When war began in Europe in September 1939, Len was Chaplain at the Anglican Church Missionary Society mission on Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria. On December 7, 1941, when the Japanese simultaneously attacked British Malaya and the US Naval Base in Pearl Harbour, the European War became a World War.
Singapore fell to Japan on February 15, 1942, and Australia’s Northern Coast became vulnerable. Four days later, 350km to the north of Darwin, four Japanese aircraft carriers launched 188 warplanes.
The Japanese planes set about bombing and strafing, destroying Darwin, US and Australian warships and fighter planes, and killing 243 people. On March 3, 88 people died in a Japanese attack on Broome and on March 22, Japanese bombs fell as far south as Katherine. During 1942 and 1943, North Australia was attacked and bombed ninety seven times.