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    Dili Dili Municipality Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (East Timor)
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RAAF Feb 18, 1943

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AWM Sept 23, 1945

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AWM Dec 24, 1945

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AWM Jan 20, 1946
Lat 8° 33' 0S Long 125° 34' 0E  Dili is located on the northern coast of Timor Island in East Timor. Pronounced "Dil-e". Borders Dili Harbor to the north. Prewar and during the Pacific War part of Portuguese Timor, a colony of Portugal. Today located in the Dili Municipality (Município Díli) of Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (East Timor). Dili is the national capital and the nation's largest city.

Wartime History
On December 17, 1941 the Díli sector was assigned to 7th Section of C Platoon of the 2/2nd Australian Independent Company "The Double Reds" led by Lt. Archie Campbell and comprised of eighteen men.

On February 20, 1942 at 3:00am, an Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) invasion force arrived northwest of Dili and defending fire forced them to land further to the west at the mouth of the Carmona River. by 11:00am capture Dili Airfield and by 12:30pm secure Dili Town and find it almost deserted.

Shortly after daybreak, the Japanese ambushed, captured and executed twelve of Campbell's men plus two others. One commando escaped playing dead and was later rescued by a Timorese native. Another, spared for interrogation, became a Prisoner Of War (POW). The remainder of C Platoon dispersed into the mountains and regrouped.

Starting in the middle of 1942 until the middle of 1944, Dili was bombed by Allied aircraft and the city was largely destroyed by bombing raids.

American missions against Dili
June 30, 1942–August 17, 1944

Veteran Harry Nelson 22nd BG, 408th BS adds:
"I was a photo-gunner on a B-26 Marauder on a mission to bomb Dilli in 1942. I believe the mission was sometime in July. We were told that the target was a hospital with a large red cross painted on the roof which the Aussie troops still on the island had informed headquarters in Australia was actually an ammunition dump."

Occupied by the Japanese for the duration of the Pacific War until the official surrender of Japan in September 1945. Afterwards, in accordance with the terms of surrender, over five hundred vehicles, motorcycles, light tanks and guns were assembled at a park at Taibesi near Dili. According to the Japanese, a "grass fire" destroyed most of the equipment, likely the fire was deliberately started by the Japanese to avoid surrendering the material.

On September 11, 1945 the Japanese at Dili officially surrendered to Australian Army Brigadier Lewis Glanville Howard Dyke, OBE, DSO, commander Timor Force. On September 23, 1945 a small Australian Army force led by Brigadier Lewis Glanville Howard Dyke arrived at Dili. On arrival, they were welcomed by Dili's governor Senhor Manuel Ferreirade Carvalho.

In late 1945, Dili became the capital of Portuguese Timor as Portuguese colonial rule was reestablished. During 1974, Portugal abandoned its colonies, causing a civil war between factions on Timor Island. On November 28, 1975 East Timor declared independence.

On December 7, 1975 at dawn Indonesian forces began bombarding Dili and an amphibious landing from Dili Harbor supported by paratroopers. After a six hour battle with FALINTIL forces, the armed military wing of Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Fretilin). By noon, Indonesian forces secured Dili with the defenders fleeing. The battle resulted in 35 Indonesian dead and 122 FALINTIL dead. By the end of the year, roughly 10,000 Indonesian troops occupied Dili.

On July 17, 1976 Indonesia declared East Timor its 27th province. After the September 1999 election when 78% of East Timorese voted for independence from Indonesia, the pro-Indonesian militia launched a campaign of arson, murder and destruction in Dili to suppress any sentiments for independence.

On September, 20, 1999 the first Australian Defense Force (ADF) soldiers were deployed to Dili as part of the International Force for East Timor (INTERFET), to bring peace to East Timor under a United Nations (U. N.) mandate. Peacekeeping forces used the Dili and Dili Airport as their base. The Australian Defense Force (ADF) peace keeping force deployed was their the largest military deployment since the Second World War.

On May 20, 2002 the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (East Timor) was established with Dili the national capital and largest city.

Dili Airfield
Locate at Dili

Dili Seaplane Base
Locate at Dili

WW2 Nominal Roll - Lewis Glanville Howard Dyke, 331 (VX89)

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Last Updated
October 23, 2019



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