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2/4th Commando Squadron

10th May 2018

Born 10 July 1924

Ian Hampel enlisted for service at the Melbourne Town Hall in July 1941. In September 1942, he embarked for service in Timor with the 2/4th Australian Commando Squadron as a Private on the HMAS Voyager and served in Timor as a Bren gunner until the Squadron withdrew in January 1943.

During his time in Timor he was struck most by the loyalty of his fellow servicemen. Ian believes that it was the sense of deep co- operation and spirit of sharing that made the squadron such an effective guerrilla group. It was this closeness that made losing a friend in action all the more difficult. Ian found it particularly hard to bury his friend Snowy Hourigan, who was killed during an aborted ambush. Snowy, who had recently lost his mother and brother, died in what appeared to Ian to be a suicidal last attempt to kill as many of the approaching enemy as he could. Ian and a few others created a makeshift grave for Snowy with the dirt on the track where he died.

Ian also saw overseas service in Milne Bay between August 1943 and March 1944. Discharged from the Army in June 1944, he joined the Royal Australian Air Force the next day as an air crew trainee, and spent the remainder of the war with the RAAF. Following discharge in October 1945, Ian trained as an Aeronautical Engineer through the Commonwealth Reconstruction Scheme. It was while working on a shipyard in Sweden in 1951 that he met his wife, and they had three children together. In his recreation time, Ian enjoys cross-country skiing, and still skis up to 10 kilometers at a time. As with many who served in Timor, Ian developed close relationships not only with the men of his squadron, but also with the local people. His greatest hope in returning to Timor is that he may meet up with some of the Timorese people who ensured the survival of the Australians who fought there.


10th May 2018

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