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13,450 Tons (full load)
630' x 68.25' x 16.25'
8 x 8" guns
4 x 4" guns
4 x 3 pounders
1 x Seagull or Walrus
RAN January 3, 1942
Built by John Brown & Co. Ltd. at Clyderbank, Scotland. Laid down August 26, 1925. Launched March 17, 1927. Commissioned on April 24, 1928. HMAS Australia was involved in the North African campaign, Battle of the Coral Sea, landings on Guadalcanal, landings on Leyte and landings at Lingayen Gulf.
Battle of the Coral Sea
During the Battle of the Coral Sea, Australia was the flagship for RAN Rear Admiral John Crace who was commander the joint Australian and U.S. Navy Task Force 44 (TF 44). On May 7, 1942 twelve G4M1 Betty bombers launched a torpedo attack against the warships and Australia maneuvered to avoid two torpedoes.
Leyte Gulf Kamikaze Attack
On October 21, 1944 Australia was one of the ships operating in Leyte Gulf to support the U.S. landings on eastern Leyte. Hit by a D3A2 Val that impacted the ship's foremast, causing numerous fires and explosions and resulted in 30 Killed In Action (KIA) and at least 55 Wounded In Action (WIA).
Killed in Action (KIA) on October 21, 1944 (25):
Lt Henry Brinsmead Bayley
AB M Buckland
Ldg Smn Robert James Cornish
Sub Lt Ian Keith Debenham
Capt Emile Frank Verlaine Dechaineeux, DSC
AB Henry Peter Eller
AB Gordon Kenneth Fenton
Lt Cdr Harrie Binns Garrett
AB Vincent Leo Hansen
AB John Wilson Hocking
OD R Hocking
CPO George Frederick Hutchison
AB R Irvine
Lt Ivor Maurice Jones
AB Allan Richard Maunsell
AB Francis Gerard Miller
AB Richard John Parkinson
AB Frederick Percival Perrin
Ldg Smn Donald Pittendrigh
OD Christopher Peel Potter
AB Noel Audrey Rattray
Cmdr John Francis Rayment, DSC
OD Ronald Hamilton Sharpe
AB Francis Frederick Spurr
AB Robert Michell Steele
Died of wounds on October 21, 1944 (5):
OD Richard Southey Hookins (22/10/44)
AB John Neville Erwin (23/10/44)
Lt Graham J Greig (23/10/44)
AB Eric Stuart Fontaine (24/10/44)
AB Frederick George Stephenson (24/10/44)
After the attack, the Australia was escorted by HMAS Warramunga to Seeadler Harbor off Manus Island and then to Espiritu Santo for repairs.
After repairs, the Australia was back in action covering Allied landings at Lingayen Gulf. Australia was subjected to Kamikaze attacks on four occasions over five days including January 5, 1945, January 6, 1945, January 8, 1945 and January 9, 1945 which resulted in the loss of another 44 crew plus almost 70 others wounded.
Killed in Action (KIA) on January 5, 1945:
AB J Annear (05/01/45)
AB Frank William Eames (05/01/45)
OD Neville Joseph Everson (05/01/45)
AB George Robert Frawley (05/01/45)
OD Ronald George Gannon (05/01/45)
AB Leslie Laurence Hart (05/01/45)
AB H Kennedy (05/01/45)
AB Maurie Desmond Kirchner (05/01/45)
Sub Lt K Levy (05/01/45)
AB Merton Stanley Loud (05/01/45)
AB C Moore (05/01/45)
AB William Thomas Munday (05/01/45)
Ldg Smn Henry Eric O'Neill (05/01/45)
AB Geoffrey Clive Reeve (05/01/45)
AB G W Riley (05/01/45)
Lt Colin Neil Russell (05/01/45)
AB Ronald Ashley Verdon (05/01/45)
Killed in Action (KIA) on January 6, 1945:
AB Norman William Anderson (06/01/45)
AB Clarence Robert Avery (06/01/45)
AB F Beake (06/01/45)
AB James Thomas Harold Bourke (06/01/45)
AB Malcolm George Brown (06/01/45)
OD William Graeme Brown (06/01/45)
OD R Clifford (06/01/45)
AB Alfred Albert DeVere (06/01/45)
AB Charles Douglas Donnelly (06/01/45)
Ldg Smn Edward John Ezard (06/01/45)
AB William Robert Fisher (06/01/45)
OD Harold Desmond Ford (06/01/45)
AB William George Gummow (06/01/45)
AB Edwin Lawrence Hardeman (06/01/45)
AB Vivian William Hearne (06/01/45)
AB Lindsay Ivo Herdman (06/01/45)
Ldg Smn Charles Morris Hughes (06/01/45)
AB Alan W Lade (06/01/45)
Lt Max Howard Marsh (06/01/45)
AB R Meddings (06/01/45)
Ldg Smn Joseph John James Moore (06/01/45)
AB N Pringle (06/01/45)
Ldg Smn Sidney Charles Rowley (06/01/45)
AB Ivan Stanley Sharman (06/01/45)
AB Peter Septimus Utting (06/01/45)
AB Charles Reginald Ward (06/01/45)
AB Harold Richard Whittaker (06/01/45)
On February 16, 1946 returned to Sydney and placed into reserve status and a refit was completed. On June 16, 1947 recommissioned as flagship of the "Australia Squadron". On August 18, 1947 departed Sydney to Tokyo to serve as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force then returned on December 10, 1947.
In 1948 Australia steamed to New Zealand and in 1949 visited New Guinea then stayed in Australian waters for the next three and a half years. In 1949, the flagship was transfered to aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney (R17).
In 1950 used for training and made another visit to New Zealand. On July 27, 1950 departed on a spontaneous trip to remote Heard Island to transport the doctor to Fremantle arriving on August 14, 1950 but due to the rough sea conditions suffered structural damage. In May 1951 transported the governor of New South Wales to Lorde Howe Island for jubilee celebrations and in May visited New Caledonia.
In 1952 visited New Guinea, New Britain, Solomon Islands and during September to October a training cruise to New Zealand. In October 1953 again visited New Zealand. In February to March 1954 escorted the Royal Yacht Gothic, during the Australian leg of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation world tour. In May Australia transported Governor-General Sir William Slim on a cruise of the Coral Sea and towed a disabled Dutch vessel to Cairns.
On August 31, 1954 paid off and marked for disposal after 26 years in service, the longest of any RAN warship as of that date. On January 25, 1955 sold to British Iron & Steel Corporation for scrap and afterwards towed from Sydney Harbor by tugboat Rode Zee and later joined by two more tugs on the ship's final voyage via the Suez Canal before arriving at Barrow-in-Furness on July 5, 1955. Afterwards, broken up for scrap at Thos W Ward Shipbreaking Yard between 1955-1956.
Several artifacts from the ship are displayed in Australia. One of the 8" guns is displayed outside the Australian War Memorial (AWM). A piece of the D3A Val that hit the ship on October 21, 1944 is displayed in the Second World War Hall at Australian War Memorial (AWM).
On May 1, 2011 a memorial to the ship's company including those killed in World War II was dedicated at Henley Beach in South Australia.
J-Aircraft "First Kamikaze? Attack on HMAS Australia -- October 21st, 1944 or Crash at Biak -- May 27th, 1944 by Richard Dunn
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for casualty information
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