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The first HMAS Canberra in colour

By johnboy 9 January 2009 28

The all-seeing eye of RiotACT spotted a new blog entry on the first HMAS Canberra, lost at the Battle of Savo Island and now a good chunk of the iron in the Iron Bottom Sound.

The entry isn’t remarkable for it’s information, the wikipedia entry has much more. But I’ve never seen such a good colour photograph of the old girl before.

So there you go.

What’s Your opinion?


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The first HMAS Canberra in colour
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BerraBoy68 10:50 am 10 Jan 09

Smackbang said :

“The old girl”??

Seriously, who talks like that?

Pretty much everybody who worked or still works in, or with, ships. I hear it all the time at work.

@Granny – totally agree. Staff used to stand at the entrance to the Tomb to ensure men/boys removed their hats and that noise was kept to a minimum. They seem to have stopped this practice. The original concept for the AWM was that families of the dead needed somewhere to go to pay their respects as travel to Turkey, France etc. to visit actual graves (if they even existed) was at that time beyond the means of most of those that lost loved ones. The AWM is therefore first and foremast a memorial and should be treated as sacred ground. Over time though as the collection has grown the ‘sacred ground’ aspect has, I feel, shrunk to encompass only the Roll of Honour, Pool of Reflection and of course the Tomb. This area must continue be respected for what it was intended to be – a surrogate grave (for lack of better words) for those that died.

By way of comparison, if anybody ever has the chance I strongly encourage a visit to Arlington Cemetery in the US. The history contained in the place is amazing and it includes victims of almost every major incident in US history from the Civil war on. A visit to the US Tombs of the Unknowns there (there are four tombs but the Vietnam one is now empty thanks to DNA testing identified the body) is a must especially at the time of changing of the guard. That’s right they have a guard – and they are armed. The only qualification harder to get in the US military than that of ‘Tomb Guard’ is that of astronaut. These guys have paced 21 step backward and forwards 24/7 everyday of the year for decades (even during major life-threatening storms) to honour the memory of those symbolised at these tombs. At the end of every 21 step they about-face and change the weapon to the side closest to the viewing gallery and then they start the routine again. They keep the weapon on the side of the crowd to remind everybody that as that they will protect these graves from everybody. And that people, to me, is respect.

If you’re interested, see: http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/tombofun.htm

OT: I just love the colour pics and movies of WWI and II that can be accessed now. occasionally.

Granny 12:56 am 10 Jan 09

Surely the staff must have some recourse?

If we can keep our public libraries reasonably quiet and orderly I can’t understand why we can’t manage to do so in a public space such as the war memorial.

I also think we should speak up as citizens and make others aware of how their actions are causing us to feel.

Admittance should be subject to certain conditions of behaviour, and visitors should be shown the door by security if they continue to behave with disrespect.

I should add that I have noticed that foreign tourists often also speak inappropriately loudly at the War Memorial, usually in large tours, and I think the tour guides should take more responsibility for explaining that this can be upsetting to Australians.

Smackbang 12:39 am 10 Jan 09

“The old girl”??

Seriously, who talks like that?

peterh 1:54 pm 09 Jan 09

johnboy said :

But I think most of that rumour comes from the damage on the wreck. Close reading of the accounts of the battle shows she was sunk by american gunfire after being evacuated to put her out of her misery. Which explains the damage from the allied side of the line.

the 2 us destroyers were the Selfridge and Ellet. They fired five torpedoes, plus several shells.

here is the link on the recount of the battle and sinking, i remembered reading about this a while ago in hardcopy:

http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-navy/canberra-lost.htm

johnboy 1:39 pm 09 Jan 09

It’s certainly possible Canberra took some US fire, she was using the same light semaphore signalling system as the japanese rather than the US reliance on voice radio (significant pros and cons both ways). You have to remember that until 1921 the Japanese and Australian navies were both part of the same British Imperial naval structure.

So in an emergency at night the Australian ship would have looked a lot more like the Japanese ships than their new allies.

But I think most of that rumour comes from the damage on the wreck. Close reading of the accounts of the battle shows she was sunk by american gunfire after being evacuated to put her out of her misery. Which explains the damage from the allied side of the line.

BerraBoy68 1:31 pm 09 Jan 09

Skidbladnir said :

I have slightly less of an issue with kids climbing over the memorials than I do with the parents who idly watched while their kids took off their shoes and climbed into the Pool of Reflection at the Australian War Memorial so they could fill their pockets with the small change.

AWM staff had to come and scream at the children to get out of the Pool, because their parents obviously didn’t care.

WTF!? I don’t actually have any other words to say how angry that makes me.

I took my 4 and 6 year old to the AWM while off work last week. Before going to see the Tomb of the Unknown I sat them down in the Cafe and we spoke about what it was, why it was and how they had to behave in there. We walked in there and I couldnt believe what I was experiencing. Adults and kids alike were talking out loud, kids were running around etc. When we left I told my kids how proud I was of them, they behaved perfectly and didn’t make a sound the whole time. I spoke to a guide there about the behavour of the others and was told they hate it too but can’t do anything about it as it’s a public place.

JB, thanks for posting the Pic. As an ex-pusser I love that stuff. ‘Grey Funnel Line’ ships of that period certianly look more majestic than current vessels.

Skidbladnir 1:19 pm 09 Jan 09

I have slightly less of an issue with kids climbing over the memorials than I do with the parents who idly watched while their kids took off their shoes and climbed into the Pool of Reflection at the Australian War Memorial so they could fill their pockets with the small change.

AWM staff had to come and scream at the children to get out of the Pool, because their parents obviously didn’t care.

neanderthalsis 1:16 pm 09 Jan 09

Mr Evil said :

By the way, there has always been a suspicion in some circles that the HMAS Canberra was actually shelled by a USN ship during the wild melee that followed the Japanese incursion into the Allied fleet’s lines.

Incoming friendly fire has right of way…

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