The Ghosts of Roebuck Bay
The 1942 attack on Broome and its tragic aftermath
By Ian Shaw
Published by Pan MacMillan
RRP $33.00 in paperback
I picked this book up from my review bookshelf (it’s overflowing) this afternoon. I then realized this book is by the author who wrote On Radji Beach, one of the saddest books I’ve ever read. I could not imagine how anyone could have perpetrated such a devastating crime on our nurses.
Ian Shaw became interested in this latest story during a holiday in Broome which turned into more of a research trip than a holiday. He was interviewed on The Legacy Hour on Radio Adelaide recently – you can catch up with the interview via this link:
BACKGROUND: The Japanese attack on Broome is the second most deadly air raid on Australia soil in our history and yet it’s almost entirely overlooked. On 3 March 1942, nine Japanese Zero planes strafed the small town planning to destroy the aerodrome and American planes. With no notice, the townsfolk could only put up minimal opposition and in an attack that lasted only an hour, almost one hundred men, women and children lost their lives. Not a single operational aircraft remained in Broome, but the shocking loss of human life can never be truly calculated. The Ghosts of Roebuck Bay tells the story of this tragedy, shining light on a story that has slipped through the cracks of history.
Ian Shaw has laid all that out in the open for Australians and the rest of the world to examine and know. The verdict from the Courier-Mail reviewer: Fascinating. I agree.