This service recognises the ships that have borne the name HMAS Perth, and those who have served on them.
There have been three ships with the name HMAS Perth. The second sailed from 1965 until 1999 and deployed to the Vietnam War. The third HMAS Perth is an Anzac Class frigate built in Victoria and currently serving in the Royal Australian Navy.
The date of this service commemorates the sinking of the first HMAS Perth on 1 March 1942. A Leander Class cruiser bought from the British Royal Navy, HMAS Perth served in the Second World War. Her duties took her to the Western Atlantic, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean before Japan entered the war. HMAS Perth returned home to take part in the Pacific War in 1941.
On 28 February 1942, HMAS Perth was ordered to sail in company with the USS Houston to the southern coast of Java. Their course took them through the Sunda Strait and into the path of a Japanese invasion convoy. This included at least nine Japanese cruisers and destroyers acting in escort to over 50 transport ships. Although they put up a fierce fight against heavy odds, both HMAS Perth and the USS Houston were sunk early on 1 March.
Over 1000 men from both ships were killed in the Battle of Sunda Strait, including both captains. An estimated 675 crew from the two ships survived the battle but became prisoners of war. By the end of the Second World War, only 218 men from HMAS Perth had survived.
Reviewed 03 December 2023