JAPANESE AIR RAID ON MILINGIMBI
ON 10 MAY 1943
The Japanese carried out another air raid on Milingimbi on Monday 10 May 1943. This followed the first air raid on Milingimbi on Sunday 9 May 1943.
Nine Zeros strafed the vessel "Islander" and set it on fire. It had been damaged the previous day in the bombing raid by seven "Sally" bombers. The members of 1 Mobile Works Squadron (1MWS) RAAF lost all of their personal effects in the fire.
The Japanese suffered further air losses yesterday when five RAAF Spitfires and one Beaufighter intercepted nine Zeros raiding the Allied airstrip on Milingimbi Island, a Methodist mission settlement, 300 miles east of Darwin.
In the ensuing air battle, two Zeros were shot down, one other probably destroyed, and two damaged. One Spitfire was shot down, but the pilot, although injured, was rescued.
It was the second Japanese raid on this remote Allied air post in two days. The Australian Beaufighter which joined the Spitfires in the battle was the same aircraft that damaged one of the seven Japanese medium bombers which raided Milingimbi on Sunday.
When the fight started, the Spitfires had started to climb, but clashed with Zeros while still making height.
The Zeros succeeded in getting low enough to strafe the airstrip but one communique reports only slight damage.
Three Zeros also attacked a small Allied convoy off the coast of Arnhem Land, but were driven off by the ship's accurate ack ack fire, which damaged one enemy aircraft.
RAAF Mark IC Beaufighters, A19-16 (RAF No. T4946), of 31 Squadron RAAF, piloted by Mr. Frith was badly damaged by the strafing Japanese Zeros. Beaufighter A19-72 (RAF No. T5092), of 31 Squadron RAAF, piloted by Mr. Read, was also damaged.
Note:- Some records may spell Milingimbi with two "l"s ie as Millingimbi.
"Coomalie Charlie's Commandos - 31 Squadron
RAAF" (page 73 & 75)
"Beaufighters at Darwin 1942-43"
by Kenneth Neal McDonald, DFC
"Always First - The RAAF Airfield
Construction Squadrons 1942-1974" (page 33)
by David Wilson
I'd like to thank Catie Harvey for her assistance with this web page.
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 24 October 1999
This page last updated 31 August 2015