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Archie Campbell’s story.

This is a photograph of a reunion between Archie Campbell of the 2/2nd Company with Barana his criado after thirty years.

In his book ‘The Double Reds of Timor’ Archie Campbell describes how on 16th December 1941, the bugle sounded action stations. The ‘Sparrow Force’ (2/2nd Independent Company) rushed ashore with bayonets fixed wondering why they were invading East Timor. Then to their shock and surprise they were met by a Portuguese civilian who strolled out and greeted them with a polite lift of his hat: “Good Afternoon”. The soldiers looked at each other in astonishment. Unknown to them the Portuguese government had peacefully relinquished the island to the invasion force. Archie’s friend Jim Smailes picks up on the humour and the irony of the moment in his poem, which is preceded by a sentence from a somewhat disappointed and disillusioned veteran

“it seems our single claim to fame and glory is that we shall go down in history as the first troops of Great Britain or Australia to violate another country’s neutrality in the war.”

Jim Smailes wrote an epic poem about it.

Later on Archie writes:

we are all feeling an involvement of the heart here which we have never experienced before”.

They also document a terrible betrayal of the Timorese and record that 40,000 Timorese died because Australia involved them in World War II. I have been unable to find any Monument that acknowledges them in the Victorian Remembrance Gardens. Patsy told me that many veterans named their children after their criados (servants) and their properties have names to remind them of Timor. There is a monument at Wilson’s Prom I believe. If you have a photograph of that you might send it to us and we will post it on sms.