On This Day – February 19 1942: Japan attacks Australia | Anorak

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On This Day – February 19 1942: Japan attacks Australia

ON 19 February 1942, 188 Japanese planes attacked Darwin, Australia. The planes launched from four Japanese aircraft-carriers in the Timor Sea. They were followed by 54 land-based bombers.

When they left, more than 240 people were dead. Shops, including the American destroyer, the USS Peary, were smashed to bits. War had come to Oz.

Margaret Herron, was 11:

“We could see the red dots on the side of the aircraft, they were so low. We thought they were dropping silver bells, until we realised they were bombs. I was terrified and ran to shelter in a quarry.”

The BBC reports:

There was anarchy, panic, looting, cowardice, desertion and a stampede south to get out of harm’s way…It took many years for the awkward truth to emerge about the panic and abject failure of leadership following the bombing. By any analysis, it was not a good look. Yet the negative truth masked other, equally true, stories of courage and heroism among soldiers, sailors and civilians alike.

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Posted: 19th, February 2012 | In: Flashback | Comment