Remembering Australia's Pearl Harbour ...70 Years Later | General Discussion Topics | Forum

A A A
Avatar
Please consider registering
Guest
Search
Forum Scope




Match



Forum Options



Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
Register Lost password?
sp_Feed sp_TopicIcon
Remembering Australia's Pearl Harbour ...70 Years Later
Avatar
SWRanger
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 281
Member Since:
August 27, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
1
February 20, 2012 - 4:03 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print

Darwin, 1942: Remembering Australia's 'Pearl Harbor'
By Duncan Kennedy BBC News, Darwin

Image Enlarger

It's 70 years since Japanese bombers swooped on Darwin, in northern Australia, sinking Allied ships in the harbour and killing hundreds of people. For years the attack was rarely mentioned, but now the story is finally being told.

If 7 December 1941 is "a date that will live in infamy" for the United States, then 19 February 1942 is surely one that will join it in the annals of shame for Australia.

That was the day, just 10 weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, when the same carrier-based Japanese force turned its attention to the small northern town of Darwin, with equally calamitous results.

But the world remembers one and barely recalls the other.

The seven-volume Official History of the Australian Army in World War II devotes only two pages to the attack on Darwin.

Yet in truth, Darwin was Australia's Pearl Harbor - a morning attack carried out on an unsuspecting population that ended with the deaths of hundreds of people and the sinking of numerous Allied ships

We could see the red dots on the side of the aircraft, they were so low”

Margaret Herron Witness

But it's only now that the story of Darwin has been given the same kind of historical attention that's long been focused on the attack on Hawaii.

There are many reasons for this. Chief among them are that:

it happened just three months after Pearl Harbor and was overshadowed by it
communications out of Darwin were poor and it took time for the news to filter out
the Australian authorities played it down, for fear of provoking national panic

On the day itself, the first wave of Japanese bombers was spotted over an island north of Darwin half an hour before the attack, but they were mistaken for American Kittyhawks.

It wasn't until a few seconds before they dropped their bombs that the first siren in Darwin was sounded, and this delay added to the casualty toll.

Over the next 40 minutes or so, some 188 Japanese aircraft strafed the docks, ships and surrounding town.

"We could see the red dots on the side of the aircraft, they were so low," says Margaret Herron, an 11-year-old girl at the time.

"We thought they were dropping silver bells, until we realised they were bombs. I was terrified and ran to shelter in a quarry."

It is not hard to make the case that when war came to our shores with the bombing of Darwin on February 19, 1942... Australians behaved abominably.

There was panic, looting, cowardice, desertion and a stampede south to get out of harm's way.

Yet we could ask ourselves today: If you were under attack from waves of Japanese aircraft dropping more bombs than fell on Pearl Harbor, were unprepared, had not received any training drills, had no warning, had no leadership and feared imminent invasion, might you have behaved in the same 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.

Mark Day in The Australian, 11 February 2012

Darwin's finger of shame points at military

By the time the Japanese left, eight ships had been sunk - including the American destroyer, the USS Peary - 22 aircraft destroyed, dozens of buildings crushed and more than 240 people killed.

It was the worst wartime loss of life on Australian soil in the country's history.

More than 60 other aerial bombardments would follow, up until November 1943, but none as destructive as the first.

"It was a disaster," says Dr Tom Lewis, a historian and director of the new $12m (£7.6m) Darwin Military Museum.

"Australians had been fighting in Europe and the Far East, but now the war had come to us. We had never experienced anything like it."

What followed next helped account for the raid's absence in the Australian consciousness for decades to come.

First, Darwin had no telephones. This frontier town, of about 4,000 people at the extremities of a vast continent, had to rely on the telegraph to make contact with the outside world, so news of the attack was fragmented and inconsistent.

Second, there was a panicky response by the population and by some in the military, with an unseemly scramble to get away, for fear of a Japanese invasion.

Third, there was a shocking lack of leadership among the civilian administration and the military, which compounded the sense of chaos and incompetence.

It was a somewhat ignoble record - one that not everyone wanted to see in the history books.

A sense of partial anarchy prevailed in the hours and days immediately after the raid.

NEWS LINK

We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm

Avatar
bionic
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 9871
Member Since:
April 9, 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
2
February 22, 2012 - 10:17 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print

By the time the Japanese left, eight ships had been sunk - including the American destroyer, the USS Peary - 22 aircraft destroyed, dozens of buildings crushed and more than 240 people killed.

It was the worst wartime loss of life on Australian soil in the country's history.

dang

Willie Wonka quotes..
What is this Wonka, some kind of funhouse?
Why? Are you having fun?
A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.
We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams

Avatar
rath
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 4298
Member Since:
April 9, 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
3
February 24, 2012 - 2:05 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print

Good post, nice to see.

yhe, this is a big day every year an it's just getting bigger an bigger on the national calendar.

Surprised Joker didn't post something .... you know .... with him being Australian and all.

But then he never posted anything for Australia day either.

Still a good post there SWRanger.

Avatar
SWRanger
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 281
Member Since:
August 27, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
4
February 26, 2012 - 1:25 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print

Thanks Rath....

BTW My Late Uncle Rudy Warzenski was over in Australia in Late 1942 with the US Army and helped with the relief and general assistance to the residents.

Very heartbreaking according to him and the Bombing of Darwin is featured in the Nicole Kidman film AUSTRALIA !

We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm

Forum Timezone: America/Los_Angeles
Most Users Ever Online: 288
Currently Online:
97
Guest(s)
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)
Top Posters:
greeney2: 10318
bionic: 9871
Lashmar: 5290
tigger: 4577
rath: 4298
DIss0n80r: 4162
sandra: 3859
frrostedman: 3816
Wing-Zero: 3279
Tairaa: 2843
Newest Members:
Dhommhee Jang
Elizabeth
Jeff
Rodisco123
Gene
RHJ.Mengerink
Todd
C
Murray
ninurta
Forum Stats:
Groups: 8
Forums: 31
Topics: 9260
Posts: 124699

 

Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 2
Members: 25022
Moderators: 0
Admins: 2
Administrators: John Greenewald, blackvault