MILINGIMBI AIRFIELD,
IN THE NORTHERN TERRITORY
DURING WWII

 

Milingimbi Airfield

 

34 Squadron RAAF who moved to Daly Waters airfield, NT, on 5 March 1942, carried out freight flights to Milingimbi airfield. 

59 Operational Base Unit (59 OBU) was based at Milingimbi Airfield during WWII.

 


Photo:- via Barry J. Goodall

Milingimbi Airfield 30 July 1941 - 6 Squadron photo

 


Photo:- via Barry J. Goodall

Milingimbi Airfield 30 July 1941 - 6 Squadron photo

 


Photo:- via Barry J. Goodall

Milingimbi Airfield 30 July 1941 - 6 Squadron photo

 


AWM ID Number: 060739

. Camp site of No. 59 Operational Base Unit, RAAF at Milingimbi Island,
Northern Territory on 20 November 1943, illustrating the use of natural camouflage.

 

Colin Totterdell and his wife Val lived on Milingimbi in the early nineties. Colin told me that there was quite a collection of aircraft wreckage around the island at that time. In the last decade or so much of this material has been relocated at the airfield.

Colin said that most of the old wartime sites and the revetments on either side of the strip are still quite recognisable. Colin said that the mission was bombed by the Japanese and some people were killed. Colin has an article describing the miraculous escape of Pilot Officer Bruce Little of 457 Squadron who dived into the woodland and wiped the wings off his Spitfire A58-81, BS 199 (ZP-S) while trying to shake off a Zero on 10 May 1943. He struck the ground at 160 mph, somersaulted several times and plummeted through the trees, came to a shuddering halt, upside down (Colin thinks), and walked a few kilometres back to base. 5 Spitfires had taken off to intercept 9 Japanese fighter aircraft.

The early missionaries notably Harold Shepperdson worked very hard to establish the Milingimbi airfield and the local Yolngu people were also a great help to the military personnel during WWII.

Arthur R Croucher, a wireless operator, was at Milingimbi and recalls the time when he was with a party of four others, who salvaged a Lockheed Hudson from a clay pan, and a Beaufighter from a swamp in the vicinity of the Liverpool River.

Jill Bear told me that "D" Troop was detached from the main body of the 224th Light Anti-aircraft (224 LAA) in Queensland and was stationed at Milingimbi Airfield. Jill is researching Ernest William Blyth who was posted to Milingimbi with the 224 LAA during WWII. The unit's name was later changed to 553 LAA.

 


AWM ID Number: 060731

Flight Sergeant C. Duncan of No. 452 Squadron, RAAF seated on the
mainplane of his Spitfire aircraft at Milingimbi Airfield on 20 November 1943

 


AWM ID Number: 060729

RAAF Boomerang fighter aircraft which landed with its wheels up
at No. 59 Operational Base Unit, Milingimbi Airfield on 20 November 1943.

 


Photo:- Phillip Squires 2008

Possibly the remains of Model CA-13 Boomerang, A46-146
(CAC Constructor's No. 969) of 83 Squadron RAAF, piloted by Mr. Guymer,
which ground lopped in a landing accident, at Milingimbi airfield on 24 May 1944

 


Photo:- Phillip Squires 2008

Possibly the remains of Model CA-13 Boomerang, A46-146. The machine guns
are still located in the wings. The Hispano cannons are also still on the ground.

 


Photo:- Colin Totterdell

The remains of an engine at Milingimbi Airfield

 


Photo:- Colin Totterdell

Wreckage of various pieces of aircraft at Milingimbi Airfield. Chris Miller
advised that this may be the remains of Lockheed Hudson A16-211
which made a heavy landing at Milingimbi airfield on 7 May 1943.

 

Can anyone please help me with more information
on this airfield during WWII?

 

Note:- Some records may spell Milingimbi with two "l"s ie as Millingimbi.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Chris Miller Colin Totterdell and Phillip Squires for their assistance with this web page.

I'd also like to thank Catie Harvey for her assistance with this web page.

I'd like to thank Jill Bear for her assistance with this web page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

I need your help

Copyright

 Peter Dunn 2015

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"Australia @ War"
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This page first produced 15 September 2002

This page last updated 18 October 2016