HMAS PERTH. ( Short History)
Learn about HMAS Perth here and then... click HERE to Learn EVEN MORE !
Perth was launched in England in 1934 and commissioned in June 1936 as HMS Amphion, From July 1936 to Dec 1938 she served on the South Africa Station based at Simonstown. During this time she made cruises up and down the East and West Coast of Africa, returning to England in Dec 1938. Here she underwent extensive modifications before being handed over to the RAN as HMAS Perth in June 1939.
PERTH sailed for Australia in July 1939 and after a brief stay in New York, proceeded to the Caribbean. On 3rd Sep. 1939 war broke out and she was attached to the Royal Navy based at Kingston. She carried out convoy escorts and searching for German blockade runners and on 29th Feb 1940 left to sail across the Pacific to Australia whe she arrived on 31 Mar 1940.
After a refit she spent some months in Australian waters escorting troop convoys bound for the Middle East and and in Nov 1940 she sailed to join the British Fleet in the Mediterranean based at Alexandria. Here she was attached to the 7th Cruiser Squadron where she carried out patrols off Greece, Crete, and escorted convoys to Malta. At Malta in Jan 1941 she was slightly damaged by a 1000lb bomb which exploded beside the ship during numerous severe air attacks.
The ship returned to Alexandria where she conveyed troops to Greece. In Mar. 1941 she took part in the Battle of Matapan off southwest Crete. Following the German Invasion of Greece PERTH was involved in withdrawing troops back to Crete, and in May took part in the Battle of Crete. Here she underwent some of the fiercest air attacks of the war. During this battle the R.N. lost 3 cruisers, 6 destroyers and 2000 men. Perth's luck still held out. It was not until may 1941 that she suffered her only casualties of the Mediterranean theatre. She was attacked by a German bomber south of Crete. The stick of bombs was avoided but one bomb released late and exploded in her boiler room killing 4 sailors and 4 soldiers.After taking part in bombardments of Syria, PERTH returned to Australia in July 1941. During her time in the Med. there were 257 air attacks on the ship.
After an extensive refit PERTH rejoined the fleet in Nov 1941 and took part in exercises and patrols off the Australian coast. In Jan 1942 she took part in convoy escorts to New Guinea, Noumea, and Fiji and then escorted an American troop convoy back to Australia.
On the 31st Jan 1942 PERTH left Sydney for the last time . She spent some time escorting convoys out of Fremantle on the West coast before sailing for Java where she arrived at Batavia on 24th Feb.
On 27th Feb PERTH took part , with USS HOUSTON, in the Battle of the Java Sea. Both ships returned to Tanjong Priok on the morning of 28th Feb. PERTH and HOUSTON sailed at 7pm on the 28th Feb for Sunda Strait and ran into a Japanese invasion force off Banten Bay at about 11pm.. Despite the intensity of the battle, PERTH remained undamaged until 11.26 when she received 3 shell hits that did only minor damage. She had just about made it when at 0005, as she turned for the Straits ,she was hit by a torpedo. Over the next 15 mins she received hits from three more torpedoes all believed to have been fired by the destroyer HARUKAZE. PERTH sank at 0025 on 1st Mar 1942.
Of her crew of 682, 353 were lost in the battle and 100 died as POW.s Only 229 returned to Australia.
BOOKS; HMAS PERTH by Alan Payne
(Best book about PERTH by RAN
PROUD ECHO by Ronald McKie ( Excellent book tells the story of
There are a couple of other books but they are only a poor re-hash of the above. These two books are old and are probably not available in the US. I can get hold of them for you if you decide you want them.
Information provided by Bruce Constable of Sydney, Australia
B Constable" <email@example.com>