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Monday, 1 December 2008
Page: 12047


Mrs MARKUS (6:40 PM) —Today we remember the crew of the HMAS Armidale—those who lost their lives and those who fought to survive. On this day 66 years ago, the HMAS Armidale was making her way with HMAS Kuru and Castlemaine to Betano Bay, Timor to resupply and evacuate troops and civilians. But during this treacherous journey they were spotted by Japanese reconnaissance aircraft and repeatedly attacked. All three ships survived initially but, following additional attacks, the Armidale tragically sank. One hundred and forty-nine men bravely fought against the Japanese attack, defending their ship. Many lost their lives during the battle, and many died while fighting for survival in a relentless, unforgiving ocean. The men who did survive the attacks constructed a makeshift raft which was attached to a half-sunk whaler and a motor boat. They were fighting for their lives. They were fighting not only nature for eight days but also enemy fire. Tragically, the sailors who remained behind, clinging desperately to the makeshift raft, hoping for rescue, were not saved. All told, a hundred sailors lost their lives. Today we stop to remember those who lost their lives while serving on the HMAS Armidale and those who fought to survive. We will remember them.