Ref: Article 043 [possibly 22SQN] 50,000 Miles Covered By RAAF In Timor Raid
50,000 MILES COVERED BY RAAF IN TIMOR RAID
From V. H. Mattingley, a Herald War Correspondent
SOMEWHERE IN AUSTRALIA. – Flying between 40,000 and 50,000 miles over the ocean, Hudson bombers and Beaufighters, all manned by RAAF personnel, in the past eight days have subjected the Japanese in the north-eastern corner of Portuguese Timor to a consistent and heavy hammering.
The operations were brought to a climax this week-end. Hudsons and Beaufighters, in co-ordinated assaults, poured bombs, cannon shells and machine-gun fire into Laivai, Laga and Fuiloro, which are new points being developed by the enemy to the east of Dilli.
On Saturday, two flights of Hudson bombers, led by Flying Officer Keith Morcombe, of Coorow, W.A., and Flying Officer H. S. McDougall, of Barraba, N.S.W., showered bombs on the buildings and huts of the village of Laga, starting large fires and causing widespread demolition.
They encountered only light machine-gun fire. The enemy was given no respite. About an hour later, Beaufighters shot the place up again, and the pilots saw how successful had been the raids of the Hudsons.
But this was not all. A second formation of Beaufighters swept in 13 minutes later and shot up some barges and stores and equipment near the beach, which had evidently been brought by the shipping attacked two days earlier at nearby Laivai.
Only one Zero put in an appearance – when the last formation of Beaufighters were doing their job – but it was out-distanced. The Beaufighter formations lead by Squadron-Leader Savage, of Ipswich, Qld., and Wing-Commander C. F. Read, of Vaucluse, N.S.W.
Few Japanese personnel were seen during these attacks.
Our Beaufighters, remarkably quiet aircraft for their size, streaked over the aerodrome and caught the Japanese completely without cover. When our strafers let up, dead and wounded men were lying everywhere.
Meanwhile, other Beaufighters concentrated on camouflaged stores and equipment still stacked close to the beach. There was an upheaval from exploding fuel or ammunition and flames leaped 40ft.
Two Zeros attacked out Beaufighters, which, before taking evasive action, got in a gun-burst at one of them.
While the Beaufighters were doing their work, Hudson bombers further along the coast were pasting Laivai again.
In December the RAAF has now carried out strikes against Japanese-occupied points along the northern coast of Timor. To these raids the Japanese have made no reply.
Our attacks have taken place through thick monsoonal weather which is steadily becoming worse, and it is a tribute to the quality of our aircraft, particularly the Beaufighters, which pack a terrific punch, and to the daring our young airmen that they have been able to maintain the offensive with regularity.