On This Day …

Tuesday 6th July, 1943

Photo by Simon Bayntun

It is not always remembered as strongly in the southern capitals of Australia, but during World War II, Darwin was attacked by Japanese air raids sixty-four times in total over about eighteen months. Today marks the last of the heavier raids. There were three more less significant raids at night during August, but the attacks were coming to an end.

I lived in the Darwin area for five years and there are reminders — memorials and markers — all over the place. The old air-strips used during the war run alongside the highway. Old cannons sit on the shoreline. Oil Storage Tunnels beneath the city still exist. You can’t miss the war memorabilia … unless you close your eyes.

I’m sure the people of Darwin will never forget that hundreds of men and women lost their lives, and even more were wounded, during those horrific bombings which were designed to cripple Australia’s defence force from assisting other areas of the Pacific under invasion.

It’s hard to imagine such a terrifying time, but chaos broke out in Darwin as half the population fled to the south. Even some of the RAAF servicemen deserted. Many of those who remained resorted to looting, leaving the city a shell of what she once was.

Evacuate or stay to protect what is yours? Which do you think you would do in such a situation?

Published in: on 6th July, 2012 at 12:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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