On the 75th anniversary of the final action of HMAS Armidale I, the Royal Australian Navy has again paused to mark the loss of 100 servicemen.
During evacuation operations in the Second World War, the Bathurst class corvette was sunk in action by Japanese aircraft in the Timor Sea on 1 December 1942 with the loss of Australian and Dutch lives.
In an extraordinary feat of survival, and despite continuing attacks from the Japanese bombers, 49 men survived for up to eight days at sea before being rescued.
Representing the Chief of Navy at the commemorative service in Armidale, New South Wales, Captain Ainsley Morthorpe said the loss was an important episode in Australia’s wartime history.
“The story of Armidale is one of bravery, sacrifice, and endurance,” he said.
“These are qualities which have very much shaped the Navy’s values and the Australian identity today.”
Executive Officer of the current HMAS Armidale, a patrol boat, Lieutenant Eleanor Snelling, said the fate of Armidale I was an important reminder of the sacrifices made by service men and women in defence of Australia.
“It’s very important to me and my ship’s company that we remember and honour the legacy of our forebears,” she said.
“We aspire to the actions of those who came before us every day on operations around Australia.
“Although we may never live up to their valour, we carry the name with a great deal of pride,” Lieutenant Snelling said.
For information about HMAS Armidale I, visit: http://www.navy.gov.au/hmas-armidale-i
Imagery of the Commemorative Service in Armidale will be available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20172985