'Sparrow Force', so named mid-July 1941. 'Lark Force' was destined for Rabaul, 'Gull Force' for Ambon

Upon embarkation from Darwin to Timor on 10th December 1941, unit strengths were...
2/40th Infantry Battalion (766 officers & men)
2/11th Field Company, No.2 Section RAE (46; officer & men)
2/1 Heavy Art. Battery (126 officers & men)
2/1 Fortress Engineers (52 officers & men)
2/1 Fortress Signals (36 officers & men)
23rd Brigade Signals (6 other ranks)
18 Anti-Tank Battery , B Troop (26)  
2/12 Field Ambulance (13 officers & men)
75 Light Aid detachment (10 officers & men)
Army Service Corps (36 officers & men)
22nd Army Dental Unit (5; officer & men)
2nd Independent Co. (268  officers & men) landed at Koepang, went on to Portuguese Timor
Many men had already left for Christmas leave home.

79 Light A-A Battery (c.180 officers & men) British later sent from Java in Feb. 1942
Dutch forces at Koepang (188 officers & men)
No.2 Squadron RAAF with 12 Lockheed Hudson Mk II bombers

Reconnaisance of Koepang, Timor carried out in March 1941. Again mid-April.
It was common knowledge that the Japanese would enter the war on the side of the Axis powers.
In April, HQ was considering defence of Darwin from Japanese attack
Sparrow Force comprised of about1,330 men & 70 officers, including 2nd Ind. Coy.

2/40th Infantry Battalion (Tasmania) - recruited July 1, 1940, 23rd Brigade, 8th A.I.F.
CO: Lt.-Col. G.A.D. Youl [replaced Oct 1941 by Lt.-Col. W.W Leggatt]

July 01 Colonel G.A.D. Youl was announced as the proposed commander of 2/40th
July 20 Recruiting drive launched for 2/40th, many transferred from local militia units
Sep Brighton camp, just north of Hobart city
Oct Brighton camp
Nov Brighton camp
Dec Brighton camp

Jan 07       Departed Hobart on the Zealandia at 1845 hours with 33 officers & 817 men, bound for Melbourne
Jan 08       H.M.A.T. Zealandia
Jan 09       Disembarked Zealandia, train to Bonegilla in northern Victoria, near Albury 1700
Feb 14      March through Melbourne streets, to & from by train
  fri           At Bonegilla, new reinforcements were mostly Victorians, many to ‘C’ Coy.
Feb 28      Friday march through Albury streets
Mar 29      left Bonegilla by train for Adelaide
Mar 30      on train for Adelaide
Mar 31      arrived 0800 hrs
Apr 01      Wayville showgrounds, Adelaide S.A. for one week, training
Apr 08      Left by train for Terowie S.A., where they camped in tents. 10 mile route march
Apr 09      Terowie. Six special trains required
Apr 10-12 Alice Springs. Then left by 30-40 trucks for Darwin. Dusty first, then lots of rain
Apr 13       Barrow Creek
Apr 14       Banka Banka, resumed convoy north, halted at night at No.3 bore
Apr 15       No.3 Bore - left 06.30. Arrived Larrimah 0800, entrained for Katherine
  tue           Left 1000 hrs, arrived 1430. Tennant Creek?
Apr 16       Katherine, 1st group
Apr 20       Katherine, 700 of 2/40th there.
                  No swimming in river (crocodiles), local plonk warning,
                  No fraternising with aboriginals; leprosy and VD problems
Apr 25       Katherine for Anzac Day, sports day afternoon
                  Reconnaissance undertaken of surrounding areas, to Qld. in east & W.A. to west
May 01      Katherine, continuing preparation of new camp site
May           Reconnaisance to Timor by Lt.-Col. Youl
end May    Still staying at Katherine
                  Advance party to Koepang, supplies & setup for battery & Ops.
[Jun-Dec]  Outside Darwin, working like ‘navvies’ on roads, bridges, &c.
Jun 02        Draft reinforcements, 78 taken on charge, many from Victoria
Jun 04        One company moved north to Darwin vicinity, for new camp site
Jun 07        Another company left for Adelaide River
Jun 14        C Coy. left for new camp at 28 mile (Noonamah, 28 mile, Adelaide River)
Jun 16        HQ Coy left for new camp site at 2015 hrs.
Jun 20        Training, defence of airdrome from paratroop drop
Jun 21        HQ & 1st Reinforcements, Katherine to Noonamah (28 miles south of Darwin)
Jun 22        Noonamah, N.T. HQ established. Others followed
Jun 23        New camp construction commenced at Noonamah, the 28 mile
Jun 24        Camp construction continued
Jun 25        Camp construction continued
Jun 26        Camp construction continued
Jun 27        Recce of Batchelor aerodrome. Camp construction continued
Jun 28        Camp construction continued
Jun 29        Camp construction continued
Jun 30        Camp construction continued
Jul 01        Camp construction, Noonamah, Darwin defence alert exercise
Jul 02        Camp construction continued to 8th August
Jul 12        HQ Coy. MG Carrier & mortar practice in attack
Jul 14        HQ Coy. firing range, carrier & mortar practice
Jul 15        B Coy, company in attack exercise on live firing range
Jul 16        A Coy, company in attack exercise on live firing range
Jul 18        Recce of Btn. alert, Darwin attack position
Jul 19        Recce of Btn. alert, Darwin attack position
Jul 21        Rehearsal for review by Governor General, Lord Gowrie at Winnellie
Jul 22        Rehearsal for review by Governor General, Lord Gowrie at Winnellie
Jul 23        Preparation for march through Darwin on 24 July
Jul 24        March through Darwin, salute taken by G.G. & C.in.Chief, Lord Gowrie
Jul 28        D Coy. firing range practice, Coy. attack exercise
Aug 01      Btn. in defence & attack exercise. Exercises repelling Japanese landings
Aug 04      Alert position in defence of Darwin issued
Aug 05      Darwin defence instructions issued.
August       Mostly training. Riots in Darwin, leave in town was banned
Sep           Mostly training
Oct           Mostly training
Oct 06-12 Further recce of Timor carried out by Youl and company commanders of 2/40th with Maj. Wilson (2/1 Heavy Batt.), Capt. Hamilton (2/1 Fortress Sig.),
                  Capt. Ransom (2/1 Fortress Eng.), Capt. Read (Service Corps). Sparrow Force was to defend airfields and delay Japanese advance.
                  Lt.-Col. Veale was given command over whole Sparrow Force.
Nov 07      Lt.-Col. Youl replaced by Lt.-Col. Leggatt after Youl complained of deployment
Nov 19      Tactical Exercise no.10, 2/11th Field Coy. involved too
Dec 07      Flight of Hudson bombers from No.2 Squadron flew to Ambon
Dec 08      Logged on record as end of service in Darwin theatre.
Dec 10      For 2 days, crowded ships at wharf while being loaded by wharfies (go slow!)
  wed         2/2 Ind. Co. arrived at wharf, direct from train to Darwin, onto ‘Zealandia’
                  Embarked Darwin on Zealandia and Westralia (B Coy. with 2nd Ind. Coy, other units)
                  Unionists sabotaged & pilfered stores by rough handling; radio equipment and vital store unserviceable, contributing to some of the failures in Timor.
                  Westralia faster, Zealandia speed 8 knots, shuddered at full speed 12 knots.
Dec 12       Arrived at Koepang, Jap submarine nearby was bombed but likely escaped
  fri            Only one coral stone jetty at Usapa Besar. Unloading stores continued to Dec 14
                  Troops disembarked by 1.30pm. Tom Uren cut foot wading ashore. Main party to Penfui airfield, 3k inland from Usapa Besar, 13k by road from
                  Koepang. Fixed defence troops sent to Klapalima, 5km east of Koepang, gun positions.
Dec 14       Unloading of ships completed at mid-day. 2nd Ind. Coy. to protect airfield at Atambua in Portuguese East Timor.
Dec 15       Units started digging in at locations, around Koepang, Usapa Besar, Penfui.  C Coy. of 2/40th entrenched at Penfui with 2/11 Fd. Coy. Coral stone tarmac.
Dec 16       At 8am, 115 men of 2nd Ind. Coy. went by Surabaya to Dili with 260 Netherlands East Indies troops, escorted by Hudson bombers.
                  The remainder of 2nd Ind. Coy. follow on Canopus after it returned from Dili.
late Dec      Men of 2/11 Field Coy. started digging deep latrines as dysentery & diarrhoea became rife due to unsanitary conditions. Dutch did not prepare as promised.
                  2/40th A & B Coy. to beach defence between Koepang & Usapa-Besar.
                  2/40th C Coy. at Penfui airfield; 2/40th D Coy. (Capt. Trevena) as mobile reserve. Dutch forces to defend Koepang to Tenau
Dec 26       Work resumed in beach defences (A & B Coy.)
Dec 27       2/11th started mining Penfui airfield for demolition
Dec 28       Defensive positions being improved, intelligence summary presented
Dec 29       Heavy rain, roads boggy
Dec 30       Heavy rain, roads boggy
Dec 31       Heavy rain, roads boggy

Jan 01         Heavy rain, roads boggy
Jan 02         Heavy rain, roads boggy
Jan 03         Heavy rain, roads boggy
Jan 04         Heavy rain, roads boggy
Jan 05         Dysentery rampant with the wet weather and poor sanitation. There were 5 medical officers with Sparrow Force, 1 of whom was with 2nd Ind. Coy.
                   Also Dutch doctor, Henri Hekking, resident in Koepang.
Jan 06         Malaria too, with the wet season and mosquitoes
Jan 07         Cuts & scratches turned into tropical ulcers as clothing was inadequate. D Coy mobile reserve moved to Babao.
Jan 08         Continued movement of stores to base
Jan 09         LAD moved out to Babao. Heavy rain continued
Jan 10         Weather fine & warm, construction continuing
Jan 11         R.C. church parade
Jan 12         Weather fine and hot
Jan 13         Penfui inspection, work still insufficient (demolitions & defences)
Jan 14         Intruders in ammo dump, sentries fired on them
Jan 15         US squadron incl. USS Marblehead & USS Boise arrived, 6-in. Mk XI guns proofed
Jan 16         US ships left
Jan 19         Koolama arrived Koepang w/ 218 reinforcements & leave returnees, also to 2/2nd
Jan 20         Lockheed Hudson stalled on take-off and crashed at Penfui.
Jan 22         Bantam & Swan from Ambon arrive at Koepang with more military equipment
Jan 23         Some US aircraft arrived Penfui en route to Java. 55 2/2nd reinforcements to Dili
Jan 24         Mail & parcels coming in by plane
Jan 25         About.18 US Kittyhawks landed at Penfui en route to Java, Jap recce planes seen
Jan 26         7 Jap Zeros attacked Penfui airfield, damaged 2 planes
Jan 27         Jap aircraft attacks every few days
Jan 30         42 Jap air attacked Penfui & Mina River dispersal fields, destroying Hudson at each field, shot down Qantas flying boat over the sea & unarmed Dutch seaplane
Jan 31         Japanese attacked Ambon
Feb 01        Jap aircraft strafing, bombing & recce almost daily
Feb 02        In attacks, one member of 2/11 working on hangar had ‘Australia’ badge shot off
Feb 04        Jap aircraft attacked shipping in Keopang Bay, Kittyhawks staged through Penfui
Feb 08        Jap aircraft attacked 3 cargo ships & 3 Dutch seaplanes off Roti Island
Feb 09        9 Kittyhawks & 3 Dauntless dive-bombers left Darwin for Penfui, shot up by small arms fire all along the beach. One Dauntless damaged, all Kittyhawks lost.
Feb 10        Most of Kittyhawk pilots rescued from crashed aircraft by Dutch, but one died. Jap parachute seen near Tjamplong, communications later cut by this Jap
Feb 12        Veale & Cape arrived, left for Tjamplong; US Lt.Col Phillips, 148th Artillery Regt. too?
Feb 13        Jap parachute seen near Tjamplong, communications later intercepted by a Japanese.
Feb 14        Hudson took off from Penfui, hit by lightning & crashed at Liliba
Feb 15        Reinforcements for Timor left Darwin, attacked, returned as they had no air cover. Japs started dropping propaganda leaflets on the Timorese. Singapore fell.
Feb 16        British 79th Light A-A arrived from Java on Bang Hong Leone, unloaded at Tenau. Jap bombers flew over Koepang en route to Darwin to bomb reinforcing convoy
Feb 18        6 RAAF Hudsons sent to evacuate US personnel & most RAAF men, left on 19th at2 am.
Feb 19        After midnight. Japanese invade Dutch Timor. Also bombed Darwin with 188 planes. 13 Jap ships sighted from Semau Island just before dusk, headed south-west.
Feb 20        2am, 5,000 Japs landed at Paha River on south coast. Koepang & Penfui attacked, Jap paratroops landed 5 miles NE of Babau, cutting road to Tjamplong.
  fri             Jap marines to Usau to link up with paratroops. Penfui airfield ordered destroyed. Jap bombers attacked guns at Klapalima in 2 raids,  guns destroyed by gunners on their
                   retreat eastwards to Penfui. CO Maj. Wilson killed. Planes all day. c.500 Jap naval paratroops landed as Penfui field, fuel & ammo dump was destroyed by sappers of 2/11th.
Feb 21        Dutch forces decamped, did not want to fight the Japs who refused a truce talk. Rearguard action east towards Babau, 2/11th blew bridge over Manikin River.
  sat            C Coy advanced to Obelo & Babau. British A-A crews shot down 12+ Jap aircraft. Another 300+ paras landed 8km west of Babau, cutting road to HQ Champlong,
                   one or two transports with paratroops shot down by British Bofors. Babao was retaken. More planes shot down too. Japanese forces from the coast catch up behind column.
Feb 22        Attack on Usau under heavy fire, attempts all days failed to dislodge Jap paras & marines. 2/11 Field Engineers cleared road block, 2/1st fought alongside 2/40th infantry.
  sun           After dusk, the ridge was taken and the villages followed. Mortars killed most of the enemy behind the ridge, over 800 Japs. A few survivors ran away, most out of ammunition.
Feb 23        After night at Irekum, Leggatt moved east towards Champlong HQ. Column of Jap tanks & artillery at rear of column with white flag! Japs surrender? No, 'you put down!'
  mon          Told there were 20,000+ Japanese, armour, total air control. More forces coming up from Koepang. Force nearly out of ammunition, no water, food, no sleep for 3 days,
                   wounded at the rear, unsure whether Champlong HQ was in enemy hands. Officers went back to men to ask surrender? Some said ‘No’ and took to the hills.
                   A sub-section of 2/11 Fd. Coy. at Champlong continued to destroy bridges, preventing the Japaness from occupying all of Dutch Timor for about 6 weeks.
                   Force surrendered at 8.30am. Japanese were disarming the Force when they were bombed twice by their own planes, causing many more casualties, nearly all Japanese.
Feb 24        906 of Sparrow force & 184 British p-o-w’s at Airkom. 84 kia vs. 800+ Japanese paratroops & marines. Capt. Gillies (doctor, 2/11 heavy battery) wrote Usapa Besar as on Tuesday
Feb 25        Marched back to Usapa Besar as p-o-w's.
Feb 26        Behind their own barbed wire defences, as p-o-w's at Usapa Besar, 6 miles east of Koepang on coast.
Mar 6         3am, Penfui bombed by allies. Most Hudson and allied attacks at night, the Japanese did not fly at night.
Mar-Sep     Interned at Usapa Besar p-o-w camp, constructed by 2/1st Fortress Engineers and 2/11 Fd. Coy. Engineers. Men did work in Kupang, at the wharf, driving trucks, growing vegetables.
late Sep      Final draft of p-o-w’s left Usapa Besar for Java on Dainichi Maru (27 or 28th Sept.)

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