[Bombing of Darwin 19 February 1942]

Accession Number F04605
Collection type Film
Measurement 20 minutes
Object type Home movie
Physical description 8mm standard/b&w/silent
Maker Wheeler, Roy Crawford
Place made At sea, Australia: Northern Territory, Darwin, Australia: South Australia, Adelaide, Australia: Western Australia, Fremantle
Date made January 1942-February 1942
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Source credit to This item has been digitised with funding provided by Commonwealth Government.

The story begins with the 2/1 Hospital Ship Manunda leaving Sydney in January 1942 to go to Darwin and then to Singapore to evacuate any wounded. The film shows the journey through the Whitsunday Passage and then life on board the ship as they approached Darwin. Scene of two Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) Sisters on the deck showing NFX70211 Sister Margaret Augusta De Mestre AANS wearing the veil who was later killed during the bombing of Darwin on 19 February 1942. The Manunda moored in Darwin Harbour whilst the Government decided what to do. The personnel often went ashore and fraternised with the troops stationed ashore. There was a cricket match and visits into the jungle where evidently some of the troops perhaps suffered from 'prickly heat' and their clothes. Then on 19 February 1942 the Japanese bombed Darwin - my late husband NX56629 Lieutenant Roy Crawford Wheeler was on board the Hospital ship Manunda, he had an 8mm movie camera and took this film. It shows smoke coming from the USS Peary and our own SS Zealandia smoking. Other pictures show the damage to the Manunda. After taking our wounded (mostly burns) the ship limped down to Fremantle evacuated the wounded to the hospital there, then sailed to Adelaide where the ship was left for repairs. The Army personnel were billeted in Adelaide for some time. The film shows personnel packing and returning belongings from the ship to be transported by train to Sydney. [description by Mrs A Wheeler]

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