This service remembers those aboard HMAS Armidale when she was sunk on 1 December 1942.
HMAS Armidale was one of 60 Bathurst-class minesweepers – commonly called corvettes – built during the Second World War. She was commissioned in June 1942 and would serve for only six months.
On 1 December 1942, she was sailing off the coast of Timor when she was spotted and bombed by a force of Japanese planes. Armidale was hit on the port side and began to sink. Those on board were forced to abandon ship, despite the Japanese aircraft continuing to fire on the survivors in the water.
Of the 149 onboard when HMAS Armidale sank, only 49 survived. She was the only corvette lost to enemy action during the Second World War.
It was for his actions on this date that 18-year-old Teddy Sheean was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross in 2020. Rather than abandon ship, he strapped himself to his anti-aircraft gun and fired on the Japanese planes attacking the survivors in the water. He was still firing when the ship disappeared into the sea. He became the first member of the Royal Australian Navy to receive the Victoria Cross.
With the support of the students and staff of Star of the Sea, the Corvette Association remembers HMAS Armidale each year.
Reviewed 16 January 2023