Impact on the Timorese: We brought nothing but misery on those poor people
We went to Timor and brought nothing but misery on those poor people. That is all they ever got out of helping us – misery.
News that we helped the Australians spread to the Japanese…They brought [hostile] Timorese… to burn our crops and houses and kill our animals…from the end of 1942 there was a shortage of food like rice and corn because people couldn’t work in their gardens.
1983 Secretary to the Liurai of Soibada,
Members of the 2/2nd recognise that the War had a devastating impact on the East Timorese. It is estimated that over 40,000 East Timorese, about 10 percent of the population, died directly from the fighting or from war-caused famine and disease.
Following the Allied evacuation the Timorese people were subjected to a brutal and merciless military occupation. Immediate reprisals followed, particularly in areas where the Australians had been active.
The Japanese burnt villages to the ground and massacred people. The criados and anyone supporting Timorese fighters and Allied operatives were tortured and executed if caught.
The already devastated population was forced to support up to 20,000 Japanese troops until the end of the War. Slave labour was used to build defensive infrastructure and limited food supplies were forcibly appropriated. Health and other services disappeared.
In addition devastating Allied bombing raids killed many and destroyed the remaining infrastructure, particularly in Dili.