A Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion will conduct a flypast over the Darwin Cenotaph in Bicentennial Park in support of the Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin on Friday.
File photo by Leading Seaman James Whittle
The aircraft from 92 Wing will pass over at 9:58am on Friday, 19 February 2016, following the original path taken by Japanese bombers.
It will overfly RAAF Base Darwin from the north direct to the Darwin Cenotaph in Bicentennial Park, not below 700 feet, then descend and conduct one low-level flyover of the Darwin Harbour before departing to the east.
Concurrently, in Melbourne, Darwin Defenders 1942-1945 Commemoration Ceremony will be held at the Shrine of Remembrance.
Both ceremonies mark the 74th anniversary of the day that Darwin was bombed and war came to Australia.
Several veterans who are now well into their 90s and all saw active service in Darwin during that time will attend, as will a number of VIPs along with representatives from the Navy, Army and Air Force.
RAAF Museum aircraft will flyover at the commencement of the ceremony and the Royal Australian Navy Band Melbourne will provide music for the event.
The devastating bombing of Darwin was one of the most significant days in Australian history. 243 Japanese planes dropped 683 bombs, a total weight of almost 115,000 kilograms. The official death count was 243 but historians now estimate the number to be much greater. The Top End had to withstand not just one attack but 64 air raids throughout 1942 and 1943. Servicemen lived and served under appalling conditions, on a starvation diet completely lacking in fresh fruit, vegetables and essential vitamins.
The ceremony on 19 February will honour those who served and those who died during the attacks on Darwin. It is an opportunity for veterans, their families, dignitaries and school students from across Melbourne to participate in a moving ceremony that aims to remind us all of the cost of preserving peace and democracy in Australia.
Students from Puckapunyal Primary School, The Kind David School and Wesley College will assist during the ceremony. Attending schools will also be laying wreaths.
A free Shrine of Remembrance public program, ‘Love, Luck and Larceny,’ will follow the service. This talk presented by Cambridge scholar and author John Thompson-Gray will be held in the Shrine Auditorium – arrive 11am for an 11.30am start.
You can find out more about the activities of the Darwin Defenders’ Association Melbourne Branch at: www.DarwinDefenders.com.