75 Years On.
The Battle of the Coral Sea, fought during 4–8 May 1942, was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theatre of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) and naval and air forces from the United States and Australia.
Hundreds have gathered in Townsville for a dawn service to commemorate the 75th anniversary of WWII’s pivotal Battle of the Coral Sea.
Families from sailors who served on the aircraft carrier, the USS Lexington that was lost in the battle, have flown from America to attend the service.
The Battle of the Coral Sea was fought southwest of the Solomon Islands and east of New Guinea from May 4 to 8, 1942.
It was the first decisive halt to the Japanese push south towards Australia during WWII.
It was also the first aircraft-carrier battle and stopped a planned Japanese sea invasion of Port Moresby.
The Battle of the Coral Sea was the largest naval battle ever fought so close to Australia. It was fought entirely by aircraft attacking ships; the opposing ships did not fire at each other at any time during the battle. More importantly, it was the first time the Japanese had been halted during their southwards advance in the Pacific.
Just a month later, the Japanese suffered a major defeat at the Battle of Midway, when the Americans sank four Japanese aircraft carriers within a matter of hours. From early June 1942, the Japanese abandoned their plans for the capture of places like Fiji, Samoa and the New Hebrides. They no longer possessed the ability to cut Australia off from American support and the two battles reinforced the alliance between Australia and America.