Territory Stories

The Northern Territory news Fri 18 Nov 2011



The Northern Territory news Fri 18 Nov 2011

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NT news


The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT




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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited

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Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited



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www.ntnews.com.au Friday, November 18, 2011. NT NEWS. 3 P U B : N T N E W S D A T E : 1 8 -N O V -2 0 1 1 P A G E : 3 C O L O R : C M Y K ntnews.com.aul l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l OBAMA IN DARWIN Peary remembered THE moment the USS Peary and its 89 servicemen died fighting in Darwin Harbour is still clear in the minds eye of one WWII veteran. For Eric Thompson, 94, the visit by the President of the United States marked an emotional time yesterday as he honoured those who fell in the Bombing of Darwin. The sky was full of bombs and falling aeroplanes, he said. It looked like the Peary was trying to leave the harbour when it was struck. (The navy) continued firing to the very end. The former LieutenantCommander and Gunnery Officer was on the bridge of the HMAS Deloraine when the US ship was attacked on February 19, 1942. The Deloraine, on antisubmarine duty, escaped the raids without damage, fighting fiercely with antiaircraft guns. Yesterday just three months shy of the 70th Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin the President laid a wreath at the USS Peary Memorial on the Darwin Esplanade. Mr Thompson, now living in Melbourne, will return to Darwin for the 70th Anniversary. ELLIE TURNER Tears, hugs for victims THERE was silence as US President Barack Obama hugged frail Larrakia woman Mary Lee, 80, as she cried for her father lost during the bombing of Darwin. Ms Lee was one of four bombing survivors and one descendent, who shared a private moment with Mr Obama at the USS Peary memorial yesterday. Ms Lee told Mr Obama he was a baru an Arnhem name for a crocodile because he waits silently before making his move. She said Mr Obama replied: I will remember that. Ms Lees father, John Roquecubillo, was killed during the air raid on February 19, 1942. He was on ammunition freighter MV Neptuna, which took a direct hit from Japanese bombers. His body was never found. I told him my story, Ms Lee said. Thats why I got a hug. She was quite swept off her feet by Mr Obama. He is so charming and relaxed isnt he? she said. Another survivor, Margaret Heron, 82, also received a hug. She recalled hiding in a muddy quarry in Stuart Park as an 11-year-old, while bombs exploded around her. I told him my story and he gave me a hug. I was so excited, she said. Tony Duke, 53, whose father survived the sinking of USS Peary, told Mr Obama he had his vote. The American citizen, who lives in Alice Springs, was in the US during Mr Obamas presidential campaign and voted for him. I told him I would vote for him again, he said. Moving ceremony for US dead US President Barack Obama laid a wreath at the USS Peary Memorial yesterday SHIELDED from the public eye by fencing, US President Barack Obama laid a simple wreath at the memorial to the 91 US sailors who went down with their ship, guns blazing, during a bombing raid on Darwin. Mr Obama put his hand over his heart and looked out over Darwin Harbour towards the point where the USS Peary sank, stern first, 69 years ago. Behind him sat four survivors of the bombing and the son of a US sailor who swam from the sinking USS Peary. Mr Obama was joined by Prime Minister Julia Gillard in laying wreaths at the USS Peary memorial on the Esplanade. The two leaders then turned together to meet the five Territorians picked by Chief Minister Paul Henderson to shake hands with the President. The Japanese air raids on Darwin on February 19, 1942 were the largest attacks ever mounted by a foreign power against Australia. More bombs were dropped on Darwin than at Pearl Harbour. About 250 people are believed to have been killed. It was a short and sweet service at the Esplanade yesterday. Mr Obama arrived just after 4pm and was gone less than 15 minutes later. The balconies of One30 Esplanade apartments on the corner of Daly St were filled with people, some shouting, Obama. One person draped a large US flag over the rails, flouting body corporate rules. At street level, people lined the security fence ignoring directions that no one should loiter. SARAHCRAWFORD Ill be back, chief tells bomb survivor THEMEMORIAL By SARAHCRAWFORD President Obama meets Mary Lee, 80, who lost her father during the Bombing of Darwin in 1942 Pictures: JUSTIN SANSON Mr Obama meets bombing of Darwin survivor Riley Wing (left) and Margaret Heron (right), while Tony Duke, son of a US sailor who survived the attack on the USS Peary, looks on PRESIDENT Obama said he will return to the Territory for a holiday with his wife and two daughters. That is what he told Darwin bombing survivor Riley Wing, 85, as he shook his hand at the USS Peary Memorial yesterday. I told him his time was too short and why didnt he come back and have a real look at the Territory, Mr Wing said. He said, yes. He realised it was too short and he would come back with his wife and family. Mr Obama spent barely two hours on the ground during yesterdays whirlwind visit to Darwin. Mr Wing was one of four bombing survivors and one descendent who met Mr Obama when he laid a wreath at the USS Peary memorial. He took his brief moment to spruik the Territory. He was excited Mr Obama promised to return with his wife Michelle and daughters Malia, 13, and Sasha, 10. Mr Wing also wished him luck with his run for a second term in office. Only a select few Territorians got to see Mr Obama yesterday despite the Territory Governments efforts to persuade the American secret service to allow him to meet the people. Chief Minister Paul Henderson said he was a little bit disappointed that there was not a public event. But it doesnt detract from the importance of this visit, he said. Mr Wing was just 15 years old when the Japanese bombed Darwin in 1942.