Flagship: The Cruiser HMAS Australia II and the Pacific War on Japan
In 1928 the Royal Australian Navy acquired the cruiser HMAS Australia II, and she finally saw action in World War II, patrolling for German battleships. By March 1942, Australia had returned home, where the ship was stunned by the murder of a sailor. Before he died, he named his two attackers, who were then sentenced to death. Weeks later Australia fought in the Battle of the Coral Sea, the first sea battle to stop the Japanese advance in the Pacific. She escaped unscathed. In 1944 she took part in the greatest sea fight of all time, the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which returned General Douglas MacArthur to the Philippines. The next year, she was hit by four kamikaze planes on four successive days. She was attacked by more kamikaze aircraft than any other Allied ship in the war. In the end she retired gracefully, laden with honors, and was scrapped in 1956—the last of her name.