Sunday, 26 February 2012

Japanese recce over Melbourne, a missing plane, and war time paper dolls in uniform

On this day in 1942, Japanese Warrant Flying Officer Nobuo Fujita flew north across Bass Strait headed  towards Melbourne.  He flew across the Bellarine Peninsula towards Portarlington, near  Geelong  and ;the Laverton Air force Base. Fujita hit heavy cloud finally cleared it directly above Laverton airfield.  There were about 12 Wirraways based at Laverton along with some Lockheed Hudsons and some Avro Ansons, and about nine RAAF personnel at Laverton reported sighting the Japanese aircraft. Two RAAF aircraft were scrambled to try to locate Fujita, but found nothing.   The crews of the 4 ack ack guns at Williamstown were in the middle of a routine inspection of their guns when they spotted the  Japanese plane, but the Lieutenant in charge did not give the order to open fire.  Instead he got on the phone to headquarters to obtain permission, by which time it was too late – Fujita had headed out towards Port Phillip Bay.
Meanwhile on the other side of the country east of Broome, Western Australia,  the a USAAF  plane went missing while on a ferry flight from Perth to Darwin.    They were meant to refuel at Broome, but flew past is in the dark, and ran out of fuel.  It made a forced landing on the coast, where it was located later an still remains today.  The crew of four and two passengers were marooned on the beach for a couple of days, and used some pipes off the the aircraft to distil drinking water from salt water.  The Qantas flying boat "Corinthian" was said to be involved in the rescue of the crew and passengers.  I can’t help but think this story would make a great movie.
Meanwhile, here are some more lovely paper dolls from the Chicago Tribune in 1942, with defence uniforms.

These and more paper dolls can be found here.
Deb xx

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