Darwin, February 1942

Wartime bombing, Darwin, 1942

Quick Statistics

243 Fatalities
400 Injured

During wartime on 19 February 1942, 188 Japanese planes were launched against Darwin.

Australia came under attack for the first time when Japanese forces mounted two air bombing raids. The two attacks, which were planned and led by the commander responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbour ten weeks earlier, involved 54 land based bombers. They were launched from four Japanese aircraft carriers in the Timor Sea.

The first attack ceased after approximately 40 minutes. The second attack, which began an hour later, involved high altitude bombing of the Royal Australian Air Force base at Parap which lasted for 20-25 minutes. The two raids killed at least 243 people and 300-400 were wounded. Twenty military aircraft were destroyed; eight ships at anchor in the harbour were sunk.

The air attacks on Darwin continued until November 1943, by which time the Japanese had bombed Darwin 64 times.


Anzac Day, Australia under attack, website viewed 8 March 2011
Australian Government, Culture and creation – Darwin bombing, website, viewed 7 March 2011
Battle for Australia, The bombing of Darwin, website viewed 8 March 2011
National Archives of Victoria, Fact sheet 195 –The bombing of Darwin, website, viewed 7 March 2011