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Community Comes Together to Commemorate the Bombing of Darwin

Media Release
19 February 2019

City of Darwin will hold a commemorative service at The Cenotaph this morning on the 77th anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin.

Thousands of locals and visitors from around Australia are expected to turn out to mark the day that enemy air forces attacked Darwin in 1942.

Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis says that the service each year provides the community with an opportunity to remember and honour those who contributed to the defence of our country during the war.

‘On this National Day of Observance we take the time to reflect on the moment when World War Two arrived on the shores of Darwin and Australia. We remember those who bravely defended, those who were evacuated and those who lost their lives,’ the Lord Mayor said.

Three Bombing of Darwin veterans are attending the service. All three of these men were in Darwin on that day 77 years ago when the air raid siren sounded and the bombs rained down.

One of these veterans is Flight Lieutenant Brian Winspear who yesterday afternoon unveiled a plaque at The Cenotaph in memory of the 2 and 13 Hudson Bomber RAAF squadrons he flew with in and out of Darwin. He is the last surviving member of the squadrons.

”This is some recognition of the terrible losses we had. We lost 200 air crew between 1941 to 1943. Huge losses, three quarters of our crew and aircraft,” said Brian Winspear.

Winspear wants to ensure the cost of war is never downplayed again. “For goodness sake, don’t forget to remember.”

Brian Winspear will join fellow Bombing of Darwin veterans Basil Stahl and Mervyn Ey as guests of honour at the service.

The Lord Mayor is delighted to welcome the veterans to Darwin.

‘The presence of veterans here in Darwin bestows upon us a great honour. They fought for the peace that we must never take for granted,” the Lord Mayor said.

“This National Day of Observance is a time not only to reflect, but to learn and tell the stories of our veterans to younger generations. Future generations need to learn the horror of war to ensure that they understand the importance of preserving peace.”

The air raid siren will sound at 9.58am, the exact time that the first bombs hit Darwin, and will be followed by a visual depiction of the defence of Darwin.

City of Darwin will also be holding Free Entry Days at the RFDS Darwin Tourist Facility as part of this year’s program. Entry to the RFDS Darwin Tourist Facility is free during opening hours between midday today to midday tomorrow, Wednesday 20 February.

For more information on City of Darwin’s Bombing of Darwin Day program visit darwin.nt.gov.au

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