Trapped is a six part series about a group of Australian airmen stranded on Japanese-occupied Timor during the Second World War.
Using diaries of the airmen, wartime records and interviews with survivors, Trapped brings to life one of the greatest stories of survival and escape of the Pacific War. A true story of leadership, courage, mateship, and, at times, cruelty and violence that played out on a remote tropical island during one of history’s bloodiest conflicts.
Trapped - Episode 6 - The longest day
The airmen win a reprieve when the Japanese patrol surging along the beach is inexplicably delayed. With the party’s transceiver batteries flat and six airmen barely able to stand, the remaining Australians have one chance to escape. Shortly after re-establishing with the USS Searaven, a new threat emerges. A storm is coming.
Trapped - Episode 5 - A light out to sea
With all the airmen stricken with malaria, and food and supplies exhausted, survival seems unlikely for the men of the RAAF rear party. When a Timorese villager loyal to the Japanese delivers a letter to Flight Lieutenant Bryan Rofe demanding his surrender, the airmen must confront the truth that they may never make it home. And then hope is rekindled in the form of an unlikely, high-risk rescue attempt.
Trapped - Episode 4 - The ELG
Following the tragic death of Pilot Officer Peter Thompson, the stranded airmen head south for the Emergency Landing Ground (ELG). At great cost, the airmen make it to the ELG only for Darwin to rule out sending an aircraft to pick them up. With a Japanese patrol closing in, the airmen retreat into the jungle after Timorese villagers warn of an approaching Japanese patrol. Meanwhile, the RAAF makes a request to an ally to attempt a high-risk rescue.
Trapped - Episode 3 - The Jungle
The airmen have eaten most of their tinned supplies the previous night, a decision Bryan is beginning to deeply regret. The Japanese raid on Broome on March 3, 1942 has all but ruled out the stranded airmen being rescued by flying boat. Flight Lieutenant Bryan Rofe decides to take a small party north on a supply run and sends another party south in search of beach firm enough to support the landing of an aircraft to get the men.
Trapped - Episode 2- Trapped
After narrowly avoiding Japanese paratroopers on the mad drive towards the mountainous jungle, the airmen hike to Timor’s remote north-west coast in the hope of a seaborne evacuation. They have very limited supplies, just some tinned food and a handful of quinine to treat malaria. Time and the harsh conditions are against them. The group’s survival hinges on re-establishing communication with RAAF Station Darwin on an untested 180kg radio transceiver.
Trapped - Episode 1- Invasion
18 February 1942. Air reconnaissance sights an enormous Japanese invasion force steaming south from the Celebes on a direct course for Timor. A group of 29 Australian airmen remain behind to keep an aerodrome on Dutch Timor operational, helping aircraft from RAAF Station Darwin make their way to Java . When the aircraft due to evacuate the group fails to arrive, 24-year-old Flight Lieutenant Bryan Rofe makes a fateful decision.
Extraordinary Men! Fantastic Podcast
Absolutely hooked from the first episode - we should have more of these stories in our communities of our brave soldiers and their ongoing legacy for our country. Well done AWM - kudos to you over and over. I have shared this among my friends and look forward to more podcasts of this quality from the AWM
Incredible story, will listen to this again and again
Amazing story of incredible endurance and emotional strength. So many twists and turns in this true life story. Sound effects, and details from all sides making this a thought provoking podcast. Thanks