Cyclone Tracy struck and leveled the city of Darwin.
The Naval Headquarters building was destroyed, and the Naval Officer Commanding Northern Australia, (CAPT E. E. Johnston, OBE, RAN), and two of his staff, were trapped in the rubble, and had to dig their way out.
In the harbour the patrol boats HMAS ARROW, (LEUT R. G. Dagworthy, RAN), and HMAS ATTACK, (LEUT P. Degraaff, RAN), attempted to sail and ride out the storm as sea. Neither vessel made it out of the harbour. ATTACK was blown ashore and damaged, and ARROW was driven under Stokes Hill Wharf, and sank with the loss of two of her crew, (PO Leslie Catton and AB Ian Rennie). HMA Ships ADVANCE and ASSAIL, (patrol boats), also suffered some damage, but remained afloat.
Later that day CAPT Johnston was able to re-establish communications with Fleet Headquarters, and advise them of the total destruction of Darwin, and loss of vessels and life. He later wrote;
‘The scene at first light was beyond belief, the harbour empty, every building within eyesight destroyed with the exception of Government House. Soon after dawn the crew of the patrol boat ARROW arrived outside my wrecked headquarters to report that their vessel had been driven under Stokes Hill Wharf, losing two crew in the process‘.