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Australia remembers the Battle of the Coral Sea.



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MEDIA RELEASE

The Hon. Fran Bailey, MP Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence

Australia remembers the Battle of the Coral Sea

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Defence, Fran Bailey, today attended a commemorative service in Canberra to mark the 61st anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea at the Australian-American Memorial at Sir Thomas Blamey Square in Canberra.

Ms Bailey honoured the role played by American and Australian naval forces in the battle.

“The annual service acknowledges the important role that American and Australian naval forces played during operations to prevent the capture of Port Moresby in May 1942,” Ms Bailey said.

“This commemorative service is important in highlighting the significant role that our service personnel contributed not just at the Battle of the Coral Sea, but throughout World War II.”

The Royal Australian Navy’s contribution to the success of the Battle of the Coral Sea included the light cruisers HMAS Australia and Hobart, coast watchers, intelligence staff and the US/RAN unit known as Fleet Radio Unit Melbourne (FRUMEL).

The Battle of the Coral Sea was the first major setback for the Japanese during World War II. As a result of this setback the immediate objective of assaulting and capturing Port Moresby was abandoned.

Significantly, this was also the first naval engagement of history where ships did not sight each other and naval carriers took centre stage.

The battle was fought in the waters southwest of the Solomon Islands and eastward of New Guinea.

At today’s ceremony, representatives of ex-service contingents and Canberra school children laid wreaths on behalf of the peoples, governments and armed forces of both Australia and the United States.

“Today we remember with profound gratitude the sacrifice of those Australian and American men and women who served in the Battle of the Coral Sea. Let us celebrate that friendship forged in battle and renew our commitment to the defence of freedom,” Ms Bailey said.

Media contact: Devena Wahlstrom (02) 6277 4433 or 0408 404 468