‘Tattooed onto my brain’: Final RAAF survivor relives the Bombing of Darwin
A commemoration service has been held to remember those who died in the Bombing of Darwin, 77-years-ago.
More than 240 people were killed when Japanese aircraft attacked the Australian mainland for the first time during World War Two.
The Japanese struck with stealth, speed and force, dropping 681 bombs weighing 114,000 kilograms on Darwin.
Katherine, Broome, Townsville, Wyndham and Cairns were also attacked.
The last surviving bombardier to have served during the Bombing of Darwin is 98-year-old Brian Winspear.
He was in Darwin on Tuesday morning, unveiling a commemorative plaque in honour of those who lost their lives.
Mr Winspear spoke to Chris Smith about his experience, saying the memories have stuck with him ever since.
“All those episodes are tattooed onto my brain and I think of them often,” he says.
“When the planes came over they thought they were Americans coming to help us, so they didn’t press the button until the zeros started shooting.”
Mr Winspear was just 21-years-old at the time and explains how naive he was to the true horrors of war.
“One of the reasons that I joined up was because the RAAF had a nice blue uniform,” he says.
“I’d been having a bit of a rough time getting girls, so I thought I’d better join up.”
Click PLAY to hear Mr Winspear’s fascinating recollection
Military historian Doctor Tom Lewis tells Alan Jones the attacks were initially played down but could have changed the course of the war.
“They wanted to take what is now Indonesia and Timor and then they were going to take New Guinea.
“And that way, if they controlled the approaches to Australia and stopped the Americans coming here, then the Pacific would be theirs.”
Click PLAY below to hear the full interview
Image: Australian War Memorial