A brand new commemorative podcast by Megan Spencer for the Virtual War Memorial Australia.

WHEN THE WAR COMES HOME: THE BEACHPORT MINE TRAGEDY tells the powerful story of the Beachport Mine Tragedy, one of Australia’s least-known yet most significant stories of WWII.

On the 14th of July 1941, a German sea mine exploded on a quiet stretch of beach just outside of the small coastal town of Beachport in South Australia. The accident took the lives of two young Royal Australian Navy sailors: Able Seaman Thomas Todd, 30, and Able Seaman William Danswan, 23.

They were the first two casualties killed on Australian soil due to enemy action in World War II, months before the bombing of Darwin and the attacks on Sydney Harbour.

The tragic accident disrupted the lives of all involved, impacting the families and loved ones of the two sailors killed doing their duty, and many from the town and local area, the effects of which are still being felt today.

So how did a German mine come to be in Australia – let alone Beachport – in 1941? And how did this accident happen?  Eighteen people come together to tell this incredible true story of WWII, 80 years after it happened, with the roiling the sea as an ever-present backdrop.

Cinematic, historic, moving and powerful, When the War Comes Home: The Beachport Mine Tragedy is told in six parts, and made by award-winning podcast maker Megan Spencer for the Virtual War Memorial Australia Schools Program.

It was launched on the 82nd anniversary of this event on 14 July 2023, in front of 100 people in SA Navy heartland, the Naval Association of Australia Port Adelaide Sub-Section, aka “The Navy Club”.

Guest speakers included CMDR Emma McDonald-Kerr, CO of HMAS Encounter and Senior Naval Officer of South Australia; Hon Dr Susan Close MP, Deputy Premier of South Australia; Deb Filippone, granddaughter of Able Seaman Todd and Sharon Smith, granddaughter of Able Seaman Danswan. 

Production of this podcast has been made possible through a grant from the South Australian Department for Education.

Listen now on the Virtual War Memorial Australia website.

Many thanks to the many people involved and to all those who have supported this long-term project!