The First Attack by The Japanese on The Island
West White Beach, Christmas Island
From the outbreak of the South-East Asian theatre of World War II, Christmas Island was a target for Japanese occupation because of its rich phosphate deposits. The first attack was carried out on 20 January 1942, by Japanese submarine I-59, which torpedoed a Norwegian freighter, the Eidsvold. The vessel drifted and eventually sank off West White Beach. Most of the European and Asian staff and their families were evacuated to Perth.