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PROMOTING MILITARY JUSTICE
May 13, 2010
By Barry Rollings
AN ENVIRONMENTAL group has
produced a timely documentary to
commemorate one of the most signifi-
cant naval victories of World War II.
The Protect our Coral Sea Campaign
has released the eight-minute documen-
tary, Lest We Forget, to coincide with
the 68th anniversary of the Battle of the
The documentary marks the engage-
ment of Australian and United States
forces which prevented a Japanese sea-
borne invasion of Port Moresby.
The Battle of the Coral Sea was a
series of naval engagements off the
north-east coast of Australia from May
During the battle, allied and Japanese
aircraft attacked four different major
groups of warships. Although some of
the aircraft were land-based, most were
It was the first aircraft-carrier battle
and the first naval battle in which the
opposing forces of surface ships never
sighted or fired at each other. All attacks
were carried out by aeroplanes.
It was also the largest naval battle
fought off Australia's shores.
The battle not only saved Port
Moresby, but was Japan's first taste of
defeat in a major operation in WWII.
The Protect Our Coral Sea
Campaign's communications manager,
Elise Hawthorne, said two veterans of
the battle featured in the documentary.
"Tommy Simms says 'Looking back
I don't think I have ever done anything
more important than the Coral Sea battle.
It makes me very proud. I get a very satis-
fied little feeling inside me --- enough to
keep me alive 'til I die.'
"Ted Simpson says 'I think it should
be some sort of maritime reserve ... be
protected more than it is.'
"There is a very moving scene near the
end where Tommy and his great-grand-
daughter, Tahila, talk about the battle,
which used to be remembered in class-
rooms and homes across Australia but
now seems to receive less recognition,"
Ms Hawthorne said.
Lest We Forget can be viewed at www.protectour-
OLD FRONT, NEW FIGHT
THE battle of the Coral Sea is
sometimes referred to as the
"battle that saved Australia" but the
environmental group Protect Our
Coral Sea Campaign, is now battling
to protect the sea itself.
The group's communications
manager, Elise Hawthorne, said the
Coral Sea was one of the last places
where large marine animals lived in
great numbers, yet less than one per
cent of it was protected.
The group -- comprising the
Australian Conservation Foundation,
Australian Marine Conservation
Society, Pew Environment Group
(Australia), Project AWARE
Conservation Council and the Cairns
and Far North Environment Centre --
is campaigning for a fully-protected
marine park in Australia's portion of
the sea, in honour of the environment
and those who fought and died there.
A US ship (right) stands by to pick up survivors after the carrier USS Lexington is fatally damaged by two
Japanese torpedoes during the battle of the Coral Sea. Inset: a diagram of the Coral Sea action.
Focus on Coral Sea heritage
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