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HMAS Perth in 1940
HMAS Perth in 1940
Career (United Kingdom)
Name: HMS Amphion
Builder: Portsmouth Naval Dockyard
Laid down: 26 June 1933
Launched: 27 July 1934
Commissioned: 15 June 1936
Decommissioned: 1939
Fate: Sold to RAN
Career (Australia)
Name: HMAS Perth
Namesake: City of Perth, Western Australia
Acquired: 1939
Commissioned: 29 June 1939
Motto: "Floreat" (Let it flourish)
Honours and
Battle Honours:
Atlantic 1939
Greece 1941
Crete 1941
Malta Convoys 1941
Matapan 1941
Sunda Strait 1942[1]
Fate: Sunk in action with Japanese destroyers and cruisers, Sunda Strait 1 March 1942
General characteristics
Class and type: Leander class light cruiser
Displacement: 6,830 tons (standard)
Length: 555 ft (169 m) (waterline)
Beam: 56 ft 8 in (17.27 m)
Draught: 15 ft 8 in (4.78 m)
Propulsion: Parsons geared turbines
Four shafts, 72,000 shp (54,000 kW)
Speed: 32.5 knots (60.2 km/h)
Range: 7,400 nautical miles (13,700 km) at 13 knots (24 km/h)
1,920 nautical miles (3,560 km) at 30.5 knots (56.5 km/h)
Complement: 646 (35 officers, 611 ratings)
681 at time of loss (includes 6 RAAF, 4 civilians)

8 × BL 6 inch Mk XXIII naval guns[2] (4 × 2)[3]
8 × 4-inch Mk XVI guns (4 × 2)
12 x 0.5-inch machine guns (3 × 4)
10 x 0.303-inch machine guns (10 × 1)

8 × 21-inch Torpedo tubes (2 × 4)
Aircraft carried: one seaplane; Seagull V A2-4 & A2-17, Supermarine Walrus L2234, L2298, & L2319. (Seagull V A2-4 survives at RAF Museum, Hendon)

HMAS Perth (pennant number D29) was a Modified Leander class light cruiser which served with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) during World War II.

Perth, the first ship to be named after the city of Perth, was the first of its class to be modified for Australia. The Modified Leander class is sometimes known as the "Perth class" or the "Amphion class", after the ship's original name, HMS Amphion.



Perth was originally laid down by HM Dockyard at Portsmouth, England on 26 June 1933, launched on 26 July 1934 by the Marchioness of Titchfield, completed in July 1936, and commissioned at Portsmouth on 15 June 1936 as HMS Amphion.

The ship was purchased by the Australian government and commissioned into the RAN as HMAS Perth at Portsmouth on 29 June 1939. The ship's company was made up of sailors from HMAS Adelaide, which had been placed into reserve a month previous.

Operational history

The painting HMAS Perth fights to the last, 28 February, 1942, by official war artist Murray Griffin. It was painted circa 1942-43 at Changi Prison, Singapore, where Perth survivors and Griffin were held as prisoners of war.

Perth began her career by serving in the Mediterranean Theatre. She participated in the Battle of Cape Matapan, and was involved in the evacuation of Greece in April 1941.

On 26 February 1942, Perth arrived at Surabaya from Tanjong Priok, under the command of Captain Hector Waller, along with the Royal Navy cruiser Exeter, the Netherlands light cruiser Java, and the British destroyers Electra, Jupiter, and Encounter. On 27 February, Perth joined a group of ABDA cruisers and destroyers, commanded by Dutch Rear Admiral Karel Doorman onboard the cruiser HNLMS De Ruyter, that left Surabaya to intercept a Japanese convoy approaching from the Makassar Strait. The ensuing action was the Battle of the Java Sea.

Perth was one of only three cruisers to survive the Battle of the Java Sea. Along with the United States Navy heavy cruiser USS Houston, Perth was ordered to sail through the Sunda Strait to Tjilatjap. Perth was torpedoed by Japanese destroyers during the Battle of Sunda Strait on 1 March 1942, and sank with the loss of 328 (324 naval, three RAAF and one civilian). Four naval personnel died ashore without having been taken prisoner. Of the surviving crew a further 106 men died in captivity (105 naval, one RAAF). After the end of hostilities 214 men (211 naval, two RAAF and one civilian) were repatriated to Australia.

See also


  1. ^ Festberg, Alfred N. (1981). Heraldry in the Royal Australian Navy. Melbourne, VIC: Silverleaf Publishing. p. 55. ISBN 0949746002. OCLC 9780949746009. 
  2. ^ Campbell 1985 p.34
  3. ^ Lenton & Colledge 1968 p.39




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