Debt of Honour

We the surviving members of the 2/2nd and 2/4th Independent Companies owe a great debt of gratitude to the Timorese. The bond is not one entirely of ‘owing’ but rather a link of mutual respect and liking between two peoples – a link which transcends race and style of living.

Ray Aitken,
speaking at the re-dedication of the Dare Memorial in East Timor
13 April 2000

The 2/2nd, never large in number, can reflect on an immense lifetime achievement. Most would agree with former Chief of the Australian Army and Western Australian Governor, Lieutenant General John Sanderson, in his assessment of its military accomplishment:

Without question this story is one of the most dramatic examples of leadership, courage, steadfastness and loyalty in the pantheon of Australia’s remarkable military history.

Yet this has not been just a military achievement or a story of loyalty to each other and their country. It is also a story of loyalty to the people of East Timor, without whom they could not have succeeded or survived. To this day the few surviving members of the 2/2nd and their families are still working for East Timor.

Some may question whether Australia has fully repaid its debt to the East Timorese. However, few would question that the members of the 2/2nd, that remarkable group of men, have repaid their debt of honour.