but were overwhelmed. Neutral East Timor was also invaded, with Japanese influence reaching the Australian shores with the bombing and destruction of Darwin. The 2/2nd Commandos in East Timor The 2/2nd commandos were 250 men, recruited from Western Australian, specially trained by English commandos at Portsea in Victoria. They probably expected to go to Middle East, but instead ended up in East Timor, a Neutral Portuguese Colony to the North of Australia. Because Portugal was neutral the allies only wanted a low key presence in East Timor, with the 2/2nd having recognisance role. On East Timor the 2/2 commandos refused to surrender but were cut off from Australia. The Australian Government assumed they had been captured, but instead they started a guerrilla campaign in mountains of Timor, breaking into small groups of 10-20 men and harassing the Japanese. They survived because of their skills, training, help from sympathetic Portuguese administrators, and Timorese help. They lived amongst the Timorese villagers and were supported by them. The most important help were the kriadu, (Tetum for servant) Timorese young men and boys whom attached themselves to individual Australian soldiers as helpers, guides, food scroungers and mates. Denmark’s Connection to the Timor Campaign Denmark’s connection to this campaign was in the form of 3 soldiers. Norm Thornton, whom moved to Denmark as a boy in 1910, farmed with his family at the base of Mt Lindsay, went to school at the Mt Lindsay Primary, the site of the present Mt Lindsay fire shed. Norm left Denmark and became a carpenter and builder before the war. He spent the whole war in Commandos, also fighting in their campaigns in New Guinea and New Britain. After the war he returned to Denmark and started a building business. Jeremiah Haire also moved to Denmark in 1910 with his family, one of first students at Scotsdale primary school (the present Scotsdale hall). He won a scholarship to Albany high, finished as school captain, dux and champion athlete. Jerry went to Claremont Teachers college, and before the war was teaching at Perth Modern School. He was a founding member of University athletics club, represented WA in interstate competition for 3 years and after the war coached John Winter to 1948 Gold in High jump at the London Olympics. Jeremiah (Jerry) Thomas Haire WX10744 He became the superintendent for English at all WA schools, and finished his career teaching at the WA secondary College. During the war he was transferred out of the Commandos after Timor and into intelligence. [3] Geordie Hamilton Smith,an adopted son of Denmark was from Queenstown, Tasmania. He moved with his mother to the southwest of W.A. and was involved in the timber industry on the Darling scarp before the war. During the war he served with Norm in 4 section, and after the war joined Norm in his building business in Denmark. In later years he and his wife Joan owned the Foursquare store, the present small IGA on Holling road. [4] My impressions from working in the Mountains of Timor are that the men of the Scotsdale valley would have been at home here. The subsistence farmers of East Timor would have been very similar to the farmers of 1920 Denmark. The Commando Campaign Against the Japanese The 2/2nd commandos had many stories of daring, ingenuity, bravery and loss in there year in Timor. Author Paul Cleary has written a ripping yarn of this campaign entitled “The Men who came out of the ground”. It is so titled because the Japanese were frustrated by these men whom appeared from nowhere, ambushed, and then disappeared. One of the great tales is how they managed to scrounge parts to build a radio to contact Darwin. Once they had convinced Australia it was really them, they received by airdrop desperately needed, medication, cloths, boots and ammunition. A small boat was also organised to come in stealthily by night to evacuate sick and wounded men on a regular basis. An interesting comment from one of the reinforcement soldiers who joined Norm and Geordies section was that he thought he has joined a platoon of scarecrows, so thin and emaciated were the soldiers who had been in Timor from the beginning of the campaign. By the end of 1942 Australia had decided to bring the 2/2nd commandos home, as the Japanese were killing many of the Timorese in a scorched earth policy, trying to deprive the commandos of food and shelter. Also, by this time the Americans had gained the upper hand in the Solomon Islands, and Kojonup farmer Brigadier Arnold Potts had led the Australians in the Kokoda campaign with the first elements of the 7th Division returned from the Middle East, bringing the Japanese advance to a stop. The commandos were to be picked up from the south coast of Timor at Betano, by the destroyer HMAS Voyager. Unfortunately, the Voyager came in too close and ran aground, only to be destroyed by Japanese aircraft at daybreak. A replacement destroyer was hastily organised and a couple of nights later the 2/2nd commandos left Timor, leaving 250 crying Kriaduon the beach, and a rearguard force that had to quickly melt into the mountains. Norm’s kriadu Nicolau Goncalves The story of Timor is the story of theKriadu. Norm’s kriaduwas Nicolau Goncalves, a16 year old from the hill town Basetete. He was an educated boy who spoke Portuguese and Tetum, and by the end of a couple of months he could swear in English. They lived and fought together for a year, saving each other’s lives many times. As an adult in1968 Nicolau came to Denmark on an Agriculture exchange sponsored by the Portuguese administration of Timor and the men of the 2/2nd. Portugal gave up all its colonies in 1975. Indonesia then invaded the fledgling independent East Timor. Nicolau, along with 3 of his sons were killed fighting the Indonesians. The story of the Goncalves family is the story of East Timor, with 200,000 out of 800,000 Timorese perishing in the invasion and subsequent famine. Nicolau Goncalves as a young man Indonesian closed East Timor to foreigners, and it was not until the 1990’s that international visitors could travel to Timor. Murray and Colleen Help in Timor In 1995 my sister Colleen and I travelled to East Timor and re-established our contacts with the Goncalves family. [5] In 1999 we once again visited East Timor as UN election observers, helping overseeing the ballot the UN had persuaded the Indonesians to hold for the future of East Timor. At the conclusion of the ballot, when the vote was known to be overwhelmingly for an independent East Timor, Indonesian militia gangs started a wave of looting, destruction and murder. It was appropriate that Australia led the International Assistance force under General Cosgrove that restored peace to East Timor and saw the withdrawal of Indonesia. The UN then administered east Timor until 2002, when it was granted independence. After the elections of 1999 and into early 2000 I worked for an NGO and the UN organizing food and emergency supplies for three provinces of East Timor. Murray Thornton at work for NGO after referendum vote Working alongside me was Janario Goncalves, one of Niciloe’s surviving sons. One of the chances of fate that life sometimes throws up was that I had to organize the first barge of rice to be shipped to the south coast of Timor from Darwin for the UN world food programme. We brought the barge into a sheltered bay on the South Coast, over the top of the wreck of HMAS Voyager. The Denmark East Timor Fuiloro Association Denmark’s connection with education and East Timor was driven by Libby Corson, a former English teacher at the Denmark Agriculture College. Libby and her band of fabulous helpers organised many events to sponsor East Timorese students. Between 2002 and 2012 the Denmark East Timor Fuiloro Association, with the great support of the Denmark community, sponsored students with over $100,000 for school fees and books. Whilst Libby worked at the College we were able to facilitate student exchanges between Denmark Ag School and Fuiloro Agriculture College. [6] With the support of Denmark sponsoring family’s we were able to sponsor 80 students to complete a diploma in agriculture, 150 students to complete high school, and 450 Primary students. The last of 10 Students sponsored at university will finish his Veterinary Science degree this year in Indonesia, before returning to East Timor. Conclusion East Timor now has money from oil and gas in the Timor Sea to pay for teachers and schools. It is still very much a third world country, and it will be a number of generations before it reaches the standard of health and education we take for granted in the West. Through education and friendship Denmark has been able to repay some of the Debt of Honour to the Timorese for looking after the sons of Denmark in the dark days of 1942. MURRAY THORNTON REFERENCES [1] ‘Vale Norman Thornton: tribute from Paddy Kenneally’ Courier April 1984: 9; ‘[Vale] Norman D. Thornton’ Courier February 1984: 8. [2] ‘Elections in Timor-Leste – Colleen and Murray act as election observers’ Courier June 2018: 2; https://www.communitynews.com.au/eastern-reporter/news/morley-great-grandmother-journeys-to-east-timor-to-volunteer-on-election-day/ [3] ‘Vale Jerry Haire’ Courier August 1990: 5-6. [4] ‘Vale George Hamilton-Smith’ Courier December 1989: 4-5. [5] ‘Murray Thornton's visit to East Timor’ Courier August 1995: 12-16. [6] https://wwwdotdfetdotorgdotaudotorg.wordpress.com/about/
  9. http://thewest2.smedia.com.au/Olive/APA/thewest-archives/SharedView.Article.aspx?href=WAN%2F2018%2F08%2F25&id=Ar04801&sk=AD6EB6A0
  10. Edward Willis

    Passing of Keith Hayes, OAM (1921-2018) - WX12317

    Following the recent notification of the passing of Fred Otway, members and supporters of the 2/2 Commando Association of Australia will be further saddened to learn of the passing yesterday of Keith Mortimer Hayes OAM , also an original member of the 2/2 and a stalwart of the old Association of which he was made a life member in 1988. Keith was 97 years of age. Details of Keith’s war service and awards, including his remarkable survival of the Ration Truck Massacre, can be found the Doublereds website: https://doublereds.org.au/history/men-of-the-22/wx/keith-mortimer-hayes-r335/ In 2007, he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the community of Timor-Leste through the Independent Trust of the 2/2nd Commando Association, and to veterans and their families. Association President Peter Epps has noted that: 'Keith spent many years helping to raise and send goods, school equipment, seeds and money to Timor and that is the main reason for his Life Membership of the Association. He did not like the lime light especially about his war service and injuries - he was one of the last gentlemen of that era’. The Association will publish a full Vale covering Keith’s life after his funeral service, details of which should be announced shortly. With Keith's passing Jack Hanson (Queensland) is the sole surviving member of the 2/2.
  11. Edward Willis

    Joseph William POYNTON

    Joseph (Joe) was an original member of the unit, embarking aboard “S.S. ZEALANDIA” on 8 Dec 1941 for Timor as a Private in No 2 Section, “A” Platoon. He took part in the defence of Dili Aerodrome and was awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal, London Gazette, 2 Feb 1943, a Dutch Bronze Cross, Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, No 233 23 Nov 1944 and Commander in Chief Commendation Card, 11 Jan 1943. After the campaign on Timor, he embarked with the unit, for Australia aboard the Royal Dutch destroyer “Tjerk Hiddes” on either 11 Dec 1942 or 16 Dec 1942, as the embarkation rolls do not differentiate. After leave and reorganization, he embarked with the unit for New Guinea aboard S.S. “DUNTROON” on 17 Jun 1943 as a Lance Corporal in No 2 Section, “A” Troop and returned to Australia with them aboard “TAROONA” on 3 Sept 1944. After further leave and reorganization, he embarked for New Britain aboard “TAROONA” on 9 Apr 1945 with the unit as a Corporal in No 2 Section, “A” Troop. Joe was discharged on 16 Jan 1946 but was then made a member of Australia’s London Victory March Contingent, with Service No WX500550, that embarked aboard HMAS “SHROPSHIRE” for the UK on 18 Apr 1946 and returned to Australia aboard HMAS “SHROPSHIRE”, arriving at Fremantle on 8 Aug 1946. Joe was made a Life Member of the Association in 1975 and his wife Helen was made a Life Member of the Association in 1981. Dutch Bronze Cross “During the operations at Dilli Aerodrome on the night of 19/20 February 1942, Pte POYNTON, together with three others, fiercely attacked Japanese troops crossing a small bridge leading to “DILLI” aerodrome, and by his example, coolness and daring, and total disregard of the danger he very materially prevented two attempts to take the aerodrome hangers. He fought the Japanese at close quarters with his tommy gun, inflicting several casualties. In subsequent action on the following day when Pte POYNTON and another soldier took up an ambush position, the other soldier very quickly inflicted one Japanese casualty. POYNTON, with great determination and daring went into action and silenced a Lewis gun nearest him with the Thompson machine gun. He then obtained some hand grenades from a Dutch soldier, rushed forward to a nearby tree, threw three grenades, the third of which blew up the gun and four of the crew. This resolute and daring action enabled Lt McKenzie to continue the manoeuvre". Note: The other two soldiers were WX11366 John Frederick FOWLER and WX13530 Frederick William GROWNS Distinguish Conduct Medal “During the operations at Dili Aerodrome on the night of 19/20 February 1942, Pte POYNTON, together with three others, fiercely attacked Japanese troops crossing a small bridge leading to “DILI” aerodrome, and by his example, coolness and daring, and total disregard of the danger he very materially prevented two attempts to take the aerodrome hangers. He fought the Japanese at close quarters with his tommy gun, inflicting several casualties. In subsequent action on the following day when Privates POYNTON and GROWNS took up an ambush position, GROWNS very quickly inflicted one Japanese casualty. POYNTON, with great determination and daring went into action and silenced a Lewis gun nearest him with the Thompson machine gun. He then obtained some hand grenades from a Dutch soldier, rushed forward to a nearby tree, threw three grenades, the third of which blew up the gun and four of the crew. This resolute and daring action enabled Lt McKenzie to continue the manoeuvre“. Note 1. The third soldier was WX11366 Fowler, John Frederick FOWLER. Mentioned in Despatches for this and other actions. Note 2. WX13530 Frederick William GROWNS.
  12. Edward Willis

    The Commando Memorial in Lochaber

    Hi Rob: I visited there quite a few years ago now and thought the attached booklet about the establishment of the memorial would be be of interest. Ed spean_bridge_50th_booklet.pdf
  13. Edward Willis

    Kenneth James MONK

    Ken was born in Cheltenham and went to the local state school until he was 10 years old, then the family moved to a farm at Athlone and he went to the Athlone state school. On leaving school Ken worked on Margaret's family farm at North Poowong. He joined the local Militia Battalion in 1938. He joined the 2/2nd in Timor in December 1941 with other reinforcements and stayed with the Unit until the end of the war. He was a very good and reliable member of 3 Section "A' Troop throughout the war years, reaching the rank of sergeant. He was discharged in January 1946 and returned to Athlone. Ken married Margaret in April 1947 and moved on to their own farm in Poowong East. It was very hard work getting established, living in a humble dwelling and they had to carry the milk by hand from the milking shed to the roadway for pick up in the early years until they had a very nice house built later. In the meantime they had four wonderful children, Barbara, Elva, Colin and Robert - a very loving and well knit family. Ken and Margaret were great supporters of our Association and hardly missed a function and went to most of our safaris around Australia and Ken served on our committee until his passing. East_Timor_trip_-_Robert_&_Colin_Monk_-_Courier_December_2010.pdf Ken Monk Timor memories - hand written.pdf Ken Monk Timor memories.pdf Vale - Kenneth James Monk - Courier December 1997.pdf Kenneth 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 in No 7 Section, “C” Platoon. After the campaign on Timor, he embarked with the unit, for Australia aboard the Royal Dutch destroyer “Tjerk Hides” on either 11 Dec 1942 or 16 Dec 1942, as the embarkation rolls do not differentiate. After leave and reorganization, he embarked with the unit for New Guinea aboard S.S. “DUNTROON” on 17 Jun 1943 as a Corporal in No 3 section, “A” 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 Corporal in No 3 section, “A” Troop. At some stage he was promoted to Lance Sergeant and was discharged on 10 Jan 1946.
  14. Edward Willis

    Charles Francis Gerald MCKENZIE

    Charles was commissioned Lieutenant 1 Mar 1941. He was an original member of the unit, embarking aboard “S.S. ZEALANDIA” on 8 Dec 1941 for Timor as a Lieutenant, Officer Commanding, No 2 Section, “A” Platoon. No 2 Section were detailed to defend the DILI Airstrip at the initial Japanese landing for which he was awarded a Military Cross, London Gazette, 2 Feb 1943, Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, No 337-31 Dec 1941. He was promoted to Temporary Captain on 4 Jul 1942 and Captain 1 Sept 1942. After the campaign on Timor, he embarked with the unit, for Australia aboard the Royal Dutch destroyer “Tjerk Hiddes” on 16 Dec 1942. Awarded a Commander in Chief Commendation Card, date unknown. After leave and reorganization, he embarked with the unit for New Guinea aboard S.S. “DUNTROON” on 17 Jun 1943 as a Captain, Officer Commanding, “C” Troop. He was awarded a Netherlands Bronze Cross, Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, No 233-23 Nov 1944. Transferred to 1st Australian Commando Training Squadron as an Instructor on 28 Feb 1944. Was a Member of the Australian Officers Mission to India, Aug 1944 to Apr 1945. Saw service with 51st Indian Brigade, 8/19th Hyderabad Regiment, 11th East African Division, No 11 Special Light boat Section (British Marine Commandos), this service entitled him to a “BURMA” Clasp for his “PACIFIC STAR”, this is very rare to an Australian Soldier. Promoted Major on 4 Apr 1945. He was discharged from the A.I.F. on 15 Jul 1949. He also served in the Regular Army with Service No 57542 and was Second in Command of 66th Battalion, with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan, 1946-1949 and 2nd battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, 1949-1953. Charles served as Commanding Officer, Southern Command Personnel Depot, 1953-1962. He was discharged on 17 May 1962 as a Lieutenant Colonel. Gerry's wife Mary was made a Life Member of the Association in 1986. McKenzie, Charles Francis Gerald Lieutenant WX5369 Dutch Bronze Cross “Lieut. McKenzie was in charge of a section at the Dilli Aerodrome on the night of 19/20 Feb. 1942, when a Japanese force landed and later occupied the aerodrome at Dilli. The orders for the demolition of the aerodrome were to have been given by the Dutch Headquarters, but as the lines of communication had been cut, Lieut. McKenzie summed up the position and acting on his own initiative, gave the necessary orders to demolish the aerodrome. About this time the enemy pressure on the aerodrome was considerable, and Lieut. McKenzie’s force was being surrounded. Lieut. McKenzie with great coolness, ordered an attack on a small bridge which the Japanese were using to approach the aerodrome, to synchronise with the demolition of the aerodrome. Fierce fighting ensured, resulting in a large number of enemy casualties. The dust caused by the demolition of the runways of the aerodrome permitted McKenzie’s party to withdraw under cover of this screen. The resolute action of Lieut. McKenzie and his sound, capable and determined leadership resulted in the very effective destruction of the runways of the aerodrome”. Military Cross “Lieut. McKenzie was in charge of a section of 18 men and 2 attached personnel at the Dili Aerodrome on the night of 19/20 Feb. 1942, when an enemy attack was expected. Communication with headquarters being cut, he acted on his own initiative and gave orders for the demolition of the aerodrome. As the attack developed and his force was in danger of being surrounded, he carried out an attack on a small bridge which was providing the enemy with access to the aerodrome. Fierce fighting took place, but the resolute action of Lieut. McKenzie and his men, and his capable and determined leadership, resulted in the destruction of the runways of the aerodrome”.
  15. WA RSL 'Listening Post' article about Timor 1942 Commando Campaign Tour.
  16. Edward Willis


    Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has just completed a visit to Timor-Leste to meet with members of the new government. During her visit she participated in a wreath laying ceremony at the Dare Memorial and met with President Francisco Guterres. These two events have particular Doublereds interest as revealed by these Tweets from Australian Ambassador to Timor-Leste Peter Roberts and Facebook post from the the Office of the T-L Minister of Defense, Dr. Filomeno da Paixão de Jesus: https://twitter.com/AusAmbDili/status/1024496396391436288 https://twitter.com/AusAmbDili/status/1024221789809926145 https://www.facebook.com/Ministro-da-Defesa-Dr-Filomeno-da-Paixão-de-Jesus-203833936940153/?hc_ref=ARRHmiLeXLLgY7JfQ9tNR8Alff0WhqpexhZZmoAFZmnvX8KCkEEgPIIhH8cA69Njb0g&fref=nf
  17. Edward Willis

    Alan Sidney LUBY

    Alan was an original member of the unit, embarking aboard “S.S. ZEALANDIA” on 8 Dec 1941 for Timor as a Corporal in R.A.M.C. Section, Headquarters Group. After the campaign on Timor, he embarked with the unit, for Australia aboard the Royal Dutch destroyer “Tjerk Hiddes” on 16 Dec 1942. He was promoted Sergeant 23 Dec 1942. After leave and reorganization, he embarked with the unit for New Guinea aboard S.S. “DUNTROON” on 17 Jun 1943 as a Sergeant in R.A.M.C. Section, Headquarters Group. Alan transferred out of the unit to 6th Australian Field Ambulance on 30 Jun 1944. He disembarked at cairns on 9 Oct 1944. He embarked for New Britain with 6th Field Ambulance as a Sergeant on “KATOOMBA” on 10 Mar 1945 and returned to Australia on 1 Jun 1945. Alan was discharged on 28 Sept 1945. SAVING LIVES WAS HIS VOCATION October 2, 2009 Alan Luby, 1915-2009. As a medical orderly serving with a guerilla unit in the mountains of Portuguese Timor and New Guinea during World War II, Alan Luby worked miracles of bush medicine to save the lives of seriously wounded men. At home he served with the NSW Ambulance Service for almost 50 years. He had joined the service before the war and enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force's ambulance service in July 1940 before joining one of the country's first guerilla units, the 2/2nd Independent Company. Serving as a medic with a guerilla force meant Luby was required to care for wounded soldiers while the enemy was still close by. He arrived in Timor in late 1941, leaving behind his fiancee, Edith Pengilly, from Parkes. Shortly after the Japanese landed in Timor in 1942 Luby treated a seriously wounded Australian soldier who had survived an execution. Private Keith Hayes had bayonet wounds in his back and shoulders, and a bullet wound in the back of his neck. Incredibly, his wounds were not life threatening, and, after being patched up by Luby, he was cared for by a Timorese woman who applied traditional mud packs to his wounds. Thanks to their combined efforts, Hayes survived and was later evacuated to Australia. He is still alive. A week later Luby heard a gun battle raging near his base in the mountains south-west of Dili. A force of about 200 Japanese had ambushed a unit of 14 Australians, leaving two dead and three wounded. A Timorese runner told Luby of the wounded men. When Luby arrived he saw Private Alan Hollow with his lower jaw blown away by a machine gun burst. Private Eddie Craighill had copped a machine- gun burst through his right shoulder, and another man had flesh wounds in his leg. Luby did not think Hollow would survive but he did what he could to stop the bleeding and keep him alive. He stayed with the wounded men for the next three days as the Japanese continued to pursue the Australians. Luby kept Hollow alive by asking the other men to find eggs and buffalo milk. He mixed these and dropped the liquid down the back of Hollow's throat with an eye dropper. Hollow survived, was evacuated to Australia for reconstructive surgery and went on to lead a relatively normal life. These were the first two emergency cases Luby handled in his first 10 days of seeing action, and he went on to save more lives of the 2/2 Company men until the end of the war. While in New Guinea, Luby was close by when Private Harry Sproxton had a cardiac arrest from an overdose of anaesthetic. The doctor gave Sproxton up for dead. Luby was undeterred and, believing that he could be resuscitated, pummelled his back. After some minutes Sproxton came back to life, and is still alive, aged 88. Alan Sidney Luby, who has died just before his 94th birthday, was born in Newtown, the son of John Luby and his wife, Phyllis Kennedy. After Luby returned from Timor in 1943 he and Edith were married. After the war he rejoined the NSW Ambulance Service, serving in Grafton, Gilgandra and Liverpool before moving into senior management. When he retired in 1980 he was deputy operations superintendent. He remained in contact with the ambulance service and was recently awarded a life membership. Until his death, Luby remained in close contact with his 2/2nd mates and other veterans of gue- rilla units. As one of the older men in the unit, he became a father figure. For 20 years he was also president of the NSW Commando Association, which represents all veterans in the state who served in special forces. In 1982 Luby succeeded in establishing a permanent monument in Martin Place to the World War II men who did not return from dangerous and often poorly planned missions behind enemy lines. The Commando Memorial Seat, opposite the Reserve Bank head office, displays the insignia of all 11 independent companies and commando squadrons, and those of the Z and M Special Units, whose members were sent into enemy territory and were in many instances captured, tortured and killed. Alan Luby is survived by his daughter Maria and grandchildren Kieran and Belinda. Edith and two other children predeceased him. Obituary written by Paul Cleary [author of 'The men who cam out of the ground'] Published in the Sydney Morning Herald http://www.smh.com.au/comment/obituaries/saving-lives-was-his-vocation-20091001-gel2 Alan Luby honoured - South Coast Times and Wollongong Argus (NSW : 1900 - 1954), Friday 30 August 1940, page 10.pdf Alan Luby's Timor reminiscences.docx Alan_Luby's_Timor_reminiscences.pdf Alan Sidney Luby NX55531 - service record.pdf Notes for talk to Warringah Rotary Club 2000.pdf Saving lives was his vocation.pdf
  18. This story complements my earlier post: ‘BRIGADIER MICHAEL CALVERT (1913–1998) – Trainer and Long-Term Friend of the Doublereds’. Learning map reading at training, Foster. L to R: unknown signaller, Mike Calvert, Freddie Spencer-Chapman Source: Sparrow Force [memoir of Lieutenant John Albert Rose NX65630] Both Freddie Spencer-Chapman and Michael Calvert were members of a small British military mission that arrived in Australia in November 1940. Its task was to establish a covert camp to train Australians as special forces for use behind enemy lines. The rugged and isolated Wilsons Promontory, a narrow-necked peninsula 230kms south east of Melbourne, was chosen. Reflecting on the 60 years since the establishment of the No. 2 Independent Company, original member Ray Aitken asserted in 2001 that: I firmly believe that the success of our Association stems from the oddity in our early history, namely, that spent in training on Wilson's Promontory, our contact with the British Army in the persons notably of Michael Calvert, a Commando demolitions officer, and Freddie Spencer-Chapman an Everest climber, … and again the strangeness of our service on the Island of Timor and hence our bond with the Timorese people. [Source: Ray Aitken '60 years young' 2/2 Commando Courier Vol. 137, June 2001: 1] SPENCER-CHAPMAN'S CHARACTER AND CAPABILITIES Ralph Barker wrote the first full biography of Spencer-Chapman in 1975 and provides the following insights into his character and capabilities based on those who came to know him at Wilson’s Promontory: [Source: Ralph Barker. - One man's jungle: a biography of F. Spencer Chapman, DSO. – London: Chatto & Windus, 1975: 178-182.] "He was asked if he would like to go to Australia, on a mission that was being sent to raise and train similar commando companies of Australians and New Zealanders, and he had no excuse to refuse. "I am to go abroad in two weeks' time," he told Uncle Sam. "It is sad in that I have just got things going here and am enjoying a really interesting and important job." But within a few days he was telling Erica Thompson: "I am looking forward to it for various reasons. Life has been rather too complicated lately. Joss was stationed up Kyle way and I have been seeing a good deal of her, which was very stupid I suppose. Queer that I don't seem to meet anybody else. Perhaps I shall in Australia .... " Another incentive was that Australia was the only continent he had not yet visited. No. 104 Mission, under Lieutenant-Colonel Mawhood, with Captain Mike Calvert* in charge of demolitions and Freddy in charge of fieldcraft, and with two warrant officers in support, left Britain on 6th October 1940 in the S.S. Rimutaka, crossing the North Atlantic and heading south for the Panama Canal. During the voyage Freddy and Mike Calvert established a relationship which they were always able to pick up again at the same point however long they were apart, based on mutual respect and an acceptance of where their lives and characters overlapped and interlocked and where they didn't. In fact, they had little in common. "Michael Calvert boxed and swam for Cambridge and the Army, has no nose left, and a large red good-natured rubber-like face which he can twist into the most ludicrous expressions," Freddy told Uncle Sam. "He is always laughing and cannot see why everybody else is not happy too." And of Freddy Mike Calvert said later: "He was a strange mixture. One moment he would be spouting high ideals, the next he would be supporting some perfidious scheme for blowing things up. He talked like a liberal and acted like an anarchist, and it amused me how swiftly he could change from one to the other." .... The Mission found the inertia of the Australian Government rather like England before Dunkirk, and with Mawhood absorbed in political and intelligence wrangles and intrigue, it was left to Freddy and Calvert to visit Australian units and recruit the men they needed. A training area was chosen on Wilson's Promontory, at the extreme southern point of Victoria, running out into the Bass Strait towards Tasmania; this promontory, about 20 miles long and up to eight wide, was virtually uninhabited, and it included every conceivable type of ground. There were high mountains and rocky crags, culminating in Mount Latrobe at 2,475 feet; eucalyptus forests as dense as any jungle; rolling open grassland and scrub; sand dunes and flats; every kind of swamp; harbours, beaches and islands to practise combined operations; and even a landing field. It was thus ideally suited for training troops who might have to fight anywhere from the Libyan desert to the jungles of New Guinea. A distinguished Australian soldier of the First World War, Major Stuart Love, was in overall command, and in Calvert's view he was an important influence in directing Freddy's ideas along practical lines. Calvert was an ideal foil for Freddy, and the Australians, suspicious at first of Freddy's clipped speech, unusual mode of dress (he was still wearing the kilt of the 5th Seaforths), and aesthetic good looks, were gradually won over. Yet for them Freddy was bound to remain something of an enigma. "His was not the easy camaraderie that appeals to all," writes ex-trainee Rolf Baldwin. "He was austere and other-worldly, and these are not the qualities that inspire universal affection." The other ranks were more amused than impressed by Freddy's stories of Greenland and the Himalayas, which, mimicked in a parody of the English accent, were always good for a laugh behind his back. And with the Australian's raw sensitivity towards British insularity, they resented such eccentricities as Freddy's choice of "the cry of the British tawny owl" as the rallying cry for a patrol. "What the bloody hell does he think we are?" they muttered. The inevitable snow bunting drew the same response. Yet they developed a strong affinity with him, as a pupil does for a master, and his detractors were greatly outnumbered by his admirers. "He told a good story and told it well," remembers J.H. Wass, "but always managed to turn it into a lesson which fitted into the training schedule. "Wass speaks of Freddy's magnetism being such that everyone came to almost worship him. "He had an impressive method of establishing a point in the training programme," writes Lex Fraser, who was second in command of the first of the Anzac independent companies. "For example, a day was to be spent in 'field-sketching' from the top of Mount Latrobe, and several groups were despatched to deal with varying segments of the field. The exercise could not be completed in the one day and as evening approached, some of the parties returned to base camp. Other parties completed the assignment and returned the following day. Freddy dressed the parties who returned down to size, with such effect that all, without direction, started off once again for Mount Latrobe, and some returned as long as three days later, but with the required information. This sort of training was invaluable to the morale of the independent companies." Most troops have a sneaking regard for a leader who is different and a little eccentric, even if he infuriates them at times, and the Australians had certainly never met anyone like Freddy before. He had many of the characteristics of the typical Pommie, with which they enjoyed a love-hate relationship of long standing; and in addition, he could out-walk, out-run, out-climb, out-track and out­ shoot the best of them. "I recall an incident," writes Lex Fraser, "when, after Freddy had established a time of 23/4 hours for climbing Mount Latrobe from our base camp on the Tidal River, an Australian succeeded in lowering this by half an hour. I can still see the determined look on Freddy's face as he left base camp and requested that he be checked on his arrival at the summit. He completed the limb in 13/4 hours and returned to camp at a lope. 'Now see if you can beat that,' he said. To my knowledge, this remarkable record was never beaten." Freddy himself described the training as a natural development of the Lochailort course, as practical as they could make it. While CaIvert taught the art of demolition, he taught how to get a party from A to B and back by day or night in any sort of country and to arrive in a fit state to carry out its appointed task. "This included all sorts of sidelines - a new conception of fitness, knowledge of the night sky, what to wear, what to take and how to carry it, what to eat and how to cook it, how to live off the country, tracking, memorizing routes, and how to escape if caught by the enemy." Few were to put these aspects of fieldcraft to better use than Freddy himself; but they were, of course, little more than an extension of the way he had so often lived his life, right back to his schooldays. Writing after the Burma campaign, Mike Calvert called Freddy "the best man at all forms of fieldcraft that I know". IN MALAYA On completing their Australian training assignment, Calvert was posted to India and Spencer-Chapman to Malaya. Commissioned into the Seaforth Highlanders as a lieutenant on 6 June 1939, Chapman's love of the outdoor life and adventure lead to him being chosen for the mission in Australia. That mission was to train Australian and New Zealand forces in guerrilla warfare and eventually to join what was then Special Training School 101 STS-101 in Singapore. This school had as one of its main objects the organization of parties to stay behind in areas the Japanese might overrun. Throughout the war Chapman remained a thorn in the Japanese side, accounting for the loss of no less than seven trains, fifteen bridges and forty motor vehicles and the killing of some hundreds of Japanese troops in a short period of time at the beginning of Japanese occupation. Source: Brian Moynahan. – Jungle soldier: the true story of Freddy Spencer Chapman. – London: Quercus, 2009: 276. In early 1942, he ran out of the supplies that had been hidden for stay behind parties such as his team. Freddie and his team then tried to escape from Malaya but had to hide from the Japanese in the Malayan jungle with the help of the Malayan Chinese Communists who lived in guerrilla camps in the jungle waging war with the Japanese. Source: Brian Moynahan. – Jungle soldier: the true story of Freddy Spencer Chapman. – London: Quercus, 2009: 209. However, due to the bad conditions in the jungle and also due to Japanese attacks, he gradually lost all his team members through disease and gunfire and was completely cut off. For more than one and a half years, he lived in jungle camps with Chinese Communist Guerrillas and travelled long distances through dense and difficult jungles often suffering high fevers, caused by malaria. In late 1943, he finally re-established contact with the British. Two other Britons joined him from Force 136. On a search-mission in the jungle for another stay-behind-Briton, Freddie was captured by the Japanese but managed to escape into jungle during the night, despite being surrounded by Japanese soldiers who were asleep as well as several on guard. Source: Brian Moynahan. – Jungle soldier: the true story of Freddy Spencer Chapman. – London: Quercus, 2009: 276. Due to continued Japanese attacks, he and the two members of Force 136, were isolated again among the Communist Guerrillas until early 1945. During that time, they had to fight against diseases of the jungle, namely, malaria, beriberi, dysentery and skin-ulcers from leech bites. Finally, with the help of the Malayan Chinese Communists, they managed to repair their radio equipment with spare-parts collected by the Communist Guerrillas (the military wing of this being the Malayan Peoples' Anti-Japanese Army) and could contact their headquarters in Colombo and organize reinforcements and supplies via parachute-drops into the jungle. Subsequently, they could support liaison of the British with the Malayan Chinese Communist Guerrillas and managed to escape from occupied Malaya in the submarine ‘HMS Statesman’ after a remarkable trek from the mainland jungle to the island Pulau Pangkor off the west coast disguised as Chinese labourers. Chapman was wounded twice during his time in Malaya, once in the leg by a steel nut from a homemade cartridge and once in the arm. He was captured both by Japanese troops and by Chinese bandits and escaped from both. He suffered in the jungle. Once he was seventeen days unconscious, suffered from tick-typhus, blackwater fever and pneumonia. Chronic malaria being the worst of it. He walked bare foot for six days. Source: Brian Moynahan. – Jungle soldier: the true story of Freddy Spencer Chapman. – London: Quercus, 2009: 354. However, much he suffered in the Malayan jungle, he attributed his survival to the basic rule that "the jungle is neutral". By this description he meant that one should view the surroundings as neither good or bad but neutral. The role of a survivalist is to expect nothing and accept the dangers and bounties of the jungle as of a natural course. Hence, one's steady state of mind was of the utmost importance to ensure that the physical health of body and the will to live were reinforced on a daily basis. In the foreword to Chapman's book on his experiences in Japanese occupied Malaya, ‘The Jungle Is Neutral’, Field Marshall Earl Wavell wrote "Colonel Chapman has never received the publicity and fame that were his predecessor's lot [referring to T.E. Lawrence]; but for sheer courage and endurance, physical and mental, the two men stand together as examples of what toughness the body will find, if the spirit within it is tough; …”. POST WAR On 21 February 1946 he was appointed to the Distinguished Service Order, backdated to 31 March 1944. A Bar followed on 7 November 1946. Like his fiend and training partner, Mike Calvert, Spencer-Chapman never fully settled into civilian life post-war, pursuing a career as a school headmaster and later manager of a university residential college; from time-to-time he suffered severe bouts of depression. When his health began to fail he took his own life at the age of 64. ADDITIONAL READING Work by Spencer-Chapman F. Spencer Chapman. – The jungle is neutral. – London: Chatto & Windus, 1950. https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.14185 Biographies of Spencer-Chapman Ralph Barker. - One man's jungle: a biography of F. Spencer Chapman, D.S.O.– London: Chatto & Windus, 1975. Brian Moynahan. – Jungle soldier: the true story of Freddy Spencer Chapman. – London: Quercus, 2009. Shorter biographical treatments of Spencer-Chapman Rebecca Kenneison ‘Freddy Spencer Chapman: from John’s to the jungle’ The Eagle 2014 [for members of St John’s College, Cambridge]: 35-42. https://en.calameo.com/read/002738954de73bd808b66 Jack Longland ‘Chapman, Frederick Spencer (1907–1971)’ in Oxford dictionary of national biography online. http://www.oxforddnb.com.rp.nla.gov.au/view/printable/30919 Alan Ogden. – Tigers burning bright: SOE heroes in the Far East. – London: Bene Factum Publishing Ltd, 2013. See espec. ‘Lieutenant Colonel Freddy Spencer Chapman, DSO and Bar’: 244-262. Linda Parker. – Ice, steel and fire: British explorers in peace and war 1921-1945. – Solihull, West Midlands: Helion & Company Limited, 2013. See Chapter 2 ‘Freddie Spencer Chapman’: 85-141. ‘Freddie Spencer Chapman’ Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freddie_Spencer_Chapman Vale J.H. Wass ‘Spencer Chapman’ 2/2 Commando CourierVol. 25, No. 235 November 1971: 22-23. https://doublereds.org.au/couriers/1971/Courier%20November%201971.pdf The author [Freddie Spencer Chapman] from a drawing by Peter Scott [1947] Source: F. Spencer Chapman. – The jungle is neutral. – London: Chatto & Windus, 1950: [ii]
  19. Uses interviews, archive footage by Damien Parer and dramatic reenactments to tell the story of 300 Australian men in East Timor and their bonds of friendship with the Timorese people, who sheltered them from the Japanese occupiers. Interviews with Sir Bernard Callinan and other veterans from Australia and Japan.
  20. BRIGADIER MICHAEL CALVERT (1913–1998) – Trainer and Long-Term Friend of the Doublereds The iconic image featured in the ‘Debt of honour’ exhibition in a panel titled ‘Raising the Independent Companies: Australia’s first special forces’. The photo shows Captain Freddie Spencer Chapman with the telescope and his colleague Captain Michael (Mad Mike) Calvert using the radio. [See attached photo] Both men were members of a small British military mission that arrived in Australia in November 1940. Its task was to establish a covert camp to train Australians as special forces for use behind enemy lines. The rugged and isolated Wilsons Promontory, a narrow-necked peninsula 230kms south east of Melbourne, was chosen. No. 104 Mission, under Lieutenant-Colonel Mawhood, with Captain Mike Calvert in charge of demolitions and Freddy in charge of fieldcraft [see attached photo], and with two warrant officers in support, left Britain on 6th October 1940 in the S.S. Rimutaka, crossing the North Atlantic and heading south for the Panama Canal. During the voyage Freddy and Mike Calvert established a relationship which they were always able to pick up again at the same point however long they were apart, based on mutual respect and an acceptance of where their lives and characters overlapped .and interlocked and where they didn't. In fact, they had little in common. Spencer-Chapman later recalled, ‘Michael Calvert boxed and swam for Cambridge and the Army, has no nose left, and a large red good-natured rubber-like face which he can twist into the most ludicrous expressions. He is always laughing and cannot see why everybody else is not happy too’. On completing their Australian training assignment, Calvert was posted to India and Spencer-Chapman to Malaya. Calvert became famous first as a daring assistant to the legendary Major-General Orde Wingate in Burma, and later during the Malayan emergency, where he became pivotal in developing modern SAS-style forces. Calvert and Chapman left indelible impressions on the men of early Australian Independent Companies (including the 2nd Independent Company) trained under their direction. The outstanding military careers of these two men deserves greater contemporary recognition. CALVERT POST WWII Post WWII, Calvert, despite all his experience, could not adapt to conventional peacetime soldiering. A lonely person, he started drinking heavily but the end of a distinguished military career came when serving in Germany he was accused of gross indecency and convicted by court martial. His appeal was rejected. Calvert strongly protested his innocence throughout, and subsequent examinations of the records, many years later, suggested that much of the evidence against him was unsafe. But the damage had been done. M.R.D. Foot knew Calvert extremely well, having employed him as a military history lecturer at Manchester University during Calvert's 'rehabilitation' years in the 1970s and was in no doubt that he had been, in effect, ‘guilty as charged’. What deeply upset Calvert and led to many years of drinking, depression and menial labour, was that very few of his British wartime colleagues would have anything to do with him after his conviction. One well-known individual told him that the best thing he could do was ‘to go and kill himself’. THE DOUBLEREDS' RESPOND TO CALVERT’S TRAVAILS Calvert’s travails were widely reported in the Australian press and a drew a sympathetic response from Harry Botterill in the Courier (September 1952: 6-7): May I add a word of praise for Bern Callernan’s [Callinan's] article on Michael Calvert. It was timely, wise and expressed sentiments which are shared by us all. I think we should have a meeting to evolve some means of conveying to our old friend that we are with him in spirit in this hour of need. His deeds of valour have been lauded from all walks of life, his book ‘Prisoners of Hope’ loudly praised. A slip that has caused his dismissal should not deter us in our efforts to bring solace to our comrade in arms. He needs our very help, for one I think we should give some positive action to letting ‘Mike’ know that we still hold him in high regard, his value to us in yester years, and we appreciate even in civvy life the many lessons of courage and sagacity that he instilled into us during the days of Wilsons Promontory. Our object is to help the indigent and lame over the stile. Mike needs a hand; we have to give. What about it, boys? Let’s back Bern’s article to the full with a show of just what sort of spirit exists in this Association of ours. There was additional supportive correspondence in the Courier (December 1952: 5): Major Love has written once again to give us some of his doings and to bring some news of our old friends Mike Calvert and Freddy Chapman. The good Major had received letters from both Fred and Mike are both were well. Mike said he had been made a political scapegoat and that he was entirely innocent of the offence with which he was charged. Freddy Chapman had thoroughly investigated the case and definitely was of the opinion that he was entirely innocent of the offence with which he was charged and at the very worst was guilty of indiscretion. We who knew both men so well are most glad to hear these tidings and will agree that Freddy Chapman’s judgement is good enough for us. AUSTRALIAN INTERLUDE After leaving the army, he went to Australia in 1952 but on arrival the job which had been offered to him in London was withdrawn by local management who had learned the circumstances of his dismissal from the army. His first port of call was Perth but he soon moved on, as reported by Col Doig in the Courier of June 1953: Michael Calvert arrived in W.A. and unfortunately his job at Kwinana did not eventuate and he has moved off East where prospects in his line of business are much more sound. Michael appeared to be a very sick man and goodness knows with all his troubles, worries and everything else that has happened to him since we last saw him he is entitled to be below form. I was able to see him on three occasions and had some quite interesting talks with him. Quite a few of the old Foster hands in Joe Burridge, Tom Nisbet, Geo. Boyland, Doug Fullerton, Keith Hayes, Mick Calcutt and Dave Ritchie were able to see him and have a few convivial drinks and chat over old times. Michael has since arrived in Victoria and is in the excellent hands of Major Love and Bernie Callinan. In passing, I would like to tell you that he has a high regard for our crowd, and from a man of his wide experience that is high praise indeed. GOVERNOR-GENERAL SLIM HELPS CALVERT Leo Cooper, publisher and later drinking companion of Calvert’s, provided this interesting anecdote about his Australian sojourn: I first met Mike Calvert when I offered to reprint ‘Prisoners of Hope’, in which he tells the story of the first Chindit expedition behind the Japanese lines in Burma. As such it has become one of the classics of military history and Brigadier Calvert himself one of the enigmas. 'Mad Mike', as he was known to the public, was a man of many parts. Some of them were dark and uncontrollable. Others were sheer brilliance, with an ability to earn the respect of his men. He was a sensible, intelligent and responsible operator. He and I formed an instant friendship which developed over the years and ended up shortly before his death with our publishing ‘Mad Mike’ which was really all that had been left unsaid after his own book but with a little bit more thrown in. Many people know the story of Mike's fall from grace and his homosexuality so there is no point in repeating it here, except to say that in his final months he talked to me quite a lot about it and I let him ramble on. In the end I was left without very much more information than I'd started with. He did, however, tell me one unforgettable story. …. He was doing menial work in Australia … He was apparently labouring on the docks. Someone got to hear of this and reported it to Bill Slim, Calvert's old Commanding Officer in Burma. Bill was, of course, by then Governor General of Australia. Learning what the situation was he immediately sent two equerries down to the docks to locate Mike and they smuggled him into Government House and there he stayed for a fortnight being dried out, washed and clothed and talked to, not lectured, by the great Bill Slim. Again, someone had rescued him from the brink. [Reference: Leo Cooper, All my good friends will buy it: a bottlefield tour. – Staplehurst, Kent: Spellmount, 2005: 160-161.] CALVERT KEEPS IN TOUCH WITH THE DOUBLEREDS During Calvert’s latter years he wrote to the Courier on several occasions providing updates on his current residential arrangements and activities that reflected his enduring affection for his Australian connection such as this effort from the Courier of September 1967 [see attached photo]: MICHAEL CALVERT, of The Flat, Beech Hurst, Old Avenue, West Byfleet, Surrey, England writes. The enclosed photograph might amuse you. You can get any sort of sign post set up with a direction to your home town. They have a table of distances to places all over the world and this to the Prom, is via Panama. Bernie Callinan and I had a couple of meals together during his recent visit here. He looks very well and decisive …. I am still a Highways Engineer of a minor sort in the Greater London Council, and obtained my A.M.I.C.E. the other day, partly due to Bernie Callinan being one of my sponsors … The friendship between Calvert and Callinan had developed in the Wilson’s Promontory days as recalled by Rolf Baldwin in the Courier of October 1995: It was interesting, too, to watch and listen to Bernie when he was with his Chief Instructor, Michael Calvert. In that case, he was measuring strength with a first-rate professional soldier of his own age and the interaction was a delight to watch. At one level were two keen, practical minds at work perhaps on a tactical problem or perhaps on a technical matter of how much explosive to use on a particular task. Often it would be some such business as the planning of the famous ‘Akbar Stunt’ but, whatever the matter in hand, it was easy to see the versatility of their minds and the quality of imagination in all their discussions. Yes, and there was a roguish sense of humour too, in which they were both richly endowed. CONCLUSION With serious deterioration in his health, he returned to England in 1960, still only 47, but his problems would not go away. He remained an unsettled personality and found it difficult to maintain continuity in most of his attempted ventures. Behind it all, he continued to brood over the perceived injustices of his court martial and one project after another seemed to go onto the rocks. He never had much money and his modest pension and earnings led to a greatly reduced standard of living in his declining years. He died in The Royal Star and Garter Home in Richmond on 26th November 1998, at the age of 85. His medals, which include the DSO and Bar, WW2 campaign stars and honours awarded to him by the French, Belgian, American and Norwegian governments, are now held by the Royal Engineers Museum in Chatham. FURTHER READING The military historian David Rooney has devoted considerable effort to reviving awareness of Calvert’s outstanding military career and rehabilitating his reputation; see: David Rooney, Mad Mike: a life of Brigadier Michael Calvert. – Barnsley, Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Military Classics, 2006. David Rooney, ‘Calvert, (James) Michael (1913–1998)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2009 http://www.oxforddnb.com.rp.nla.gov.au/view/article/71246 David Rooney, Guerrilla: insurgents, patriots, and terrorists from Sun Tzu to Bin Laden. - London: Brassey's, 2004, esp. ‘Guerrilla fighters: World War II’, pp.180-199. Calvert’s books also repay reading: Michael Calvert, Fighting mad: one man’s guerrilla war. – Barnsley, Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Military Classics, 2004. Michael Calvert, Prisoners of Hope. – Revised ed. - London, L. Cooper, 1996. [Rated as a classic] For a useful brief biography of Calvert, see: ‘Brigadier James Michael Calvert (1913-98) and the Chindits’ Royal Engineers Museum http://www.remuseum.org.uk/biography/rem_bio_calvert.htm These obituaries are also informative: M.R.D. Foot, ‘Obituary: Brigadier Michael Calvert’ The Independent, Wednesday, 2 December 1998 http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/obituary-brigadier-michael-calvert-1188603.html Ann Treneman, ‘The shaming of a hero’ The Independent, Wednesday 5 May 1999 http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/the-shaming-of-a-hero-1091460.html ‘Brigadier Michael Calvert’ Times [London, England] 28 Nov. 1998: 24. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 25 Nov. 2016.
  21. Hi Aaron: Thanks for your enquiry. The image is a still I captured from the following video recording: Independent Company [videorecording] : the Australian 2/2 Independent Company, Timor 1941-42 / produced with assistance from SBS T.V. and Film Victoria. [Victoria] : Media World, c1988. You can view the video using the following link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1EZWtbFdnfuQgatuSixPC_yMVLIPbmnco/view?usp=sharing Unfortunately, there is no information with the video indicating the source of the image. It is of poor quality and I don't think it can be enhanced. There shouldn't be any problems reproducing the image, but any enquiries should be directed to SBS T.V. or Film Victoria. Mawhood sounds like an interesting character. Regards Ed Willis
  22. The tour of sites connected with the No.2 Independent Company’s (2/2) campaign against the Japanese on Portuguese Timor during 1942 began on Sunday 22 April and was successfully concluded on Wednesday 2 May. The tour was led by 2/2 Commando Association Committee member Ed Willis and guided by Julio dos Santos of Timor Adventures. 12 people participated in the tour including 11 family members of 2/2 soldiers, notably Genevieve Isbell and Tricia Parr, daughters of Major Alexander (Allan) Spence the C.O. for most of the campaign. Mick Stone, Program Director of Timor Awakening, was also a valuable tour member. A map of the tour route and the itinerary are attached to this post as well as a slideshow of highlight photos from the tour. A full report on the tour is linked to this post and can be downloaded. Given the success of the tour and previous enquiries, Timor Adventures, the tour operator is calling for expressions of interest from others who may like to tour either later this year or in 2019. If you are interested in a future tour, please contact: Shirley Carlos Timor Adventures Send an SMS and Shirley will call you back: +670 78625995 +670 77261059 +670 77616371 www.timoradventures.com.au Click images to enlarge. Timor_1942_Commando_Campaign_Tour_report.pdf
  23. Edward Willis

    Timor 1942 Commando Campaign Tour - Successfully Completed

    Thanks for your supportive reply Helen. I think you're right about the Australian flag at Balibo - I think there is some fine print on the display that says it is a reproduction. All the recommendations I made in the tour report were discussed and supported at the last 2/2 Committee meeting. Priority was given to trying to get something done about the Dare memorial. I've contacted the Australian Ambassador in T-L to see if he can advise who has current ownership or responsibility for the site so the Association can work with whoever that is to remedy the situation. No response as yet. I continued contact with Mick Stone who is working with Ines on inaugurating a new memorial at Viqueque honouring the Timorese and Australians involved with Z Special operations and H-Force and local Timorese resistance members that will take place mid August. We're hoping that if this works well it will be a precursor of similar monuments and memorials elsewhere in T-L, such as at Nunutana. It would be great if Ambassador Guterres could meet with the 2/2 Committee whenever he is Perth - I'll suggest inviting him to the Committee. Actions to progress all the report recommendations are happening and I was hoping to get better informed and even get some 'runs on the board' before reporting more fully on them through Facebook, Doublereds and the Courier. Members of the tour group who are not on the Committee are helping with this. Any insights or information you have would be welcome. Timor Adventures are keen to run the tour again next year around the same time; I'm hoping to be involved again as well. Regards Ed
  24. Edward Willis

    George James Beedham MILSOM

    George joined the unit on Timor as a Private from 2/40th Battalion, after the fall of Koepang, approx. March 1942. He was one of the former Koepang men, who moved to the village of Mape for intensive commando training and on 8 May 1942, they were formed into a new Platoon, “D” Platoon under the command of Lieutenant Turton and later under Lt Doig. After the campaign on Timor, he embarked with the unit, for Australia aboard the Royal Dutch destroyer “Tjerk Hiddes” on 11 Dec 1942. He transferred to the 22nd Australian Motor Regiment on 12 Apr 1943 and re joined the unit on 9 Dec 1944. He embarked for New Britain aboard “TAROONA” on 9 Apr 1945 with the unit as a Trooper and embarked for Australia on 20 Jul 1945. George joined the Army Military History Section on 19 Sept 1945 and promoted to Sergeant on 8 Oct 1945. He went back to Timor with the Military History Section on 13 Oct 1945 and returned to Australia 8 Mar 1946. He was discharged on 12 Mar 1947. George James Beedham MILSOM (1918 – 1965) -TX4141 George Milsom was one of the 2/40 Battalion men who made their way from Dutch Timor to Portuguese Timor following the surrender of the rest of the Battalion contingent to the Japanese on 23 February 1942 after a heroic defensive battle against the invaders. About 200 Sparrow Force men escaped to Portuguese Timor. Most of these men were trades and specialist staff such as cooks and clerks and unsuited for a combat role and were later evacuated to Australia; a number of 2/40 men including George Milsom, however, were taken on as No. 2 Independent Company members, retrained and formed into a new platoon (D Platoon) under the command of Lt Don Turton, and served with distinction throughout the remainder of the Timor campaign before being evacuated back to Australia in December 1942. A major part of the art and photographs in the Australian War Memorial collection related to the 2nd Independent Company campaign in Portuguese Timor were created by two men who were members of the Australian Military History Section mission that went there in late 1945 and early 1946, namely war artist Charles Bush and photographer Keith Davis. The artistic and photographic contributions of these two men significantly add to the historical archive of the campaign not only by providing visual records of the places where the Doublereds lived and fought but also of some of the Timorese creados and Portuguese deportados who provided such essential support. The mission’s success was achievable by its being guided by Sergeant George Milsom, who through his war service in Portuguese Timor was very familiar with the sites visited and depicted by Bush and Davis. One of George Milsom’s daughters Elizabeth (Liz) Milsom is an artist who lives in Melbourne. Back in May 2010 Liz exhibited some of her father's Timorese related art work and other items that are now in her possession. Liz has very kindly made available images of items shown in the exhibition including a brief biography of her father, photographs from his participation in the Military History Section’s Timor Mission, woven pouches, illustrated letters that he wrote home and watercolour paintings of scenes of Timorese life inspired by his service there during WWII. The images provided by Liz are supplemented by others featuring George Milsom taken by Kenneth Davis during the Military History Section’s Timor Mission that are in the Australian War Memorial’s collection. GEORGE MILSOM George James Beedham Milsom was born in Unley, South Australia on 1 April 1918. He moved with his family to Tasmania where his father worked as an engineer for the Hydro Commission at The Great Lake. In 1940 George enlisted in the army and became a member of the 2/40th Battalion, which travelled to Koepang in Dutch Timor on the 8 December 1941. When the Japanese invaded what was then Dutch Timor in February 1942, the main body of Australian soldiers were overwhelmed and after three days of vicious fighting were forced to surrender. Around 300 soldiers refused to do this and set out to join the Australian forces in what was then Portuguese Timor. Only 40 soldiers arrived. The remainder were either betrayed to the Japanese or killed by West Timorese. George was one of the surviving soldiers and he joined the Australian 2/2nd Commando Unit stationed in Portuguese Timor. George is in the back row wearing his hat Source: Henning, Peter (2014). Doomed battalion : mateship and leadership in war and captivity : the Australian 2/40 battalion 1940-45 (2nd edition). Peter Henning, Exeter, Tas. Each Australian soldier serving in Portuguese Timor was befriended by a young Timorese who became their guide, comrade, porter and assistant. They helped the soldiers set up ambushes, carried their weapons, found food for them and lead them to safety after engagement with the Japanese. These Timorese men were called Creados, a Portuguese word meaning servant. However, the relationship between the Creados and the Australians was much more than this. They regarded each other as mates and deep friendships ensued. George's Creado was named Manuberi and he was from Ainaro. George returned to Australia after one year in Timor. He had developed malaria symptoms and was admitted to Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital. The war ended, George recovered, was promoted to Sergeant and became a member of a Military History Team. In 1946 a three-man team was sent to both Dutch and Portuguese Timor to record significant battle sites. George was the guide of this team; Lieutenant Charles Bush was the official war artist and sometimes used George as a model and Sergeant Keith Davis the photographer. In Dili they received help from two new Creados Fernando and Akiu. When George returned to Melbourne after his second trip to Timor he was hospitalised with malaria, tropical ulcers and amoebic dysentery. Some of the watercolours that George painted were made on site in Timor and some when he was in hospital. One of his visitors while in hospital was Mary Adams whom he had met in Tasmania. Mary's father F.R. Adams was the headmaster of Launceston Grammar where George attended school. George and Mary married at St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne in 1947. After living in Tasmania for about two years, George, Mary and children Robyn and Margaret, moved to King Island where George was granted a soldier settlement farm. During the next thirteen years on the sheep farm George and Mary had three more children, Alison, Elizabeth and John. In 1965 the family moved to Melbourne when George was diagnosed with cancer. He died that year leaving behind a special collection of Timor memorabilia. 45 years later his daughter Elizabeth, an artist living in the City of Port Phillip and a member of the Friends of Suai, is learning about her father through his connection with East Timor and is keen to keep the friendship ongoing. George Milsom was an avid letter writer and his parents kept all of his letters. George wrote two letters home after his arrival in Koepang in 1942. In January 1942 he writes that he has "sores on his leg which developed from mosquito bites"; these sores became tropical ulcers. During the second period in Timor (1945-46) George wrote around twenty letters home to his parents in Tasmania. In one of these letters he describes the meeting with Manuberi at a crowded market in Dili. When Manuberi heard that George had returned to Timor he walked over 50 miles from his village to see him. 1. Betano, Timor 15.12.1945 with the wreck of HMAS Voyager in the background, Sgt Milsom, Military History Section Field Team, and Jacob, who had: assisted the Australians against the Japanese, discuss the location of the evacuation of the 2/2nd Independent company in 1942. Photograph Keith Davis (AWM121479) 2. George and Manuberi from Ainaro 3. Sketch by Charles Bush of Manuberi 4. Timor, 10.11.1945. this boy Fernando was bayoneted by the Japanese, during their occupation of Timor. When the Australians returned in 1945, they kitted him out with a slouch hat, rifle and webbing. Photograph Keith Davis (AWM121423) 5. George and Manuberi, Dili, 12.1.1945. Photograph Keith Davis (AWM125263) 6. Dili, 29.12.1945 Military History Tours, left to right; Manuel Camara, Keith Davis, Antonio, Fernando, · Chas Bush, Georges Milsom, and Akiu. (AWM125248) 7. Our faithful staff; Alberto, Fernando, Akiu, Feb, 1946 8. Dili, Timor,9.12.1945 José Eduardo de abreu de silva Marques (Joe), seen with Sgt Milsom, reminisce over a map drawn by Milsom in 1942 when he was serving with the 2/2nd Independent Company. 'Joe' as he was known to Australian troops had assisted Milsom in recording the positions of Japanese troops. Photograph Keith Davis (AWM141403) 9. Sgt G. Milsom and war artist Lt Charles Bush, 1945 10. Military History Section Field Team 1945 - Sgt Keith Davis, Lt Charles Bush, Sgt George Milsom 11. Photograph of hand drawn map by George. The original is in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra. Photograph by Keith Davis. (AWM100888) 12. Sgt G. Milsom 1946 13. Tjamplong, Protestant church, Dutch Timor, used by the Australians in 1942 14. George in Catalina over Arafura sea en route to Timor, 13.10.45 15. [Church Ainaro] Photograph G. Milsom 16. [Waterfront Koepang?] Photograph G. Milsom ART WORKS BY GEORGE MILSOM AND OTHER ITEMS DISPLAYED AT THE 2010 EXHIBITION Native woven pouches Natives attending market, Native with bananas for sale, Chief of a village and Portuguese ‘posto’ Untitled [Village scene] Church - Tjamplong Soldier passing through village, Soldier buying paw-paws, Timor ponies and On the track View from a village in the mountains, Mountain village scene, Group of dancers, and Mountain scene Letters home IMAGES FEATURING GEORGE MILSOM TAKEN BY KENNETH DAVIS DURING THE MILITARY HISTORY SECTION’S TIMOR MISSION THAT ARE IN THE AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL’S COLLECTION Portuguese locals and the Australians they entertained at Christmas dinner [1945]. Identified are: (1) 252442 Flight Lieutenant Clive Maurice Hamer, of RAAF Intelligence; (2) an unidentified Portuguese local; (3) VX128381 Sergeant Keith Benjamin Davis, Military History Section, official war photographer; (4) an unidentified Portuguese local; (5) VX128043 Lieutenant Charles William Bush, Military History Section, official war artist; (6) an unidentified Portuguese local; (7) TX4141 Sergeant George James Beedham Milsom, Military History Section, formerly of the 2/2nd Independent Company; (8) an unidentified Portuguese local; (9) NX133274 Captain Reginald James Crilley, Australian War Graves Unit; (10) an unidentified Portuguese local; (11) 42005 Warrant Officer Deryck Noel Bingley, RAAF. DILI, PORTUGUESE TIMOR. 1946-01-11. SERGEANT G. MILSOM (LEFT) TALKING TO VASCO MARIA DE MARCAL (RIGHT), A PORTUGUESE WHO HAD BEEN OF GREAT ASSISTANCE TO THE AUSTRALIANS OF SPARROW FORCE DURING 1942. HE FOUGHT WITH CAPTAIN DEXTER AND "A" PLATOON AT AINARO, SAUIE, FATUCAUE AND BETANO. HE EMBARKED FOR AUSTRALIA WITH THE 2/2ND INDEPENDENT COMPANY AT BETANO ON 1942-12-12 AND LATER WORKED IN A WAR FACTORY. (PHOTOGRAPHER SGT K. B. DAVIS) 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 GUERILLAS 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) Informal outdoor portrait of, left to right: Sergeant (Sgt) George Milsom, ex 2/2nd Independent Company and Military History Section (MHS) field team; Staff Sergeant Paul Takeo Bannai, a Japanese-American interpreter with the United States Army Intelligence Service, later the first Japanese-American member of the California State Legislature; and Sgt Keith B. Davis, official photographer MHS and member of the field team. MAPE, PORTUGUESE TIMOR 1945-12-12. SERGEANT G. MILSOM, FORMERLY OF 2/2ND INDEPENDENT COMPANY, AND NOW ACTING AS GUIDE TO THE MILITARY HISTORY SECTION FIELD TEAM ATTACHED TO TIMFORCE, EXAMINES THE REMAINS OF BATTERIES IN THE BUILDING USED BY AUSTRALIAN SIGNALLERS AT FORCE HEADQUARTERS OF THE COMPANY. (PHOTOGRAPHER SGT K. DAVIS) 125405 - MUREMA, PORTUGUESE TIMOR. 1946-01-25. THE MILITARY HISTORY SECTION FIELD TEAM, HALTED ON THE ROAD TO ATSABE BY A LANDSLIDE ... AINARO, PORTUGUESE TIMOR. 1946-01-24. SERGEANT G. MILSOM, MILITARY HISTORY SECTION FIELD TEAM AND FORMERLY OF THE 2/2ND INDEPENDENT COMPANY, STANDS BESIDE THE GRAVE OF THREE PORTUGUESE PRIESTS. FATHERS PIRIS, ALBERTO AND LUIZ WERE KILLED BECAUSE OF THEIR ANTI JAPANESE SYMPATHIES. (PHOTOGRAPHER SGT K. B. DAVIS) AINARO, PORTUGUESE TIMOR. 1946-01-23. SERGEANT G. MILSOM, MILITARY HISTORY SECTION FIELD TEAM AND JAMIE, A TIMORESE WHO FOUGHT ALONGSIDE THE AUSTRALIANS, OUTSIDE WHAT WAS SPARROW FORCE BARRACKS DURING THE AUSTRALIAN OCCUPATION OF THE TOWN IN 1942. THE BUILDING ON THE LEFT WAS USED AS A COOKHOUSE. (PHOTOGRAPHER SGT K. B. DAVIS) LAUTEM PLAIN, PORTUGUESE TIMOR. 1946-01-04. LIEUTENANT BUSH, OFFICIAL ARTIST, AND SERGEANT MILSOM, MILITARY HISTORY FIELD TEAM, EXAMINING ONE OF THE SHARPENED BAMBOO STAKES THE JAPANESE PLACED ON THE PLAINS AND OPEN SPACES THEY THOUGHT SUITABLE FOR ALLIED PARACHUTE LANDINGS. (PHOTOGRAPHER SGT K. B. DAVIS) Lautem, Portuguese Timor. Senhor Gonsales seated on the verandah of a mud house built by the Japanese. VX128043 Charles William Bush (in shorts), Military History Section (MHS), an Official War Artist, is working at an easel. Also identified (far right, back to camera) is TX4141 George James Beedham Milsom, MHS. AINARO, PORTUGUESE TIMOR. 1946-01-24. SERGEANT G. MILSOM, MILITARY HISTORY SECTION FIELD TEAM AND FORMERLY OF THE 2/2ND INDEPENDENT COMPANY, RE-ENACTS WHAT WAS A REGULAR OCCURRENCE DURING THE AUSTRALIAN OCCUPATION OF AINARO. AS MANUBERI HIS CREADO OR NATIVE HELPER POINTS TO THE DISTANCE SGT MILSOM RINGS ONE OF THE CHURCH BELLS THAT WERE USED TO SOUND AIR RAID ALARMS WHEN THE JAPANESE AIRFORCE LAUNCHED BOMBING RAIDS ON THE TOWN. (PHOTOGRAPHER SGT K. B. DAVIS) SAME, PORTUGUESE TIMOR 1945-12-16. SERGEANT G. MILSOM, MILITARY HISTORY SECTION FIELD TEAM, FORMERLY A MEMBER OF THE 2/2ND INDEPENDENT COMPANY, RENEWS ACQUAINTANCES AMONG TIMORESE NATIVES. SERGEANT MILSOM ACTED AS GUIDE TO THE MILITARY HISTORY TEAM AS IT TRAVERSED THE AREAS WHERE THE 2/2ND AND 2/4TH INDEPENDENT COMPANIES CARRIED OUT GUERRILLA WARFARE AGAINST THE JAPANESE OCCUPATION FORCES.