MONDAY AUGUST 26, 2019
77th Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin
Commemoration Service – Shrine of Remembrance Melbourne
The Melbourne Branch of the Darwin Defenders 1942-1945 were once again honoured and privileged to be able to organise the 77th Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne on Tuesday 19th February 2019.
Accompanied by music of The Air Force Band directed by Flight Lieutenant Daniel Phillips, President Alan Day lead the march of the Darwin Defenders banner from the flagpoles to the flame.
An incredible flypast of 5 vintage aircraft from the Point Cook Air Museum was certainly a highlight for the many attending Veterans, families, VIPs, teachers, students and the general public. We are privileged that Squadron Leader Glen Coy and his team are able to support this auspicious occasion.
Master of Ceremonies, Mr Tim Gurry OAM, expertly guided the service.
With welcomes from Shrine Governor, Colonel John Coulson OAM RFD ED (Retired) and Patron of the Darwin Defenders Melbourne Branch, Rear Admiral John Lord AM, the service began with dignity, respect and acknowledgement of the sacrifices made in 1942.
Bombing of Darwin survivor Herbert Kriloff dies aged 103
A survivor of the biggest World War II attack on Australian shores, Commander Herbert Kriloff, is remembered as "one of the pioneers, in more ways than one, of the alliance between the United States and Australia, which binds our two nations together today". Read the full story
Photo: Herbert Kriloff wrote a memoir of experiences that had "stayed with him for life". (www.abc.net.au)
FRIDAY DECEMBER 13, 2018
Two Generations Book Release
The Darwin Defenders 1942-45 is very pleased to promote Anne Connor's book "Two Generations". A story that shines a light on the north of Australia under attack during WWII.
Anne's book contains the history of the then little known frontier town of Darwin and is based on research carried out at the NT Archival Centre, the Australian War Memorial, history books, footage of the events and discussions with veterans who were there. It is written personally based on true stories. This takes the reader into the scenes, which at times are harrowing.
Anne says … my father, Jock Connor, was a gunner and signalman with the 2/14th Australian Field Regiment. He was based in Darwin during the bombings. When I traveled to Darwin in 2012 to attend the 70th Commemoration of the bombing, I was shocked at the history of the town and my thoughts kept landing in the same place; 'Why didn't I know about this. Why don't Australian's know about this?'
The book also covers fighting in Lae New Guinea, where my father was involved in a tragic accident with ramifications that resonated within my family. The story is an 'every-family' story as every family has had someone who has gone to war and been impacted by that.
We are also very please that Anne has accepted our invitation to be the guest speaker at the 77th Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin Commemorative Service at the Shrine on the 19th February.
If you would like to purchase a copy of the book "Two Generations", please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 5, 2018
Battle for Australia 1941-1945
Commemoration Ceremony - Shrine of Remembrance
It was beautiful Spring day in Melbourne for the 75th Anniversary of 1943 – The Tide Begins to Turn – a commemorative service to honour the courage, sacrifice and service of Australians and allies who endured and repulsed the Japanese attacks on Australian and in the islands to our north.
Alan Day, Robyn Bell, Michele Gallin, Tim Gurry and Bernadette Lightfoot represented the Melbourne Branch of the Darwin Defenders 1942-45.
It was an honour for Alan Day to be mentioned several times during the service by the MC, Mr Paul Sheahan AM – Mr Sheahan acknowledged Alan’s service to Australia during the second world war.
The Battle for Australia Committee presented an exceptional service – which included impressive student presentations describing the Battle of Buna, Gona , Salamaua and Lae.
A highlight of this year’s service was the Keynote Address by Wing Commander Sharon Bown (Retd) – and a copy can be found here of her inspirational speech.
PHOTO: Mr Alan Day KCSJ-FAIM, Wing Commander Sharon Bown (Retd) and Col John Coulson OAM RFD ED (Retd).
76th Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin Service at the Shrine
The Melbourne Branch of the Darwin Defenders 1942-45 were once again honoured and privileged to be able to organise the 76th Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin at Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne on Monday 19th February 2018.
Address from the event by Dr Robert Webster OAM:
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, good morning. We gather today to remember and commemorate those Australians and American citizens who were killed, injured or otherwise suffered during the bombing of Darwin on 19 February 1942. But first a little background information... Continue Reading full address
2018 Darwin Defenders Commemorative Ceromonies
The Darwin Defenders 1942-45 Commemorative ceremony in Melbourne will be held at the Shrine of Remembrance on Monday 19th February 2018 commencing at 10:00am
Graduation Parade for General Entry 349 – Emms Division
The Graduation Parade for General Entry 349 - Emms Division was held on the Recruit School Parade Ground on Friday 31 March 2017. Recruits graduated in front of over 450 family and friends. The Reviewing Officer for the Graduation Parade was Chief of Staff - Fleet Command, Commodore Luke Charles-Jones, CSC, OAM, RAN.
Emms Division is named in honour of Leading Cook Francis Emms, who was serving onboard HMAS Kara Kara when the Japanese conducted an air raid on Darwin in 1942. Eight ships were sunk, dozens of aircraft destroyed and nearly 300 people killed. During the attack Kara Kara was singled out. Emms manned one of the vessels machine guns and continued to return fire even after he had been seriously wounded. His constant and accurate fire forced the Japanese aircraft to break off their attack. Emms dies later that day as a result of the wounds sustained during the attack.
Recruit School is the culmination of 11 weeks of basic training to enable sailors to think for themselves and work with each other. The school provides them with the many skills needed to pass onto a naval career. Teamwork, self-discipline and professionalism are the key attributes developed within Recruits undertaking Recruit training. Recruits are expected to adopt and display in their behaviour and their attitude the Navy values, Honour, Honesty, Courage, Integrity and Loyalty.
It was with great pleasure that several members of the Darwin Defenders Executive Committee attended the Graduation Ceremony at HMAS Cerberus on Friday 31st March 2017. We were able to travel in style to Cerberus courtesy of Mr Chris Thoday from Mercedes Benz Mornington – a very good friend and carer/companion of Alan Day at many veteran ceremonies.
Mr Alan Day, President of the Darwin Defenders presented Recruit Electronics Technician Submariner Stephen Scartaccini with the 'Academic of the Intake' award during his graduation ceremony from General Entry 349 Emms Division held at Recruit School, HMAS Cerberus, Victoria.
The Graduation was a wonderful event and we hope to become more closely connected to Emms Division in the future. We thank Commander Luke Ryan, LEUT Stacey Sutherland, Officer in Charge and CPOB Brian Gordon CSM for their invitation to the ceremony.
Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin
Sunday 19th February 2017 – St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne
Many members of the Darwin Defenders 1942-45 community gathered at St Paul’s Cathedral on Sunday 19th February for the 10:30am Choral Eucharist to commemorate the day ‘War Came to Australia’ and Darwin was bombed.
The Clergy – especially The Revd Cannon Heather Patacca, Precentor – and the parishioners of St Paul’s made us very welcome prior to the service and we were able to mount the Darwin Defenders banner behind the alter for the service.
Ms Michele Gallin (Vice-President) and Mr Brian Neal (RSL Representative) participated in the service by reading the Lessons of the Day.
Acknowledgement and prayers were offered during the service – we are grateful for the opportunity given to us by the community of St Paul’s Cathedral on this day.
We give thanks for those who defended Darwin in 1942.
Darwin Defenders Ceremony – 75th Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin
On Thursday 16th February 2017 at The Shrine of Remembrance Veterans, representatives from all levels of Government, the ADF, The Consulate-General of Japan, USA Consulate-General, British Consulate-General, War Widows Guild, American Ex-Servicemen’s Association, Veteran families, teachers, students, members of the ex-service organisation community, and friends gathered to commemorate, reflect and acknowledge the sacrifice and courage of the members who served and died during the attacks on Australia especially Darwin, during 1942 – 1945.
It was especially poignant on this 75th Anniversary to welcome Commander Luke Ryan RAN from the RAN Recruit School at HMAS Cerberus and the new recruits from EMMS Division – named after Francis Bassett (Dick) Emms – who bravely served and gave his life in Darwin in 1942 and was subsequently awarded a posthumous Mention in Dispatches – For courage and devotion to duty in HMAS KARA KARA during an enemy air raid on Darwin on 19 February 1942.
Squadron Leader Glen Coy and the RAAF Museum, Point Cook provided a wonderful fly past of museum aircraft to mark the commencement of the Ceremony.
The Royal Australian Navy Band Melbourne provided the formal music for the ceremony.
Piper, Mr Alan Davidson played a moving lament whilst Mr Alan Day KCSJ FAIM - President of the Melbourne Branch of the Darwin Defenders marched from the Flag Poles to the Flame. Students from Wesley College Glen Waverley and Ivanhoe Girls Grammar School accompanied Mr Day and held the Darwin Defenders Banner with pride.
Colonel John Coulson OAM RFD ED, Shrine Governor welcomed the attendees to the Shrine and spoke about the significance of the day.
Patron of the Darwin Defenders Melbourne Branch, Rear Admiral John Lord AM (Retired) welcomed everyone and spoke movingly of why it was so important to mark this anniversary with such an auspicious event.
Dr Rosalie Triolo from the Education Faculty of Monash University presented the Keynote Address – Victorian Education Department Teachers and ‘When the War Came to Australia’. She spoke with deep thought and emotion from her years as a young school student to the many young students and guests attending the service. The wonderful stories of Mr Newell and Mr Dare brought to life the sacrifices made in Darwin during 1942-45. Dr Triolo’s summary is a true reflection of the meaning of commemorating this significant event in our history… But events like today are how we show our gratitude - and our humanity – to those who have gone before us and those who are still with us. I now make a real effort to thank veterans and serving personnel for their service, and I wonder if you may think to do the same. Again, how very fortunate are we that we can meet here now, at this very moment, in safety and in peace.
The Schools communities of The King David School, Wesley College, Star of the Sea, Wesley College, Sale PS, Puckapunyal PS, Scotch College, Christ Church Grammar School, Glen Eira College, Ivanhoe Girls Grammar, Laverton Secondary College, Mentone Grammar and Xavier College were represented at the service.
The Melbourne Committee of the Darwin Defenders acknowledges and is extremely grateful for the support of funding granted to them by the Victorian Veterans Council.
Photos from the Melbourne Commemorations
Photos from the Darwin Commemorations
Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin
As 2016 quickly draws to a close, we have begun to plan for the 75th Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin in 2017.
In the Northern Territory/Darwin
The 75th commemorative program, The Territory Remembers, not only tells the well documented military history, but it also tells our history through the eyes of people who were there. While our history is well documented, it is through personal stories that we can come to understand what war is really about. It captures the lesser-known stories of those directly involved; the veterans and civilians and their families impacted by this war on our home soil.
The City of Darwin is responsible for the Commemorative Ceremonies In February. Details of all programs can be found in the newsletter.
The 19th of February falls on Sunday in 2017.
The Melbourne Committee will be organising a school/veteran/public ceremony at the Shrine of Remembrance on Thursday 16th February beginning at 10:00am.
On Sunday 19th February, St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne have offered to prayers and commemoration of the events in Darwin during their 10:30am service.
A service will be held in the Memorabilia Garden of the Bendigo District RSL Complex, Havilah Road, Bendigo on Sunday 19th February commencing at 9.30am.
2016 Winter Commemorative Services
With the wintry months of the year upon us, members of the Melbourne Branch of the Darwin Defenders 1942-45 have been braving the cold winds to attend the Shrine of Remembrance to commemorate the service and the sacrifice of men and women who served our nation.
Rear Admiral John Lord AM (Retired,) Mr Alan Day KJSJ FAIM, Mrs Robyn Bell and Ms Bernadette Lightfoot have represented the Darwin Defenders at the following services:
Sunday Mary 29th – United States of America Memorial Day
Ed Bartosh, Secretary of the American Ex-Servicemen’s Association spoke beautifully prior to the laying of the wreaths…
Let us now bow our heads, and after placing the material symbols of remembrance in this place of sacred memory, stand in silence as we remember all those you died in all wars in the defence of American freedom.
Sunday 5th June – Bomber Command
Mrs Jan Dimmock recited the Airman’s Prayer, inscribed upon the chapel windos of the Air Forces Memorial at Runneymede
If I climb into heave, thou art there
If I go down into hell, thou art there also
If I take the wings of the morning
And remain in the uttermost part of the sea
Even there also shall thy hand lead me
And thy right hand shall hold me.
Tuesday 12th July – Commemorative Service to honour the Life of Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop
2016 marks the thirty-first year of the Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop Medical Research Foundation as an independent, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the improving health and wellbeing of veterans through funding medical research. The Foundation exists through goodwill of volunteers who promote the personal qualities of Weary himself – courage, compassion, steadfastness, and hope to name a few.
Vale Joan Johnstone
The Melbourne Branch of the Darwin Defenders has lost one of its brightest and vibrant members.
We pay tribute to the wonderful Joan Johnstone. We remember her with love and fondness and her glamorous presence will be sadly missed at our meetings.
We offer our sincere condolences to her much loved family.
President Alan Day KJSJ FAIM, Vice President Mrs Robyn Bell, Treasurer Miss Eleanore Leydon and Secretary Ms Bernadette Lightfoot attended the very moving memorial service held at Bunurong Memorial Park on the 29th March 2016.
MAJ GEN David McLachlan AO (RSL State President) paid tribute to Joan’s extraordinary service to the RSL and the ex-service community.
We share with our members some of MAJ GEN David McLachlan’s moving tribute….
Joan gave the RSL over 30 years of service.
Joan Dorothea Woodhead enlisted in The Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS) on the 6th June 1942 and was discharged as a Sergeant on the 15th May 1946. During her service, she was posted the 2nd Australian Army Headquarters Command Paymasters Office, Paymaster in Chief Land Headquarters and later to the Directorate of Army Education and Land Headquarters.
For service, Joan was awarded the:
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45
General Service Brooch.
Joan joined the RSL in 1984 – throughout that time she was a truly active and passionate member of The Returned & Servicewomen’s sub branch – serving in positions of President, Vice-President and long time member of the Committee.
She represented the RSL on many Committees over the years including:
Victorian Council on the Aging, Australia Council on the Aging, DVA Story writing and Art Competition, Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop Medical Research Foundation, Council of Ex-Servicewomen and many others.
During the 1995 Australia Remembers Commemorations, Joan was actively involved in the “Field of Crosses” at the Shrine of Remembrance. Joan spent many long hours co-ordinating the ex-service personal watching the field, welcoming strangers and thanking them for ‘remembering’ them.
… A most elegant and gentle lady, who combined her love of life with a passion for helping others. The RSL was the more ‘richer’ for having Joan in its family.
The Melbourne Branch of the Darwin Defenders was also honoured that Joan found time to attend meetings and the annual services to commemorate those that had lost their lives in Darwin during 1942-45. We shall miss her.
Message for the Commemoration from Rear Admiral John Lord AM – Patron of the Melbourne Branch
On Friday the 19th February, several commemorations will be held around Australia to mark the date Darwin was attacked by fighter bombers belonging to Japanese forces in 1942. The main focus will be Darwin, as this was the date the first attack occurred, and then subsequently over 60 attacks were made on the City. Over 200 servicemen and civilians were killed during that first raid. The loss of so many Australians on our home soil in one day is unthinkable today.
121 kilometres south of Darwin is the Adelaide River War Cemetery which houses tombstones marking the graves of 432 World War 2 servicemen and women killed throughout the war across northern Australia. Adjacent is the civilian cemetery which includes the graves of the nine Post Office workers also killed on 19 February 1942, and the graves of 31 indigenous civilians killed during the war.
Most Australians may now be aware of the attacks on Darwin. However, most will be unaware that in total it is reported 13 towns across northern Australia were attacked during the years 1942 and 1943. These were Exmouth Gulf, Onslow, Port Hedland, Broome, Derby, Drysdale, Wyndham, Port Patterson, Katherine, Millingimbi, Horn Island, Mossman and Townsville. There was also the attack on Sydney Harbour by two Japanese midget submarines with thankfully only limited success.
At the time the Australian Government and military were ashamed and embarrassed by the attacks. They were not expected and thus northern Australia was not prepared and not well defended. There was a media blackout on the number of casualties and even the attacks were not widely acknowledged by authorities.
Even after the war the attacks were not given much coverage. They were not included in many history books for schools on Australian history or Western Australian history which was a separate subject in the 1950s. Commemoration services and ceremonies were not held other than in Darwin, and rarely were the causalities mentioned in services honouring war dead. It was many years later that it was formally recognised that military personnel involved in defending northern Australia were classified as on active service.
However, in contrast to this lack of public recognition, the Australian government at the time and subsequent governments did recognise that Australia was under-populated. It was recognised our north was particularly vulnerable to over the water attacks, and that a larger population was needed to ensure Australian sovereignty of the mainland. This was a defining moment as Australia began its migration programs.
The initial migration programs and those subsequently are well covered by historians and migration experts. In the 1950s migrants came from European countries as part of the White Australia policy, but subsequently our programs have thankfully matured to make Australia the multi cultural mix it is today. Many of these latter migrants also have come to Australia as a result of conflicts; Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan to name a few.
As we mark the bombing of Darwin on the 19th February, and in so doing recognise the attacks on the other communities across northern Australia, we should also reflect on how Australia’s role in conflict has helped shaped our nation. The immigration that has resulted has made Australia what it is today, and no doubt, with our present immigration policies providing a homeland for other displaced persons, will do so in the future.
With one in four of our schoolchildren born overseas, and over forty percent having a parent born overseas, it is important we continue to commemorate events such as the attacks on Australia’s home soil in 1942-1943 so that many new and young Australians can learn and appreciate how Australia has evolved.
John Lord AM
Rear Admiral (retired)
Patron, Darwin Defenders 1942-1945, Melbourne Branch