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by George Johnston
Harper Collins Publishers 1984
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|War Diary 1942
This book is the wartime diary of Author George Henry Johnston at Port Moresby. It records his daily notes about happenings, including Japanese air raids and movements of Australia and American forces. The diary is an interesting read, that begins in the darkest days of early 1942 when the Japanese dominated the skies and bombed Moresby daily at will, including the first recorded bombing mission:
"February 3, 1942 (Raid #1) Six Japanese flying boats bombed Port Moresby 3-3:30am, although no great damage was done this set the stage for the future living conditions in town. One man is KIA."
The book conveys the feelings of men on the ground who lament about their forgotten status, the "Mice of Moresby" and gripe about when supplies or when P-40 Kittyhawks to defend the town will arrive, dubbed 'Tommorrowhawks' or 'Neverhawks' by the men on the ground awaiting their appearance.
As time progresses, the diary records the changes in the tactical situation: first the arrival of P-40 Kittyhawks of No. 75 Squadron that for the first time contest incoming Japanese air raids. Later, the arrival of American reinforcements.
The diary records a tally of air raids against Port Moresby, numbering each raid and providing a summary.
Although some details in the diary have proven to be incorrect with the hindsight of history, it is a compelling look into the day to day lives of men on the ground at Port Moresby.
Review by Justin Taylan
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