Coral Sea Memorial Service
6th May 2018
Place: Cenotaph | City: The Entrance
The Battle of the Coral Sea was a series of naval engagements off the north-east coast of Australia between 4 and 8 May 1942. It was fought by Allied (United States and Australian) and Japanese aircraft against four different major groups of warships.
Some of the aircraft involved were land-based, but most were from the opposing aircraft carriers.
It was the first aircraft carrier battle ever fought, and the first naval battle in which the opposing forces of surface ships at no stage sighted or fired at each other. All attacks were carried out by aeroplanes.It is also the largest naval battle that has ever been fought off Australia’s shores.
The battle was significant for two main reasons:
it was the first time in World War 2 that the Japanese experienced failure in a major operation; and
the battle stopped the Japanese sea-borne invasion of Port Moresby.
For many people this was the ‘battle that saved Australia’. This is an exaggerated claim, but there is some validity to it. The battle certainly seemed more significant at the time than modern history books rate it.
Sixty years on it is easy to see the apparent inevitability of what actually happened. But we need to try and understand what it was like at the time, and to appreciate the great variety of factors that contributed to the outcome—including poor communications and intelligence creating uncertainty, variable weather conditions, the vulnerability and slowness of massive ships, the human weaknesses and strengths of crew and pilots, the limitations of technology and equipment, and the bravery or lack of it of the men involved.
A memorial service for this battle will be held at The Entrance Cenotaph:
When: Sunday 6th May 2018