April 4, 1942
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology
SATURDAY, 4 APRIL 1942
(SWPA, 5th Air Force): 36th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor), 8th Pursuit Group
(Interceptor), transfers from Lowood to Townsville with P-39's and P-400's; first mission is 30 Apr. Over Darwin, shot down by friendly anti-aircraft fire is P-40E "Arizona" 41-5551 pilot Lt. Grover J. Gardner survived. Crashed on take off is P-40E 41-23873 pilot Lt. John D. Livingstone (KIA) afterwards, 34 Mile is renamed Livingstone Field in his honor.
IJN: Japanese aircraft bomb Darwin. Lost is G4M1 Betty T-361 plus two other G4M1 Bettys.
RCAF: Before dawn, Catalina QL-A from No. 413 Squadron took off from Koggala piloted by Squadron Leader Leonard Birchall on a southern patrol. Later that afternoon, the flyingboat repeats the same patrol for navigation purposes. At 4:00pm at the southernmost point in the patrol, spots the Japanese fleet roughly 360 miles southeast of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Closing to get an accurate sighting, attacked by twelve A6M2 Zeros and transmits a report of the fleet, but not the size before the radio was destroyed by gunfire and damaged force landed in the sea. Six of the nine crew members were captured by Japanese destroyer Isokaze and interrogated, claiming they had not made any report, yet the Japanese intercepted a signal from Colombo asking QL-A to repeat its report, confirming to the Japanese they had lost the element of surprise.