Title: The First Commandos, Ralph Coyne’s Wartime Experiences 1942 – 1945
Author: Coyne, Ralph
Edition: 1st Edition
Publication Date: 2009
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket – 60 pages
Comments: At the time they were extremely secret. 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 hew hundred men possibly changed the course of Australia’s history.
In early 1942 the main Australian force in Timor, of about 3000, surrendered to the much larger Japanese invasion force at Koepang and the 250 commandos were believed to have surrendered too. Without any support from Australia these commandos continued fighting until eventually they built a radio powerful enough to communicate with Australia and demonstrated they were still free and fighting.
A second commando unit, the 2/4 Independent Company which included Ralph Coyne, was sent to Timor to supplement and then replace the original company. Outnumbered nearly one hundred to one but assisted by Timorese natives, the commandos kept the Japanese force of 20,00 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.
Against all odds Ralph Coyne 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.