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  HMAS Canberra (D33)
Heavy Cruiser
Kent Sub-Class of County Class Cruiser

10,000 tons
590' x 630' 1" x 68.25'
8 x 8" (4 twin mounts)
4 x QF 4" single AA guns
2 x quadruple 40 mm
4 x 3 pdr guns,
2 x quadruple 21" torpedo
1 x Walrus amphibian
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AWM c1930s

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RAN January 3, 1942

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USN August 9, 1942

Ship History
Laid down by John Brown and Company of Clydebank in Scotland September 9, 1925, launched on May 31, 1927 and commissioned on July 9, 1928 under the command of Captain George L. Massey RN. Served five months in British waters, then arrived at Fremantle, Western Australia on January 25, 1929.

Pre War History
In September 1931 when she made her first voyage outside of Australia to visit New Caledonia and Fiji. Canberra visited China in 1932 and 1937, and New Zealand three times. In 1934 she served as escort to Sussex during Prince Henry's visit to Australia.

Wartime History
Canberra performed escort duty in her home waters and the Tasman Sea. In 1940 she was involved in the unsuccessful search for the German raiders Atlantis and Pinguin.

In early 1941 Canberra was involved in the fruitless hunt for the German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer. In March, Canberra and Leander intercepted the German supply ship Coburg and the ex Norwegian tanker Ketty Brovig, which had been taken the previous month by the raider Atlantis. Canberra spent the rest of 1941 as a convoy escort in various parts of the Indian Ocean.

During December 27, 1941 to January 4, 1942 Canberra provided escort for convoy ZK.5 from Sydeny to Port Moresby. Afterwards, Canberra underwent a three month refit in Sydney. As part of US Navy Task Force 44, in June she participated in offensive sweeps of the Coral Sea. In August Canberra operated with the naval force supporting the Allied invasions of Guadalcanal and Tulagi.

Sinking History
On August 9, 1942 just before 1:45am HMAS Canberra received the opening shots of the Battle of Savo Island from a powerful Japanese cruiser force. Within the first two minutes of the battle she was struck by two torpedoes and over 20 salvoes of 8" shellfire. With power lost and the ship listing, the wounded and survivors were transferred to USS Patterson and USS Blue.

Rear Admiral R. K. Turner ordered that if Canberra could not steam by 0630 hours, she would be abandoned and scuttled. At 8:00am she was scuttled by USS Ellet and USS Selfridge, who fired over 260 five inch shells and several torpedoes into her hulk. She was one of the first ships sunk into Iron Bottom Sound between Guadalcanal and Savo.

Fates of the Crew
During the Battle of Savo Island Canberra suffered 193, including Captain Frank Getting who died from his wounds. Nine officers and 65 ratings were Missing In Action (MIA). One officer (Captain Getting) and nine ratings died of wounds. The survivors were rescued by the USS Patterson and transported to Noumea where they were transferred to USS President Grant then transported to Sydney.

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Last Updated
May 22, 2017


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  Pacific Wrecks Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to bringing home those Missing In Action (MIA) and leveraging new technologies in the study of World War II Pacific and the Korean War.  
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