A lone piper led a wreath-laying party past the Flame of Remembrance to the Western Australian State War Memorial in Kings Park to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea.
The backdrop Perth city skyline set the stage for the ceremony attended by military and civilian dignitaries including Governor General of Western Australia, Her Excellency General the Honourable Kerry Sanderson AC.
Her Excellency said the outcome of the Battle of Coral Sea was a strategic victory that gave the Allies a much needed boost in morale in the darkest days during the war in the Pacific.
“We gather today - 75 years later, to remember and honour those brave United States and Australian sailors and airmen who fought and lost their lives or were injured in the Battle of the Coral Sea,” she said.
“It was the first aircraft carrier battle ever fought and the first battle in which the opposing forces of surface ships at no stage sighted or fired at each other.
“It is also the largest naval battle off Australian shores and turned the tide in the Pacific.
“We reflect on the strong ties between Australia and the United States forged during the dark days of the War,” Her Excellency said.
Flanked by Unites States Navy and Australian Army counterparts, HMAS Stirling Executive Officer Commander Milton Treeby moved-up to the steps of the memorial, halted, paused and lowered a wreath to reflect on Australia’s contribution to the battle.
It was the combined efforts of the United States aircraft carriers and heavy cruiser HMAS Australia, light cruiser HMAS Hobart and various aircraft stationed in Queensland, which stopped the famed Japanese Navy and turned them back.
Leading Seaman Musician Nigel Barrett sounded the bugle before Commander Treeby read The Ode.
“Lest we forget,” Commander Treeby said.
A final response of 'Lest we forget' echoed from all present.