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Darwin Spitfires

The real battle for Australia, Anniversary Edition

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The Japanese air raids on Darwin on 19 February 1942 are well known to most Australians, but what happened afterwards?

For almost two years the airspace over north-west Australia was routinely infiltrated by Japanese air raids, tallying about 70 in total. The 1942–43 air raids on Darwin constituted the only sustained and intensive direct assault on Australian territory in the whole of World War II.

Telling the story of the RAAF’s No. 1 Fighter Wing – composed of both Australian and British Spitfire pilots – Darwin Spitfires explores the little-known 1943 season of air combat over the Top End, recovering important aspects of Australian history. It brings the heroic exploits of the skilled pilots who did so much to protect Australia to the world’s attention.

In this anniversary edition, Anthony Cooper offers a detailed and fascinating history of this unparalleled attack.

‘Absorbing and compelling, Darwin Spitfires brings this little-known chapter of Australian history out from the shadows. For almost two years Australia was routinely penetrated by over 70 Japanese air raids, all the while heroically defended by skilled Australian and British pilots. Anthony Cooper tells this dramatic and important story in fascinating detail. I loved this book.’ – Peter FitzSimons

Darwin Spitfires is detailed, forensic and expert.’ – Brian Weston, Air Vice Marshal (ret’d), FRAES, RAAF

‘This fascinating book reclaims an important, little-known aspect of our war history.’ – Brisbane News

‘It is a real pleasure to read Cooper’s careful dissection of each dogfight, a display of unselfconscious expertise.’ – Peter Stanley, The Canberra Times

‘Detailed and engrossing’ – The Newcastle Herald

‘For anyone with an interest in Australian aviation and/or military history’ – Sunday Tasmanian

‘A book for anyone and everyone interested in Australian history.’ – Phil Brown, Courier Mail