- Prior, Russ
- History - WW2
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Canberra I, HMAS Shropshire, HMAS Australia II, HMAS Sydney II
- March 1995 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
More patrols took CANBERRA to Mombasa, Tanga and Zanzibar. On 6th July off Madras, she escorted the SS ELLINGA until relieved by HMS DANAE on 9th July, the thirteenth anniversary of her commissioning. From 9th July 1928 to 3rd September 1939, CANBERRA had steamed 144,480 miles. From the outbreak of war, she had steamed 152,966 miles, a total of 297,446 miles.
CANBERRA then headed for Fremantle on 20th July with two Nazi pennants fluttering from the yardarm. She was the only ship in the RAN to be responsible for the sinking of German ships and to take Germans as prisoners of war.
HMAS CANBERRA was the flagship of the RAN from 29th May 1931 to 7th June 1940. She then escorted the troopship STRATHMORE to Capetown and shortly after spent a week on patrol in the South Atlantic before returning to Sydney for repairs. Subsequently she was involved in escort duties and extensive patrols mainly in the Indian Ocean until February 1942. CANBERRA then became part of Task Force 44. She was sunk in the Battle of Savo Island on 9th August 1942.
ADMIRAL SCHEER escaped into the South Atlantic where she met KORMORAN en route to the Indian Ocean. ADMIRAL SCHEER returned to Kiel on 1st April 1940 after a five month’s cruise. H.K.33 or PINGUIN was sunk by HMS CORNWALL on 8th May 1940. During her operation, PINGUIN steamed 59,188 miles. She sank or captured 28 ships totalling 136,551 gross register tons of which 52,000 tons were sent with prize crews to Germany – an all time record for both World Wars. Mining operations caused the loss of between 50,000 and 60,000 tons.
ATLANTIS was sunk by HMS DEVONSHIRE on 22nd November 1941. Her survivors were rescued by the German supply ship PYTHON which was sunk by HMS DORSETSHIRE. The survivors were rescued by U-boats and in them and Italian submarines reached home safely.
ATLANTIS completed the longest war cruise in naval history staying at sea for 655 days and steaming over 100,000 miles. During that time, she sank or captured 22 ships with the record total tonnage of 145,697.
KORMORAN sank or captured 11 ships of 68,274 tons until 19th November 1941 when she encountered HMAS SYDNEY and both ships were sunk in the action.
Brenneke, H.J. – GHOST CRUISER H.K.33
Churchill, W.S. – THEIR FINEST HOUR
Hamilton, John – WAR AT SEA 1939-1945
Kranke, Admiral T. and Brenneke, H.J. – THE BATTLESHIP SCHEER
Mohr, U. and Sellwood, A.V. – ATLANTIS
New England Library – HISTORY OF SHIPS
Payne, Alan – HMAS CANBERRA