Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 19:49 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 19:49 | SYDNEY

An update on Domingos Soares


Sam Roggeveen


28 February 2012 10:51

Domingos Soares with Mark Cooper (photo courtesy of Fundasaun Mahein).

On 17 February Gordon Peake told Interpreter readers the story of Domingos Soares, an elderly Timorese man who claimed to have fought alongside Australian soldiers in World War II. At the time, Mr Soares' case had received no attention from the Australian Government. We're happy to relate that, soon after the piece was published, a delegation from the Australian Embassy in Dili did visit Mr Soares.

Here are some excerpts from a translated media release put out by Timorese NGO Fundasaun Mahein, which took up Mr Soares' case:

This short article is very much an opportunity for Fundasaun Mahein (FM) to show its appreciation to the Australian Embassy in Dili, Timor-Leste, which on 23 February 2012 held a close meeting with Mr. Soares at his residence, in Adarai, in the district of Viqueque. Initiated by the Australian government, a diplomat at the Australian Embassy, named Mark Cooper who works at the Defence section, was directly sent to hear the story of Mr. Soares who worked as a Criado (a footman) for the Australian forces in Timor-Leste during World War II.

FM appreciates Australia’s effort to recognize the support of the East Timorese and the effort Australia has shown to search for any remaining East Timorese who worked as Criado’s during World War II. In the meeting with Mr. Soares the Australian delegation, through Mr. Cooper, gave Mr. Soares a symbol of recognition as a gift of appreciation from the Australian forces. The gift by the Australian delegation was also a symbol of recognition of Mr. Domingos as their superior combatant who fought very hard against the Japanese invasion of the Timorese territory during World War II...

...Additionally, following the meeting with Mr. Soares, the Australian delegation made a promise that another visit will be made within two weeks, although no fixed date was given, in order to follow up on the story of Mr. Soares.