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World War 11 Casualties


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Piesse Edward Stanfield



Born 13th August 1923 and was living in Bridgewater Tasmania when he enlisted and was posted to H.M.A.S. Armidale.  

On 11th June 1942 the ship was ordered to resupply and evacuate troops and civilians from Betano Bay , Timor .

Spotted by Japanese reconnaissance aircraft as they left Darwin , Armidale survived repeated air attacks but reached Betano too late to rendezvous with her sister ship Karu which had already made for open water. HMAS Armidale found Kuru 110 kilometres off Timor and the refugees were transferred to Castlemaine, which then returned to Darwin . Kuru and Armidale were ordered to continue the operation in daylight. Both came under further attack and Armidale was sunk.

The survivors, having been strafed by the attacking aircraft, constructed a makeshift raft to which they lashed a half-submerged and badly-damaged whaler. The wounded were put aboard a small motor boat that had survived the sinking. When it became clear they would not be rescued, the captain and 21 other men (two of whom died) made for Australian waters in the motor boat, rowing much of the way because the engine was damaged. Two days later, another 29 survivors began the same precarious journey in the whaler, by now salvaged but in need of constant baling.

The remaining survivors clung to the raft and awaited rescue. After harrowing journeys the men in the motor boat and whaler were picked up, but the men left on the raft disappeared without trace.

 RAAF planes sighted the raft on December 7 and 8, dropping food each time, but were unable to land because of rough water. When they returned on December 9, there was no trace of it.

Edward Stanfield Piesse was one of the men lost on the raft




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