The CHURCHILL WING

To defend northern Australia against Japanese air attack, Winston Churchill ordered the deployment of an RAF Spitfire wing, but it proved a frustrating experience for the pilots involved

The pilots of No 548 Squadron pose with their Spitfire VIIIs after arriving at Darwin in July 1944. The nearest aircraft is A58-482/ TS-M, flown by Sqn Ldr Ray Watts in the attack on Selaroe on 5 September 1944.
RAY WATTS

The attack on the port of Darwin by almost 200 Japanese aircraft on 19 February 1942 sent profound shock through Australia. It was the first of 64 raids on the city and the surrounding area over the next 20 months. With the war in the Pacific a little over two months old, and the seemingly invincible Japanese sweeping all before them, there was a genuine fear of a landing in northern Australia itself. This was only compounded by a devastating strike on the harbour at Broome in Western Australia, nearly 700 miles south-west of Darwin, on 3 March.

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