HMAS Australia

HMAS Australia

HMAS Australia, imagery scanned from Navy Historic Archive
HMAS Australia, imagery scanned from Navy Historic Archive

Pacific Paratrooper by G. P. Cox

Possibly the ship with the most colorful World War II history was HMAS Australia, fondly known as “The Aussie”. The Aussie fought for almost the entire duration of the war. A county class cruiser commissioned in 1928 she was the second ship to bear the name of her country.

With the outbreak of WWII Aussie sailed for the Atlantic to begin her long wartime career that she was to fight on all fronts and against all enemies.  In September, 1940, she was in Operation Menace off Dakar, French West Africa.  Bombers of the Luftwaffe tried in vain to sink her whilst she was berthed alongside in Liverpool during the period when the city suffered its worst blitz. During her war service Aussie went everywhere.

n December 1941 when Japan entered the war Aussie became the flagship or Rear Admiral Crace, followed by Admiral Crutchley and then Commodore Collins.  In January 1942 the cruiser assisted in escorting the first US troops to Australia. Operating in the Coral Sea it pursued and attacked the Japanese from Guadalcanal to Hollandia, surviving everything its enemies could throw at her, until…

HMAS Australia funnel damage

Out of the blue skies of Leyte came the ‘Divine Wind” or the Kamikaze. The first Kamikaze hit against Aussie was by a A6M5 Zero-Sen Fighter fitted with a 200 kilogram bomb, the impact of this snapped one leg of the ship’s tripod mast, causing a huge shower of wreckage to rain down upon the compass platform.  Underneath it lay Captain Dechaineaux mortally wounded along with many others, amongst them Commodore J. Collins, hero of the HMAS Sydney[…]

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EDITOR’S NOTE: For those wishing to revisit the World War II era through the eyes of the men, women on the ground who fought and worked tirelessly, some of whom never returned home and their families, I urge you to visit Pacific Paratrooper. Other categories of interests:

G.P. Cox, Pacific Paratrooper’s compilation of events during World War II is impressive, does not disappoint. Moreover, it is a part of our history that must never be forgotten. Thus, it is up to us to educate our young. Thank you, Mr. G. P. Cox.

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