Communications Force intact and still fighting!

They communicated by voice. They would man the hilltops and shout to each other. If there was Japanese movement ten miles away, the Timorese could tell us within minutes.

Pte Stan Sadler

When West Timor and Dili fell to the Japanese all communication with Australia was lost. It was essential for the survival of the 2/2nd that links be re-established.

Signaller (Sig) Joe Loveless commenced building a radio from salvaged parts. After two months of fighting, the completed radio named ‘Winnie the War Winner’ tapped its first message to Australia – Force intact and still fighting.

Within Timor communication was also a problem. The wireless sets issued to the 2/2nd had limited range and were cumbersome and unsuitable for mobile guerrilla warfare. The flashing Lucas Lamp proved useless in fog on the night the Japanese invaded.

Runners used between the dispersed sections were reliable and secure but slow. Occasionally the antiquated Portuguese telephone system was used but it was also used by the Japanese.

The local Timorese bush telegraph, shouting from peak to peak, provided warning of Japanese movements but put the villagers transmitting information at risk.

When supplies were eventually sent they contained new and lighter radio sets that allowed each platoon direct contact.

Members of the 2/2nd Signal Section.

Members of the 2/2nd Signal Section. Left to right: Pte Arthur Coates (not a signaller and the youngest in the 2/2nd) Sig RJ Sprigg, Cpl H Brown, Sig DF Murray, Sig REE Tatam, Sig MAM Smith, Sig RM Davies, L/ Sgt JS O’Brien, Sgt FA Press and Sig GB Kennedy.
Damien Parer, courtesy Australian War Memorial AWM 013778