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RAAF Feb 18, 1943
AWM Sept 23, 1945
AWM Dec 24, 1945
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.
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.
During the night of February 20, 1942 the Japanese landed near Dili. Shortly after daybreak, the enemy 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. Afterwards, Díli was sacked by the Japanese. who found it almost uninhabited.
Starting in the middle of 1942 until the middle of 1944, Dili was bombed by Allied aircraft and the city was largely reduced to rubble.
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 the Allies. A small Australian Army force led by Brigadier L. G. H. Dyke Dso arrived on September 23, 1945 were welcomed by Dili's governor, Senhor Manuel Ferreirade Carvalho.
Afterwards, Portuguese colonial rule was reestablished with Dili again the capital of Portuguese Timor. 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 Seaplane Base
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