Corporal Joseph Kenneth CROFT

Service No: 21237
Born: Lithgow NSW, 18 July 1916
Enlisted in the RAAF: 10 June 1940
Unit: No. 9 Squadron, RAAF Station Rathmines NSW (HMAS Canberra Detachment)
Died: Naval Battle, off Savo Island, Solomon Islands, 9 August 1942, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Joseph and Maud May Croft; husband of Hilary Hope Croft, of Newcastle, New South Wales
Roll of Honour: Newcastle NSW
Remembered: Panel 9, Port Moresby Memorial PNG
Remembered: Panel 99, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW

The Japanese reacted promptly to the American landings on Guadalcanal and a force including seven cruisers hastened south from Rabaul. That evening the carriers withdrew. Rear-Admiral Richmond K. Turner (USN), commanding the amphibious forces, thereupon decided that in the absence of air cover his transports must depart at daylight on the 9th, whether unloaded or not. That night the Japanese attacked, sinking the Australian cruiser Canberra and sinking or mortally damaging the American cruisers Quincy, Vincennes and Astoria. Fortunately the Japanese admiral then retired without attacking the transports. One of his cruisers was sunk by an American submarine on the way back to Rabaul.

Extract from Gillison, D.N. (Douglas Napier) (254475) Royal Australian Air Force 1939-1942, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1962 – Page 579

A full account of the loss of HMAS Canberra is given in Gill, G.H. (G. Hermon) Royal Australian Navy 1942-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1968

The members of the HMAS Canberra No. 9 Squadron Detachment were:

Leading Aircraftman Geoffrey George Chapman (60224)
Corporal Joseph Kenneth Croft (21237)
Leading Aircraftman Victor Ronald Egginton (20243)
Corporal James Ronald Kenneth McCormack (20914)
Flight Lieutenant Duncan John Murchison (260818) (Pilot)
Leading Aircraftman Thomas Henry Poole (19812) Injured, Killed in an Aircraft Accident: 24 May 1943
Leading Aircraftman Frederick George Rivers (32088) Injured, Discharged from the RAAF: 28 November 1943


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/98/651
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line


Gillett, R. (Ross) Wings Across the Sea: the first ever complete history of naval aviation from the first world war to the present, Aerospace Publications, 1988

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