The Military Historical Society of Australia (MHSA) has recently honoured the Royal Australian Navy in publishing its tribute to the Navy in its 75th Anniversary Year. The July/September issue of the MHSA's journal — Sabretache — has been designated the RAN 75th Anniversary Issue. It contains a feast of articles on Australian Naval History which will be worthwile reading for anyone with an interest in the RAN's past.
The introduction has been written by the MHSA's Patron. Admiral Sir Anthony Synnot, who suggests several reasons lie behind the relative scarcity of thoroughly researched works on Australian Naval History. This enquiry is taken up by ANI member, Sub-Lieutenant Tom Frame, in the lead article 75 Years of What? An Historiographical Survey of Australian Naval History: He surveys the range of published works in the field and offers some guidance for those seeking to become involved in the study of RAN history.
In a timely article, Ray Jones, a retired aircrew Lieutenant Commander, details the use of aircraft from early RAN cruisers and comments upon their very effective service in World War II. The RAAF Historical Officer. Bob Piper, has contributed an interesting article on a Japanese Zero attack on Australian Motor Launch 825. in what is believed to be one of the last Zero fighter actions in the South-West Pacific during World War II. And as a participant in the action, Herb Plenty, describes the final World War II operation of Force Z — the battleship HMS Pnnce of Wales and the battlecruiser HMS Repulse accompanied by three destroyers — around the Malay Peninsula before both capital ships were sunk by Japanese fighter aircraft early in the war
Another aspect of Naval History is examined by naval historian and medal specialist. Mike Fogarty, ex Lieutenant RAN, who has compiled a fascinating biography of B. D. McCarthy. DSM and Bar, RAN — one of only two members of the RAN who earned a Bar to their DSMs during World War II, 186 being awarded in all. The wartime service of McCarthy is a compelling story which has been thoroughly researched by the author. Smaller items of interest within the journal include pieces on the National Naval Memorial dedication, a descnption of the Memorial by editor Mr. Alan Fraser, a correction to the historical record of World War I regarding the Australian capture of the German base in Rabaul, a comment on the Navy Day Naval Assembly and Review and a short extract from the book RAN 1911-1985 dealing with the WRANS.
As the national awareness of Naval History increases significantly during this 75th Anniversary Year, the contribution of the MHSA is both timely and significant. This issue of Sabretache is a useful addition to the body of extant knowledge of the RAN's history. Copies of Sabretache can be obtained at $6.00 each from the Federal Secretary of the MHSA, P.O. Box 30, Garran. ACT 2605.