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SEVEN Australian veterans of the
World War II Timor campaign joined
Minister for Veterans' Affairs Warren
Snowdon for a ceremony at the
Dare-Fatanuba memorial in Dili on
"Despite being outnumbered, the
Australians undertook many suc-
cessful guerrilla operations with the
support of the Timorese people. The
Dare-Fatanuba memorial acknowledg-
es Australia's appreciation for their
amazing commitment and persever-
ance," Mr Snowdon said.
"We cannot forget the contribution,
and the sacrifice of the Timorese peo-
ple in assisting our men. Today we pay
tribute to all who died in the defence
of Timor, including the local men and
women who prevented many more
The veterans met serving soldiers
deployed on Operation Astute to swap
stories and compare equipment.
The Timor campaign was one
of the first land actions against the
Japanese after the Fall of Singapore in
1942. The Japanese invaded Timor on
February 20, 1942, the day after the
Bombing of Darwin.
Some 1400 Australian troops from
Sparrow Force deployed to Timor in
December 1941 in a bid to prevent the
island being used as a staging point for
an invasion of Australia.
After resisting the Japanese attack
for a short time, most of the Australian
and Dutch troops were captured.
Some joined the 2/2nd Australian
Independent Company which, with
the support of the Timorese, waged
a year-long guerrilla war against the
Australian troops with the 2/4th
Independent Company arrived in the
second half of 1942 and assisted in the
guerrilla campaign. Australia lost two
naval vessels -- HMAS Voyager and
HMAS Armidale -- during the cam-
By mid-February 1943, the
Australian troops were withdrawn.
The Australian casualties of the Timor
campaign were more than 100 dead
and more than 130 wounded.
Recognising service 70 years on
Sharing stories: WWII veteran Ian Hampel inspects the weapons being
used by troops in East Timor during a visit to Dili for the 70th anniversary
of the Timor campaign.
Photo provided by DVA
Sqn-Ldr Paul Lineham
CPL Matt Pratten spends any
spare time he has on his deploy-
ment to East Timor preparing for
one of the major challenges of
In October, when his tour
has finished, he will take on the
Peru Challenge, a punishing trek
through the Lares Valley in the
Andes mountains of Peru to the
sacred Inca site of Machu Picchu
2438m above sea level.
Cpl Pratten's goal is two-
fold -- as an ex-infantryman, he'll
prove to himself he's still got it
when it comes to long stomps,
but more importantly he's intent
on helping raise the profile of
the Black Dog Institute and
awareness of mood disorders.
He's well aware of the dangers
of mood disorders, having had
a number of encounters with
depression in the past himself.
"I wouldn't have gotten
through it without a lot of help
and support," he said.
"I aim to push myself to the
limits to show those who have
given me a hand that it has been
However, before his great
adventure starts he has an addi-
tional challenge -- to raise $4000
to take part in the trek.
The funds will be donated to
the institute, which is attached
to the Prince of Wales Hospital
in Sydney and affiliated with the
University of NSW.
The Peru Challenge 2012 is
not only a physical challenge
for Cpl Pratten but an emotional
challenge as well.
To help Cpl Pratten march to Machu
Picchu, check out his online page http://
Photo by LAC Oliver Carter
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