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O'Donnell Thomas Aubrey

 

 

Born 19th November 1919 Launceston Tasmania to Vivian Aubrey and Alice Beatrice O’Donnell, Thomas was 22 years old when he enlisted and was posted to H.M.A.S. Canberra as a Stoker.  He was listed as missing after loss of his ship.

H.M.A.S. Canberra, a 9850-ton heavy cruiser of the British Kent class, was built at Glasgow , Scotland . She was commissioned in July 1928 and soon steamed to Australia . Following the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, Canberra mainly operated in Australian and Indian Ocean waters, but also served in the South Atlantic in 1940. In March 1941, she helped to sink the German support ship Ketty Brovig in the Indian Ocean .

In early August 1942, the cruiser participated in Operation "Watchtower", the invasion of  Guadalcanal and Tulagi in the southern Solomon Islands . During the early hours of 9 August, while on patrol off Guadalcanal , she was badly damaged in combat with a force of Japanese cruisers. H.M.A.S. Canberra was scuttled several hours later, becoming one of the first ships sunk in what would soon be called "Iron Bottom Sound".

Canberra ’s wreck was discovered and examined in July-August 1992, almost exactly fifty years after her loss. She lies upright on the sea floor, some 2500 feet deep, with visible signs of shell hits and fire damage amidships. Her turrets are still trained out to the port side, as they were during her brief and fatal engagement with the Japanese.

 

 

 

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