Thursday October 21 2010
Today we not only remember its the anniversary of Trafalgar Day, and the death of Admiral Lord Nelson, but it is 66 years ago that HMAS Australia was hit by a Japanese aircraft crashing into her bridge, mortally wounding her Captain Captain Emile Dechaineux DSC RAN. Thirty of Australia’s crew were also killed or died of wounds, including her commanding officer, another 64 were wounded, 26 of them seriously. The badly damaged Australia, escorted by Warramunga, was forced to withdraw from the battle and sailed to Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides for repairs.
There is some discussion about the claim made that this attack was in fact the first Kamikaze attack made on a warship, the first Kamizake attack appears to have been planned and implemented some time later that day October 21, 1944, than this specific attack on HMAS Australia.
Notwithstanding claims and counter claims about the first deliberate attack by a Japanese aircraft as a Kamakaze, Australia was still badly damaged and suffered crew losses.