An­niver­sary of at­tack

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - ANGELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

TUES­DAY marked the 70th an­niver­sary of the day a bomb dropped on Miallo - the only time a per­son was injured by an en­emy air at­tack on Aus­tralia’s east coast dur­ing World War II.

Carmel Emmi (nee Zullo) was just two-and-a-half years old and asleep in her bed at 3.30am on July 31, 1942, when a Ja­panese long-range fly­ing boat jet­ti­soned eight bombs.

A piece of shrap­nel sliced through the tod­dler’s scalp and she was just mil­lime­tres from be­ing fa­tally injured but spent three months in hospi­tal re­cov­er­ing and has a per­ma­nent re­minder of her or­deal.

The bomb landed in Bam­boo, 16km north of Moss­man, and left a crater seven me­tres wide by one me­tre deep.

Mrs Emmi now lives in Bris­bane and did not want to re­live the event this week but Moss­man’s Rosie Gus­meroli (nee Sci­ac­cia), who was nine years old at the time and lived nearby, still re­mem­bers be­ing wo­ken by the bomb.

“We didn’t know what it was, you heard the bang, then it stopped and dad said, ’That’s not an earth­quake, that sounds more like a bomb went down’,” she said.

“In the morn­ing when it got to day­time ev­ery­body went and had a look.

“It went right through the bed­room wall and the shrap­nel knocked out the whole wall.”

Rosie, her sib­lings and par­ents were scared but thought it was far­ther away as they had al­ready felt the ef­fects of a bomb be­ing dropped in the Dain­tree pre­vi­ously, shak­ing the house.

“We were kids and we were ter­ri­fied, we had an air raid shel­ter and ev­ery­thing, we knew ev­ery time we heard planes to think bomb and we’d go in,” she said.

Mrs Gus­meroli said her dad later bought the prop­erty that had been bombed.

“We bought the house that was wrecked, it was quite good, it only had a big hole in the wall,” she said.

Mrs Emmi un­veiled a plaque on a memo­rial stone on Bam­boo Creek Road for the 50th an­niver­sary and told the Sun­day Mail at the time of her mother’s rec­ol­lec­tions of the day.

“My mother said it was a bright moonlit night and very cold, she said the blast woke her and she said I was cov­ered in blood,” she said.

“She thought I had been killed and started scream­ing - I know I’m a unique part of Queens­land his­tory, but it’s some­thing I could have done with­out.”

Photo by PETER MCNA­MARA

Piece of his­tory: a plaque com­mem­o­rat­ing the site of the bomb­ing in Miallo (in­set) the com­mem­o­ra­tive plaque

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