The Battle of Lingayen Gulf, 5 to 9 January. HMA Ships AUSTRALIA, SHROPSHIRE, ARUNTA, WARRAMUNGA, GASCOYNE and WARREGO were engaged.
HMA Ships AUSTRALIA and ARUNTA were hit by Japanese kamikaze planes. A Zero carrying a large bomb dived on ARUNTA from low altitude but clever manoeuvring caused the aircraft to miss and plunge into the sea within metres of the destroyer’s steering gear room on the port side. ARUNTA was holed and damage was caused to her steering motors. Stoker PO R.A. Hand and AB H.L.E. Sellick were killed. In the same attack a second kamikaze dive was made vertically into HMAS AUSTRALIA’s upper deck, amidships on the port side. The explosion killed 25 and wounded 30 of the cruiser’s crew. A fire set by the explosion was soon extinguished and reports indicated damage was slight and fighting efficiency was not greatly impaired.
HMA Ships GASCOYNE, (frigate), and WARREGO, (sloop), and the USS BENNION engaged two Japanese destroyers in a running battle near Luzon. The faster enemy destroyers withdrew and escaped.
HMAS Platypus left Sydney to proceed to New Guinea for service as a Repair and Maintenance Vessel.