HMAS Canberra

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HMAS Canberra
HMAS Canberra.jpg
Name HMAS Canberra
Owner Royal Australian navy
Builder John Brown & Co Ltd Clydebank, Scotland
Launched 31 May 1927
Completed July 1928
In service 9 Jul 1928
Out of service 9 Aug 1942
Fate Sunk during Battle of Savo Island
General characteristics
Type Heavy Cruiser
Tonnage 9,850 tons
Length 630 feet (192.02m)
Beam 68 feet 4 inches (20.83m)
Depth 16 feet 3 inches (4.95m)
Propulsion 80,000 HP
Speed 31.5 knots
Capacity 679 crew (710 when flagship)


Sister ship to HMAS Australia. After 5 months working up in British waters , HMAS Canberra sailed for Australia on 4 Dec 1928, and arrived in Fremantle on 25 Jan 1929. She remained in Australian waters until September 1931 when she made a visit to New Caledonia and Fiji. At times Flagship of the Australian Squadron, she visited the China Station (Hong Kong) in 1932 and 1937.

With the commencement of WW2, she spent the first nine months patrolling the Tasman Sea and the Eastern seaboard. From Jun 1940 she spent time in the Indian Ocean, escorting convoys from Fremantle to Colombo and Cape Town, and was involved in several searches for German raiders. She also spent time searching for the battleship Admiral Scheer in 1941. She did however help capture a German supply ship and a prize tanker that they had captured. In early July 1941 she spent time in Indian waters before returning home. The second half of 1941 was taken up with escorting convoys from Australia to Singapore and Ceylon.

At the time Japan entered the war HMAS Canberra was in Sydney In January 1942 she escorted troops to Papua New Guinea, and to Malaya and Java. In June 1942 she began offensive sweeps of the Coral Sea in company with US ships, and in August she operated with the naval forces assisting the American landings at Guadalcanal and Tulagi, with the result that she was caught up in the Battle for Savo island where she was hit by two Japanese torpedoes. Given that she couldn't steam under her own power the order was given to sink her. USS Selfridge fired 263 5 inch shells into her, along with four torpedoes without success. Eventually a torpedo from USS Ellet sank her on 9 Aug 1942.

The ship's complement suffered 193 casualties from the 819 serving on her, with 84 losing their life and another 109 were wounded.

Armament - Guns - 8 x 8-inch guns; 4 x 4-inch guns; 4 x 3-pounder guns

Battle Honours

  • East Indies 1940-44
  • Pacific 1941-45
  • Guadalcanal 1942
  • Savo Island 1942

Crew Members

Soldiers carried

Rabaul, New Britain to Brisbane 15 - 21 June 1946