US NAVY CATALINA SHOT DOWN BY JAPANESE AIRCRAFT
NEAR BATHURST ISLAND, NT
ON 19 FEBRUARY 1942

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The first major Japanese air raid on Darwin was n 19 February 1942. A US Navy Catalina was unlucky to be the first victim of this massive air raid. Catalina, Bu. No. 2306 of the US Navy's Patrol Wing 22, piloted by Lt. Thomas Moorer had just passed the northern tip of Bathurst Island when it ran into nine Type "O" Japanese fighter aircraft. They attacked the Catalina, setting it on fire. They were large holes in the fuel tanks and fuselage and the port engine had been destroyed.

Lt. Moorer made a forced landing on the water and his crew of 18, which included 4 wounded, managed to escape from the burning Catalina. They were later rescued by the Philippino freighter Don Isidro. This freighter was then subsequently attacked by Japanese aircraft and beached on Bathurst Island near Cape Fourcroy. Eleven survivors of this attack on the freighter were later to die on the beach on Bathurst Island. It is not clear whether any of the eleven were crew members of the Catalina.

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

"Darwin's Air War - 1942-1945. An Illustrated History"
By the Aviation Historical Society of the Northern Territory

 

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   Peter Dunn 2002
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This page first produced 9 February 2002

This page last updated 09 February 2002