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In 1942 the 2/4 Independent (Commando) Company, which included Ralph Coyne, was sent to Timor to supplement and then replace the original commando company. Outnumbered nearly one hundred to one, the 250 commandos kept a Japanese force of 20,000 men fully occupied and unavailable to fight elsewhere, possibly preventing invasion of Australia and at least greatly improving the chances of stopping the Japanese advance in New Guinea.

After Timor more drama followed in New Guinea and Borneo. In one terrible incident Ralph Coyne was one of only four out of forty-eight commandos left alive and uninjured.

Against the odds Ralph survived to tell his fascinating tale. Sometimes humorous, tragic, horrifying, even macabre, but usually dramatic, this book records the experiences of one of Australia's first commandos.

At the time extremely secret, and still little known, Australia’s first commandos were repeatedly put in dangerous situations to achieve results disproportionate to their small numbers.  Their story is historically important, for these few hundred men possibly changed the course of Australia’s history.


Soft cover, 138mm x 203mm,

60 pages, 2 pages of index

11 photographs, 3 maps


Only $11.95 including postage & packaging.

To order your copy of this book
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This page first produced 2 May 2010

This page last updated 23 January 2020