JAPANESE BOMBING RAIDS
PARAP, ADELAIDE RIVER & BATCHELOR AIRFIELD
ON 12 NOVEMBER 1943

 

This raids has been described as the 64th and final Japanese bombing raid on the Darwin area during WWII.

The 452 Squadron RAAF Unit History has the following entry:-

11 Nov 43

Strauss

Armistice Day again. As if in direct violation of the hopes expressed 25 years ago the Japanese raided Fenton and Darwin areas. F/O Smithson of No. 457 Squadron destroyed two bombers in the early hours of the 12th November.

 

The 457 Squadron RAAF Unit History has the following entry:-

12 Nov 43

Livingstone

Fine and hot. At 0305 hours this morning three aeroplanes of this squadron, together with eight Spitfires from 54 Squadron, were scrambled to intercept an incoming enemy raid. Contact was made by F/O J. Smithson over COX PENINSULA, and he succeeded in destroying two BETTYS. F/O Smithson had been patrolling from east to west across the southern end of DARWIN HARBOUR when control ordered him to prepare to meet enemy aeroplanes entering the DARWIN AREA. Soon afterwards he saw reflected bomb bursts in DARWIN through the clouds and then saw three bombers in vic formation 1,000 feet below him. He turned 180 degrees starboard opening full throttle, and pursued them. Losing them momentarily as they passed over the edge of a cloud, he pressed onwards and suddenly saw them illuminated in a searchlight directly in front of him. Losing height to dead astern of the leader, he opened fire with machine guns and, observing strikes, gave the e/a 2 - 3 second burst with cannon and machine guns. It was illuminated from wing tip to wing tip through strikes, giving the effect of a neon sign, with cannon shells exploding on and around both engine nacelles. The enemy aeroplane appeared to stop and drop about forty feet, then fall away vertically. Return fire was experienced from the port bomber during this attack. The remaining two enemy aeroplanes continued to maintain the same course and height. Smithson, who was travelling fast, overshot them, throttled back and waited until they drew level. He then opened fore on the port enemy aeroplane, height still 15,000 feet, and it burst into flames and dived away. He followed it down for a short distance, then turned in an attempt to spot the third enemy. He was unable to locate it, and returned to RAAF DARWIN undamaged. This is one of the few occasions so far during the war when a Spitfire has destroyed two night raiders in one sortie.

 

The 54 Squadron RAF Unit History has the following entry:-

12 Nov 43

Night Cliff, Darwin, N.T.

An enemy air raid took place from about 0230 to 0400 hours. Approximately nine E/A were involved, and bombs were dropped in the neighbourhood of Pell and at Parap, near Darwin. Six a/c of teh Squadron were airborne for a considerable time but there was no interception. 457 Squadron claim 2 destroyed. The weather was bad and F/S Powell landed at Macdonald, returning to base about 12.15 hours.

 

The No. 1 Fighter Wing RAAF Unit History has the following entry:-

12 Nov 43

Darwin

Air Raid over DARWIN town area 0200 hours, in which two enemy aircraft were shot down by F/O. Smithson, 457 Squadron

NOTE:- Whilst the above records show that two Japanese Betty bombers were claimed, it is believed that Japanese records show that only one Betty bomber was lost.

 

REFERENCE DOCUMENTS

RAAF Unit History sheets (Form A50) (Operations Record book - Forms A50 and A51) 1 Fighter Wing Oct 42 - Sep 45

No. 54 Squadron - June 1942 to August 1945 (Unit History)

Unit History of Number 452 Squadron - April 1941 to November 1945

Unit History of Number 457 Squadron - July 1941 to October 1945

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Tom Lewis and Tamotsu Sumitomo for their assistance with this web page.

 

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This page first produced 7 December 2016

This page last updated 02 March 2017