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.

Corporal Andrew Ireland - hero during Broome raid
During the Second World War, Ireland was a wireless operator/gunner in the Royal Australian Air Force.

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)

This diorama depicts the scene for which Ireland received his British Empire Medal.

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.

Perspex model of crashed plane
Creator and Donor: Gregory Turek, 2005
US service bomber jacket
Donated by Andrew Ireland
At the time of the raid four United States aircraft were in Broome using it as a base to refuel. One of their Liberator planes managed to take off during the raid but was shot down by a Japanese fighter, killing up to 31 servicemen on board.

This US bomber jacket was given to Ireland by an American after the raid.

Click here to go to the next section, Japanese Fighters