The bombing of Darwin, Australia happened 75 years ago.
Soon after Pearl Harbor took place in December of ’41, the Australian government decided to evacuate the city of Darwin. Darwin was an important Allied base on the northern edge of Australia, providing access to Asia and the pacific.
Most residents of Darwin loaded onto ships that ferried them south to the bigger cities like Perth and Melbourne and Sydney. Passengers took turns manning the scopes – looking, watching, waiting, scanning the surface of the water for periscopes.
Australia had a good hunch that the Japanese would come for Darwin sooner than later.
Sure enough in February, just a couple months after Pearl Harbor, the Japanese dropped bombs on the Darwin base and the surrounding cities. Hundreds died on the first day, residents and military members both. A destroyer called the USS Peary sunk after being hit by five bombs. (USS Peary still rests in the Darwin harbor today, under about 90 feet of water.)
The Japanese air raids continued over the next few years until America finally ended the war with atom bombs at Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
Japanese ambassadors, Australian governors and American military members were all present for the 75 year anniversary memorial service this past weekend.