Subject: Trek remembers E Timor's help to WWII diggers
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Trek remembers E Timor's help to WWII diggers
By Christine Webster in East Timor
Posted 8 hours 33 minutes ago
A trek through East Timor to commemorate the experiences of Australia's World War II commando forces and remember the role East Timorese locals played has just been completed.
Unlike the similar assistance given to troops by locals in Papua New Guinea, the role of the East Timorese in Australia's World War II history has almost been forgotten.
Yvonne Walsh's late husband Vince Walsh was an Australian commando who served in East Timor.
Ms Walsh has just completed the inaugural Sparrow Force Trek.
She says the Australian commandos who served in East Timor are grateful to the East Timorese, but also wish they had not been dragged into the war.
"Their story is one of great regret, because they actually compromised the whole of Portuguese Timor and brought the whole of the devastation of war and all the issues of compromising neutrality and requiring support and sustenance from the land," she said.
The inaugural Sparrow Force Trek aims to recognise the role the Australian troops played in East Timor and how the locals protected them from the Japanese troops.
The trek took around 10 days to complete, travelling to Mount Ramelau, Betano and Same, before finishing in Dili.
One of the participants, Australian woman Dianne Bush, says the trek gave her a deeper understanding of Australia's WWII history.
"The story that unfolded as I went, I began to get a greater depth and understanding of just what this group of men had undertaken," she said.
Yvonne Walsh says she would like to see the trek become a more regular event.
However, she remains undecided on its future as a popular tourist attraction similar to PNG's Kokoda Track.