In 1942, the Indonesian island of Java was invaded by the Japanese.
The allies organized an armada of aircraft to evacuate the allied personnel. The only safe haven was the sleepy pearling town of Broome in Western Australia. Over the course of two weeks, 8 000 people were flown to Broome in a collection of aircraft flown by RAF, USAAF, USN, RAAF, NEI and Qantas aircrew.
On 3 March 1942, twenty-four aircraft were transiting through Broome. Flying boats, bombers and transports. At 9.30 a.m., nine Japanese Zero fighters attacked and destroyed all but one of the allied aircraft with canon and machine-gun fire. Unfortunately, the Japanese commander had no idea that these legitimate military targets contained hundreds of innocent civilians.
In 2001, the WA Maritime Museum explored the fifteen sunken flying boats in Roebuck Bay, as part of the TV documentary The Zero Hour, produced in association with Prospero Productions and the National Geographic Channel. This website provides not only a record of that dive, but also the tragic story of a war-time disaster, where hundreds of innocent civilians were unwittingly caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Zero Hour and Carnot Bay material is based on research by Jon Davison.