On the 19th of February seventy years ago, the city of Darwin was bombed. Sustaining heavy damage and civilian casualties in air raids by Japanese forces, this attack was the first of over sixty air raids conducted up until November 1943.
My name is Romy Turner. I am a work experience student from Canberra Girls Grammar School at the Memorial for this week. As part of my work experience I had to research an item, a trench sign, from the Memorial's collection.
Bryant’s Diary: Tuesday 11th March 1941
We spent all day erecting an anti-aircraft gun pit and it wasn’t too soon. Late this afternoon two German bombers dropped their eggs [bombs] on the hill feature behind us. You could see them go into a dive and then would follow the roar of the exploding bomb and the subsequent column of smoke. The Bophas opened up and both planes hedge-hopped right over our position. One plane machine-gunned an ambulance without success. We opened up with the Bren, but without success.
Bryant's Diary: Friday 4th April 1941
Bryant’s Diary: Friday 28th March 1941
We took up our position and we caught a couple of donkeys to carry most of our heavy gear up. It is definitely impossible to dig in so we just cut out the middle of bushes to sleep in. We do our own cooking and there are plenty of rations. Away to the left are Bengasi and Benina and can only just be seen. Our only problem is the carriage of water. The Senoussi here seems friendly and offer us eggs and milk.
Bryant’s Diary: Friday 21st March 1941
Today was one of the lousiest days I’ve put in anywhere. The weather was terrible. The old Sahara Desert can be very nasty when it likes. Sand is everywhere. A warning order has arrived ready to move by night. It might be tomorrow night. Information has been received that some Wogs* are signalling to aircraft by placing their camels near objectives. We’ll have to watch them.
Bryant’s Diary: Friday 14th March 1941
I had a cow of a night last night. The wind became very strong and my eyes, ears, mouth and nose became choked with sand. I spent all day making a dug out for myself. It can do anything now. As a matter of fact we had a shower of rain today, but it was only slight. Still no more air raids.
Bryant’s Diary: Saturday 15th March 1941
Bryant’s Diary: Friday 7th March 1941
Bryant's Diary: Friday 21st February 1941
Retired back to Wadi Chariar and took up positions in old Turkish trenches.
Cosgriff's Diary: Friday 21st February 1941
Cosgriff's Diary: Friday 14th February 1941
Pro pace [For peace]. Only Horan and Carroll at Mass. Lecture on Arabic – too hard for me. Tim and Owen here for lunch. Visited McCormack and Ronald. Hours too long at evening meets. Arthur Amies the only one working. Horan filling his torch.