Author(s): Jack Mulholland
When Jack Mulholland volunteered in 1940 for service in Darwin as an anti aircraft gunner, he was not sure what to expect. He certainly didnʼt expect what the gunners at first found: flies, heat, humidity, hard work, entertainment, lack of female company and, of course, boredom. The Battery Jack joined spent 14 months training on 3 inch and 3.7 inch A/A guns. At the same time it assisted with the installation of 12 fixed 3.7 inch guns, providing Darwin with an anti aircraft defence of a total of two 3 inch and sixteen 3.7 inch guns. Then, one morning in February 1942, without warning, the Ack Ack gunners were confronted with an air raid similar to that perpetrated on Pearl Harbour. The raid was the first attack on Australia by a foreign power and it caused major damage to installations and ships and resulted in many casualties. This updated edition of Jackʼs controversial autobiography presents the unofficial history of the 14th Heavy Anti Aircraft Battery in Darwin. The Battery was the first army unit to engage the Japanese when they attacked Australia. It details the way ordinary people coped with the hardships of life in the tropical north and how they reacted under fire. The reader will find an eye-witness account of the first enemy raid and a description of the reaction of the gun crews, as well as interesting anecdotes of general life in Darwin in 1940–42 and army life in particular.