WWII plane wreckage newly discovered on Broome battlefield feared stolen

www.abc.net.au
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Part of a flying boat destroyed by Japanese fighter planes in 1942 goes missing before a salvage operation is able to collect the wreckage.
Part of a flying boat destroyed by Japanese fighter planes in Broome in 1942 has gone missing before a salvage operation was able to collect the wreckage.

Key points: There's concern a piece of a newly-discovered WWII-era aircraft wreck has been stolen

There's concern a piece of a newly-discovered WWII-era aircraft wreck has been stolen The RSL says the multiple aircraft wrecks near Broome are war graves, and need better protection

The RSL says the multiple aircraft wrecks near Broome are war graves, and need better protection The air raids on Broome were the war's second deadliest attack on the Australian mainland

While not as well known as the Bombing of Darwin, the raids on Broome were the second-deadliest attack on Australia's mainland during World War II.

Nine Japanese Zero fighter planes destroyed more than 20 Australian, British, US and Dutch aircraft — among them flying boats at anchor in Roebuck Bay, with other planes destroyed at the airport or shot out of the air.

The number of dead remains uncertain due to poor records at the time, but it is thought to be at least 80, with more than 20 of these being children fleeing the Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia.

Some wrecks of the flying boats become visible on the very low tides in Broome, and sightseers regularly walk up to a kilometre across mudflats to see one of Australia's few preserved WWII battlefields.

A piece of WWII aeroplane wreckage on the Broome mudflat that has since disappeared, feared stolen. ( Supplied: Wil Thomas )

But in September, Broome History tour guide Wil Thomas came across some wreckage not previously recorded.

"In a certain part of Roebuck Bay, a piece of aircraft has surfaced through the mud," Mr Thomas…
Ben Collins
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