Attack and Counter-Attack

The Second World War in our region

Host – Lynette Silver

The Empire Strikes South

Tom Lewis

In the ten weeks after Pearl Harbor, Japan began a whirlwind advance that brought it to within striking distance of Darwin. In those ten weeks Japanese forces humbled the Western Empires in Asia and captured territory as far south as Darwin’s doorstep. It was a breath-taking and terrifying achievement that has been carefully documented by Darwin historian Tom Lewis.

Offensive Air Operations from Darwin

Martin James

The war in our region hung in the balance through 1942 – the enemy was over-extended and its momentum was subsiding, but the Allied capacity to strike back was limited. Within a few weeks of the bombing of Darwin, a few Allied aircraft challenged the Japanese in the skies. By August 1942 they were beginning to win the air war. Then the balance swung back in favour of the Allies with offensive operations over enemy held areas to the north. A lot was owed to a few in this country too, as Martin James will explain.

Tom and Martin look forward to engaging with their audience.

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Lynette Silver OAM

Lynette Silver is one of Australia’s most prolific and influential military and general historians; influential because much of her work has stood conventional history on its head or has unearthed dark and long hidden secrets. Perhaps her most significant book in this genre has been Sandakan – Conspiracy of Silence, first published in 1998, which brought the Sandakan tragedy right into the open. Similarly, The Bridge at Parit Sulong told the little known story of heroic Australian fighting at Muar in Malaya and the massacre of 110 Australian wounded at the bridge at Parit Sulong. Her books The Heroes of Rimau (1990) and Deadly Secrets (2010), revealed for the first time what happened on Operation Rimau, a covert mission that ended in disaster, and the fate of the 23 men who died. Lynette has been the recipient of many honours for her charitable and historical work.

Dr Tom Lewis OAM

Tom Lewis has written 14 books, many of them focussed on the events of the bombing of Darwin. He has been a school teacher; a naval officer from 1993 to 2012, with service in Baghdad and Timor; then he led the development and operation of the Darwin Military Museum. A new book, Lethality in Combat: A Study of the True Nature of Battle exposed the battlefield myths of several wars and is now recognised as essential reading for those concerned with the realities of armed conflict.

Martin James

Martin is Director of History – Air Force and RAAF Historian. He is responsible for providing authoritative advice on history matters, including unit history records, customs, traditions and honours and awards.



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