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Darwin Bombing Northern Territory - Searching for Loved Ones Killed in the War

By Edited May 11, 2015 1 2

Bomb Attack on Darwin

The attack on Darwin at 9.58 am on Thursday the 19th February 1942 was horrendous and not expected. Two hundred and forty three people died and three hundred and fifty more injured or missing. Many innocent people were killed while working in the post office and other local businesses.

The attack came from 188 aircraft launched from four Japanese naval carriers 350km North West of Darwin. Eight ships were sunk and others severely damaged.

During 1942-1943 the Japanese carried out 64 bombing attacks on and around Darwin. Numerous Airstrips were built on the road into Darwin even further down from Adelaide River to enable our military to safely land their aircraft, some of these are still there today as a reminder.

Wreck of the B24 J Liberator -Milady

We took a drive out to Wagait Beach and from there we drove to see the wreck of the Milady. It’s well worth the trip as they had give very informative signs with information on all parts of the wreck.

 

 

Searching for Loved Ones

There are many internet sites where you can search for loved ones although you need to find any information on which war, country and regiments that your loved one is from to help your research.

Searching for family and friends is not always easy. Although the most important thing is to never give up, you can be lucky like us as we searched for a family friend.

We were told ours was killed in Darwin so that is where we started searching in the most obvious place we thought at the Darwin Military Museum-Defence of Darwin Experience which is situated at the end of East Point Road. We wanted to see this during our last visit four years ago in Darwin, although because dogs are not permitted in the grounds we could not enter.

This time we put our dog in Helgas Dog and Cat kennels so were able to enjoy our visit and search for more information.

We had a letter that Jack Campbell had written to our family on 1st January 1944 therefore we had something to go by and he had stated his enlisted and group number at the top which was a big help.

This Darwin Military Museum is well worth a visit with a great collection of displays and memorabilia of this terrible time and the equipment used in the defence of Darwin.

Misleading Information

After reading some of the information at the museum, we noticed the records stated there were no bombings after November 1943. We could not understand this because we were told he was killed from a bomb. We went through all the displays and read all the names of the enlisted men killed in Darwin without success.

Disappointed we did more research on military records on the net and with help from our daughter we found that his grave was in Adelaide River NT cemetery.

This war cemetery is beautifully kept and well worth a visit. And most important of all we found our Jack Campbell. In fact his name was John Samual Campbell. And yes, he did die in a bombing. On the 6th of august 1944 the crew of the 25th Mitchell bomber A47-13 were carrying out medium level bombing practice. The crew experienced trouble in releasing bombs and advised formation. The bombs were seen to fall and explode beneath the aircraft.

Therefore they were actually killed by their own bombs. How terrible is that? Four men were killed instantly, one lived 2 days and the other one died on the 19th.

Flames were seen to come from aircraft which crash landed approximately 10 miles East of Adelaide River.

The head stones of the four killed are together in this cemetery although I am still not sure at time of writing where the other two were buried. These men were all so very young, like many men lost in the wars.

If you are looking for loved ones then you too will need to make full use of all the internet and military museums available and you too may find the ones you are looking for.

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Comments

Jun 26, 2013 5:41am
southerngirl09
A very interesting read - wars take so many of our young men and women. I am looking forward to more articles from your trip, and be safe on your journey. Thumbs Up!
Sep 21, 2013 5:02am
eileen
Yes it is an awful waste of lives. And often it does not change anything as far as greed of many countries is concerned.
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