Admiral Crace, Battle of the Coral Sea
March 24, 2012 Dear Mac,
I just finished a book entitled “Action Stations: Coral Sea” by C. D. Coulthard-Clark and as I suspect you are aware, the book is part an account of the Coral Sea battle and part a mini-biography of Admiral Crace. As an American, I must admit that I had little prior knowledge of the admiral – he seems an interesting character but somewhat ambivalent about the RAN. As a native of Australia it was interesting to note that he was RN rather than RAN. Might I ask your views on Admiral Crace? Also, your HMAS Canberra was conspicuously absent from Admiral Crace’s “Task Force 44” and the entire “cruiser column” involvement in the larger Coral Sea action. Was the Canberra so in need of a refit that she had to be withheld from what then seemed to hold the promise of a pivotal action for Australia’s fate?
Thank you for your E-Mail, I would agree that Admiral Crace although born an Australian seems to have been more interested in the Royal Navy than our RAN. I do not think he was all that enamoured with his being given command of the Australian Squadron. No doubt he was pleased to return to his beloved RN. One would have thought he would have been quite chuffed to gain command of his fellow Australian ships .
Canberra's refit had started well before the Coral Sea battle, so it was not a conscious decision to withhold her