The minesweeper HMAS ARMIDALE, (LCDR D. H. Richards, RAN), was sunk by 12 Japanese bombers, 70 miles south of Betano Bay, Timor. ARMIDALE was involved in the re-supply of Australian and Dutch forces fighting a guerilla campaign against Japanese forces in Timor. The ship was struck by two torpedoes, and sank within a few minutes, with the loss of over 2 officers, 38 ratings, and 37 Dutch native troops. Japanese aircraft then machine gunned the survivors in the water. OS Teddy Sheean, despite being mortally wounded, remained at his 20 mm Oerlikon gun, and continued to fire at the attacking aircraft, even when his position had gone under water. He was credited with shooting down one of the enemy aircraft, and driving the others off. Sheean was later posthumously awarded a MID, and in 2001 a Collins class submarine was commissioned as HMAS SHEEAN in his honour. This was the first and only time a ship of the RAN had been named in honour of a sailor.
HMAS KURU recorded in her Report of Proceedings:- ‘Attacks by Japanese bombers off Timor: Two on my bows, about 10 feet off, one aft, which blew up our assault boat which was being towed by 10 feet of line. The straddle shook up the ship’s clock, an eight day striking clock, and rang the bell. One of the ratings, Signalman Jamieson, looked up at the planes and said “Tojo, you’ve got a bloody cigar”.’