Research from a six-year study of the Japanese air attack in the Battle of Broome is providing closure to the air raid survivors by linking them to the flying boats that brought them to Australia 67 years ago.
Silvano Jung has completed one of the most comprehensive studies of the World War II air attack which killed more than 100 people and left 15 flying boats on the seabed.
He was awarded a PhD this week by Charles Darwin University for his research that found the surviving flying boat wreck sites represented a significant archaeological resource, providing insights into the air raid, that is, site formation processes of a new class of archaeological site – submerged aircraft.
“All objects made by humans have a biography, or history,” Dr Jung said.
“This thesis tests whether the application of an aviation archaeological approach can reestablish links between the people associated with a Japanese air raid at Broome in Western Australia on 3 March 1942, and the archaeology that has survived in Broome’s Roebuck Bay,” he said.
Dr Jung combined research of the primary and secondary historical sources relating to the air raid with a survey of the wreck sites to identify specific sites.
Of the 15 flying boats lost at Broome, 10 are argued to have survived, in various states of preservation.
“Understanding the wreck site formation processes, however, helps to predict where the missing machines may lie,” Dr Jung said.
He said the wreck sites were important places not only for tourism, but also as a memorial to those who lost their lives.
“This is significant to the survivors and to generations to come with a link to this event in Australian aviation history,” he said.