Battle of the Coral Sea Commemoration 2024


RAAF Association members from Townsville and Cairns converged on Cardwell for the 2024 Battle of the Coral Sea Commemoration Service to pay tribute to the eight ships and more than 600 lives lost.

The Battle of the Coral was a major naval and air battle fought 800 kilometres off the Australian coastline over five days from 4 to 8 May 1942 between the Imperial Japanese Navy and the armed forces of Australia and the United States of America. The battle was the first naval action in which opposing fleets neither sighted nor fired on one another, instead attacking over the horizon with aircraft launched from opposing carrier forces.

The annual commemoration organised by the Royal Australian Navy and held in the Coral Sea Battle Memorial Park on the northern edge of Cardwell, was preceded by a march to the park before the service. Several memorial walls, including a RAAF wall established by the RAAF Associations of Townsville and Cairns, are located there.     

During the service Mike Leggins, President of the Yorktown Association, spoke on behalf of his American fellow veterans.   USS Yorktown was a US Navy aircraft carrier that was lightly damaged on 8 May 1942, the same day the USS Lexington, the other US Navy aircraft carrier in the Coral Sea Battle, was lost. He spoke about members from the USS Yorktown who were highly emotional when told about the commemoration continuing in Australia. An address on behalf of the American Consulate was also read. During the service many schools were involved, and prayers were recited by several students. Members of the US Navy 7th Fleet band from Japan performed music during the wreath-laying ceremony.

After the service members then moved to the RSL for an exceptional BBQ lunch and to catch up with many friends and associates.  This completed an incredibly moving day with the large attendance pondering the consequences of a significant battle in the chronicles of Australian history.





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