Saturday, August 2, 2014

HMAS Perth-- Part 2

On February 17, 1942, under command of Captain "Hec" Waller, the Perth sailed from Freemantle for the Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia, which was under threat of advancing Japanese forces.  The Battle of Sunda Straits took place 11 days later, on February 28th.

At 11:06 PM, a Japanese destroyer was sighted 5 miles off the Perth.  It was with an American cruiser USS Houston and a large number of enemy destroyers attacked the two ships.  By midnight, the Perth was low on ammunition and Waller determined to force a passage to safety.  Shortly afterwards, the Perth was hit by four torpedoes and it sank at 12:25 AM, March 1st.

Waller was last seen on the ship's compass platform and is thought to have been killed shortly afterwards by a direct Japanese hit.

The USS Houston was still fighting, but ablaze from stem to stern.  It was also hit by torpedoes and sank.

Losses on the Perth were 357, including three civilians.  Its loss was deeply felt in Western Australia as the Perth had made port call in Freemantle six times from 1940 to 1942.

--Brock-Perry

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