There were many heroes during the Japanese raid on 3 March 1942, and one of them was Aboriginal man Charlie D’Antoine. He was a Broome local who was preparing a flying boat for refuelling when the raid occurred.
This article appeared in Perth’s Sunday Times on 15 March 1942. In 1992, Charlie D’Antoine’s niece, Mary Cowley, said of it:
Unfortunately the report quoted, the then Inspector of Broome, as saying ‘He is just a lad and although he has coloured skin, he proved his right to be known as a white man’. I guess they meant well at the time, but that kind of thing is very hurtful.
(North West Telegraph, 11 March 1992)
The main thing I was worried about was not the Japanese bullets coming from above, but the sharks from down below.
Charlie D’Antoine, 1992 (North West Telegraph, 11 March 1992)
He is wearing a medal that was awarded to him by the Dutch government, and holding a bravery certificate he received from the Royal Humane Society of Australasia in 1944.