This is a shard from one of the bombs that Japanese pilots dropped on Townsville during a raid in July 1942.

It's about 45cm long with razor sharp edges, heavy, and would easily cut through you during the explosion.

The Japanese attacked Australian coastlines in 1942, most notably Darwin where at least 240 people were killed during the raid.

In July 1942 Townsville was bombed multiple times over three consecutive nights.

On the first night residents were caught unaware with many sleeping through the raid. The bombs fell short of their targets, no one was hurt and no infrastructure destroyed.

On the second night during the raid, fighter pilots scrambled to intercept the bomber, which again missed their intended targets.

Unfortunately, the Hurricane fighters could not engage with the bomber as Ack Ack guns were firing into the air from Townsville. This bomb shard was recovered from Many Peaks Range, north west of the city after the raid.

On the third night during the raid ABC reporter Chester Wilmot reported on the events. His detailed reporting caused concern for Home Security as a letter from The Secretary for Australia's Department of Defence states:

"It is felt that some of the material contained in this broadcast should not have been given publicity, particularly the references to the fact that the anti-aircraft fire was well below the altitude of the plane or else behind it."

It's often said that the first casualty in war is truth.

According to researcher Robert Kendall Piper, the Japanese and German media reported on the raids, with broadcasts in Berlin stating:

"6th September, 1942 - The government of Queensland has decided to evacuate Townsville, which, as is well known, has been subject to particularly violent Japanese raids."

This was not the case as, except for a large palm tree, Townsville escaped unscathed.

The bomb shard can be seen at the RAAF Townsville Museum.

Story told by Bill Wallace, RAAF Townsville Museum.

Images sourced from:
RAAF Townsville Museum
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland
Wikipedia Creative Commons
Townsville Bulletin newspaper clippings provided to Museum and Library

ABC Archives; Chester Wilmot reporting on the bombing of Townsville, July 1942

Excerpts from 'Beethoven's Egmont Overture' by Kevin MacLeod (

ABC Open producer: Michael Bromage.

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