Royal Australian Navy Remembers Canberra (I)

Royal Australian Navy Remembers Canberra (I)

9 August 1942 is a date that will always be remembered by the Royal Australian Navy for it was on this day that it suffered its largest warship loss at sea.

70 years later, HMA Ships Gascoyne and Huon positioned themselves over the final resting place of HMAS Canberra (I), fell silent and remembered the 84 men who lost their lives during the Battle of Savo Island.

Among those onboard were two generations of Petty Officer Stoker Redmond Boyle’s descendants who laid a wreath in his memory.

Joining family members for the service was Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Senator David Feeney, Rear Admiral James Goldrick, AM, CSC, Fellow Sea Power Centre – Australia and Mr Tyson Sara, Australian Assistant Secretary of Defence – Pacific and East Timor.

According to LCDR Ben Fennell, RAN, CO of HMAS Gascoyne, the RAN will always remember the important sacrifice made by our officers and sailors.

“The Guadalcanal Campaign, which included the Battle of Savo Island, was the first major offensive by Allied forces against the Imperial Japanese Navy.”

“During the battle, HMAS Canberra was crippled and three American cruisers sunk. Canberra was hit 24 times in just two minutes, killing 74 of her 819 crew. A further ten, including the ship’s Commanding Officer, Captain Frank Getting, later died of wounds.”

The Battle of Savo Island was a significant naval engagement fought between Allied naval forces and the Imperial Japanese Navy in the South Pacific Ocean during World War II. During a surprise night attack, Japanese cruisers under the command of Admiral Gunichi Mikawa, were responsible for inflicting heavy losses on the Australian and United States navies.

Naval Today Staff, August 16, 2012; Image: Australian Navy