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75 years since HMAS Canberra sank

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August 09, 2017

Ninty-four Australian sailors were killed after the Japanese attacked HMAS Canberra during WWII.

It's been 75 years since the sinking of the largest Australian warship ever lost in battle and while there are no graves for the sailors killed, their sacrifices have not been forgotten.

Eighty-four Australian sailors were lost and a further 10 died from their wounds following a surprise Japanese attack on HMAS Canberra off the coast of Guadalcanal during WWII.

The Canberra was hit 24 times in less than two minutes and was later scuttled.

It now rests in Iron Bottom Sound, 25-kilometres offshore from Honiara.

During a ceremony on Wednesday in the Solomon Islands, Australian Navy personnel from HMAS Success, along with a group from the current HMAS Canberra laid wreaths over the wreck.

"The scars of the sea battle wash away with the tide and there are no graves for the killed, but these men are not forgotten as they lay in the company of their shipmates in the silent depths below," the Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer said.

Minister for the Pacific Concetta Fierravanti-Wells paid tribute to the courage of those during the pivotal Guadalcanal campaign.

"(HMAS Canberra) lies about 760 metres below us - this is the largest maritime war grave in the world," Senator Fierravanti-Wells told the ceremony.

On hand for the ceremony was Bill Quinn, a 94 year-old Australian veteran of the Guadalcanal campaign who helped survivors from HMAS Canberra.

Solomon Islands Governor General Frank Kabui and Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare also attended the ceremony along with representatives from the US, Japan, New Zealand and UK governments.

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