Darwin Bombing WW2
The photograph above is 5 of the graves of the 25 civilians killed on the 19th of February, 1942, when a bomb dropped by a japanese plane hit the Darwin Post Office, in the first Japanese air raid on mainland Australia.
The graves are, from left to right: Mr H. C. Bald, Mrs H. C. Bald, Miss Iris Bald, Miss J. C. Mullen, Miss E. C. Mullen.
After the massive Japanese raid on the 19th of February 1942, the Northern Territory and parts of Western Australia’s north were bombed 62 more times between the 4th of March 1942 and the 12th of November 1943.
Arguably, one of the heaviest attacks took place on the 16th of June 1942, when a significant Japanese force set fire to the oil fuel tanks around the harbour and caused great damage to the railway yards, vacant banks and stores.
The Allied navies largely abandoned the naval base at Darwin after the 19th of February attack, with most of their forces going to Brisbane, Fremantle and other ports.
Allied air commanders created a greater presence in the Darwin area, deploying squadrons and building more airfields.
A total of 434 WW2 war graves, marked by bronze plaques, are contained in the Adelaide River War Cemetery in the Northern Territory.
The burials are made up of 14 airmen of the RAF, 12 unidentified men of the British Merchant Navy, one soldier of the Canadian Army, 18 sailors, 181 soldiers and 201 airmen of the Australian Forces and seven men of the Australian Merchant Navy.
The Northern Territory Memorial to the Missing honours a further 292 Servicemen and women lost to the north of Australia. The adjacent civil section contains the graves of the nine Post Office staff killed on 19 February 1942 during the bombing of Darwin, one of 63 separate occasions from that date.
The civilian casualties of WW2 include those of 31 Indigenous Australians.
Australians fought heroically to defend Australia in Darwin and places like the Kokoda Track. Our country had its back to the wall during this time, fighting against a very formidable enemy.
When it comes to courage, mateship and sacrifice, you will not find any better example than the Australians who gave their all to save Australia and their loved ones on our mainland. If one is looking for the true character of the Australian spirit, it would be at the graves of Australians who died to our North during WW2.
“To stand on my homeland, surrounded by our war dead, who fought heroically to defend Australia and their loved ones down the track, was a profound experience and initiated the creation of the song.” – Peter Barnes, author of the song ‘Can You Hear Australia’s Heroes Marching?’