Wednesday 12 June 2024

The last bit about the bombing of Darwin


It’s Wednesday, so how about some more about the bombing of Darwin.

By 11.58am those shocked survivors were emerging from cover and trying to get a grip on what had happened when the second air raid started. This time the airfield was the target with Zeros finding that remaining Kittyhawke was destroyed along with a Liberator, three Beechcraft, three US Navy Catalinas, six RAAF Hudsons and a Tiger Moth.

Surprisingly only seven men were killed, including Wing-Commander Archibald Tindal RAAF.

Air Force and military personnel didn’t overall feature well concerning many of the events following the attacks.

Hundreds of civilians fled Darwin, becoming refugees leaving by any means possible. However, many RAFF personnel also fled and even now all these years later what happened at the RAAF base has still not been fully explained.

It seems that after the bombing Wing-Commander Stuart Griffins gave an order for all the men to go half a mile down the road to Adelaide Waters and half a mile into the bush.

Well to many of the untrained scared airmen what they heard was go bush and so they did, with one guy reported to have kept going till he reached Melbourne thirteen days later.

By the weekend order had been resorted but not till after some extraordinary behaviour, there was widespread looting of deserted homes and businesses by civilians and military men of the Australian Army Provost Corps.

Within days a Royal Commissioner Mr Justice Lowe of the supreme court of Victoria was appointed to investigate both civilian and servicemen. Among his findings were that 243 had been killed and between 300-400 injured. That there was unfortunately panic amongst all and that earlier warnings would have saved lives.

Many forget that these first two raids were only the start with more than 60 raids happening over the next 18 months, with the last raid taking place on 12 November 1943.

Many also do not realise that other towns were bombed, on the 3rd of March the Western Australian town of Broome suffered a devasting attack flying boats with women and children from the Dutch East Indies were destroyed with many lives lost.

After the February attacks the Administrator left Darwin and went to Alice Springs where he remained until 1945 when civil rule returned. The area of Darwin became a large Allied base and on the 28 March  General Edmund Herring AIF took command and stated that the area was adequately defended.

Next week we move on to the Battle of the Coral Sea


  1. The area of Darwin might have become a large Allied base when Gen Edmund Herring AIF took command and stated that the area was adequately defended. But they said it was adequately defended even before the bombing. Someone had made a grave error.

    1. Hell yeah, I thought that as I wrote what he said

  2. With all that was destroyed it is surprising that only seven people died. I think I would want to run to bush, too!

    1. Yeah going bush is something Aussie would do back then

  3. It is so interesting to get the Australian take on WWII, Jo-Anne, especially in light of us commemorating D-Day just last week here in the States and in Europe.

    1. Thanks there are those who do not even realise Australia was bombed at all, thanks for dropping by

  4. Thirteen days in the bush, or bombs... Hmmmm, I'll have to think on that....


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