During the Second World War, Adelaide River was the headquarters of
a large base and the Adelaide River War Cemetery was created especially
for the burial of servicemen and women who died in this part of
Australia. It was used by Australian General Hospitals 101, 107, 119,
121 and 129.
Adelaide River War Cemetery was established in 1942 following the
Bombing of Darwin. Control of the cemetery was handed over to the
Commonwealth War Graves Commission in 1947. The cemetery has a memorial
to missing personnel serving in the area whose remains were never
found. It is set on the banks of the river and is maintained with lush
green lawns, and floral garden beds all year round.
Adelaide River War Cemetery is the third largest war cemetery in
Australia. 434 servicemen and 54 civilians who were killed by Japanese
air-raids in Darwin during World War II were laid to rest here. During
the war, The 107th Australian General Hospital and 119th Australian
General Hospital were set up around Adelaide River.
Within the War Cemetery the graves are set in a grassed area with
low growing shrubs dotted in regular patterns among the headstones.
Beyond this, there are colourful garden beds and within the boundary
fence is a screen of trees and shrubs. There are 434 burials,
comprising 14 airmen of the Royal Air Force, 12 unidentified men of the
British Merchant Navy, one soldier of the Canadian Army, 18 sailors,
181 soldiers and 201 airmen belonging to the Australian forces, and
seven men of the Australian Merchant Navy.
The War Cemetery adjoins the Adelaide River Civil Cemetery, in which
are buried 63 civilians, including nine Post Office workers who
were killed on 19 February 1942, as a result of a direct hit on the
Post Office by Japanese bombs. Thirty-one Aboriginal people are among
the dead who lie in that part of the cemetery.
The Northern Territory Memorial to the Missing is one of several
erected around the world for those who have no known grave. This
Memorial was erected especially to commemorate those of the Australian
Army, the Royal Australian Air Force and the Australian Merchant Navy
who lost their lives in the South West Pacific region during the Second
World War. Men of the Royal Australian Navy who lost their lives in
this area and who have no known grave are commemorated on the Plymouth
Naval Memorial in England, along with many of their comrades of the
Royal Navy and of other Commonwealth naval forces.