70th Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin
The 70th Anniversary of the bombing of Darwin (Northern Territory, Australia) was remembered today. Following years of preparation: The Bombing of Darwin Memorial Museum was opened today. Among the Museum's many attractions includes a video simulation of the bombing. Along with numerous war artifacts from that time. The United States Ambassador along with the Australian Prime Minister and Governor-General are in Darwin to lead the commemoration ceremonies.
For the first time official public recognition of the significance of Darwin has come into national prominence. More bombs and planes attacked Darwin than did atPearl Harbour. The event happened just days after the Fall of Singapore. Though Darwin was never given the Hollywood treatment the way Pearl Harbour was. 188 planes launched from Japanese Aircraft Carriers consisted of the first wave of bombing. A second wave of land based Bombers arrived only a couple of hours later. More than six hundred bombs landed on Darwin on that fateful day. The main force involved in the raid was the 1st Carrier Air Fleet which was commanded by Vice-Admiral Chūichi Nagumo. The same Japanese Commander along with his fleet of war ships that attacked Pearl Harbour in Hawaii months earlier. Darwin was bombed with little if no resistance. The official death toll at the time was only 17. The real figure though was 253+ fatalities. USS Peary was one of the American ships in port at the time-it was destroyed.
After the massive 19 February 1942 Japanese raid, the Northern Territory and parts of Western Australia's north were bombed 62 more times between 4 March 1942 and 12 November 1943.
As well over 700 were injured. The Curtin Government at the time fearing widespread panic downplayed the entire event claiming only 17 died. No real recognition of the event occurred until recent times. This bombing it has been said was the catalyst for the establishment of the ANZUS Treaty for permanent military ties between the United States and Australia. Now military bases in Darwin will host an extensive American contingent training on a rotational basis up to 2,500 troops. This was announced as a strategic decision by President Obama on his last visit to Darwin and Australia in November 2011. The ANZUS Treaty is the most fundamental treaty amongst two Allies which was signed and has meant very close military and civilian ties between United States and Australia ever since which included Australia involvement and commitment in the Vietnam Wars.
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On the 19th of February the 70th Anniversary commemoration service will take place to finally honour those who were the victims of the bombing of Darwin during WW2. According to Historians the attack on Darwin was meant really so that American could not use Australia as a safe base during the second World War. There was only one American destroyer in Darwin on that day. The purpose was also to make Darwin an unworkable port for the alliance war effort.
At about 9.15 am the Japanese force was spotted by an Australian Coastwatch personnel on Melville Island. While the coastwatcher radioed a warning to the authorities at Darwin, RAAF officers there wrongly judged that the aircraft which had been sighted were actually the ten USAAC P-40s, which were returning to Darwin at the time after bad weather forced them to abort a flight to Timor. As a result, the air raid sirens at Darwin were not sounded. One of the numerous reasosn of the failure to defend Darwin was a failure of shells which were unable to be used in the tropics.-The fuses did not work. The shell canisters were marked 'not to be used in the tropics' yet these shells had been stored in Darwin for two years.
This was the first time in Australia's history that Australia was attacked. There have been many call to make this day a National day like ANZAC Day or Memorial or Remembrance Day.
Darwin Northern Territory site of the bombing of Darwin
President Obama visits Darwin Nov 2011
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