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70th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea



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Minister for Defence - 70th Anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea

3 May 2012

Today we mark the 70th Anniversary of the first day of the Battle of the Coral Sea, which

took place from 4 to 8 May 1942.

The Battle of the Coral Sea was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War Two

between the Imperial Japanese Navy and Allied naval and air forces from the United States

and Australia.

It was also the first naval battle fought entirely by carrier-borne aircraft in which the

opposing naval fleets did not meet.

The Battle of the Coral Sea was fought in the waters south-west of the Solomon Islands and

east of Papua New Guinea.

The Battle of the Coral Sea saw the Allies prevent the Japanese from achieving their known

aim of occupying Port Moresby and also reduced the number of Japanese forces for the

subsequent Battle of Midway.

As news of the Battle of the Coral Sea spread, the Japanese forces objective of assaulting and

capturing Port Moresby was abandoned.

The battle marked the change from primarily a defensive strategy of the Allies to that of an

offensive one.

The Royal Australian Navy’s contribution to the success of the Battle of the Coral Sea included

Allied Task Force 44, consisting of Allied warships led by Australian Admiral John Crace, which

included the light cruisers HMAS Australia and Hobart, as well as coast watchers, intelligence

staff and the US/RAN unit known as Fleet Radio Unit Melbourne.

The Battle of the Coral Sea was a turning point in the war and in our relationship with the

United States. We remain grateful for the Americans who came to our aid when we needed it

most.

Our partnership has, since 1951, been formalised in the Australia-New Zealand-US (ANZUS)

Treaty.

2011 marked the 60th Anniversary of the ANZUS treaty.

On the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea, we remember and honour the

sacrifice of Australian servicemen and our allies who fought this significant battle 70 years

ago.

Media contacts:

Mr Smith’s Office: (02) 6277 7800

Defence Media Operations: (02) 6127 1999