The cruiser HMAS Australia II and the Pacific War on Japan.
In 1924 the grand old battle cruiser HMAS Australia I, once the pride of the nation, was sunk off Sydney Heads. She had saved Australia from a German attack in the Pacific in World War I, but after the war she was a victim in the race to disarm. There was a day of national mourning when they blew the bottom out of her.
In 1928 the RAN acquired a new ship of the same name, the fast, heavy cruiser HMAS Australia II, and she finally saw action when World War II began, patrolling the North Atlantic on the lookout for German battleships. By March 1942 Australia had returned home, where the ship was stunned by a murder.
One night one of her sailors, Stoker Riley, was found stabbed and bleeding to death. Before he died, he named his two attackers, who’d tried to kill him because, he said, he’d threatened to expose their homosexual activities.
At a hastily arranged court martial, the two men were found guilty and sentenced to death under British Admiralty law. Only weeks later Australia fought in the Battle of the Coral Sea near Papua New Guinea, the first sea battle to stop the Japanese advance in the Pacific. HB 656 pages