Warning! Warning! Strange ships entering the harbor!
Hello once more,
I'm certain you have matters both more pressing and no doubt a great deal more interesting than to bother with me. Still, though, I'd be remiss not to at least acknowledge to whom it is that I am writing. In other words, all that fancy formality aside, I had no idea who I was sending my email question to regarding the Victoria.
Decided to see what else I could find today and was appropriately shocked to learn that you were aboard the Canberra. What hell that must have become for you and your shipmates. The Japs still had a lesson or two to teach us during that time in the war, didn't they? Well, from all accounts the Canberra and her crew made the best show of themselves and ship to be expected under a rather sorry set of circumstances. Our own cruiser of the Southern Force, the Chicago I believe, steamed away from the battle with it's main battery director knocked out. Her captain, a man named Bode, later committed suicide. If it weren't for those damned devastating torpedoes of theirs (and one or two of our own it seems), perhaps the battle would have gone at least somewhat in our favour. Ah well, it was a pretty solid rout at any event. Here's to those who were not so fortunate.
I was interested to read your account of the old Great White Fleet and it's visit to Australia all those years ago. Would love to have been in attendance for that (both the fleet and your presentation!). I'd of course known of the Fleet and it's world tour prior, but had until now only read an outline of it's journey. What a sight that must have been in Melbourne and Sydney with sixteen of these old battlewagons rolling in under a sky of black smoke! I wasn't too surprised, either, to hear of the many sailors who decided to remain ashore. Hell, I thought of moving to Aus. myself back in '02 until I ran into a highly restrictive immigration policy against Americans. Oh well, life here hasn't been so bad! Back then though, the other side of the world was still truly the other side of the world. I imagine the whole thing was rather attractive to a number of our men.
I wonder what our next round of lessons are to be, in closing. Seems an old theme with us poor souls, ever repeating our own history in some form or other.
Its not a bother talking to you, one of the joys about my AHOY site is the mail I get from around the world, and as a consequence, the very interesting people with whom I have an exchange of views on any number of subjects.
For example, today I woke to one about Athenia, another on the WW1 British ship Rewa, and found off Cornwall in 2004, my correspondent used to live at Padstow close to that area, but has now moved to Canada, one from a Destroyer contact in the States, we are jointly preparing a plaque of USS Patterson for presentation to a Sydney Memorial Church, see URL: http://ahoy.tk-jk.net/macslog/AustralianNavychaplainFrW.html for that story, your response, and some one in Canada making a documentary of the Battle of the Atlantic, and seeking some help etc.
Never a dull moment and it keeps me off the streets.
As to our naval history, there have of course down the years been defining moments, to cite but a few, Drake and the Armarda, Nelson with his three victories at the Nile, Copenhagen, and Trafalgar, The Japanese at Tsuhuma, the basic reason that Teddy Roosevelt sent off his GWF around the world, Midway, the Naval engagements off the Solomons starting with Savo, we just had to hold on at Guadalcanal to be able to go on the offensive in the Pacific, The Battle of the Atlantic, only won through the development of the Liberty ships. Leyte in October 1944 when the dreaded Kamikaze made its entry, and so on.
But then I rabbit on too much, you no doubt dozed off some time ago.
The 64 Dollar question is do we learn from our past history? probably NOT.
Keep well, and write whenever you are having some free time.
Very best wishes and regards,