Our documentaries are self-funded, no grants from government or NGO groups. We applied for funding but time and effort to meet their requirements were counter-productive. Most grants would not go anywhere near covering our expenses anyway. But that's bureaucracy...



Please contact us direct if you are interested in any items on this page. Some books or DVD sets may be in short supply so we may need to restock. E-mail: or call us (07) 5594 7911 or 0406 925 976 for advice on payment. We process Visa & Master Card, or send cheque/money order to Ian Skennerton, PO Box 80, Labrador Q4215, Australia.

'Doomed Battalion - Australian 2/40th Infantry Battalion 1940-1945'  $59.50 + p&p
Mateship and Leadership in War and Captivity                        currently out of stock
by Peter Henning, 2014. ISBN: 978-0-9876032-2-7

Hard cover with laminated dust jacket, 229mm x 153mm, 572 pp, 230 photographs & maps Henning's 1995 edition sold out rather quickly and 2nd hand copies were fetching over $200. Two decades have now passed; Peter was prompted by many Sparrow Force family members and historians to produce an updated edition, which is now available. With about 150 more pages, many new photographs, revised maps and printed on a better quality white bond paper than the earlier edition, this new presentation is a fitting testament to the memories of those men of Sparrow Force.

Since the original edition was printed, more information has become available, some minor corrections made and the record expanded to include other units of Sparrow Force such as the 2/1st Heavy Battery, Fortress Engineers & Fortress Signals, 2/11th Field Company RAE, 2/12th Field Ambulance, 18th Anti-Tank Battery, 75 Light Aid Detachment, 22nd Dental Unit, Australian Army Service Corps, 23 Brigade Signals, Sparrow Force Brigade HQ and the RAAF at Penfui. Invaluable appendixes include full nominal rolls, source references and a good index, A masterful work, Peter!

'Footsteps of Sparrow Force' - DVD & Computer CD set                  $35 plus $8 p&p
This 1 hr. 53 min. DVD features recently discovered 1940-1942 movie film and photos from Tasmania, Victoria, Northern Territory and Dutch West Timor. In addition, recent visits to Timor show sites today with remains of the two 6-in. naval guns at Klapalima and bridges demolished by the engineers of Sparrow Force in February 1942 during their retreat to Champlong. The account is authoritative, well researched and also contains interviews with officers and men who recall aspects of the battles in Dutch West Timor. The 2nd Independent Coy. (Commando) went to Portuguese East Timor and the movie concludes with their operations and connections with the more recent Timorese struggle for independence.

 The accompanying Resources CD contains interactive pages and folders with
Nominal rolls of the 2/40th Inf. Btn,, 2/1st Heavy Battery, Engineers & Signals,
  2/11th FIeld Coy RAE, 2/12th Field Ambulance, 18th Anti-Tank Battery, 75 LAD,
  22nd Dental Unit, AASC, 8th Div. Signals, British 79th L.A.A. Battery and 2nd Ind. Coy.
Original and new photographs
GPS positions to follow the details today on Google Earth
Maps, references & memorials

'Guns & Gear of Sparrow Force' - DVD & Computer CD set            $35 plus $8 p&p
This 1 hr. 23 min. DVD details firearms, guns, webbing, communications, demolitions, vehicles, guns, aircraft, unit insignia and medals. The Lt.-Col. Thompson 1940's 16mm film footage is screened in full and re-enacting is live fire with close-up operation.
.303 S.M.L.E. with charger loading, Patt. 1907 sword bayonet
2.5-in. EY launching cup, No.36 Mills grenade & .455 Webley Revolver
.303 Lewis and Bren Light Machine Guns
Captured 6.5mm Japanese Type 96 LMG
.303 Vickers Mk I Medium Machine Gun
.45 ACP Thompson M1928A1 sub-machine gun
3-inch Mortar and accessories
Patt. 1908 Web Equipment, Gas mask, Helmet, Colour patches, Badges, &c.
6-in. Mk XI Naval Guns & Mk P.VI mount, 2-pdr A-T & 40mm Bofors A-A guns
Lockheed Hudson Mk II, Kittyhawk & Dauntless aircraft
Armoured Carriers, Trucks & Motorcycles

The Resources CD features interactive folders with

Small Arms Manuals and Published articles as .pdf files.
Technical details and photographs of equipment, charts & armourers drawings



'Never Meant to be Heroes' - Soft cover... New Edition     $29.50 includes p&p
by Major Neville Noakes, A.A. Intel. (ret.) 
The Story of 'Sparrow Force' & SX13229 Sgt. Frederick Sydney Brown - 2/1st Hvy. Bty's journey through the 'Hell Camps' of S.E. Asia in WW2.

116 pages, A5 size, colour plates, 61 b&w illustrations, limp cover.
First privately published by Neville Noakes, Grahams Creek, Q.4650, December 2012.

A new and personal story of Sgt. F.S. Brown, 2/1st Heavy Battery on Timor as a component of Sparrow Force. Privately published by his son who was adopted out during the wartime years and never knew about his real father and family until more recent times, long after his death.

A touching, well-illustrated record of posting to Timor, family circumstances, slave labour on the Pakan Baru line in Sumatra and subsequent resettlement in Australia after war's end. Appendix has full 2/1st Heavy Battery, 2/1st Fortress Engineers & 2/1st Fortress Signals Nominal & Honour Roll.

'The Men Who Came Out of the Ground' - Soft cover edition       $27.50 plus p&p
Account of Australia's First Commando Campaign: Timor 1942. currently out of stock
by Paul Cleary, Hachette 2010
382 pages, 234 x 153mm size, 35 illustrations on plates, index, limp cover.
ISBN: 978 0 7336 2318 9
Well researched, other resources at the Australian War Memorial and interviews Paul conducted on Timor expand the record. The perspective covers both theatres on Timor.  

Sparrow Force comprised of two separate contingents, those on Dutch West Timor defending an airstrip and those on Portuguese East Timor who were not hamstrung in defending static positions. There were other important differences between Sparrow Force on West Timor and their counter-parts in the east. As elite commandos, the 2nd Ind. Coy. were handpicked for the unit, they were better trained and better equipped. Because this was a much smaller unit, the number of Japanese landing at Dili was fewer and they did not have to face the Japanese naval and air force attacks like the 2/40th, 2/1st Heavy Battery and supporting units on West Timor. Yet another consideration was that the native population on East Timor has a better relationship with the Portuguese and supported the Australians whereas those on West Timor were far more pro-Japanese.

'Men of Timor' - Hard cover book with dust jacket                       $42.50 plus p&p
Australian Commandos at War with the Japanese.                     currently out of stock
by Christopher H. Wray, Hutchinson 1987
190 pages, 220 x 145mm size, 20 illustrations on plates, maps, index, dust jacket.
ISBN: 0 09 157480 3

Written by the son of Corporal Harry Wray of the 2nd Ind. Coy on East Timor, this first edition hardcover copy is one of the earlier accounts published of the Sparrow Force deployment to Dutch West Timor in December 1941, a few days after the bombing of Pearl Harbour. The commandos then left for Dili in the neutral Portuguese colony of East Timor. After the capitulation of Sparrow Force in Dutch West Timor on 23rd February 1942, the 2nd Independent Company waged a spectacular campaign against the Japanese until the end of the year when they were withdrawn back to Australia.

A classic guerilla operation accounting for some 1,500 frontline Japanese soldiers for the loss of not more than a few dozen commandos, their record become a textbook for commando operations. Remnants of the West Timor Sparrow Force contingent added to their numbers, immortalised in Damian Parer's 'Men of Timor' wartime documentary.

'The Sparrows' - Hard cover book with dust jacket                      $49.50 plus p&p
British Royal Artillery 79th LAA battery of 21st LAA Regiment   currently out of stock
by Tony Paley, Self Publishing Assn. 1991
256 pages, 240 x 160mm size, 30 illustrations incl. maps, index, nominal rolls
ISBN: 1 85421 145 5

Written by the son of Sergeant-Major Edmund (Ted) Paley of the 79th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, A and C Troops with eight 40mm Bofors guns arrived on West Timor from Java only days before the Japanese invaded, bombed as they landed their guns at Tenau. Veterans of the Battle of Britain, the British gunners earned high respect from the beleaguered defenders as they shot down about 20 Japanese aircraft in the few days of fighting between Kupang and Usau Ridge for the loss of only one gunner. However many more were to perish as prisoners of war.

This unit is particularly noted as being the only foreign soldiers officially permitted to wear the Australian slouch hat, albeit with the Royal Artillery corps badge. Along with Sparrow Force on West Timor, they passed into captivity for the duration of the war and are proudly referred to within British service circles as 'The Sparrows'.

International Arms & Militaria Collector journal #28                   $19.50 plus p&p
A4 format, 130+ pages, colour. ISSN: 1323-1715, 2012 issue

This issue contains some articles about Sparrow Force on Dutch West Timor in 1941-42.
...p.106 is the commencement of a 2-page illustrated article on Sparrow Force issues.
Arms issued to the various units, 2/40th Infantry Battalion, 2/1st Heavy Battery, Fortress
Engineers and Fortress Signals, 2/11th Field Company and the 79th Light Anti-Aircraft
Battery. Types and quantities of rifles, sub-machine guns, Lewis and Bren light machine
guns, Vickers medium machine gun, 3-inch mortar, revolvers and the 6-inch coastal
guns manned by the 2/1st Heavy Battery provide an insight into operation..

...p.124 has a 2-page spread in the regular 'Battlefield' feature. 'Timor - 1942, Sparrow Force in West Timor' is well illustrated with photographs of those battlefield relics remaining on site today. While the 6-in. Mk XI big guns and the memorial at Usau Ridge are a well-enough known tourist attractions, remains of the bridges and structures demolished in February 1942 are described along with more mundane items such as church bells made from unexploded aerial bombs.



International Arms & Militaria Collector journal #29                    $19.50 plus p&p
A4 format, 130+ pages, colour.  ISSN: 1323-1715, 2012 issue

...p.31 starts an 8-page record of the Japanese Aircraft Armament. In-depth study of the
WW2 Japanese aircraft Army and Navy Air Force guns by Gunnar Abramson.

...p.40 has a 3-page article on the British 3-inch Mortar. Six 3-inch mortars were used
with deadly effect by Sparrow Force on West Timor, particularly at Usau Ridge.

...p.48 'Tasmanian Military Museum' features the Hobart museum at Anglesea Barracks
with a memorial to the 2/40th and replica of 'Winnie the War Winner'.

...p.92 'Sparrow Force Colour Patches' sees a 2-page colour spread.

...p.110 has the regular 'StopOver' feature on Darwin, listing museums and monuments.

...p.117 '6-inch Mk XI Naval Guns at Klapalima, Dutch Timor', a well illustrated article.

...p.122 'WW2 Phonetic Alphabet Codes' describes signals equipment on West Timor. 


International Arms & Militaria Collector journal #30                    $19.50 plus p&p  A4 format, 130+ pages, colour.  ISSN: 1323-1715, 2012 issue

The cover features a still from a re-enactment scene for 'Footsteps of Sparrow Force'.
...p.48 has a 3-page pictorial of the Army Museum at Bandiana which houses the finest
collection of military vehicles in Australia. Some stills for 'Sparrow Force' were shot
there, such as the Universal Carrier and insignia.

...p.90 has a 2-page spread of the .303 No.1 or S.M.L.E. rifle, a rare full-length Lithgow
sectionised model. With wood and metal viewing slots, this is great for technical
knowledge of how the rifle functions and was constructed.
...p.92 in the regular 'Living History' feature describes the Air Museum & Flying Displays
at Temora, N.S.W. where the Lockheed Hudson Mk II bomber was filmed for the
'Footsteps of Sparrow Force' and 'Guns & Gear of Sparrow Force' movie sequences.

...p.128 'An Armourers Delight' has a pictorial of firearms on set, used in some of the
re-enactment scenes for 'Footsteps of Sparrow Force'  as well as 'Guns & Gear'.  

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Ian D. Skennerton

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