ON 27 APRIL 1942


On 27 April 1942, the Japanese carried out an air raid on the Darwin RAAF airfield. The air raid started at 12.07pm. 

Almost 50 Kittyhawks from the 3 Squadrons of the 49th Fighter Group scrambled to intercept the Japanese aircraft.

The sky was filled with aircraft and tracer bullets.

2nd Lt. Steven Andrews of the 7th Pursuit Squadron of the 49th Fighter Group was shot down by a Japanese fighter Zero. His Kittyhawk crashed near the Cape Charles lighthouse. Andrews was an element leader in Captain Hennon's Yellow Flight.

Andrews had attacked the Japanese bombers head-on over Cox Peninsular. He was immediately attacked by the Japanese Zeros. He managed to shoot one Zero down just before another Zero riddled his Kittyhawk with bullets. He was forced to bail out from his smoking Kittyhawk at 12,000 feet near the Cape Charles Lighthouse. He parachuted into the surf. After drifting in the waves for a whikle he crossed over the reef to the open ground within the heavy coastal bush.

He had removed his flying boots so he could swim better in the surf. However due to this, his feet ended up being badly cut on the sharp coral on the reef. An RAAF patrol led by Lieutenant Molyneaux, was already out looking for 2nd Lt. Harvey Martin of the 8th Pursuit Squadron who had already been shot down in the same area. They found the bare footed Andrews and took him the lighthouse where he spent the night.

The next day John Murry, the tracker with the RAAF patrol discovered Martin and took him back to the lighthouse as well. Martin and Andrews were later taken to Darwin by motor launch.



"Protect & Avenge"
"The 49th Fighter Group in World War II"

By S.W. Ferguson & William K. Pascalis
A Schiffer Military History Book


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This page first produced 14 July 2000

This page last updated 02 February 2020