First 'Zero' Japanese fighter brought down on Australian mainland

Accession Number ART21687
Collection type Art
Measurement Overall: 48.6 x 64.3 cm
Object type Work on paper
Physical description gouache on paper
Maker Hodgkinson, Roy
Place made Australia: Northern Territory, Darwin
Date made 1942
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


The wreckage of an aircraft shot down over the mainland in Darwin on 19 February 1942. This aircraft is not actually a Zero as it is referred to by the artist but instead is a Aichi D3A carrier based dive bomber. Two of these aircraft were shot down on February 19, one on the mainland and one in Darwin Harbour. The only Zero that was shot down crashed on Melville Island. The pilot of this aircraft was buried in two humble graves, as his remains were found on two consecutive days. Roughly chopped saplings were placed around the graves and the epitaph which reads 'Unknown Japanese Airman Died 19.2.42.' was punched on an old jam tin.