18 April 1942

Lt Col Jimmy Doolittle provides America with a huge morale boost when he leads an air raid on Tokyo, with 16 Mitchell bombers launching from US aircraft carrier USS Hornet in West Pacific, bombing Tokyo and landing in China.

13 of the 16 crews make it home, one plane lands in Soviet union where crew is interned for a year. Another crew is captured by Japs and three members are executed.

Doolittle is subsequently promoted to General and awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.


17 April 1942

Port Moresby hit by Japanese air raid No 25, starting around 10.30am, with 5 fighters and 5 bombers dropping about 45 bombs, causing little damage but two army casualties.

Japanese forces continue their invasion of Dutch New Guinea, taking the town of Nabire.


16 April 1942

US Air Force B-25 bombers launch an air raid against Japanese positions at Salamaua on the north-eastern New Guinea coast, which have been occupied by the enemy since 8 March.

In Moresby young Digggers of 39th Battalion are working on fieldcraft training and providing labouring parties on the defences at the 7-Mile aerodrome.


15 April 1942

Australian Army’s Sparrow Force continues its guerrilla fight against Japanese forces on Portuguese Timor.

King George VI awards the island of Malta the George Cross for gallantry “to bear witness to the heroism and evotion of its people” during the Luftwaffe’s bombing siege. The island incoroporates the medal into its national flag.


14 April 1942

Bataan Death March stragglers are beaten, shot or bayoneted by their Japanese guards.