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February 19, 1942 – Alka-Seltzer News Of The World – NBC Blue Network – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
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February 19, 1942 – Busy day in war. Reports from the South Pacific regarding the Japanese bombing of Darwin and the fears this was the beginning of an invasion of Australia. The Bombing of Darwin, also known as the Battle of Darwin, on 19 February 1942 was the largest single attack ever mounted by a foreign power on Australia. On that day, 242 Japanese aircraft, in two separate raids, attacked the town, ships in Darwin’s harbour and the town’s two airfields in an attempt to prevent the Allies from using them as bases to contest the invasion of Timor and Java during World War II.
Darwin was lightly defended relative to the size of the attack, and the Japanese inflicted heavy losses upon Allied forces at little cost to themselves. The urban areas of Darwin also suffered some damage from the raids and there were a number of civilian casualties. More than half of Darwin’s civilian population left the area permanently, before or immediately after the attack.
News about the destruction of oil fields at Palembang via an Eyewitness report said it was a huge blaze and a huge success. Half a billion dollars worth of oil and oil making equipment went up in flames as well as 81 miles of pipeline were destroyed. The wrecked oil fields by the allies before the Japanese could get them led to speculation that it would be months, if not years before Japan was able to render the oil fields functioning again.
And U.S. forces having landed in Iceland late in 1941 were settling in. Reports from Reykjavik told of photographic units, set up to record the American troops and the progress being made in setting up a base of operations. The presence of British, Canadian, and American troops in Iceland has had a lasting impact on the country. Britain sent troops to Iceland to protect that country from possible invasion, to provide a base for Navy and Air Force patrols, and to protect shipping lanes to Europe.
Iceland and Britain made an agreement that no more than 2,200 Icelanders would be hired to work for the British and Canadian military because the rest of the Icelandic people had to work on their farms and especially in fishing. Because their troops were needed to fight in the war, Britain asked the USA if they could come to Iceland, develop naval and fuel-oil facilities, carry out patrol activities, and build bases.
The Icelanders were (and still are) sharply divided about the effects of the occupation of their homeland. Some think that Iceland prospered and came out of a severe financial depression with the input of the various military men. Some believe it was a totally unwanted and a horrible take-over. Everyone agrees that advancements occurred with the building of roads, hospitals, transportation, communications, and much more.
And that’s a small slice of what happened, this February 19th in 1942 as presented by Alka-Seltzer’s News Of The World.