Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bombing of Darwin 71 years ago

Today as at writing this is February 19th. Seventy one years ago this city that I live in was attacked by Japan. I have previously posted a small blog entry and that according to my Blogger stats is the most viewed post here. Once again the city sees a few old veterans of those times come back to a much different place to back then to attend official ceremonies and functions.
Back in the early 1940s Darwin was very much a frontier town (some consider that it still is) but on the day of the first attack the harbour contained a lot of allied shipping. By the time of the attack Australia was already at war with Japan. Joining allied declarations after the Pearl Harbour surprise attack. It was from Pearl Harbour that the Aircraft carriers came to deliver destruction to Darwin. Those four Japanese aircraft carriers were later sunk during the Battle of Midway. The lessons learnt by the Japanese during the attack on Pearl Harbour were put to use over Darwin and one result was a greater number of bombs dropped on Darwin.
Today I went and had a look at a small exhibition on aspects of mapping the Darwin area before during and after the first bomb raid. It is no surprise that there was as good as no maps over North Australia at that time so it was a critical intelligence operation to create some.
In the aftermath of the first and largest bomb raid Darwin's war largely became an Air War. Naval forces dispersed to Brisbane, Fremantle and other locations. You can read about a Veteran of WWII in Darwin posted last year here.
Rather than some Black and White WWII images this year here are some recent photos from Darwin.
My Uncle David who visited from New Zealand in the 2012 Dry Season at the Aviation Heritage Centre in front of a Spitfire replica. Sadly Uncle David passed away in January 2013. 

View from Stokes Hill Wharf at sunset across Darwin Harbour. Civilian wharf workers were killed here during the bombing and it would have been a scene of chaos and burning ships on February 19, 1942.

Lest we forget.