Current and former members of the Royal Australian Navy and the United States Navy gathered in Albany, Western Australia, on August 28 to remember submariners who died during World War II.

Commander Submarine Force Captain Doug Theobald said the city played a significant role in World War II allied submarine operations.

“Albany and Fremantle offered a safe refuge for submarine operations that were being carried out by the United States Navy from Western Australia,” Captain Theobald said. 

“It’s a little-known fact in the wider community that a large number of operations were launched from Albany, which offered a base for the submarines that was well beyond the reach of Japanese aircraft.

“At this event, which is held every year in Albany, we pay tribute to the city’s military history and to the United States submariners who never returned from patrol.”

A total of 31 submarines visited the Port of Albany after the United States Navy split its submarine force between that port and Fremantle.

American submarines launched 521 patrols from Australia sinking more than 1.7 million tonnes of shipping. Tragically 52 US submarines were lost during this period with a loss of more than 3500 American officers and sailors.

The memorial, held at Princess Royal Fortress, was timed to coincide with a port visit by one of Navy’s Collins-class Submarines, HMAS Farncomb.

As well as the submarines that were based in Albany during 1942, the United States Navy also based a submarine tender, the USS Holland, in the port city.