This site is dedicated to all "Who went down to the sea in ships" in World War 2, in whatever capacity they may have served the cause of freedom, but especially to the Eighty Four Officers and Men who died in H.M.A.S. Canberra at the Battle of Savo Island, on the 9th of August, 1942.
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Japanese forces now started their mad dash southwards, In December, they had invaded Northern Malaya, sunk the Royal Navy Battle Ship Prince of Wales, and the Battle Cruiser Repulse, leaving the gate to Singapore wide open.
HMAS Goorangai, of only 223 tons, fitted out as an auxiliary mine sweeper, on the night of the 20th. of November 1940, in a southerly gale, was chopped in two by the Motor Vessel Duntroon, and quickly sank with her entire crew of 24.
The discovery of this large bay on the southern coast of Australia is largely tied up with a small brig Lady Nelson. When fully loaded, her freeboard was just under three feet. Lieutenant James Grant in 1799, had been commissioned by the then First Lord of the Admiralty The Duke of Portland, to survey the south and south west coast of Australia. He was given Lady Nelson with a crew of twelve and stored for a nine months voyage.
Built as Fanefford, in Norway in 1919, this single decked motor ship was 150 feet long and when fully loaded drew between 16 to 17 feet, her tonnage just 402 tons. A vessel that had sailed under four different names, in both the northern and southern hemispheres, had been involved in a multitude of shipping activities, including making aviation history in the Antarctic, finally came to a sad end on a dark and stormy night off the coast of Queensland Australia.
The suprise and humilitating attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor on the 7th. of December in 1941, had left its mark on the American phyche and public morale was at a low ebb. To at least make a token strike back at the Japanese Homeland, President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorised a dangerous mission by a B-25 bomber raid against Tokyo and industrial targets in Japan.
Because the Monitor was quite deep in about 70 metres of water, it was then necessary for the diving team to use saturation diving, ie the divers lived in a pressurised chamber for up to two weeks at a time on the Wotan, a salvage barge. On the evening of the 5th. of August 2002, US Navy divers hooked large steel cables onto the turret which was then slowly winched to the surface.
78 men from Kormoran’s crew of 393 died in this battle, which recorded the Royal Australian Navy’s greatest loss in a single engagement, all 645 of HMAS Sydney’s crew perished. Even at this distance in time from her sinking on the 19th. of November 1941, we still do not know the whole story about her sinking, or where she finally came to rest in the depths of the Indian Ocean.
The Divers Net on the 13th. of December 2002, reported locating the Canadian Tribal Class Destroyer HMCS Athabaskan in 90 metres of water off Batz Island, Brittany. The French diver, Jaques Ouchakjoff found the wreck of this 2,000 ton Tribal.
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