Darwin 1942-3

The things that were happening as I prepared to enter this world!


That telegram from my father arrived soon after I was born. Meanwhile, Japanese air raids were continuing in our north, though the main one was 75 years ago today.

  • 20 Jun 1943 – Raid No. 55.
    Three killed and eleven wounded.
    Winnellie area hit, also RAAF.

  • 28 Jun 1943 – Raid No. 56.
    Nil casualties.
    Three huts damaged.

  • 30 Jun 1943 – Raid No. 57.
    Two wounded.
    Aircraft and vehicles damaged.

  • 06 Jul 1943 – Raid No. 58.
    Nil casualties.
    Four aircraft damaged.

  • 13 Aug 1943 – Raids No. 59 & 60.
    Nil casualties.
    Nil damage.

Today’s Sun-Herald: Bombing of Darwin: 75th anniversary brings new recognition of attacks.

Australia marks the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Darwin on Sunday but for generations the country was kept in the dark about the true dimensions of the Japanese attack.

At 9.58am on February 19, 1942, just four days after the supposedly impregnable British garrison in Singapore collapsed, Japanese bombers escorted by Zero fighters appeared in the skies above Darwin…

Military historian Tom Lewis’ new book, The Empire Strikes South Japan’s Air War Against Northern Australia 1942-45,  reveals new information about the war.

He told Fairfax Media that contrary to enduring claims there had been 64 raids in the Northern Territory, his research of Japanese war records found 77, while 208 enemy combat flights were carried out in northern Australia.

“In wartime, some truths get lost, viewed through different prisms, changed or forgotten,” he said.

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See also The bombing of Darwin – Fact sheet 195.

On 19 February 1942 mainland Australia came under attack for the first time when Japanese forces mounted two air raids on Darwin. The two attacks, which were planned and led by the commander responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbor ten weeks earlier, involved 188 attack aircraft which were launched from four Japanese aircraft-carriers in the Timor Sea, and a second raid of 54 land-based bombers. The carrier battle group consisted additionally of two heavy cruisers, one light cruiser, seven destroyers, three submarines, and two other heavy cruisers on distant cover.