HMAS Success has completed a port visit to Honiara, Solomon Islands, to commemorate the 75th anniversaries of the Battles of Guadalcanal and Savo Island. The ship’s company took every available opportunity to engage with the local community, reinforcing the strong ties between Australia and the people of the Solomon Islands.
The Second World War campaign on the islands and the surrounding waters was decisive in resisting a Japanese push further into the Pacific and disrupting sea lines of communication between Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Seventy-five years on, the significance of the battles which included the loss of HMAS Canberra (I) was not lost on Success’ ship’s company.
Flying Officer, Lieutenant Commander Dom Cooper, said it was a privilege to be involved in the commemorative ceremony to remember those lost in the fight for peace.
“Looking at the sun rising behind Guadalcanal as Success steamed towards Honiara, I was suddenly struck that 75 years ago there would have been someone on Canberra (I) from the Fleet Air Arm of my age looking at exactly the same view,” Lieutenant Commander Cooper said.
“That view is one that we get to enjoy thanks to the courageous fighting of that man and his shipmates and Allied counterparts to protect the Pacific. We are all honoured to be able to recognise the men of Canberra (I) by visiting the site and laying wreaths over their final resting place.”
The port visit also included visits to local villages where Success’ ship’s company delivered donations to schools, spent time strengthening relationships with the local communities, and improved access to a significant battle ground.
Able Seaman Maritime Logistics - Supply Chain Cheryl Sutherland coordinated the supplies for the schools.
“In planning for our trip, we’ve been going to Australian charity groups for donations knowing we had the capacity to take a great deal to the Solomon Islands,” Able Seaman Sutherland said.
“We were welcomed with the most heartfelt and enthusiastic song and had a great time delivering donations, reading books and playing sports with the children.
“It was an uplifting experience, and we were delighted to play our small part in building the capacity for education in and around Honiara.”
The hardest physical effort came in Barana Village, located near the top of Mount Austen, where a contingent from Success constructed a series of steps to provide better access to a piece of military history.
‘Hill 27’ as it is known to the Allies, or ‘Gifu’ by the Japanese, is the site of one of the fiercest battles of the Guadalcanal campaign. The new steps are expected to enhance the village as a tourist destination, bringing greater economic activity to the local village.
HMAS Success has recently completed Exercise TALISMAN SABRE, and on completion of her international engagements, she will return to Sydney for a well-earned maintenance period.