Northern Territory Government

Roll of Honour

SCHILLING, Bruce

Wharfies

Ships docked at Darwin Wharf.


Bruce Schilling was a wharf labourer, thirty-eight years old, who was working with the No.18 gang on the day of the bombing. He was reported missing after the attack, until his body was found in the mangroves five weeks later.

His wife, Elsie Schilling, had been evacuated to Townsville; and by early March she had not heard from her husband. An official document dated 26 March indicated that Schilling’s body was the only one of those killed on the wharf that could be positively identified.

On 16 May, Elsie Schilling wrote a letter to the officer in charge of police in Alice Springs, pleading for the return of her husband’s suitcase and wristwatch. All the police could tell her was that Schilling had not been seen since the day of the raid and that a suitcase of his personal effects had been delivered to their temporary police station at McMinn Street. It turned out that his belongings had been looted from the police station; his widow faced complete destitution.

Identifying Schilling’s body had been no easy task; according to official documentation it was only managed because of scraps of paper that had been found in his clothing. The wristwatch was not reported as being found.

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