HMAS Canberra

This site is dedicated to all Royal Australian Navy and Australian Defence Force personnel who have served in HMAS CANBERRA.


HMAS CANBERRA (1) D 33 from the 9th of July 1928 until she was sunk in action off Savo Island on the 9th of August 1942.


HMAS CANBERRA (2) FFG-02 from the 21st of March 1981 until Decomissioning on the 12th of November 2005.


HMAS Canberra (3) LHD-02 from Commissioning on the 23rd of November 2014.



News - Updated 24 Dec 2011

2010 News Archive...More


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Christmas Card from HMAS Canberra 1, Circa 1935

Seasons Greetings to everyone

It s been a great year for HMAS Canberra, with 2 x Reunions taking place, HMAS Canberra 3 being launched and work starting on standing up the HMAS Canberra Shropshire Association in Western Australia.

Many Thanks to everyone that have supported the website, the Reunions and the HMAS Canberra Shropshire Association.

Have a safe Christmas, New Year!

Yours Aye,

Lee"Bickies" Webster


HMAS Canberra Commissioning Crew - Terry O’Connor

Terry O’Connor – Chief Executive Officer Darwin Port Corporation

Terry O'Connor was a member of the Commissioning Crew HMAS Canberra in 1981, he was appointed as CEO of the Darwin Port Corporation in August 2011.

Terry O’Connor joined Darwin Port Corporation in June 2008 as General Manager Landside Operations, following a long career in the Royal Australian Navy. He has held positions within the Federal Government as a maritime specialist and with the private sector in logistics management....More

Terry O'Connor in 2011

Terry O’Connor was invited to meet the US President during his brief visit to Darwin on Thursday 17November 2011, as one of the 300 invited community guests who joined around 1,500 defence personnel. We heard from the Prime Minister, the Hon Julia Gillardand then the US President, Barack Obama, who thanked the local Darwin community for their enthusiastic welcome and the role they will be playing in being hosts to a greater US marines presence over the coming years."It was great that the DPC and other key government agencies could be part of the massive undertaking in accommodating the President in Darwin.


News Article


HMAS Canberra 3


HMAS Canberra 3 is fitted for but not with Fixed Wing Aircraft, perhaps the Australian Government may consider purchasing F-35B STOVL aircraft for our new an amphibious assault ships.

Absolutely Brilliant!!




This video is fresh (for the public).  It was made just six weeks ago in the Atlantic, just off Newport News (Hampton Roads), Virginia .
These are the latest sea trials of the F-35B on the USS Wasp.  They were very successful, with 74 VL's and STO's in a three week period.  The media and the program critics had predicted that we would burn holes in the deck and wash sailors overboard.  Neither of which happened.  You will notice a sailor standing on the bow of the ship as the jet rotates.  That was an intentional part of the sea trials.
The USS Wasp is an amphibious assault ship designed to embark a Marine Expeditionary Unit.  It is capable of simultaneously supporting rotary and fixed wing STOVL aircraft and amphibious landing craft operations.  For this test deployment the USS Wasp was outfitted with special instrumentation to support and measure the unique operating environment as the F-35B conducted short takeoffs and vertical landings.
No catapult......  No hook ......   
The shape and scope of warfare – worldwide – just changed. 


HMAS Canberra 2 FFG-02

ex-HMAS Canberra celebrates its second Birthday

December, 2011


The ex-HMAS Canberra Dive site celebrates its second birthday this week since officially opening to the public on 5 December 2009. The ex-HMAS Canberra is a former warship, which served the Australian Navy between 1981 and 2005, now lies approximately 28 metres under water and attracts divers from all over the world.

Parks Victoria Chief Executive Dr Bill Jackson said the ex-HMAS Canberra offers one of the most interesting and challenging dive experiences in the world.

“Unlike a lot of other shipwrecks, many of the ex-HMAS Canberra’s original fixtures have been preserved for divers to explore,” said Dr Jackson.

“Divers can explore a large portion of the former warship including flight decks, the bridge, engine rooms, the galley and the accommodation quarters. The top of the mast sits about 7 metres below the surface at low tide.”

“As the ex-HMAS Canberra changes from a wreck to a reef, the dive experience just gets better and better. A significant amount of sea life is developing in and around the wreck.”

Roger Grant, Executive Director Geelong Otway Tourism, said two years since its opening the ex-HMAS Canberra has proven a great drawcard for divers.

“Victorians are lucky enough to have some of the most amazing dive experiences in the world, right on our doorstep,” said Mr Grant. “I encourage divers to book a dive tour with a licensed tour operator or book a two hour mooring through the Parks Victoria website in order to access the site.”

Dr Jackson said while the ex-HMAS Canberra is for the more experienced diver, there are plenty of options for beginner divers through licensed tour operators in Victoria’s marine national parks.

“Popes Eye in the Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park, for example, is an excellent dive experience for beginners and a great starting point to build up your experience and work up to a more challenging dive like the ex-HMAS Canberra.”

“I encourage everyone to take a fresh look at Victoria’s spectacular underwater parks. We are extremely lucky as divers have access to these amazing sites.”

For further information about Victoria’s dive experiences contact Parks Victoria or your local tourism provider...More


HMAS Canberra 3

Computer Generated Images of a Anzac Class Frigate alongside HMAS Canberra 3, note the side number of HMAS Canberra is 02, she will bear the same side number 02 as her namesake HMAS Canberra FFG-02.



HMAS Canberra 2 FFG-02


Two years after being sunk to start a new life as a dive reef, the HMAS Canberra is full of life again.

Regular divers on the ship have seen the hulk grow sea grass and coral, and watched the fish move in and start calling the wreck home, ensuring the Canberra is a very different diving experience to what it was two years ago.

The ship was scuttled within sight of Ocean Grove on December 5, 2009, attracting a crowd of hundreds of people. Managers of the dive site, Parks Victoria, say she is now nestled in about 28 metres of water and attracting divers from around the world.

Parks Victoria chief executive Dr Bill Jackson said the Canberra was one of the most interesting and challenging wreck dives anywhere.

“Unlike a lot of other shipwrecks, many of the ex-HMAS Canberra’s original fixtures have been preserved for divers to explore,” he said.

“Divers can explore a large portion of the former warship including flight decks, the bridge, engine rooms, the galley and accommodation quarters.”

The top of the mast sits about 7 metres below the surface at low tide, he said. The site was closed until late October to reposition some parts of the superstructure, which had shifted and left jagged edges, but was now open and gearing up for a busy summer season.

Josh Clark, Portsea manager of dive charter operator The Dive Victoria Group, said divers who had visited the Canberra when she was first scuttled were coming back to see how she had changed.

“At first there was very light sea grass, then little mussels and shells and now there’s soft corals.

“There’s a lot of life in and around, and if you are certified and can penetrate the wreck, it has settled more on its side over time and built up with sand, which has made it darker and more like a ghost ship.”

Mr Clark said certain qualifications were needed to dive to the Canberra and safety was taken very seriously. As a result he was not aware of any divers getting into major difficulty around the ship.

Although he expected the Canberra to get more popular over summer, it was just one of many great wrecks in the area, including the “Yellow Submarine”, a J5 submarine covered in yellow xanthid crabs.


Belllarine Times

December 16 2011


HMAS Canberra 3 - Minister of Defence Update 13 Dec 2011


Australian Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today provided an update on the $3 billion Landing Helicopter Ship (LHD) project. 

The two Canberra Class LHDs are the largest ships ever to be built for the Royal Australian Navy. 

The hulls are being constructed by Navantia in Spain with the superstructures and integration work being done by BAE Systems at their Williamstown Shipyard in Melbourne. 

Work on the first ship, HMAS Canberra, is progressing on schedule. 

All 105 blocks that make up the hull of the first ship have been constructed and the hull is now complete. 

It is currently undergoing final fit out with the installation of hospital, storeroom and accommodation facilities. 

The hull is expected to depart from Spain in July 2012 to be transported via heavy lift ship to Melbourne, where it is expected to arrive in August 2012. 

In June this year, work began on the four superstructure and three mast blocks at the Williamstown Shipyard.

The superstructure and hull are expected to be consolidated in Melbourne in late 2012.

Work on the second ship, HMAS Adelaide, is progressing ahead of schedule.

The keel was laid in February and so far 60 of the 105 blocks have been erected on the slipway.

Of the remaining blocks, 27 are currently in construction and final fit-out and 18 are in final paint and fit-out prior to moving to the slipway.

The hull is expected to be launched in Spain in the third quarter of 2012.

More than 400,000 hours of labour have been worked on the LHD so far this year in Australia.

The Canberra Class LHDs are bigger than Australia’s last aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne. 

When completed they will be more than 230 metres long, 27.5 metres high and weigh around 27,500 tonnes.

Each ship can carry a combined armed battlegroup of more than 1100 personnel, 100 armoured vehicles and 12 helicopters and features a 40-bed hospital. 


HMAS Canberra 3 - Australian Governor-General visited LHD 01

Spain - Ferrol Shipyard in 2011

The Governor-General visited the Navantia Dockyards in Ferrol, Spain, to view the largest Australian naval project to be built in the country.
Two Australian Landing Helicopter Dock (LHDs) hulls are currently under construction and the first, HMAS Canberra, was completed on the 17th of February.
Ms Bryce and Mr Michael Bryce were taken on a tour of the HMAS Canberra hull to see the progress being made on the project, which is expected to be completed and delivered to Australia by 2012.
The Governor-General later met the Australian LHD project teams who are working on Australia's largest-ever warships...More



HMAS Canberra 3 - Computer Generated Images

If you wondered how the new LHD's will look at Garden Island, the attached computer generated pics demonstrate the enormous size of these new ships.


HMAS Canberra 2 FFG-02

Latest HMAS Canberra Diving Video posted on You Tube by Ozdive Charters 04 Dec 2011



HMAS Canberra Website update 05 Dec 2011

“Second to None"

HMAS Canberra 2011 Reunion 21-23 Oct 2011 Webpage...More

Image Galleries HMAS Canberra 2011 Reunion 21-23 Oct 2011

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HMAS Canberra 30th Anniversary Reunion 2011 - Dinner Dance

The HMAS Canberra 30th Anniversay Reunion Dinner Dance was held at the Maroochy RSL on the Sunshine Coast on Saturday ...More

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HMAS Canberra 30th Anniversay Reunion 2011

The HMAS Canberra 30th Anniversay Reunion was held at the Maroochy RSL on the Sunshine Coast Fri 21 Oct - Sun 23 Oct 2011...More


HMAS Canberra 30th Anniversary Reunion Dinner Dance Images

Sean Cox was kind enough to organise a photographer for the HMAS Canberra 30th Reunion Dinner Dance.

I have posted these images on Flickr

To download a high definition images simply right click the image you want and click on original size, the original size will load onto the webpage, once it appears on the webpage right click to download.

Good Luck!!



USS Canberra Association - Newsletter

USS Canberra 2011 Winter Newsletter...more



Top Jack's Catch up!

Lee Webster, Phillip McDonald caught up with Simon Harrington and his wife Kathy in Kangaroo Valley recently. It was great to catch up and reminisce about our time in HMAS Canberra 1987-88.

Simon was the Commanding Officer of HMAS Canberra 1987-88.


The ship had a very important role in the 1988 Australian Bicentennial Celebrations, the Tallships Race was officially started by the Prime Minister of Australia Bob Hawke embarked in HMAS Canberra at Stormy Bay in Tasmania, the ship escorted the Tall Ships Race vessels from Hobart to Sydney, being the centre piece of the Australia Day celebrations in Sydney Harbour and firing a 88 Gun Salute prior to the fireworks display.

The ship had the honour of escorting the Royal Yacht HMY Britannia with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II embarked from Sydney to Newcastle and then onto Brisbane for Expo 88 and was the centre piece of the International Naval Review in September 1988...More


Guadalcanal & HMAS Canberra 70th Anniversary Tour

5-night tour visits the key sites on Guadalcanal and its neighbouring islands, giving you the chance to explore famous battlefields such as Alligator Creek, Bloody Ridge, Henderson Airfield, the Gifu, Mt Austen, Tulagi, the Matanikau River and more.

Guadalcanal offers more war sites and relics than any other island in the Pacific, and this tour promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime event. The highlight is the moving 70th anniversary commemorations on August 7. Australians were also involved in the campaign, and we will visit sites that tell their story - including a memorial service for the HMAS Canberra 1 on the 70th anniversary of her sinking...More


Australia remembers its fallen

Peter Veness

The Age, Melbourne

November 11, 2011

Defence Materiel (Materiel) Minister Jason Clare spent the day with Australian troops working in Solomon Islands.

He remembered the 84 men who died when HMAS Canberra 1 was torpedoed in World War II.

"One of the men who died that month was the captain of the HMAS Canberra, Frank Getting," Mr Clare said.

"As he lay dying on the bridge of his burning ship, he told the ship's surgeon who was trying to save him to look after the other wounded men.

"His last order to his second-in-command was `carry on'".

Captain Frank Edmond Getting RAN...More


Memorial Service held for HMAS Canberra 1

A Memorial Service was held at the Maroochadore RSL Cenotaph on The Esplanade, Cotton Tree on Sunday 23 October 2011.

The Memorial Service was conducted by Padre Ian Taylor of the Naval Reserve Cadets, members of the HMAS Canberra 2 Ships Company and Families attend the Service where approx 80 personnel were present.

Brian Shelmerdine, Phillip McDonald , Luke Leather and Lee Webster all took an active part in the ceremony.

Many Thanks Padre Ian Taylor who is a WW 2 veteran who conducted a wonderful Service.

Order of Service...More


Many Thanks to Luke Leather who organised the Memorial Service


HMAS Canberra 30th Anniversary Reunion 21-23 Oct 2011

The HMAS Canberra 30th Anniversary Reunion was held in the Maroochy Events Centre at the Maroochy RSL 21-23 October 2011.

The Programme

Day Time Event Location
Friday 1800-2000 Meet and Greet Maroochy Events Centre
Saturday 1900-2359 Dinner Dance Maroochy Events Centre
Sunday 1100-1130 Memorial Service Maroochydore War Memorial
Sunday 1130 Farewell BBQ Maroochy Events Centre

A Memorial Service for the HMAS Canberra 1 was conducted at the Maroochydore War Memorial on 1100 Sunday 23 October 2011...More



The HMAS Canberra - Shropshire Association (NSW) held their Annual Reunion Luncheon and AGM on the 22 October 2011.

Former Commanding Officer Captain Ray Leggatt CSC RAN the Decommissioning Commanding Officer of HMAS Canberra 2 was the key note speaker...More


HMAS Canberra 2 FFG-02 -Dive site open to Public

The ex-HMAS Canberra dive site re-open to the public on Saturday 22 October 2011...More



The ex HMAS Canberra Saturday 22 October 2011 is alive and well with lots of critters and growth. Alan Beck


HMAS Canberra 3 - ADF Juan Carlos I LHD Visit - 2011



A small delegation of Australian Defence Force (ADF) officers led by MAJGEN Rick Burr and CDRE Ian Middleton saw firsthand the future of the Australian amphibious capability last month with a visit aboard the Spanish Helicopter Landing Dock (LHD) VP Juan Carlos I.

The Spanish vessel was commissioned in 2010 and is similar to the two Canberra Class LHDs, the first of which is due in service with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in 2014.


HMAS Canberra 3 - Aust unveils new force in region

Fri Oct 7 2011

Max Blenkin, AAP Defence Correspondent

Australia's acquisition of two large amphibious landing ships and their ability to project force won't go unnoticed in the region and some nations may see that as a threat, a senior army officer says.

Major-General Stephen Day, head of joint capability and coordination, said the amphibious capability provided by the two landing helicopter dock (LHD) ships represented the single largest change to Australia's ability to project force since the acquisition of an aircraft carrier 63 years ago.

Maj-Gen Day said this would be a force projection capability "the like of which we have never seen in the ADF (Australian Defence Force)" and the realisation of that would have an impact on some regional nations.

"It is one thing to be able to sail a couple of frigates or to deploy soldiers by air or land. To be able to embark an amphibious taskforce is a stepwise increase in capability," he told a seminar in Canberra this week conducted by a strategic thinktank, the Sir Richard Williams Foundation.

Maj-Gen Day said that force projection message would not go unnoticed.

"I am not sure that it is clear how this will be received in our neighbourhood," he said.

"No doubt some will welcome it, some will wonder why, some may see it as a threat. What is clear is that it will have an impact and this will need to be managed."

The two vessels cost $3 billion, with the hull of the first, to be named HMAS Canberra, now under construction in Spain. It will enter service in 2014 with the second, to be named HMAS Adelaide, entering service in 2016.

These are larger than any previous Australian navy vessel. Australia's last aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne displaced 20,000 tonnes while the just retired landing ships Manoora and Kanimbla each displaced 8500 tonnes.

Maj-Gen Day said Canberra and Adelaide could deliver a force of 1000 troops by helicopter or landing ship, plus armoured vehicles, and sustain them ashore for 10 days of medium to high-end operations.

The vessels will also provide a much greater ability to conduct regional humanitarian and disaster relief operations.

Maj-Gen Day said getting the best from this would require contributions from all three services and also from allies such as the US and the UK which have far more relevant experience.

Australia would need to shift its focus from being a frigate force to being an amphibious force while the RAAF would need to understand their significant role in defending the air space to ensure safe passage of these valuable vessels, he said.

For its part, just one of the army's three manoeuvre brigades is reasonably well configured for deployment by sea.

"Amphibious thinking needs to permeate throughout the army," Maj-Gen Day said...More


HMAS Canberra 3 - Commissioning early 2014

The LHDs are the largest ship yet built for the Royal Australian Navy. The first HMAS Canberra is due to be commissioned in January 2014 and the second HMAS Adelaide is planned for June 2015.


HMAS Canberra 3 - Govt approves new navy landing craft

The government has given the go-ahead for the Defence Department to buy 12 new landing craft - and this time they'll actually fit aboard the ships meant to carry them.

Defence Minister Stephen Smith says the new vessels will be used by two new Canberra-class landing helicopter dock (LHD) amphibious ships.

They'll be constructed by LHD manufacturer Navantia, a Spanish shipbuilder.

"Defence has learned the lessons of 10 years ago when very serious mistakes were made," Mr Smith told reporters in Canberra.

He was referring to the acquisition of six landing craft, each weighing 135 tonnes, intended to be carried on the deck of landing ships and lowered onto the water to transport troops and vehicles to shore.

The project was cancelled earlier this year at a cost of $40 million.

At the time, Mr Smith said the landing craft were the wrong weight and shape, which made them unsuitable to be launched from HMAS Manoora and HMAS Kanimbla, both now decommissioned.

Neither were they deemed fit for any other service in the defence force.

The new Navantia LCM-1E landing craft, each weighing 110 tonnes, are already in service with the Spanish navy.

The first four will arrive with the first of the new LHDs in 2014.

The total acquisition cost is $300 to $500 million.

Mr Smith on Tuesday said the government had also approved an upgrade to information and communications infrastructure at the Headquarter of Joint Operations Command at Bungendore in NSW.

The upgrade, costing $100 to $300 million, should allow better communications between Australia and deployed forces...More



HMAS Canberra 3 - Latest News

BAE to deliver dock ship training

Published: Sept. 23, 2011


CANBERRA, Australia, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- BAE Systems will develop and deliver training for the Australian navy's landing helicopter dock ships under construction.
The training will rely heavily on simulation and virtual scenarios, including avatars, to lower training costs, BAE Systems Australia said.

"The most obvious benefit in using computer simulation is that the technology allows us to recreate, and for the crew to interact with, the LHD environment without the actual completed ship yet," BAE Systems Director of Maritime Harry Bradford said.
Around 30 BAE Systems employees will manage the training process for the LHD project for which BAE Systems is the prime contractor.

The first LHD hull is expected to arrive in Williamstown, South Australia, in August 2012. Delivery of the first training packages is expected in 2013, ahead of completion of the first ship in 2015.
Because the training system is computer-based, military personnel can be in different regions in the country and still have access to the facility, Bradford said.

"With training starting prior to delivery of the first ship, the flexibility of being able to train and familiarize defense forces at their home bases represents substantial cost savings for the Commonwealth (Australia)," he said.

Using the system for training for emergency situations also has a benefit, he said.
"We can recreate and test emergency procedures in a safe environment before procedures are implemented on the ship," Bradford said.

Bradford said the simulator programs can be adapted easily for other ships, including Australia's Air Warfare Destroyers, ANZAC class frigates and FFGs.Work is under way on the development of some of the simulated training through KBR, a U.S. engineering, construction and private military contracting company formerly known as Kellogg Brown and Root.

BAE Systems said it recently awarded a contract to the Norwegian company Kongsberg Maritime for an engine room simulator for engineers who will serve aboard the LHDs.
The navy's two Canberra class Landing Helicopter Dock ships -- under construction -- are the Canberra and the Adelaide.

In 2007 a Spanish design was selected over one by the French company Direction des Constructions Navales.In Spain, Navantia is responsible for construction of the ships from the keel to the flight deck. The hulls will be transported to Australia for completion by BAE Systems Australia.

Work on the Canberra started in late 2008 and the hull was launched in early 2011. Work on the Adelaide started last year. Both ships are to enter service by the end of 2015.
Australia also bought a third LHD ship, the U.K.-built Largs Bay.

The U.K. Department of Defense commissioned the Largs Bay in 2006. The vessel was built by Swan Hunter in Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, northern England and named after Largs Bay in Ayrshire, Scotland.

It was commissioned into the British navy auxiliary in November 2006 and patrolled the seas around the British south Atlantic colony the Falkland Islands in 2008.
Australia finalized the purchase of the Largs Bay in May after the U.K. Ministry of Defense declared it surplus to its needs.


USS Canberra Association - Newsletter

USS Canberra 2011 Fall Newsletter...more



HMAS Canberra 1 - Vale Norman Anthony White

With Regret, I wish to inform you of the passing Mr Norman Anthony White (Tony) he was a stoker and crew member of the HMAS Canberra when she was sunk at Savo Island on the 9 Aug 1942.

Tony’s funeral was held in Townsville on the 8 Sep 2011 at the Good Shepard Nursing home

Yours sincerely
Barry Benson.
State President
Qld TPI.


HMAS Canberra 3 - Latest News

Kongsberg Maritime Awarded Contract for BAE and Royal Australian Navy Engine Room Simulator

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Kongsberg Maritime has been selected by BAE and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to provide a custom engine room simulator for the training of engineers aboard Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) vessels. The new LHD Engineering System Trainer (LEST) will significantly enhance the Navy’s ability to train LHD vessel engineering personnel, an important and critical factor in operational availability.

The LEST project is scheduled for delivery February 2013, and will include both full mission and desktop simulation systems, with integrated e-Learning facilities. The LEST will simulate operational control of all Marine Engineering (ME) systems and equipment installed on the LHD, enabling training for the operation of ME systems and equipment in remote, local, manual and emergency/casualty modes.

The simulators will be developed to provide a highly realistic simulation of the ME systems aboard Canberra Class vessels. A core objective is to cover the operation and system understanding of the combined diesel and gas turbine (CODAGE) configuration on the vessels; with electrical transmission where an electric motor is in the pod itself, connected directly to the propeller without gears.

The full mission part of the delivery will include control room operator stations with software mimics & panels, electrical switchboard mimic & panels, local control engine-room mimics and bridge control and steering panels. KONGSBERG will integrate its sophisticated new BigView touch-screen software mimic to provide the ADF with the latest in state-of-the-art simulation technology and high flexibility.

“We have a strong presence in Australia with several maritime institutes using our simulators and we experience a longstanding relationship with the RAN, having provided extensive ship bridge simulation systems to upgrade its training centre, located at HMAS Watson in Sydney,” says Mark Stuart Treen, Sales and Marketing Manager, Kongsberg Maritime, Simulation Department

“The LEST system will enable ME sailors posted to an LHD the capability of being assessed certified and competent to perform their billeted job in the shortest possible time. With basic and advanced remote or on-campus training it will significantly reduce the training load placed on the vessels, and will be configured to meet the RAN’s expected student throughput,” concludes Treen.


HMAS Canberra 1 - Mackenzie Gregory

John Howard 'saved my life on 9/11'

Sarah Collerton
Updated September 08, 2011 06:33:39

Born survivor: Mackenzie Gregory

Mackenzie Gregory survived some of World War II's fiercest naval battles - but he would have died in the 9/11 attacks if it were not for John Howard. The retired Royal Australian Navy lieutenant commander and his wife Denise were invited to Washington DC for a ceremony to mark the 50th ceremony of the signing of the ANZUS Treaty on September 10, 2001.

Mr Gregory, 89, who survived a ship's sinking and a kamikaze attack by Japanese suicide pilots in World War II, was mentioned in both George W Bush and John Howard's speeches that day.
"They said to us 'the president won't meet you' ... but after the ceremony [George Bush] came streaming down to meet us, with his hand out, followed by John Howard and said 'Well sir, it's an honour to meet you'. He was very charming," Mr Gregory told ABC News Online

"He was wagging his finger at a marine general to take a photo of us four with our camera.
"As far as life goes, it was one of the great occasions to be there and meet the president."
But little did Mr Gregory know, it was actually the day before one of the infamous days in history - September 11, 2001.

Howard's invitation

After the ceremony and the happy snaps were taken, Mr Howard invited the Gregorys to join him the next day to visit the grave of the only Australian serviceman buried in Arlington Cemetery.
But the visit never went ahead; America was under attack. Instead of going to the cemetery, Mr Howard was taking shelter in a cellar under the Australian embassy, while the Gregorys were stuck in their hotel.

"It was very frightening. Washington just went mad. There were fire trucks, police cars everywhere, FBI, CIA, helicopters chopping around overhead. It was mayhem," Mr Gregory said.
Then Mr Gregory found out the impact Mr Howard's invitation had on his life."On September 12, we learned we had been booked on American Airlines Flight 77 [from Washington's Dulles airport] which crashed into the Pentagon without any survivors," Mr Gregory said.
"John Howard, by inviting us to visit Arlington, had caused us to be pulled off that flight and he thus saved our lives.

"It was an incredible experience. You couldn't have any more luck than that."
After 9/11, Mr and Mrs Gregory, who were anxious to get home to Australia, were stuck in Washington until planes starting flying again.
"While we were queuing up [at the airport] to go home on the Saturday, there was a huge wreath alongside the book-in area in memory of those who had died on Flight 77," he said.
"That really brought it home to us how lucky we had been."

'We'll continue to vote Liberal'

Back in Australia, Mr Gregory met John Howard again and told him about their fateful encounter.
"He said: 'Yes, the embassy told me that. I'm glad that happened'," Mr Gregory recalled.
"We thanked him very much and said we'll continue to vote Liberal."But it's not the first time Mr Gregory has cheated fate.

In 1942 he was serving on board HMAS Canberra when it was attacked by Japanese warships in the opening salvos of the Battle of Savo Island.
More than 80 Australian sailors died or were mortally wounded as Japanese shells slammed into the ship, which caught fire and was later scuttled.
"I was very fortunate," he said. "It was 1.43am when it all started. I could see this big Japanese cruiser - there were six of them - plus a destroyer 3,000 yards away blasting us.

"I remember saying 'By God, this is bloody awful'. Mr Gregory also came close to death in a kamikaze attack.He witnessed more that 200 kamikaze attacks during World War II, but on January 6, 1945, one of the Japanese suicide planes was headed right for his ship.
"I looked up into the sun and there was this plane flying toward us," he said.
"We all flattened down on the deck and there was this big explosion. I was splashed and I thought it was fuel, but then I smelt it and realised it was saltwater.

"The kamikaze had been shot in half [by one of the ship's anti-aircraft gunners]; one half fell starboard and the other half fell port side. We were very lucky."
A former aide de camp to governor-general William McKell in the 1950s, Mr Gregory has rubbed shoulders with 14 prime ministers. And while Robert Menzies left a big impression on him, he says it's Mr Howard who has to be his favourite.


HMAS Canberra 1 - Mackenzie Gregory Wins Award

Herald Sun's Pride of Australia winners honoured in Melbourne

Mackenzie Gregory, this year's recipient of the Pride of Australia Community Spirit medal.

MACKENZIE GREGORY, or Mac as he prefers, has devoted his life to Australia’s navy.

Serving during World War II, he survived the sinking of the HMAS Canberra and was aboard the HMAS Shropshire off the coast of Japan when the Japanese signed for peace and ended the global conflict.

With his seafaring days behind him, Mr Gregory has sunk most of his time into seeking acknowledgement for Australia’s naval forces.

He operates a historical website which he often uses to help find information for those who lost loved ones during the war and is currently campaigning to have the brave men and women who set off to sea from Melbourne honoured with a permanent memorial in Port Melbourne


HMAS Choules, named in honour of WW 1 Veteran and HMAS Canberra 1 Commissioing Crew


Petty Officer Claude Choules, HMAS Canberra 1929

THE name of the last World War I veteran, Claude Choules, is to live on in a RAN ship that has served two navies, just like him.

Mr Choules, who died in Western Australia on May 5 aged 110, was the last known veteran who saw active service in WW1. Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced today the former United Kingdom Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel Largs Bay is to be commissioned as HMAS Choules.

Mr Choules served in the Royal Navy in WWI and moved to Australia as an instructor on loan and then transferred to the RAN.

He was a commissioning crew member of HMAS Canberra and served with the vessel until 1931, when he was discharged from the RAN before he rejoined as a torpedo and anti-submarine instructor in  1932.

As the acting torpedo officer at Fremantle, Mr Choules disposed of the first German mine to wash up on Australian soil during WWII, near Esperance, on WA's south coast. He was also tasked with destroying harbour and oil storage tanks at the Fremantle port in the event of a Japanese invasion.

His service totalled 40 years. Ms Gillard said naming the ship HMAS Choules recognised the service of a loyal and dedicated man in two different Navies over  40 years.“Mr Choules and his generation made a tremendous sacrifice for our freedom that we will never forget,” she said

HMAS Choules - Desig

Defence Minister Stephen Smith said Mr Choules was proud of his naval service.
HMAS Choules is due to arrive in Australia in December for commissioning into the RAN.
“As with Mr Choules, HMAS Choules will serve Australia having completed service in the fleet of the Royal Navy,” Mr Smith said.

The federal government announced it would purchase the landing ship dock from the UK in April this year. The 16,000 tonne HMAS Choules was commissioned into service in  2006 and became surplus to UK requirements as a result of the British government's strategic defence review.
Its flight deck has room for two large helicopters and can also carry around 150 light trucks and 350 troops.

It was used to provide humanitarian relief as part of the international response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

The vessel was acquired for about $100 million and is expected to be operational in early 2012 while Australia awaits the completion of its own ship landing docks in Spain.




HMAS Canberra 1 Memorial Service - Canberra ACT, 09 August 2011



HMAS Canberra 1 Memorial Service - Solomon Islands 09 August 2011


Members of the Australian Defence Force serving in the Solomon Islands hosted a small but sombre Memorial Service to remember those personnel who lost their lives when HMAS CANBERRA was sunk off Savo Island during the Battle of Guadalcanal.  

The service was conducted at sea, embarked in RSIPV LATA (Pacific Class Patrol Boat) over the position where CANBERRA now lay in 800 meters of water.  The wreath laying service was lead by the Australian Defence Adviser, Commander Geoff Turner.


VIP Guests and Hosts:   L-R
Reverend Davidson, Dean St Barnabas Cathedral
Mr Peter Aoraunisaka, Deputy Commissioner Operations, RSIPF
Honourable Clay Forau, MP, Minister for Police, National Security and Correctional Services
HE Matt Anderson, Australian High Commissioner
HW Mark Ramsden, New Zealand High Commissioner
Colonel Robert Loynd, USMC – US Representative
Commander Geoff Turner, CSC, RAN, Defence Adviser South West Pacific
Lieutenant Gary List,RAN, Maritime Surveillance Adviser Solomon Islands

In August 1942 HMAS CANBERRA operated with the naval force supporting the American landings at Guadalcanal and Tulagi, operations which ended with her loss in the Battle of Savo Island on 9 August 1942. CANBERRA was struck by two torpedoes on her starboard side and over 20 salvoes of 8-inch shellfire. With power lost and the ship listing, the wounded and survivors were transferred to USS PATTERSON and USS BLUE.

There were 193 casualties amongst the 819 personnel serving in HMAS CANBERRA.  Those confirmed killed in action were one officer (the Commanding Officer -Captain Getting) and nine ratings (including one Royal Australian Air Force); those missing believed killed were nine officers (including one Royal Australian Air Force and one United States Navy) and 65 ratings (including three Royal Australian Air Force and two Royal Navy) and those wounded include 10 officers (including one Royal Navy), 96 ratings (including two Royal Australian Air Force, one Royal Navy and two United States Navy) and three civilian Canteen Staff.

Lest we forget





HMAS Canberra 1 - 09 August 1942


The 09 August 2011 will mark the 69th Anniversary of the loss of HMAS Canberra 1.

HMAS Canberra, on the 7 and 8 August l 942 was a unit of the US Task Force 44, under the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley VC, CB, MVO in Australia, was covering the US landings at Guadalcanal and Tulagi in the Solomon Group of Islands. On Sunday morning at 0138 on 9 August 1942, just off Savo Island the Japanese fleet under Vice-Admiral Mikawa swept in and annihilated the allied fleet sinking four 8'' gun heavy cruisers Canberra and USS VincennesQuincyand Astoria

There were 193 casualties amongst the 819 personnel serving in CANBERRA on 9 August 1942. Missing believed killed were nine officers (including one Royal Australian Air Force and one United States Navy) and 65 ratings (including three Royal Australian Air Force and two Royal Navy); one officer (Captain Getting) and nine ratings (including one Royal Australian Air Force) died of wounds; and 10 officers (including one Royal Navy), 96 ratings (including two Royal Australian Air Force, one Royal Navy and two United States Navy) and three civilian Canteen Staff were wounded..More

" Lest we Forget "


HMAS Canberra & HMAS Shropshire Association

Request Your Assistance

I am currently trying to establish communications with any members of the HMAS Canberra & HMAS Shropshire Association.

Please let me know if you have any contact details through my email below

Yours Aye,

Lee "Bickies" Webster



HMAS Canberra Operation Damask VI - 1993

“Second to None"


Tomahawk Cruise Missile Engagement

This is a Infra red video of the 1993 Tomahawk cruise missile engagement from USS Caron (DD970). HMAS Canberra (FFG-02) provided force protection during the engagement, the video was shot from HMAS Canberra Seahawk Helicopter. One of USS Caron's pilots was embarked and took the video of the IR camera monitor inside the helo.

The crew of HMAS Canberra were recently awarded the Australian Active Service Medal in recognition of service of in the Australian Defence Force in this prescribed warlike operations...more


HMAS Canberra 1 Website Update


Placeholder Image

HMAS Canberra 1 - News Articles 1927-1992

Newspaper Articles of HMAS Canberra 1, from her launching in the United Kingdom in 1927 to when she was sunk in World War 2 and beyond..More



HMAS Canberra Reunion Update – 18 July 2011

HMAS Canberra 2011 Reunion 21-23 Oct 2011

Greetings to All,

The response to the Reunion has been great! Its only 3 months away and the planning is well underway.

Money is starting to flow into the Reunion account, many thanks to those of you who have paid so far, we currently have received payment for 47 attendees.

It is important for people who have not paid to please pay by the end of July to ensure we are able to confirm numbers attending and to make payment to the Event Centre in a timely manner.

Please email me for account

When making payment online please remember to add your name as the narration when depositing and to advise if you would like to sit on a particular table with anyone.

In addition ensure you advise of any dietary requirements i.e. Glucose Free as soon as possible so that we can notify the Events Centre.

Confirmation and payment should be made by 31st July 2011

We will then confirm when your payment has been received.

I look forward to seeing you at the Reunion

Yours Aye,

Lee “Bickies” Webster

Please Register for the 2011 Reunion here...More


HMAS Canberra Commissioning Crew - 1981

New Years Eve Party 1981

Andrew Fitzgerald recently made these images available

A New Years Party was held at Carol and Lee Webster's place in Huntington Beach California. Members of the Commisioning Crew and Family's attended.

This was one of the last occassions the Crew and Families were together prior to returning to Australiia in 1982.

ABRP Tim Douglas pictured was the first member of the Commissioiing Crew to pass away, he was tragically killed in a Motor bike Accident near HMAS Albatross on Christmas Day 1985.



HMAS Canberra 1 - Wreath laying Ceremony



Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Hon Danny Philip and Australia's Minister for Defence, Hon Stephen Smith.

Australia's Minister for Defence, Hon Stephen Smith MP, visited Solomon Islands from 12-13 July and met with national leaders and Australian soldiers serving as part of the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

This was his first visit to the Solomon Islands as Minister for Defence.

He was accompanied by the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator the Hon David Feeney and the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison.

He met with the Prime Minister, Hon Danny Philip MP, and discussed the continuing process towards greater security responsibility for Solomon Islands authorities and Australia's future cooperation with Solomon Islands. He reinforced Australia's commitment to the security and prosperity of Solomon Islands.

Mr Smith and Senator Feeney lay wreath at HMAS CANBERRA Memorial

He met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Hon Peter Shanel Agovaka MP; Minister for Finance and Treasury, Hon Gordon Darcy Lilo MP; Minister for Police and National Security, Hon Clay Forau MP and the Leader of the Opposition, Hon Derek Sikua MP.

He visited the HMAS Canberra memorial to lay a wreath in honour of the crew of HMAS Canberra I, which on 9 August 1942, was struck by the opening shots of the Battle of Savo Island and was damaged beyond repair. The Cruiser was evacuated and sunk in Iron Bottom Sound by two American destroyers.

He also laid a wreath at the US Memorial.

He met members of the Combined Task Force, the Australian Federal Police and Participating Police Force, including some of the 80 Australian soldiers currently serving on Operation ANODE, the Australian Defence Force contribution to RAMSI. The Australian soldiers currently on deployment are drawn primarily from 13th Brigade, headquartered in Perth.

The Combined Task Force supports the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force and RAMSI's Participating Police Force to maintain security in Solomon Islands. The Combined Task Force has progressively drawn down to its current size of around 160 personnel from a peak of around 1800 in 2003, consistent with the improved security situation in Solomon Islands.

Since 2003, the Australian-led RAMSI has assisted the Solomon Islands Government in the maintenance of security, law and justice, economic governance and improving the machinery of government.

Fifteen regional countries contribute to RAMSI, which comprises approximately 550 civilian, police and military personnel. RAMSI includes around 350 Australians, some 160 of whom are police and 110 are civilian advisers.

Source: Press Release, Australian High Commission, Solomon Islands


HMAS Canberra 2 FFG-02 - 4 July 2011

Temporary Closure of the ex-HMAS Canberra Dive Site

Parks Victoria regularly monitors the condition of the exHMAS Canberra in the interest of public safety.

A recent assessment revealed that the helicopter hanger on the port side had partially separated from the main structure. There was significant movement of heavy metal plates, leaving sharp edges and obstruction of access points.

A further structural assessment has confirmed the helicopter hanger on the port side of the ship has now come loose requiring a temporary closure of access to the site in the interests of public safety.

The exHMAS Canberra was scuttled as a wreck and the progressive breakup of the vessel was expected.

Further assessments will determine options to address safety concerns. Parks Victoria will know the extent of the action required and more specific details on the length of the temporary closure in coming weeks.

Parks Victoria is working closely with licensed dive tour operators, stakeholders and other interested parties throughout the site’s closure and will explore all options for getting divers back on the dive site...More



100 years of the Royal Australian Navy book cover.

Containing over 50 articles and a plethora of eye-catching photographs, 100 years of the Royal Australian Navy has been compiled by an impressive array of naval subject-matter experts, from historical commentators to authorities on the latest defence technologies.

The book covers the extensive history of the Royal Australian Navy, and examines its involvement in conflicts around the globe from WW1 and WW2, to Korea, Malaya, Indonesia, Vietnam and more recently the Middle East.

It also looks at the Navy’s current status, its fleet, programs and priorities with dedicated articles on naval aviation, submarine and hydrographic services, border protection, clearance diving, peacekeeping, supply and logistics, engineering, health services and training, as well as exploring the future fleet and technologies that will shape the Navy of tomorrow.

100 years of the Royal Australian Navy will be available in hard copy for serving naval personnel and is available for all online...More


HMAS Canberra Family Day Video - 1982

“Second to None"



HMAS Canberra Family Day 1982, a family day was conducted in the East Australian Exercise Area with HMAS Canberra, HMAS Torrens a Oberon Submarine a Seaking Helicopter and A4G Strike Aircraft. the video was taken by Commissioning Crew member Andrew Fitzgerald's father.



HMAS Canberra 3 - Latest News

Avatars train on Navy's future ship

HMAS Canberra 3

Sailors will be able to use 3-D avatars to train on ships that are currently under construction thanks to cutting edge simulation technology being used in Australia.



HMAS Canberra Association online Survey


An online Survey has been developed to determine the interest in forming a HMAS Canberra Association,

if you are a former member of the HMAS Canberra Ships Company and are interested in forming an Association please participate in the Survey...More


HMAS Canberra Reunion Update – 13 June 2011

“Second to None"

HMAS Canberra 2011 Reunion 21-23 Oct 2011...More

HMAS Canberra 2011 Reunion Flyer...More

Please Register for the 2011 Reunion here...More


USS Canberra Association - Newsletter

USS Canberra 2011 Summer Newsletter...More


Former member of HMAS Canberra Ship's Company awarded the CONSPICUOUS SERVICE CROSS (CSC)

13 June 2011

Warrant Officer Mark Raymond TANDY, ACT

For outstanding achievement as Warrant Officer of the Navy.
As Warrant Officer of the Navy, Warrant Officer Tandy has achieved exceptional results as the
most senior sailor and sailors’ advocate in the Royal Australian Navy. During a period of
far-reaching reform through the New Generation Navy and Strategic Reform Programs, he
has ensured through exhaustive effort that the views of junior and senior sailors alike have
been heard through his advocacy at the highest levels. His achievements, all directed to the
benefit of the sailors of the Royal Australian Navy, will have an enduring effect and are of the
highest order.


HMAS Canberra 3 - Latest News

Avatars train on Navy's future ship

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Korena Flanagan

Sailors will be able to use 3-D avatars to train on ships that are currently under construction thanks to cutting edge simulation technology being used in Australia.

Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare visited KBR in Canberra to see first hand a demonstration of the virtual Landing Helicopter Dock Ship (LHD), created using CryEngine® 3 -- software developed for computer games.

KBR have been contracted by Defence to create the interactive, three-dimensional replica of the first LHD scheduled to be delivered in the middle of the decade – HMAS Canberra.

Up to 100 personnel at any one time can use this virtual ship to participate in simulated exercises and emergency response scenarios from all over the country without having to be in the same location.

“This is like Play Station with a purpose,” Mr Clare said.

“KBR have combined gaming technology and the plans of the LHDs to create a state-of-the-art 3-D model of the Navy ship currently under construction.”

Mr Clare said innovations like this virtual ship represented the future of military training.

“These LHDs are different to any ship the Navy has ever sailed and this simulation gives sailors a head-start on training to operate the ship.

“It means our sailors can start learning how to operate these new ships years before they begin operations.

“Helicopter pilots can land a virtual helicopter and Navy engineers can train on the ship’s virtual engines.

“The level of detail is incredible -- sailors can even find the bunk they’ll sleep in on board.

“This can save time and money in the training and operation of these ships.”

The hull of the first LHD was launched in February in Spain where it is being constructed by Navantia.

The hull of the first ship will arrive in Melbourne next year for further work to be completed at the Williamstown Shipyard before it becomes operational in late 2014.  Australia’s second LHD will become operational the following year. 

The LHDs will be the largest ships the Navy has ever operated, eclipsing Australia’s last aircraft carrier, HMAS Melbourne.

Each ship is 230 metres long and can carry a combined armed battlegroup of more than 1000 personnel, 100 armoured vehicles and 12 helicopters. They also include a 40-bed hospital.



HMAS Canberra FFG 02 Website Update

The following webpages have been updated


HMAS Canberra Reunion Newsletter – 28 May 2011

“Second to None"

HMAS Canberra 2011 Reunion 21-23 Oct 2011

Many Thanks for registering for the HMAS Canberra Reunion

The Reunion will be held in the Maroochy Events Centre at the Maroochy RSL 21-23 October 2011.

The Programme

Day Time Event Location
Friday 1800-2000 Meet and Greet Maroochy Events Centre
Saturday 1900-2359 Dinner Dance Maroochy Events Centre
Sunday 1100-1130 Memorial Service Maroochydore War Memorial
Sunday 1130 Farewell BBQ Maroochy Events Centre

The Meet and Greet will commence at 1800 at the Balcony Bar upstairs in the Events Centre of the Maroochy RSL 21 October 2011.

Bar facilities will be available.

Dress: Smart Casual

The Dinner Dance will be held from 1900 – 2359 Saturday 22 October 2011 at the Maroochy RSL Events Centre, which includes a 3 course meal and a 4 hour beer, wine and soft drinks package. Entertainment will be provided by the Radio Club Band.

The Dinner Dance Ticket price is $100.00 per person

Dress: Lounge Suit

A Memorial Service for the HMAS Canberra 1 will be conducted at the Maroochydore War Memorial commencing at 1100 Sunday 23 October 2011, the Memorial is located on The Esplanade near the RSL. After the service, a farewell BBQ will be held at the Maroochy RSL Events Centre from 1130.

BBQ Price $20.00 per person

Please Register for the 2011 Reunion here...More

The HMAS Canberra Reunion Attendance List...More


Claude Choules Funeral


BBC Video of Claude Choules


Remembering Claude


Hundreds of mourners flocked to St John’s Church and lined the streets of Fremantle for the funeral of Claude Choules this morning, the world's last World War I fighter.

The 110-year-old veteran of both world wars, who passed away peacefully in his bed at Salter Point two weeks ago, was remembered by family and friends as a humble man who hated war and above all else loved his family.

Standing next to a shawl belonging to his father’s beloved wife of 76 years Ethel, who died in 2006 aged 98, Mr Choules’ son Adrian said the funeral was a celebration of a “wonderful life”.

“Really, today is a double funeral for that very precious fellow we know, but it’s also a funeral for the guy who now belongs to the rest of the world.”

With a catch in his throat Adrian farewelled the man who had survived a tumultuous decade and lived to see 39 direct descendants into the world; including two great-great-grandchildren.

“Goodbye old man, and thanks for everything.”

Mr Choules’ daughter Anne Pow, remembered the man behind the legend, a loving family man who loved the sea.

Dignitaries including the Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Premier Colin Barnett attended.

Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Russ Crane said the funeral marked the closure of a chapter in history.

“Today represents that break from people who were there and those who remember them.”

The ceremony, which concluded with a 12-gun salute and mournful rendition of The Last Post, drew hundreds of onlookers.

People lined Adelaide Street in the rain, watching silently as the funeral procession passed at a slow march between a saluting bodyguard of 100 sailors.

Looking fragile but graceful, Mr Choules’ daughters Anne Pow and Daphne Edinger led the long line of family trailing behind the hearse.

The last navy man in the line to salute the last of more than 70 million combatants who mobilised during the Great War globally, Chief Petty Officer Greg Morris, could only manage a few words.

“I’m honoured.”


Inside the church, artwork by Mr Choules' grandson Lindsay Pow depicting the 110-year-old veteran, adorned the high alter.

While many came to mourn the legend, family and veterans remembered the man.

A retired army captain said Mr Choules was a humble and straight forward bloke.

"They didn't call Claude chuckles for nothing. He saw humour in everything."

St John's Church has been the scene of many Choules' family weddings and christenings.

Born in Britain and raised in Wyre Piddle, Mr Choules joined the Royal Navy in 1915 at 14.

He settled in Fremantle after he was seconded to the Royal Australian Navy in 1926 and is recognised as the only living veteran who served in both world wars.

Blind and almost totally deaf, Mr Choules "hated war" and only marched in Anzac Day parades when he was ordered to.

Mr Choules recorded many of the twists and turns of his long life in his autobiography The Last of the Last.

It is a tale of the scrapes and misadventures of a small boy in a small English village, of life on the high seas, of war and war's aftermath, life in suburban Perth when there were few suburbs, of messing about in boats. And family.

"My family is the most important thing, " he told The West Australian in a 2009 interview.

Claude's mother left their home when he was five to go back on the stage and he never saw her again. His two sisters went to live with relatives, leaving just Claude and his brothers Douglas and Leslie at home with father Harry. Soon there was just Claude at home after his brothers moved to Western Australia in 1911.

Leslie and Douglas answered the call in the first month of WWI, joining the Australian Imperial Force and surviving the Gallipoli landing.

Inspired by their "very exciting" letters, Claude couldn't wait until he was 14 and able to leave school to follow in their footsteps.

After his bid to join the army as a bugler was rejected, he was accepted on to a training ship a month after his 14th birthday.

Claude thrived and at 16 joined the British Grand Fleet aboard HMS Revenge.

After Armistice Day ended hostilities, Claude saw much of the enemy fleet go down at Scapa Flow after the Germans, anxious to keep their vessels out of British hands, scuttled their own ships.

In 1926, Claude was part of a group of Royal Navy instructors seconded to the Royal Australian Navy. On the way to Australia on the passenger ship SS Diogenes, Claude was struck by "a tall brunette with dark brown eyes, a real stunner".

The young lady concerned was on her way to Melbourne. And so it was that Ethel Wildgoose, 21, a children's nurse from Scotland, met her future husband. After 76 years together Ethel died in 2003, aged 98.

The lure of WA was strong, and the family settled in Fremantle. Yet war was not done with the world, nor with Claude.

As World War II engulfed the region, Chief Petty Officer Choules was again serving his nation's cause, wiring up merchant ships in Fremantle Harbour in case they had to be scuttled in the event of a Japanese landing and clearing Broome anchorage of bombed flying boats.

And after war's end, there was still work to be done at sea, crayfishing. And teaching a new generation about boats.

"I have had a happy life," he said from his home at the Gracewood Hostel in Salter point in 2009. "I don't think there was anything in my life I would wish had not happened."

JOSEPH CATANZARO, The West Australian May 20, 2011, 10:09 am


Honour for last veteran

A navy honour guard and 12-gun salute will be part of the funeral for Claude Choules, the WA man said to be the last combat veteran of World War I.

Mr Choules, who died peacefully in his sleep on Tuesday last week, about two months after his 110th birthday, will receive a formal navy funeral at St John's Church in Fremantle next Friday.

Invited dignitaries include Julia Gillard, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Governor-General Quentin Bryce.

JOSEPH CATANZARO, The West Australian May 13, 2011


World loses last World War I combat veteran after death of Claude Choules

Petty Officer Claude Cloules in HMAS Canberra 1929

History's last living link with the battlefields of World War I has been broken with the death of 110-year-old digger Claude Choules.

Mr Choules, who celebrated his 110th birthday in March, was believed to be the world's last surviving WWI combat veteran.

His daughter Daphne Edinger confirmed Mr Choules - nicknamed ''Chuckles'' by comrades - died in his Perth nursing home last night.

Mr Choules was declared the last known male survivor of more than 70 million military personnel during WWI, after American veteran Frank Buckles passed away earlier this year, also aged 110.

The only other surviving WWI veteran is believed to be Britain's Florence Green, who served with the Royal Air Force in a non-combat role and is now aged 110.

Son Adrian Choules said this morning that he had been overwhelmed with phone calls offering condolences. But he said it was not a time to mourn but to celebrate his father's life and the memories of the good times they shared.

With three children, 13 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren, Mr Choules has left behind a dedicated family, full of rich and loving memories.

"He treated his family very, very well, and so they all responded by looking after him very well," Adrian said.

"He knew you only get out what you put in, and he was a fine example of that. He was a good family man.

"He's certainly going to leave a gap in our family; his grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will all remember him very fondly."

Adrian Choules said his father did not speak highly of war, and he was renowned for flouting Anzac Day parades. As the years passed, Mr Choules refused to be interviewed, and shunned the very thing that made him who he was – the great wars.

"He always said that the old men make the decisions that send the young men into war," Adrian said.

"He used to say, if it was the other way around, and the old pollies were off fighting, then there would never be any wars."

Decorated service career

Born in England in 1901, Mr Choules served with Britain's Royal Navy onboard the HMS Impregnable in 1916 at the age of 15.

He joined the battleship HMS Revenge in 1917 and witnessed the surrender of the German Fleet near Firth of Forth in Scotland in 1918.

Mr Choules moved to Fremantle where he was seconded to the Royal Australian Navy in 1926.


He was a commissioning crew member of the HMAS Canberra and served with the vessel until 1931 when he discharged from the RAN before rejoining as a torpedo and anti-submarine instructor in 1932.

As the acting torpedo officer at Fremantle in WWII, Mr Choules disposed of the first German mine to wash up on Australian soil during WWII, near Esperance on WA's south coast.

He was also tasked with destroying harbour and oil storage tanks at the Fremantle port in case of a Japanese invasion.

Mr Choules remained in the RAN after WWII, spending his final working years at the Naval Dockyard Police and joining the crayfishing industry at Safety Bay, south of Perth.

Australia's oldest man

At 107, he was told by his doctors that he wouldn't see out his next birthday. He defied those odds when he became a super-centenarian, and Australia's oldest man, in March this year.

"He stretches back into Australian history; the past 110 years are probably the most significant for the history of the country, and he was here for all of that," Adrian Choules said.

"Through his service, he developed the two important parts of his personality there, his loyalty and his conscientiousness.

"His loyalty to the people that were employing him, the British Government and then the Royal Australian Navy, and he was very loyal to his family as well.

"There was only was way to survive all that he did, and that was to be conscientious and very careful, and by not taking any risks."

Commemorating his life

On behalf of the Royal Australian Navy, Vice Admiral Russ Crane, Chief of Navy expressed his condolences to the Choules family at the passing of Claude Choules.

Captain Brett Wolski, Commanding Officer HMAS Stirling, said that the loss of Claude Choules to the wider Navy family was considerable.

"Our thoughts are with Claude's family at this sad time," he said.

"Claude served in the Royal Navy during WWI and then with the Royal Australian Navy in WWII. His career has spanned some of the most significant events in maritime history this century."

Adrian Choules said the family was overwhelmed with the tributes flowing in for his father, and said he had been reflecting on some of their good times with his family.

"He was a keen crayfisherman; my kids have wonderful memories of playing around in little boats with him down near Safety Bay," he said.

"That was a great part of their growing up.

"He always valued education; my two sisters both went to university at a time when there were plenty of parents who said, 'Why bother educating women when they're only going to be someone's wife'.

"These sorts of values will be remembered. The things that he did for his family, he put them first.

"Yesterday he was a celebrity, he was the oldest man in Australia. Today, someone else is that man."

Dennis Connelly, editor of The Listening Post, the official journal of the Returned Services League of Australia said it is a sad day for the country.

"He did lead a very full life," Mr Connelly said.

"He has had quite a life; it is quite the story to tell, and somebody should be telling that story.

"I remember I tried to interview him once, and his daughter actually told me that there was already enough information out there, there was nothing to add to it.

"He was a recluse in the later years of his life."

Mr Connelly said he expected crowds in the hundreds to turn out to pay their respects to Mr Choules on what will be "a very big occasion for the last World War I vet".

Mr Choules released his autobiography in 2009 titled The Last of the Last, depicting his childhood and move to Australia, as well as his times at war.

Mr Choules, who was blind and almost completely deaf, hated war and only marched in Anzac Day parades when he was ordered to, his son said.

He and his wife, who passed away at the age of 98, had two daughters and a son. Mr Choules also had 13 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.

The funeral and service for Mr Choules would be arranged by the Royal Australian Navy which has volunteered host the event. It will be held at St John's Church in Fremantle, but a date has not yet been set.

Lucy Rickard

May 5, 2011


ANZAC Day Poem

The following Poem was read at the Newmont Tamani Goldmine Operation that I had the honour of paricipating in this year.

It was read by Mr Justine Bryce and written by his veteran Grandfather Mr David Petrie who graciously allowed me to post.

  They are not Died

They are not dead, the men who fell

Though sounds for them, the vesper bell,

And loved ones gather at the shrine

They live in hearts of yours and mine

They live in mountain and in glade,

In shearing shed, or place of trade,

At school, or on the field of play

They live- the men who marched away.


They are not dead, the men who fought,

The sons of valor who feared nought

Of man’s desiring, but who trod

The deathless path that leads to God.

Their call down bush track still is heard,

Their whistle still in the song of the bird,

Their laughter like a woodnote wild

Is heard in some Australian child.


They are not dead, but gone before

Though crosses mark on ANZAC shore

At Shrapnel Gully and Lone Pine,

We rest our brothers, yours and mine.

The fields of Flanders, hills of Crete,

Sound no more to their tramping feet.

But they are still here at our side,

The men who fell, but never died.


They are not dead, they cannot be

They’re part of you, and part of me.

The smile, the nod, the steadfast look,

Could never perish at Tobruk.

Nor could there fade on Bardias sand,

The cheery voice, the friendly hand,

Though seas and lands and years divide

Our brothers live- they have not died

by Mr David Petrie



Naval historian's luck and courage leads Anzac march

JUST like marches, old mates, two-up and the dawn stand-to, war stories are integral to Anzac Day, and Lieutenant Commander Mackenzie Gregory (retired) has many.

The Naval Historical Society historian, who was “belted off” to sea in August 1939 as a 17-year-old cadet midshipman three months shy of graduation, will lead Melbourne’s Anzac Day March on April 25.

He was serving on HMAS Canberra when it was sunk off the Solomon Islands in August 1942.

In his St Kilda Rd home he proudly shows the binoculars he held that day, as officer of the watch on the ship’s bridge.

Despite a sizeable flotilla of Australian and US ships, “the Japs got within a few hundred yards ... knowing as soon as they saw us they could open fire”.

“I can remember saying, ‘My God, this is bloody awful’ - and then they hit the bridge.”

With men falling left and right, Mr Gregory dodged incoming shells and “didn’t have a scratch - it was just pure luck”.

With the ship alight and under friendly fire in the confusion, he was sent below to look for wounded, three decks down with only a torch.

“The ship rolled and I thought, ‘Here we go, this is it’.”

That day, HMAS Canberra lost 84 sailors, “which was bad enough, but the Americans lost a thousand. It was just shocking’‘.

HMAS Canberra 1

Mr Gregory later served on HMAS Shropshire, “which had replaced Canberra as a gift from Churchill’‘, and was present at the signing of the Japanese surrender in September 1945 in Tokyo Bay.

His luck held from World War II to 2001 when he and wife Denise were invited to witness then US President George W. Bush present the USS Canberra‘s bell to then Prime Minister John Howard in Washington - on September 10.

A last-minute change cancelled the Gregorys’ seats on Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon on September 11.

“You can be lucky,’’ Mr Gregory mused.

“Anzac Day is very important from that view ... not to glorify war, but to remember what our service men and women did to keep us free as a nation.”

The Naval Historical Society’s Victorian chapter meets the fourth Monday monthly at 7.30pm, Melbourne Naval Centre, 146W Toorak Rd, South Yarra. New members welcome.

Mackenzie Gregory has his own Website - Ahoy - Mac's Web Log



HMAS Canberra Reunion 10th Anniversay - 14 April 2011

The Commissioning Crew held the first HMAS Canberra Reunion 10 years ago today, a Cocktail Party was held on the Flight Deck of HMAS Canberra followed up by a function at the Rockingham Branch of the Naval Association...More

The HMAS Canberra 2011 Reunion will be held on the Sunshine Coast QLD at the Maroochy RSL 21-23 October 2011...More


RADM Simon Harrington RANR leads Gallipoli archaeological team


Former Commander Officer HMAS Canberra Simon Harrington is currently leading a archaeological team at Gallipoli Turkey

Battleground trenches unearthed in Gallipoli

Australian archaeologists have located trenches, tunnels and cemeteries in the Gallipoli battlefields of Turkey as part of the first survey of the area since World War I.
About 50,000 Australians served at Gallipoli during the eight-month campaign in 1915.
The landing was a military and humanitarian disaster - 8,700 Australians died in the conflict and 18,000 were wounded.

Now, a team of international archaeologists and historians are revisiting the battleground.
New Zealand and Turkish archaeologists are also collaborating in the five-year survey.
Together, they are carefully recording features of significance and collecting objects from the ground, including bottles and shrapnel.

Professor Antonio Sagona of the University of Melbourne says the research will "open a new chapter in the study of the Gallipoli story". He says the team has located 4,000 metres of trenches - including front-line and communication trenches - 12 cemeteries and seven collapsed tunnels.
"The other thing that was really fascinating is that we managed to find a number of subsided tunnels," he said.

"These tunnels of course were an important part of the offensive tactics used in the battle.
"They were dug underneath the no-man's land and were used to detonate explosives to disrupt the fortifications."

Professor Sagona says the findings are resolving debate over the position of the front-line and how the trenches rapidly evolved within weeks.He says the trench conditions highlight the privation endured by the ANZACs."They would have been difficult, tight and also the dugouts were no more than about two metres or so in diameter and they were the resting places," he said.
"That's where they rested in between battle."

Survey team leader Rear Admiral Simon Harrington says the thorny vegetation has helped prevent the trenches from collapsing."I'm sure that there is some sort of evolutionary advantage for the vegetation to grow thorns because everywhere we went there were thorns that we had to bash our way through," he said. "The vegetation tends to grow much more thickly in the trenches obviously because they collect water."

Rear Admiral Harrington says they are spending equal time on the Australian and Turkish sides of the battlefield.They have found Turkish handmade bricks used to strengthen trenches and sandstone used to bake bread.

Professor Sagona says they also found British-made medicinal, rum and beer bottles.
"It is interesting that in 100 years they still survived ... [there were] bully beef containers, lids, rings to peel off a tin, sardines," he said.

There are no excavations as part of the project, with researchers instead carefully recording visible features of significance and collecting objects from the ground.They will also use ground-penetrating radar to survey beneath the surface.The uncovered objects are being conserved and displayed in Turkey.The archaeological team will return to the battlefields to continue the survey in September.

By Adrienne Francis


HMAS Canberra 2 FFG-02

Latest HMAS Canberra Diving Video posted on You Tube by Tourism Victoria 07 Mar 2011



Operation Damask VI 2011 Reunion - 02 April 2011

The HMAS Canberra Operation Damask VI Reunion was held at the Bells Hotel at Woolloomooloo NSW on the 02 April 2011.

The Reunion was attended by 50 personnel and was a resounding success!

The highlight of the evening was the speech given by the Ships former Commanding Officer Rear Admiral Raydon Gates AO, CSM, RANR. Raydon made a special mention of ex ABCK Scott "Scotty" Miles for his efforts in gaining the appropiate recognition for HMAS Canberra Operation DAMASK VI deployment.


Through Scotty's efforts a review by the Nature of Service Branch determined that service on Operation DAMASK VI during the period 13 January 1993 to 19 January 1993 was inappropriately classified.  In June 2009 the Prime Minister, following a recommendation by the CDF, agreed that the Operation DAMASK VI operational area be added to Schedule 2 of the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA).

The determinations for the AASM with Clasp ‘KUWAIT’ and ASM with Clasp ‘KUWAIT’ have been updated to reflect appropriate recognition for the ship’s company of HMAS CANBERRA engaged on Operation DAMASK VI in January 1993.

In addition Scotty has set up a veteran retreat at LANITZA in NSW, the retreat was named on honour of Operation DAMASK and is called VR DAMASK ...More

Another highlight of the evening was the scerenading of Allison Gates by Brian "Box" Brennan and Phil "Mac" McDonald.

Many thanks to Andrew "Gunna" Rourke who organised the Reunion, members and Family of the crew who assisted and the staff of the Bells Hotel who went above and beyond to make it a great reunion.


PS. I will be updating the Image Gallery to incorporate the Reunion Images shortly.


Operation Damask VI 2011 Reunion - this Saturday!!



We're 72 hours out from our little shindig.  Thus far I have had nearly 60 acceptances and apologies from many who would have loved to have been there but due work or family commitments can not make it. 

I'm still in negotiations with Bells Hotel over the cost of the smally eats and I certainly hope their bar service is quicker than I have found them thus far.  Anyway the cost will be either $10 or $15 / head. 

Lisa Batchler (Old DSO) has kindly volunteered to collect your money and will also have stickers for you to put your names on.  We have all aged to varying degrees or lost our memories so the name tags will help.  

Please ensure you pay Lisa otherwise I will be out of pocket as I will be paying for the event in advance.

If there are any late acceptances that is fine.  Let me know if you can via email or just turn up on the night.

See you all at 1800 Saturday 02 April at Bells.



Andrew Rourke

Andrew "Gunna" Rourke is the Point of Contact for the Reunion Contact email

For further information...More


HMAS Canberra Website Milestone

The HMAS Canberra Website was established in 2001 and decicated to the HMAS Canberra Commissioning Crew.

in 2009 the website was redeveloped and is dedicated to all Royal Australian Navy personnel who served in the ship from 1981 to 2005.

The Website has recorded 1 Million hits this calender year from 01 April 2010 to the 30 March 2011. This has see 50,000 people visit the site and over 100,000 pages viewed in the past 12 months.

Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to the website without the support through images, Cruisebooks, Media and information the site would not be successful.

Yours Aye,

Lee "Bickies" Webster


HMAS Canberra wins AIO Shield


Former HMAS Canberra Crew member ex-ABRP Dave Askwith emailed this excellent image to me, I can not recall what year HMAS Canberra won the AIO Shield. 1984-86?

CPORP James Meredith, LSRP Michael Van Walle, ABRP Craig Brittain, ABRP Scott Christie, ABRP David Askwith, ABRP Mad Dog Madden, ABRP Les Tennent, ABRP Gray, ABRP Hector Crawford, LSRP Parkes pictured.

Please let me know the year at my email


HMAS Canberra 1 Book released


AUTHOR Brennan Keats gives a special presentation on his book Quiet Waters at Orange and Cowra Libraries during March.

His book follows the life of Russell Keats, a sensitive 20 year old supply assistant on board HMAS Canberra as related from his personal letters to his parents before the Battle of Savo Sound.

The book provides graphic written accounts of day to day shipboard life in prominent naval units in WWII and the experiences of a young man with a strong sense of duty.

The book also gives a detailed account of the Japanese attack on Sydney Harbour during May and June of 1942. It includes many photos from the Australian War Memorial and others in private collections.

It also includes a CD of songs from World War II composed by Russell’s father Horace Keats and performed by Peter Dawson.


HMAS Canberra FFG -02 Commissioning - 30th Birthday

"Second to None"





HMAS Canberra - FFG 02 Commissioning Images - 21 March 1981

HMAS Canberra - FFG 02 celebrates its 30 years since commissioning with much pride and fanfare in Seattle, Washington USA on the 21 March 1981...More

All the best to the Commissioning Crew who are all a little chronologically challenged at around 48 - 70 years old . Some members of the Commissioning Crew are still serving as fulltime members of the RAN and as Naval Reservists.

The ship was decommissioned in 2005 at Fleet Base West in Western Australia...More

She was sunk as a divining wreck off Ocean Gove, Victoria in October 2009...More

The HMAS Canberra Reunion will take place on the Sunshine Coast in October this year for all former members of the ship's company to celebrate the life of the ship...More

Lee"Bickies" Webster

HMAS Canberra Commissioning Crew


HMAS Canberra FFG 02 Website Update 09 Mar 2011

Diving Wreck webpage and Image Gallery incorporated into the Website




HMAS Canberra 2 FFG-02

Latest HMAS Canberra Diving Video posted on You Tube - 07 Mar 2011


The ex HMAS Canberra is a great dive wreck, and sometimes it has different animals on it. This short movie shows a seal, fish, swimming scallops and scurrying crabs.



Operation Damask VI 2011 Reunion - 25 days away

The HMAS Canberra Damask VI 2011 Reunion is only 25 days away!!

The HMAS Canberra Damask VI 2011 Reunion for the 1993 crew will take place on Saturday the 02 April 2011 at the Bells Hotel at Woolloomooloo NSW.

Request former members of the 1993 Ship's Company contact your old shipmates to ensure maximum participation.

Andrew "Gunna" Rourke is the Point of Contact for the Reunion Contact email

For further information...More


Australian Services Rugby Union

Roger Boyce appointed to Chairman of Australian Services Rugby Union.

Commodore Roger Boyce RAN has been appointed Chairman of the Australian Services Rugby Union.

The Australian Services Rugby Union will be very busy towards the end of 2011, with the International Services Rugby Challenge that is, aligned with the Rugby World Cup in NZ in October.

Roger is a former Commanding Officer of HMAS Canberra, he served in HMAS Canberra on 3 different occassions, intially as a the Principal Warfare Officer, the Executive Officer in 1994 and the Commanding Officer in 2002 where he was involved in several operations, most notably fisheries apprehension duties in the Southern Ocean, UN monitoring activities in the Solomon Islands and as part of the international MIF in the Persian Gulf...More

Roger Boyce

Anzac Day 2010 in the Middle East

Roger recently returned to Australia after serving in Afganistan as the Deputy Commander of Joint Task Force 633, Australian Forces in the Middle East and Afghanistan as a part of Operation Slipper.


Top Jack - Memories

Greetings from Floyd, Virginia. Wow! Great website. In July 1988, Peter Price walked up to me in a bar in Waikiki and handed me a Top Jack card.

We corresponded for several years. The other day my daughter ran across my old scrap book and found the card and a picture of the HMAS Canberra that he mailed to me while deployed.

She stumbled across your website when she googled the name of the ship. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Michelle Schroeder


Last living' WWI veteran turns 110 - Commissioned HMAS Canberra 1 in 1928

Claude Choules

Lied about his age: Claude Choules in the Royal Navy

The man believed to be the world's last living male veteran of World War I will celebrate his 110th birthday in Perth today.

British-born Claude "Chuckles" Choules was born in 1901 and signed up for the Great War at just 14 years of age, serving in the British Royal Navy.

He then moved to Australia, serving as an officer with the Australian Navy in World War II.

Mr Choules, who lives in a Perth nursing home, will mark his birthday just days after the death of American Frank Buckles made him the conflict's last surviving male veteran.

He lied about his age to join the Royal Navy - later witnessing the 1919 scuttling of the German fleet at Scapa Flow.

Mr Choules became the 1914-1918 war's last surviving combatant after Mr Buckles' death at 110 on Sunday. British veterans Henry Allingham and Harry Patch, aged 110 and 113 respectively, both died in 2009.

The only other surviving WWI veteran is believed to be Britain's Florence Green, who served with the Royal Air Force in a non-combat role and is now 110 years old.

Mr Choules moved to Australia in 1926 and served in the RAN, he commissioned HMAS Canberra 1 in 1928 in the United Kingdom and served in the ship until 1931.

HMAS Canberra 1

He then became a chief demolition officer for Australia's vast western coastline, which was then considered vulnerable to attack from the Japanese.

Adrian Choules said his father, who was born in Wyre Piddle in the English Midlands on March 3, 1901, had been taught to think "that the Germans ... were monsters, terrible people" after joining the navy.

But he soon after realised "they were exactly the same as any young people".

"And he hated war. War for him was a way of making a living, that was his job," Adrian Choules said.

Adrian Choules says when his father talked about his life he rarely mentioned his war experiences, adding that the only military marches he participated in were when he was a serviceman.

"He wasn't interested in war, war to him was a terrible thing," he said.

Mr Choules's daughter, Anne Pow, says while her father is not too fussed about today's milestone, his family, friends and some representatives from the Navy will mark the occasion with a small birthday party.

"We're delighted for him. It's hard to be really excited when you're 110 and you're blind and deaf," she said.

Mr Choules published a book about his life, The Last of the Last, in 2009...More

ABC - 03 Mar 2011


HMAS Canberra 3 Launching


Royal Australian Navy Video of HMAS Canberra 3 Launch released 18 Feb 2011.



Raydon Gates appointed CEO of Lockheed Martin

Former Commanding Officer of HMAS Canberra 1992 -93 RADM Raydon Gates has been appointed as the CEO of Lockheed Martin Australia.

Lockheed Martin yesterday said the Royal Australian Air Force would receive it first two Joint Strike Fighters as planned in 2014, with the remaining 12 aircraft delivered as scheduled by 2018. Lockheed Martin also announced that it had won the A$3.5 billion contract to supply the navy's new helicopters, and that retired naval officer Raydon Gates had been appointed chief executive of Lockheed Martin Australia


HMAS Canberra 3 - Launched !!!

LHD launch paves the way for amphibious transformation

18 February 2011

The launch of LHD 1's hull

The hull of the first of the Royal Australian Navy’s two new amphibious ships has been launched in Spain, heralding a new era for Australia’s amphibious capability.

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Russ Crane, led the launch and said the event was enormously significant. 

“These ships are officially known as Landing Helicopter Docks or LHDs and are the largest the Australian Navy has ever owned,” Vice Admiral Crane said.

LHD01's hull launch was held at the Navantia dockyards at Ferrol in northern Spain; the event having a distinct Australian feel as children of Australian diplomats joined the official delegation waving Australian flags.

A Canberra regional sparkling wine was broken over the Canberra Class ship’s hull.

Vicki Coates, wife of the late Rear Admiral Nigel Coates who commanded the previous HMAS Canberra, was the ‘launch lady’.

Vice Admiral Crane said with a new generation in technology would come a new way of thinking in terms of how Navy would operate and crew this new capability.

“We are well progressed in our planning for the LHD arrival,” he said.

“I am confident we will have the people and the knowhow by the time the first LHD comes on line.

“Most importantly, for now, this project is on time and on budget.”

Both ships will be based at Garden Island in Sydney.

Crewed by all three services, the LHD will mark a significant strengthening of the ADF’s amphibious capability and tri-service culture.

First of class, HMAS Canberra (LHD01) will arrive in Victoria next year where it will be fitted out before being accepted into service in 2014 with sister ship HMAS Adelaide (LHD02) to follow the year after.



HMAS Canberra 3

Vickie Coates the widow of the former Commanding Officer of HMAS Canberra 2 RADM Nigel Coates will be launching HMAS Canberra 3.

The story below has been translated from a Spanish Newpaper

Admiral's widow a megaships be the godmother of "Canberra"

Ferrol / Voice 31/1/2011

Ferrol shipyard live next February 17 a major milestone in the construction of the first program for the Navy amphibious megaships of Australia, Canberra . Navantia bounce this superlative ship, in a ceremony to act as godmother Vicki Coates, the widow of an admiral of the country of the Antipodes who died last summer.

Nigel Coates was commander of the Australian fleet between 2007 and 2009, but had previously captained the ship HMAS Canberra , the same name as the first megaships take now that the old building, and Bazan Astano for the navy of his country.

It is not yet closed the list of the authorities to attend the ceremony, to be held at the foot of the larger tier of the factory Ferrol.

The Canberra will be launched two months ahead of schedule construction. It is based on the model of the Juan Carlos I to Navantia built for the Spanish Navy.

The shipyards would build and another sister, whose keel was laid in the stands a day after the launch of the first.


HMAS Canberra 3



Latest images of HMAS Canberra 3 which is due to be launched i n Spain 17-18 Feb 2011

The Canberra Class are impressive Ships

It reminds me of the first ship I served in HMAS Melbourne CVS- 21.


HMAS Canberra 2 FFG-02

Latest HMAS Canberra Diving Video posted on You Tube - 05 Feb 2011



HMAS Canberra 3


Latest Public Relations Video for the Canberra Class LHD...More


Beach-landing capability to be missing in action

02 Feb, 2011 01:00 AM
The Australian Defence Force will not have the capability to land men and materiel on a beach for disaster relief or in the event of war by the end of the year, Defence Minister Stephen Smith has revealed.

That has left the British Royal Navy's Royal Fleet Auxiliary Largs Bay as the frontrunner to plug a Defence Force sealift capability gap now at crisis point.

Mr Smith said $40 million had been wasted on the production of six watercraft for the ailing landing platform ships, HMAS Kanimbla and HMAS Manoora.

The watercraft have been produced but cannot be used as they do not fit the mother ships which are destined for the scrapheap regardless.

Mr Smith also announced a high level review of the MRH-90 helicopter project which replaces the Army's Black Hawks and the Navy's Sea Kings and welcomed a rocket, artillery and warning system that is now in place at Australian bases in Afghanistan.

He said the 40-year-old landing platform ship Manoora was being decommissioned two years ahead of schedule.

Its sister ships Kanimbla and Tobruk are likely to be decommissioned this year.

Mr Smith flagged the acquisition of at least one of the now redundant British Bay-class Landing Ship Docks as the preferred option to plug the capability hole.

''This was a matter I raised with UK Defence Secretary [Liam] Fox at the recent AUKMIN [Australia-UK Ministerial Dialogue] meeting and I'm proposing to have a further conversation with Defence Secretary Fox in the course of this week.''

He floated the possibility of a share arrangement with the New Zealand Navy.

The Bay-class acquisition investigation is further along than the Government has publicly indicated. ADF officials travelled to Britain in December to inspect the Largs Bay weeks before the possibility was first mooted publicly. The 16,000-tonne ship which fits in with the 2009 White Paper recommendations as a replacement for HMAS Tobruk would cost about $300 million to buy, significantly less than the $1.55 billion for one of the Canberra-class LHDs it would support.

Australia's existing landing platform ships already old when they were originally purchased are in poor condition.

The Kanimbla, now on operational pause, will not return to sea until mid-way through next year at the earliest. It is being patched up ahead of decommissioning in 2014.

Australia's only operational amphibious support vessel, the Tobruk, is being kept in a state of 48-hour readiness.

It needs to be taken out of operation before the end of 2011 to replace worn-out bearings on a propeller shaft and is due to be decommissioned in 2012.

It will be four years until the $3.1 billion replacements for the ailing landing platform ships arrive in Australia. They will be the Canberra-class landing helicopter docks, HMAS Canberra and HMAS Adelaide.


The latest HMAS Canberra Newsletter 24 Jan 2011...More


Former HMAS Canberra Commanding Officer Commodore Stuart Campbell MAYER CSC RAN awarded BAR to the CONSPICUOUS SERVICE CROSS (CSC and Bar)

Commodore Stuart Campbell MAYER CSC RAN, from NSW
For outstanding achievement in a non-warlike situation as the Commander Joint Task Force 631 on Operation ASTUTE in East Timor from October 2009 to February 2010.

Commodore Mayer is an exceptional naval officer who displayed consistent professional excellence, inspirational leadership and initiative, and outstanding dedication to duty in the stable but fragile security environment of East Timor. Commodore Mayer’s exceptional leadership of Joint Task Force 631 was crucial to the successful restructure of the joint headquarters and the transition of the primary mission to providing development of the East Timor security sector.


HMAS Canberra FFG 02 Website Update

Operation Slipper 2002 Image Galleries incorporated into the Website as follows:

  • Anzac Day
  • Crew at Sea
  • Crew Ashore
  • Boarding Party
  • Operational
  • Replenishment at Sea
  • Sports
  • Arriving Home

Operation Slipper 2002 Deployment Home Page...More


Navy eyes redundant UK vessel

Dan Oakes
January 21, 2011

    DEFENCE officials have travelled to Britain to inspect a Royal Navy ship destined to be mothballed under savage spending cuts announced by the British government last year.

    The Defence Minister, Stephen Smith, announced this week that Defence is considering buying the RFA Largs Bay, a large ship capable of providing a landing spot for helicopters, and of carrying dozens of vehicles and hundreds of troops.

    However, Defence confirmed yesterday that navy officials had visited England last month to ''examine the potential utility of a Bay Class vessel'' before the delivery of two giant troop transport assault ships, starting in 2014.


    The Largs Bay is one of a number of Royal Navy ships slated for decommissioning because of funding cuts by the government to protect Britain's economy from the global financial crisis.

    Australia's two operational transport ships, HMAS Manoora and HMAS Kanimbla, are ageing and trouble-prone, and are undergoing repairs in Sydney to fix mechanical problems and rust in the hulls.

    Buying the Largs Bay would give the navy breathing space before the completion of the transport ships HMAS Canberra and HMAS Adelaide in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

    Defence's most recent white paper also called for a smaller amphibious vessel, with multiple landing spots for helicopters and the ability to move bulk supplies without requiring the support of port facilities, to complement the Canberra and Adelaide.

    The December 2010 update of the 2009 white paper said the replacement should cost between $300 million and $500 million. Defence sources said the Largs Bay could cost about $300 million.

    Mr Smith held talks with the British Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, this week in Adelaide about opportunities for defence industry collaboration between the two countries, and about Australia acquiring decommissioned British equipment.

    Sydney Morning Herald...More


    HMAS Canberra Battle Honours

    The HMAS Canberra Battle Honours have been revised and approved as from March 2010

    HMAS Canberra Battle Honours

    EAST INDIES 1940-41
    PACIFIC 1941-42
    SAVO ISLAND 1942


    Operation Damask VI 2011 Reunion - 02 April 2011

    The HMAS Canberra Damask VI 2011 Reunion for the 1993 crew will take place on Saturday the 02 April 2011 at the Bells Hotel at Woolloomooloo NSW.

    For further information...More


    Latest HMAS Canberra Diving Video - 09 Jan 2011

    HMAS Canberra was scuttled on the 05 October 2009, the latest diving  video was posted on You Tube 09 Jan 2011, the video is average quality, however it clearly demonstates that the marine life is well established particularly on the extenal upperdecks of the ship...more

    PS.. as a former CPOCSM in the ship I was particularly unhappy with the cleanliness of the Operations Room, Captains Flat, SCR and the 01 Deck Port passageway. Fish swimming around the Command OSC was particlarly disturbing...Bicks


    Vale ex CPOCD Gary Williamson- HMAS Canberra Commissioning Crew

    A Send Off for Garry "Bungy" Williamson was held in Sydney at the Harbord Beach Hotel at Freshwater on the 08 January 2011. Forty of his friends and colleauges attended the wake to remember him, members of the HMAS Canberra Commissioning Crew were on hand to farewell Gary...More


    HMAS Canberra FFG 02 Website Update

    Operation Damask VI 1992-93 Deployment incorporated into the Website as follows:

    North East Asia 2000 Deployment


    LHD 01 NUSHIP Canberra


    LHD 01 Canberra is sheduled to be launched in Spain on the 17 February 2011.


    Latest construction Images of HMAS Canberra 3



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