That town of Broome certainly reminded me of nothing so much as a western cowtown or mining town. It was small and dusty, and everything was built of corrugated iron. It certainly is a last outpost — and yet I don’t think I’d mind it. Maybe it’s because I really do miss that Southern California Arizona desert country.
Headed southwest at 15 knots about 1130 this morning when lookout spotted a yellow-winged, four-engine, Japanese, Kawanishi Type 97, flying boat, skulking along the water, and stealing quick looks at us from over the horizon. He disappeared, only to return a half hour later at about 8,000 feet. The second appearance was obviously in the form of a bombing run. He approached from the port quarter as general quarters sounded thru the ship and everyone grabbed their steel helmets and lifejackets (good against shrapnel) and rushed up on deck, leaving their chow behind. As we have no antiaircraft protection for anything over 1000 feet, we just flopped out on deck and waited for the inevitable. I stared up at him, and as he got closer could see the two red circles at the wingtips. Momentarily, I caught a glint, from, his port wing and realize that a bomb was on its way. As he dropped we swung wildly to starboard, and a second or so later there was a dull “woom” and a column of water shot skyward at about 300 yards on the port beam. He slowly turned away, then returned for one more, no-drop, run, before disappearing north over the horizon.