ON 9 MAY 1943


On 9 May 1943, Dave Delaporte of 31 Squadron RAAF based at Coomalie Creek airfield in the Northern Territory, travelled over to Millingimbi airfield. Seven Japanese "Sally" bombers carried out an air raid that day. Delaporte attacked the "Sally's" and claimed to have hit one before his guns cut out. There was little damage and Dave Delaporte was unharmed.

The Japanese were well aware that 31 Squadron (and I assume others) were using the Mission airfield as a staging and refuelling stop.

Flying Officer Richardson and 20 men of 1 Mobile Works Squadron (1MWS) RAAF travelled to Millingimbi on board the 70 ton vessel "Islander".  They were on their way to Wessell Island to establish a new Radar Station. On their arrival at Millingimbi they were greeted by the above-mentioned 7 "Sally" bombers which dropped twenty 100 kg daisy cutter bombs. The "Islander" and the runway at the Millingimbi airfield were both damaged. Two 1MWS personnel were injured in the bombing raid.

The following day nine Zeros strafed the "Islander" and set it on fire. The members of 1MWS lost all of their personal effects in the fire.


Fighter's Daring

From a "Sun" War Correspondent

SOMEWHERE IN AUSTRALIA, Monday. - A single Allied fighter took off yesterday to intercept seven Japanese bombers which attacked a remote airstrip at Millingimbi in Arnhem Land, today's Headquarters communique states.

Piloted by Flying Officer D.B. Delaporte, of Millicent (S.A.), the Allied machine damaged one of the attackers before they headed for home. Splinters flew from the middle of the fuselage.

Millingimbi is on the north-east coast of Arnhen Land, 200 miles east of Darwin. It is the most easterly point of the north coast yet attacked by the enemy.

The Japanese dropped 20 bombs of the daisey-cutter variety, and on the return run strafed the airstrip from a considerable height. Casualties and damage were light.

Landing after the engagement, Flying Officer Delaporte had to straddle a bomb crater on the airstrip. He reported that most of the enemy's bombs fell in the scrub, but one made a small hole in the strip.

The Japanese raided Millingimbi again the next day (10 May 1943).



"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


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This page first produced 24 October 1999

This page last updated 14 September 2018