- Makin, Hon. Norman J O
- WWII operations
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Perth I
- June 1974 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
USS Houston is reported to have sunk shortly afterwards.
The fate of Captain Waller is not known. He is reported to have been seen on the bridge, uninjured, after the second torpedo struck the ship. He gave the order: ‘Stand by to abandon ship’; and later: ‘Abandon ship; every man for himself’.
HMAS Perth had a distinguished career in this war. She began her good work in the West Indies and carried it on in the Middle East, where Allied soldiers from Greece and Crete knew and admired her fighting qualities. Captain Waller and his men brought that heritage with them when they went into action in the Java Sea Battle and in the darkness of Sunda Strait. And it was a heritage which they did not betray. In both these actions they left their mark on the enemy, and their ship went down fighting against overwhelming odds.
The rescue of four of Perth’s ship’s company from the Japanese has at last thrown some light on the cruiser’s last heroic action. It is a story of unflagging courage and devotion to duty. Though its end is tragedy, it is a story of which Australia and the Allies may well be proud.