1RAR Battalion Group (AUSBATT III and AUSBATT VIII)
Please see below the request from Dr Andrew Richardson from the Australian War Memorial who is writing the official history of 1 RAR‘s AUSBATT Deployments to East Timor.
I am writing the Official History of Australian Peacekeeping in East Timor (2000-05) at the AWM. It’s the first half of the larger volume covering 2000-12. I have drafted most of my part of the volume, and have assigned a single chapter (15,000 words) to each of the nine AUSBATTs that rotated through, based on the extant operational records and where applicable, interviews.
I am writing on both 1RAR’s first rotation under John Caligari (October 2000-April 2001) and its second under Stuart Smith (May-November 2003). Both had a number of key differences (wet season, militia contacts, maturity of Timorese agencies), but both were primarily concerned with ensuring security and stability in AO Matilda.
I acknowledge that size constraints limit how much of each battalion’s tour I can retell, but I am nonetheless anxious to capture as much of the detail, experience and perspective as I can. That includes interviews, copies of maps and photos, and copies of diaries, letters and documents.
I am, of course, limited by space about what I can include, but aside from material that is of centrality to the core story in the Official History, it’s nonetheless extremely important that a body of 1RAR Battalion Group (AUSBATT III and AUSBATT VIII) accounts, recollections, photos, diaries and other material be collected to produce an archive of the battalion’s role. This will ensure it is adequately represented in the Official History’s (and ultimately AWM’s) collection.
I’m broadly satisfied with my present coverage of the battalion group’s tour, but there is always scope to add colour, stories and photos (I have very few, and would deeply appreciate hi-res copies of the photos used in Operation Lorosae and Timor Blue). If you feel you have something to contribute – including stories, images, diaries or other material – I welcome veterans to contact me via my email, [email protected] I also encourage any questions and am happy to answer them to the best of my ability. Every perspective is valuable and important.
I hope that some of the members of each of battalion group are interested in coming forward to share their stories, photos and material. They will be received warmly and supportively.
With kindest regards,
(Dr) Andrew Richardson