On 19 February 1942 the Japanese air force bombed Darwin. Whilst this fact is well known, very few people know exactly what happened. Timothy Hall was the first writer to be given acess to all the official reports of the time and as a result he has been able to reveal exactly what happened on that dreadful day – a day which Sir Paul Hasluck (17th Governor-General of Australia) later described as ‘a day of national shame’. The sequence of events in Darwin that day certainly did not reflect the military honour that the War Cabinet wanted people to believe. On the contrary, for what really happened was a combination of chaos, panic and, in many cases, cowardice on an unprecented scale.