“Most of our food supplies were destroyed in the raid, and we were reduced to half rations for about two months. What with little food and the mossies sucking the life out of us we led a pretty lousy existence. Towards the end of March we were moved to the RAAF base on ground defences. We finally got our Bren Gun Carriers, but mine was destroyed by a bomb on Anzac day.
We copped 84 bombs that day. My carrier crew were in a slit trench; two daisy cutters dropped 16 yards apart; one 6 yards away, the other 10 yards the other way; we were in the middle. There wasn’t a blade of grass left in the area. My underwear was shredded; fortunately I wasn’t wearing it at the time. I had washed it and hung it out to dry.” Recollections of Rex Ruwoldt.
(It certainly helped to have a sense of humour in those dangerous days)
The following is a timeline of raids on Darwin by the Japanese…
“1st raid starting at 09.58 am, heavy attacks on shipping, the town and aerodrome by 188 aircraft. Officially 243 killed; Mayor J Burton estimated 900 killed, other army sources approx. 1100 killed. Extensive damage.”
“2nd raid by 54 heavy bombers, at 11.57 am. Altogether, in the two raids, 23 of our aircraft were destroyed. The USA Air Force lost 10 P40 Kittyhawks, one B24 bomber, 3 Beechcraft. The US Navy lost 3 Catalina amphibians. The RAAF lost 6 Hudsons; 8 ships were sunk, 15 damaged. The Japanese lost 12 aircraft”
“Two Japanese planes machine-gunned men repairing the line at the 4-mile. 1 Hudson totally destroyed on the runway.”
“14 planes bombed the R.A.A.F. 5 airmen killed, 1 injured.”
“Daly Street and Myilly Point areas bombed, 2 killed.”
“On Sunday two air raids were made on the Civil ‘Drome and Katherine ‘Drome 200 miles inland. No damage, no casualties.”
“R.A.A.F. bombed, slight damage to 1 Wirraway.”
“R.A.A.F. bombed, no damage.”
Bombs dropped in the bush. Nil damage
First night raid at 10.30 p.m. No damage.
“Oil tanks bombed, 29,500 gallons of fuel destroyed. Harvey and McMinn Streets hit.”
“Raid by 7 bombers with Zero escort. Japanese lost all 7 bombers and their Zero escort. RAAF aerodrome strafed by 3 Zeros, 1 civilian killed, 2 servicemen injured.”
R.A.A.F. bombed and runways cratered.
“25 planes bombed C Company 19 Machine Gun positions at RAAF aerodrome. 1 Bren Carrier, 1 Anti Tank vehicle and ammunition destroyed, 3 soldiers injured, 1 US airman killed, 1 injured. Power, water and telephone services cut. 84 bomb strikes counted.”
“27 planes bombed R.A.A.F. 4 airmen killed, 3 injured. ”
Japanese submarine sunk at Boom net.
R.A.A.F. bombed by 27 planes.
Big air battle at 10-mile. One Japanese plane and one Kittyhawk shot down.
“27 planes bombed from old hospital to Police Paddock. 4 killed, 15 wounded.”
“Oil tanks, banks, Jolly’s store, and railway yards bombed.”
Japanese bombed R.A.A.F. and civil drome.
First raid at 9.15 pm. Vesteys damaged. Second raid at 10.50 pm.
Another night raid at 10.30 pm. Bombs dropped at 10 Mile near Wireless Station.
Slight damage to water line and runways.
R.A.A.F. bombed at 1.25 am. Slight damage to Naval repair shop.
Civil drome bombed at 4 am.
“Japanese lost 20 planes in a daylight raid. Power, water, telephone cable damaged. 2 fuel dumps destroyed. 1 killed.”
Two Japanese submarines sunk in Darwin Harbour.
“27 bombers, damaged Hughes Field, 2 aircraft damaged.”
“Night raid, Vesteys hit. First raid at 9.15pm at 29 Mile.”
“Second raid at 12 midnight bombs dropped near Vestey’s Meat Works and near civil aerodrome, damage to radio and power lines. Japanese reconnaissance plane shot down at Koolpinyah.
Damage to civil aerodrome and civil radio station.
Railway yards hit at 2.15 am.
Point Charles lighthouse bombed at dawn.
Civil aerodrome hit. Slight damage to pipeline.
Raid at 4 am at Clark’s Pearling Sheds. Army petrol destroyed.
Camps at 34 mile bombed at 04:35
Raid at 4AM McMinn and Harvey Streets hit.
“Adelaide River, Batchelor, and Winnellie bombed. 5 Casualties.”
“Night raids 3. 50 am at East Point, Fannie Bay, and Francis Bay. Japs came again but were driven off.”
“Lands office, Don Hotel and railway offices hit.”
“Don Hotel hit again, also East Point and civil drome. Slight damage to power lines.”
Night raid 3.50 am at South Point.
Raid at 4.00 am on Navy yards and 28 mile. Raid at 1.00 pm on harbour.
Raid at 4.00 am on railway yards . Raid at 11.00 am on West Point.
Japanese attacked but were driven off.
Japanese attacked again but were driven off.
Japanese attacked but were driven off with heavy losses.
Raid at midnight. Bombs dropped at Ironstone.
Raid at 10 pm. Daly Street and Police Paddock bombed.
Coomalie Creek airstzrip attacked by 16 bombers. Spitfires shot down 2 Zeros and 1 Kate bomber.
Sunday – Reconnaissance Japanese Dinah came over but was shot down by 457 Sqn.
“21 bombers and 24 Zeros came over at 11.00 am. 7 bombers shot down, 3 Spitfires and 1 pilot lost. Set fire to two oil tanks near the wharf.”
“Raid at 10.30am RAAF bombed. 11 Jap bombers and 5 Zeros shot down. We lost 14 Spitfires, all but 2 pilots were saved.”
“Winnellie bombed. 35 bombers attacked, Spitfires shot down 12 bombers and 4 fighters for the loss of 2 Spitfires.”
Japs came over at 10.30am driven off.
Tuesday – Japs machine-gunned Batchelor roads.
Raid at 11.10 am East Point and Vestey’s bombed.
“Raid at 12.30 pm. Fenton attacked by 27 bombers escorted by 23 fighters. Japanese lost 6 ‘Bettys’ and 3 Zekes, 1 Spitfire was lost, 3 more were written off with engine failure. 3 Liberators were destroyed on the ground, 7 others damaged.”
Fenton hit by 26 bombers and 21 fighters. Spitfires destroyed 9 for the loss of 8 Spitfires.
“Raid at 3.30 am. 38-mile camp, one Jap plane shot down.”
Low level attacks against Fenton drome and the 29-mile.
11.15 am raid at Batchelor.
Raid on Nightcliff (Darwin)
Raid on Batchelor.
Sunday – Raid at 9.30 am at 29 mile.
Tuesday – Raid at 10 am 29 Mile.
Midnight raid at Fenton.
“Last raid, on Power house, 2 1/2 mile, Winnellie, and Adelaide River at 2.30 am.”
Click to enlarge..