On the morning of 3 March 1942, Corporal Andrew Ireland was with his crew in a RAAF Short Empire flying boat on Roebuck Bay. He went on to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and a British Empire Medal for his actions during the Japanese raid.
His crew was in Broome on the day of the raid to refuel before heading to Timor to rescue some stranded soldiers.
Listen to Ireland’s recollection of the raid
Click here to read the transcript of this audio recording
Inflating the rubber dinghy, Ireland picked up the crew and rescued four Dutchmen and a wounded Dutch woman who were in the water.
As the flying boats were anchored nearly two kilometres offshore and a strong ebb tide was running, most of those lives might have been lost, but for Ireland’s courage and presence of mind.
Extract from citation for bravery received by Ireland. (Mervyn Prime, Broome’s One Day War, Page 8)
It also shows a shark, as it was thought some victims were taken by sharks after the raid.
At the time, sharks were very common in Broome waters due to the waste from the local meatworks, which was discarded into the sea.
This US bomber jacket was given to Ireland by an American after the raid.