11 April 1943 HMAS Pirie – six sailors killed

On this Day 11 April 1943 HMAS Pirie – Six Sailors Killed in Action
On this day during Operation Lilliput, to supply US and Australian Army operations near Buna in New Guinea, the Bathurst class corvette HMAS Pirie was subjected to a particularly determined air attack by a large force of Japanese fighters and dive bombers while escorting the British tanker Hanyang from Milne Bay to Oro Bay.

Pirie experienced six near misses and one direct hit which struck the bullet canopy over the bridge, penetrating it and glancing off the helmsman’s protective apron killing the gunnery officer in its flight. It continued its trajectory striking the upper deck where it exploded killing six ratings and wounding four others. The enemy then broke off the attack having lost several aircraft hit by close range anti-aircraft fire.

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