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Unknown Australian Soldier Reburial Service

09 September 2015

An Unknown Australian Soldier, who died during fierce fighting near Kupang on the Indonesian Island of West Timor during World War Two, will be reburied with full military honours at the CWGC Ambon War Cemetery on 10 September. The service will take place at 9 am local time.

The serviceman was discovered during initial excavations for a local school in 2013. It is thought he may have belonged to "Sparrow Force" - a unit deployed to West Timor in 1942 as part of the 2/40thAustralian Infantry Battalion. Their mission was to protect the airfield and to repulse any Imperial Japanese Army invasion.

On 20 February 1942, the Japanese landed on West Timor and advanced inland. An elite force of several hundred Japanese paratroopers landed to the north east of the town, presenting the Australians with a near impossible challenge.

On 23 February, after fierce fighting, the Australians were almost completely out of ammunition and supplies. By the time they surrendered, 84 men had been killed in action with a further 132 injured. 

Click here for the full media release from the Department of Defence Ministers.