The cruisers, HMA Ships AUSTRALIA, (CAPT H.B. Farncomb, RAN), CANBERRA, (CAPT F.E. Getting, RAN), and HOBART, (CAPT H.A. Showers, RAN), were engaged in Operation Watchtower, the Allied assault on Guadalcanal.
Coastwatcher LEUT P.E. Mason, RANVR, warned the Allied Fleet off Guadalcanal of an impending Japanese air attack. Mason signalled: ‘From STO 24 bombers headed yours’. The advance warning enabled the cruiser, HMAS CANBERRA, (CAPT F.E. Getting, RAN), to announce over the ship’s PA system: ‘The ship will be attacked by 24 torpedo bombers at noon. All hands will pipe to dinner at eleven o’clock’.