Red Sun on The Kangaroo Paw: Japanese Air Raids and Attacks on Western Australia
Kevin Gomm

This is an excellent book and the author should be commended for his research and effort in filling a gap in Australian military history.As the blurb on the back of the book states:

“Everyone knows that Darwin suffered Japanese air raids during World War 2. Few are aware that Western Australia experienced raids on more towns!”

As the author also mentions the title of the book is explained by “the Red Sun representing the symbol of the Empire of Japan….the Kangaroo Paw..represents the floral emblem of Western Australia..”(page 9).

The author details the air war over Western Australia and covers the Japanese attacks on Wyndham,Broome,Derby,Port Hedland,Onslow etc by allocating a chapter to each town,location that suffered Japanese air raids and attacks.He also allocates another chapter to “Naval Operations on WA” and also the longe range “secret airbase” at Corunna Downs that ran USAAF and RAAF Liberators on bombing missions into SW Asia that crippled Japanese supply lines there and bewildered the Japanese on where these bombing attacks were coming from.

As far as possible photographs from the air raid locations are presented,as well as newspaper clippings from the era.The author regrets though that eyewitness accounts of the Japanese attacks are limited because of the time duration after the events.However the author did “hit the road” visiting over 18 months all the towns and areas concerned but as well ignoring “the long list of rumours and conjecture” of the raids that was sometimes picked up from the locals.

I found his chapter on Japanese Naval Operations off Western Australia very interesting.The author also locks up details by providing for example side articles like the “Recharging of Batteries and the Basic Principle of a Functioning WW2 era Submarine” to explain why Japanese submarines surfaced and sightings were hence made.This extra information gives the reader added knowledge on what happened and why,putting events into context with the limitations on WW2 era technology.

I highly recommend this book and would rate it 4 out of 5.I look forward to the author completing his proposed sequel,”Eagle On The Kangaroo Paw’,detailing Kriegsmarine and U-Boat operations off Western Australia during WW2.

(Reviewed by Peter H)