The Second Japanese Air Raid on Townsville
on 27/28 July 1942

 

Sub Lieutenant Kiyoshi Mizukura and his regular co-pilot Takeho Takeya left Rabaul in a Kawanishi H8K1 Emily Flying Boat, Serial No. W-46 on 27 July 1942. They arrived over Townsville at 2.25 am on 28 July, however this time No. 104 RAAF Radar Station gave a 1 hour 50 minute warning of its arrival. Six American Airacobras from the 8th Fighter Group took off from Garbutt airfield and were in the air by the time the flying boat was 80 kms from Townsville.

S/Ldr. Lawrie Stratford - RAAF Signals Operator
Lawrie Stratford D/F'd the two Jap aircraft
during the 2nd air raid on Townsville

Eight bombs were dropped from 15,000 feet in an area about 1.5 kms from Garbutt airfield near the foothills of Many Peaks Range.

The RAAF Townsville Museum has a translation of a Japanese log book describing this raid as follows:-

Number of planes:   1

Target:     Townsville Aerodrome

Townsville           Tokyo           Details
Time                   Time 

27 July 1942
1835hrs               1735hrs       Doors close Rabaul

28 July 1942
0210hrs               0110hrs       Reached target area Townsville.
0216hrs               0116hrs       Bombed aerodrome for three
                                               minutes, caught in searchlights
                                               and A/A fire.
0935hrs               0835hrs       Doors open Rabaul

Duration:        15 hours

Ammunition expended:    8 x 250lbs

 

Garbutt airfield with Many Peaks Range and Magnetic Island in the background

 


Photo: Townsville RAAF Museum

Location of where one of the bombs fell at Many Peaks Range

Most reports indicated that the bombs fell harmlessly on mudflats near Many Peaks Range but some aerial photographs that I have recently obtained show a bomb crater adjacent to a concrete Machine Gun bunker in the Town Common area inland for Pallarenda.

tc02.jpg (85479 bytes)

Note the extensive road network in the area and the camp and buildings just to the north of the crater.

 

tc01.jpg (616949 bytes)

Click to view a larger version
of the above photograph

This bomb crater is located very close to one of a number of concrete bunkers in the Town Common area. Was the bunker there at the time of the bombing raid? Or was it under construction? Probably the latter based on the above photographs. So was it a deliberate action to put the bomb in that area or just a bad shot?? Did the Japanese know something that we don't know yet? Why were the bunkers there on the Town Common? What was the purpose of the camp that can be seen at the top of the photograph?

Where did the other bombs land?

The American Airacobras were not initially able to attack the Japanese flying boat as three American anti-aircraft batteries (code named Dog, X-Ray and Yorka) from the 208th Coast Artillery fired around 72 rounds for about a minute.

Mizukura reported that he had 'bombed the aerodrome for three minutes from 02.15 a.m. and been caught in searchlights and anti-aircraft fire'

mitz01.jpg (10475 bytes)

Sub Lieutenant Kiyoshi Mizukura flew an Emily flying boat on two raids against Townsville and another near Mossman

Sub Lieutenant Kiyoshi Mizukura in Japan many years after the war

mitz02.jpg (12276 bytes)

 

Reports by Axis Radio on the Townsville Bombing Raids

 

Townsville Saved from a 300 aircraft Japanese air raid

 

Japanese Air Raids in Australia

 

REFERENCE

"The Hidden Chapters, Untold stories of Australians at war in the Pacific"
by Robert Piper

 

 

 

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 Peter Dunn 2006

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This page first produced 22 October 2000

This page last updated 26 March 2013