My uncle, Frank Nash, was on the original crew of HMAS Perth from her commissioning to sinking in Sunda Strait.
I never knew him, as I was born in 1943.
However, I have had the honour to meet some of his old comrades who survived the Burma Railway.
"Proud Echo" was, and still is, a very special book for me.
Every Anzac Day my thoughts go out to the Perth boys and Uncle Frank, who joined the RAN in 1936.
Something to stir the spirit are the words of a Lieutenant Gunner on USS Houston, as Perth went to the aid of HMS Exeter - she'd just taken a Japanese salvo in the Battle of the Java Sea:
1708 hrs 27 February 1941 – HMS EXETER Hit By Japanese Salvo
LT. H S Hamlin, #1 Turret, USS HOUSTON:
“PERTH CAME UP PAST US AND LAID A SMOKE SCREEN ON THE ENGAGED SIDE OF EXETER.”
“I’LL NEVER FORGET THE PERTH AS SHE CAME BY, SHE WAS A MAGNIFICENT SIGHT.”
“ABSOLUTELY AT TOP SPEED, STREAMING SMOKE AND WITH BATTLE FLAGS FLYING AT BOTH YARD ARMS, AND A GREAT BIG WHITE ENSIGN AFT, ALL GUNS FIRING – AND SHE LOOKED LIKE A WARSHIP REALLY SHOULD.”
“ONE OF THE FINEST SIGHTS I’VE EVER SEEN.”