ATTACK ON TIMOR
Devastation of Soe HEADQUARTERS DESTROYED
Somewhere in Australia, April 17.— Devastation was caused at Soe, a township 50 miles north- east of Koepang, Dutch Timor, and to a Japanese camp area a mile away, by Beaufighters in a big bombing and strafing strike at noon on Saturday. Several build- ings were destroyed, including ap- parently the Japanese headquar-
ters, two stores buildings and two motor vehicles on the roads near the township. Several Japanese cyclists were strafed and killed two miles from the town. Although photographs showed some of the township in ruins, the heavy smoke and dust caused by the bombs dropped on the first run over the targets prevented a clear view of the real damage. The strike, led by Flight-Lieu- tenant Pat Boyd, of East Malvern, Victoria, followed a similar raid six days previously when a petrol dump was demolished. After two and a half years with night fighter crews in England, it was the first raid Flight-Lieutenant Boyd had led with Australian-based aircraft. After an excellent landfall by Boyd's observer, Pilot-Officer An- derson, of Sydney, the formation flew up a valley to the assigned targets which had been observed in the previous strike. Bombs were dropped on the camp area and Soe township and the aircraft made circles over the camp area and the two targets, strafing them in as many as five runs. During one of these runs Pilot Officer Dave Strachan, of Mel bourne, slightly off his course, saw 15 Japanese cycling on a road two miles south-west of Soe. After circling he attacked the dismount ing men. Very few were able to take refuge and were seen pros trate on the ground. Flight-Officer Lee Archer, of Hamilton, Victoria, whose aireraft was holed in six places by the in tense light 'ack-ack' fire, said that on his second run over the tar gets he heard an explosion at the rear of his 'kite' and then saw a camouflaged machine-gun nest, from which bullets were flying. 'I made a steep bank and turn, circled and came back for a strafing run over the last,' he said. 'I let them have all that I had and I do not think that those gunners will ever bother other Beaufighter crews again. Their bullets pene- trated my 'kite' several times, but they did not hamper my mission.' There was no fighter interception during the attack, but 'ack-ack,' mainly machine-gun fire, was so intense that only one aircraft came back unscathed. Soe township is on a ridge 3000 ft. above sea level and was a health resort for the European population of Koepang in peacetime. The air- men think that it has been used of late as a Japanese headquarters or well-developed centre of activity. The strike was delayed during the week because of adverse weather, and it was most success- ful. The strafing was more intense on these than on any other mis- sion and in fact one aircraft came back with its entire ammunition expended. The machines were di- rectly over the targets for more than seven minutes in all.