Laid down by John Brown and Company of Clydebank in Scotland September 9, 1925, launched on May 31, 1927 and commissioned on July 9, 1928 under the command of Captain George L. Massey RN. Canberra served five months in British waters, then steamed to Fremantle arriving on January 25, 1929.
Pre War History
In September 1931 when she made her first voyage outside of Australia to visit New Caledonia and Fiji. Canberra visited China in 1932 and 1937, and New Zealand three times. In 1934 she served as escort to Sussex during Prince Henry's visit to Australia.
Canberra performed escort duty in her home waters and the Tasman Sea. In 1940 she was involved in the unsuccessful search for the German raiders Atlantis and Pinguin.
In early 1941 Canberra was involved in the fruitless hunt for the German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer. In March, Canberra and Leander intercepted the German supply ship Coburg and the ex Norwegian tanker Ketty Brovig, which had been taken the previous month by the raider Atlantis. Canberra spent the rest of 1941 as a convoy escort in various parts of the Indian Ocean.
During December 27, 1941 to January 4, 1942 Canberra provided escort for convoy ZK.5 from Sydeny to Port Moresby. Afterwards, Canberra underwent a three month refit in Sydney.
During June 1942 she joined U. S. Navy (USN) Task Force 44 (TF-44) and participated in a sweep of the Coral Sea. During early August 1942 Canberra joined the naval force supporting the American invasion of Guadalcanal and Tulagi in the Solomon Islands.
Battle of Savo Island
On August 9, 1942 just before 1:45am at the start of the Battle of Savo Island Canberra was hit by two torpedoes and over twenty salvoes of 8" gunfire fired by the Japanese force that cut power and left the ship listing. Aboard, wounded were transferred aboard U. S. destroyers USS Patterson (DD-392) and USS Blue (DD-387).
Afterwards, USN Rear Admiral R. K. Turner ordered that if Canberra could not steam by 6:30am, she would have to be abandoned and scuttled. At 8:00am scuttled by destroyers USS Ellet (DD-398) and USS Selfridge (DD-357) that fired over 260 rounds of 5" shells and several torpedoes into her. Canberra became one of the first ships sunk into Iron Bottom Sound.
Fates of the Crew
During the Battle of Savo Island Canberra suffered 193, including Captain Frank Getting who died from his wounds. Nine officers and 65 ratings were Missing In Action (MIA). One officer (Captain Getting) and nine ratings died of wounds. The survivors were rescued by the USS Patterson (DD-392) and transported to Noumea where they were transferred to SS President Grant then transported to Sydney.
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February 23, 2019