Darwin was a battle Australia would rather forget. Yet the Japanese attack on 19 February 1942 was the first wartime assault on Australian soil. The Japanese struck with the same carrier-borne force that devastated Pearl Harbor only ten weeks earlier. There was a difference. More bombs fell on Darwin, more civilians were killed, and more ships were sunk. The raid led to the worst death toll from any event in Australia. The attackers bombed and strafed three hospitals, flattened shops, offices and the police barracks, shattered the Post Office and communications centre, wrecked Government House, and left the harbour and airfields burning and ruined. The people of Darwin abandoned their town, leaving it to looters, a few anti-aircraft batteries and a handful of dogged defenders with single-shot .303 rifles. Yet the story has remained in the shadows. Drawing on long-hidden documents and first-person accounts, Peter Grose tells what really happened and takes us into the lives of the people who were there. There was much to be proud of in Darwin that day: courage, mateship, determination and improvisation. But the dark side of the story involves looting, desertion and a calamitous failure of leadership. Australians ran away because they did not know what else to do. Absorbing, spirited and fast-paced, An Awkward Truth is a compelling and revealing story of the day war really came to Australia, and the motley bunch of soldiers and civilians who were left to defend the nation.
About the Author
Peter Grose is a former publisher at Secker & Warburg, founder of Curtis Brown Australia, and was until recently the chairman of ACP (UK). He is the author of A Very Rude Awakening published by Allen & Unwin in 2007.
This story is of the first wartime attack on Australian soil in February 1942. It was a Japanese led invasion , the same force that had attacked Pearl Harbour only weeks before. This led to the worst death toll known in Australian history. They bombed three hospitals, flattened shops, the post office and communications centre,destroyed Government House and bombed the harbour and airfields. The people of Darwin abandoned their town which was left to looters and the only people left were a few dogged defenders with single shot rifles. What is highlighted by this book was the lack of leadership and the fact that most people ran because they did not know what else to do.
I found parts of this book contained a lot of statistics and not a read I felt compelled to pick up. However it is part of our history of which I knew very little and for that I feel that it was worthwhile and sections were interesting when told from the personal perspectives.