Commissioned 29 June 1933, HMS Amphion was a Leander-class light cruiser in the Royal Navy. In 1939, she was reborn in a sense and her name was changed to HMAS Perth (D29) on the occasion of her transfer to the Royal Australian Navy.
Her RAN career was tragically short. After much sharp service in the Med during the whole Crete debacle, she was sent back home to assist in the defense of Australia.
After surviving the hell of the Battle of the Java Sea, she picked up four Japanese torpedoes in the space of a few minutes at the midnight pitch-black engagement at Sunda Strait on 1 March 1942.
Of her 681 souls aboard, 353 were killed in battle. Her survivors may have been spared from Posideon’s grasp but had to endure three years as Japanese POWs, with nearly half never seeing home again.
Even her hulk, stripped over the years by unlicenced Indonesian marine salvagers who used explosives to break her apart on the seafloor, was desecrated.
However, her 1939 bell, cast to commemorate her new life in the RAN, was located in Indonesia by Australian wreck diver David Burchell and returned through the auspices of the government in 1978.
The Australian War Memorial on Friday, on the 77th anniversary of her loss, held a special Last Post Ceremony in honor of HMAS Perth, including the striking of the ship’s bell.