1942 commando track

In 1942 members of Australia’s 2/2nd Independent Company came to Portuguese Timor and successfully fought a guerrilla war against the Japanese . This would not have been possible without the young Timorese men who supported these soldiers. The Independent Companies were Australia’s first commandos and the 2/2nd Independent company were the first Australian commandos ever to engage the enemy. 

More information about the 2/2nd Independent company can be found on the 

2/2nd Commando Association website

The track connects historical sites, significant to the actions of the 2/2nd Independent Company, from the North coast near Bazatete to their evacuation point on the South coast near Betano.

The 1942 commando track aims to raise awareness of the 2/2nd Independent company , Timor-Leste and the Timorese people that supported them by bring more visitors to Timor-Leste in order to create employment. 

Section 1: Asumanu – Atsabe  now open

Download the itinerary

Download the tour information documents: Preparation, equipment and much, much more

What is like to trek across the 1942 commando track?

This video will give you some idea. Adam Constanza is a New Zealand volunteer working with Timor Adventures on capacity development. Adam also run a the Travel Inspired website where this story is from. http://www.travelinspired.co.nz/

Adam volunteered to be the first foreigner to walk with our guides on their 3rd survey of the track. Adam’s video covers days 3 and 4 of the trek; from Hatolia to Atsabe.  

More information and resources about Australia’s first commando campaign:

This Newsreel  titled “The men of Timor” was produced by Damian Parer in September 1942 it tells the tale of Australia’s first commandos, the members of the 2/2 independent company

 

Additional resources about Timor 1942

Despite the actions of these Australian soldiers being less well known than those of Kokoda there are still some excellent resources available

The Australian War Memorial 

The West Australian Museum held an exhibition titled Debt of Honour

The 2/2 commando Association has website called Double Reds

Books 

Cyril Ayris – All The Bull’s Men

Archie Campbell – The Double Reds of Timor

Compiled by C. D. Doig – A History of the 2nd Independent Company and 2/2 Commando Squadron

Bernard Callinan – Independent Company : the Australian Army in Portuguese Timor 1941-43

Christopher C. H. Wray – Timor 1942: Australian Commandos at War with the Japanese 

Paul Cleary – The men who came out of the ground : a gripping account of Australia’s first commando campaign : Timor 1942 

 

Development of the 1942 Commando Track

Over many years several people have talked about the idea of creating a track that follows the actions of the 2/2nd Independent Company in Portuguese Timor during 1942, something similar to the Kokoda Track. It is a good idea but very complex to do. This was a guerrilla war, actions took place in many locations with a highly mobile force, there is no 1 clearly defined path to follow. The answer came in the form of this map of key sites supplied to me by Ed Willis of the 2/2nd Commando Association (Below). From there it was a matter making choices about which sites to connect, finding the route between the sites, refining the route and eventually testing and trialing the route over a series of 4 surveys. It has been an amazing experience but it has taken many months of work and the support of colleagues and local people to make this happen. The places where the commandos walked in 1942 were mountainous and remote and today they remain so. The track cuts across local lands and village tracks. The support of local people is critical to making this work. We conducted formal community consultations in Bazatete, Hatolia and Atsabe and the guides spent many hours talking to local people along the route.