Bombing of Darwin 71st Anniversary
Today (19 February 1942) is the 71st anniversary of the first raid of the bombing of Darwin. On 19 February 1942, 188 Japanese planes were launched against Darwin, whose harbour was full of Allied ships.
The first attack lasted approximately forty minutes and the land targets included the Post Office, Telegraph Office, Cable Office and the Postmaster's Residence, where postal workers were killed. The second attack began an hour after the first ended. Heavy bombers attacked the Royal Australian Air Force Base at Parap and lasted about 25 minutes. The two raids killed at least 243 Australians and allies. Almost 400 were wounded. Twenty military aircraft were destroyed, eight ships at anchor in the harbour were sunk and most civil and military facilities in Darwin were destroyed.
There is debate over the number of Japanese aircraft shot down during the air raid on 19 February 1942 - some sources report that two aircraft were shot down, while others state four aircraft were destroyed. From the first raid on 19 February 1942 until the last on 12 November 1943, Australia and its allies lost about 900 people, 77 aircraft and several ships. Many military and civilian facilities were destroyed.
This photograph shows bomb damage to the Darwin Post Office and surrounding buildings.
A memorial ceremony is held annually on 19 February at the Cenotaph in Darwin. It starts at 9:58am, the precise time of the first attack.