February 19th

The 19th of February is the 80th anniversary of the Bombing  of Darwin.

Courtesy of Gary Luck:

This coming Saturday, the 19th February 2022, commemorates the 80th anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin by the same Japanese Imperial Force that had attacked Pearl Harbor only ten weeks earlier. My late father fought against them in Darwin on the 19th of February 1942. Not long before he passed he told me his story of the bombing. I got to record it last year with The Lightfeet Band. Recorded by Fred Pilcher, arranged, mixed and mastered by Keith Potger (The Seekers) and managed by Liz Hawkes, I offer this song in loving memory of all those who fought and died that day and in the many months thereafter and right across the Top End, from Broome to Townsville, in the hope that we never see such an attack on our shores again. ‘Blood On The Frangipani – When The Bombs Rained Down on Darwin’.


Darwin Harbour

The Bombing of Darwin

Today, the 19th of February, is the 78th Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin

This was the largest single attack ever mounted by a foreign power on Australia. On that day, 242 Japanese aircraft , in two separate raids, attacked the town, the ships in Darwin Harbour, and the town’s two airfields. This was an attempt to prevent the allies using them as bases to contest military developments close to Asia.

Darwin Harbour

The Japanese inflicted heavy losses upon Allied forces at little cost to themselves. The urban areas of Darwin also suffered some damage from the raids and there were a number of civilian casualties. More than half of Darwin’s civilian population left the area permanently, before or immediately after the attack.

Beautiful Mindil Beach was the site of mass graves, as it was following the devastation of Cyclone Tracy in 1974.

A memorial ceremony has been held every year since early on in the 21st Century. At the Cenotaph in Darwin, at 9:58 am, a World War II Air Raid Siren will sound to mark the precise time of the first attack.

Cenotaph, Darwin. NT.

I’ve read three novels by Australian authors this year (Territory by Judy Nunn and The Last Mile Home by Di Morrissey), which have featured the Bombing of Darwin. It appears that the Government censored information about losses at the time so as not to frighten and panic Australian citizens.

Belinda Murrell’s The Forgotten Pearl is Historical YA Fiction which I highly recommend giving insights into this period, and includes the Fall of Singapore and the mini submarines in Sydney Harbour. If you’ve got a teenager battling with history classes at High School this sure as hell beats dates written in chalk on a blackboard.

*In October 2015, the Chinese-owned Landbridge Group won the bid for a leaseof Port Darwin. The Northern Territory Government granted the company a 99-year lease for A$506 million.

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