LEST WE FORGET

Sapper Victor William PAGET

Service No: NX98147 (Australian Army)
Born: Gravesend, England, 23 September 1916
Enlisted in the Army: 14 September 1942 (at Paddington NSW)
Unit: No. 5 Docks Operating Company RAE
Died: Air Raid: Milingimbi NT, 9 May 1943, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Adelaide River War Cemetery NT
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Charles Henry and Helen Beatrice Paget, husband of Florence Sadie Paget, of Hobart, Tasmania
Roll of Honour: Hobart TAS
Remembered: Panel 86, Supplementary Panel 3, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On 9th May the Milingimbi radar station picked up indications of enemy aircraft approaching. This was at 10 .40 a.m. and the enemy aircraft were still seventy miles off. At 11 .10 seven enemy Sally-type bombers appeared and dropped “daisy cutters” on the mission, airfield and on shipping, killing a soldier, an aboriginal and ten air force men*. Ten of the bombs fell on the runway which was not, however, seriously damaged. Flying Officer David William Bedford Delaporte (407573) (Discharged: 22 October 1945) pilot of a Beaufighter based at Milingimbi on convoy-escort duty, was ordered to attempt an interception. He took off in the Beaufighter and climbed to 15,000 feet, by which time the enemy had dropped their bombs. Delaporte then attacked out of the sun, turning on to the stern of one of the Sallys. Unfortunately his cannon fired only for two seconds having become clogged with fine sand grit from the dusty, unsealed airfield. Although he chased and easily caught the slowly-moving bombers, the cannon would not fire again.

Extract from Odgers, G.J. (George James) (VX127783) Air War Against Japan 1943-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1957 – Page 51

During the raid the enemy had attacked the store ship Maroubra. Their cannon set the vessel on fire and it was destroyed. A Spitfire engaged an enemy float-plane which was attacking two other vessels and this aircraft crashed into the sea.

Extract from Odgers, G.J. (George James) (VX127783) Air War Against Japan 1943-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1957 – Page 52

* The text of the official history is not supported by other sources as there are no RAAF casualties recorded at Milingimbi on 9 May 1943 and there were no US Army Air Corps units known to be in the vicinity. What may have happened is that the bodies of ten No. 2 Squadron RAAF members who had been killed in an aircraft collision over Rambuma Island on 28 April and likely recovered to Milingimbi by 9 May have been inadvertently included here. In addition, no footnote or other comment has been provided that is usually associated with a friendly casualty.

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record B883, NX98147

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