Edmond Victor Joyce Ordnance Articifer 4th Class, HMAS Canberra killed, Battle of Savo Island

January 16, 2013

Hello Mac [I hope you don't mind me addressing you as such]

I watched the 7.30 report last night and heard Eric's story about the US interpretation of what actually led to the tragic loss of life at the Battle of Savo Island on the 9th August 1942.

My uncle was an Ordnance Articifer 4th Class, Edmond Victor Joyce, who lost his life that night. 

Over the years I've heard conflicting reports about what happened, including one which suggested that the US Bagley, in a naval exercise gone horribly wrong, was responsible for the sinking of the Canberra

I would be grateful in hearing from such a person as yourself who was actually there, what did take place.  My mother always said that there was a good deal of secrecy around the tragic outcome at the time.

Thank you for your time,

Yours in admiration,
Ros Kyriakou [Grenfell] Kew 3101

Dear Ros,

It was in fact a torpedo that emanated from Canberra's destroyer escort USS Bagley that hit Canberra on her starboard side between both boiler rooms ( no one escaped from the boiler rooms )

We immediately stopped and took up a 15 degree list to starboard. The war was over after about 2-3 minutes for Canberra.

The US Naval Historian Morrison wrongly reported that the Australian Hudson did not break radio silence, dallied on the return flight to Milne Bay, had tea prior to debriefing, all totally wrong.

Other authors all slavishly followed Morrison in further spreading this untrue report.

Post war, a report was found in Toyko which indicated that Mikawa in his flagship had in fact intercepted the Hudson's radio report to Mine Bay, at last the Hudson was vindicated.

I had interviewd both the Hudson pilot Stan Stutt and his Navigator after the war to learn from them first hand that they did break radio silence but Milne Bay was shut down as an air raid was in progress.

They hurriedly flew back to base and were immediately debriefed.

Morrison got it all SO WRONG!!

If you go to my website ahoy.tk-jk.net, on the RH side of the home page you will find my account of the Loss of HMAS Canberra and you can read my story of the Battle of Savo Island and our sinking.

The ABC 7.30 reporter and Camera crew actually spent 2 hours at my home filming and talking about the battle, but my input is very minimal in what went to air last night.

I have written a book War in the Pacific 1941-9145. And So to Tokyo. One chapter covers the Canberra and Savo story.

Thank you for your interest. Any specific questions that may arise after reading my account of Savo, please ask

Best regards,


Here is the AWM note about Edmond.

The PM in his official number means he enlisted at Port Melbourne
Roll of Honour - Edmond Victor Joyce
Service number: PM3889
Rank: Ordinary Artificer 4th Class
Unit: HMAS Canberra
Service: Royal Australian Navy
Conflict: 1939-1945
Date of death: 9 August 1942
Place of death: Off Savo Island, Solomon Islands
Cause of death: Killed in action
Cemetery or memorial details: Plymouth Naval Memorial, United Kingdom
Source: AWM146 Roll of Honour cards, 1939-1945 War, Royal Australian Navy
Location on the Roll of Honour
Edmond Victor Joyce's name is located at panel 2 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial (as indicated by the poppy on the plan).

His Certificate Of Service is here.

Ordnance Artificer 4th Class EDMOND VICTOR JOYCE  PM3889
Service Royal Australian Navy
Date of Birth 12 November 1911
Place of birth BENDIGO, VIC
Date of Enlistment 14 July 1941
Home Port/Port Division PORT MELBOURNE, VIC
Next of Kin JOYCE, JAMES
Date of Death 9 August 1942
Posting on Death HMAS Canberra




Yes, I do believe that the US Navy accepted the fact that it was a Bagley torpedo that disabled Canberra.

As an Ordnance Artificer, Edmond would not have been in a boiler room.

His work was to do with the ship's armament.


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