The 82nd Anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea

The Australian American Association – Canberra Division (AAACBR) convened to honor the courage and sacrifice of the heroes who participated in the Battle of the Coral Sea, in defending Australia during World War II. Members of the AAACBR alongside diplomatic dignitaries, local politicians, mates from the Tingara Association, the USS Yorktown CV5 Club, the Royal Australian Navy and other defense representatives came together at the Australian-American Memorial. Together, we commemorated what is often referred to as ‘the battle that saved Australia.’

A solemn Last Post Ceremony was held at the Australian War Memorial where President of the USS Yorktown CV5 Club – Michael Leggins, laid a wreath on behalf of the USS Yorktown CV5 Club. In lieu of laying wreaths, the rest of the attendees generously donated history books, which were distributed to local schools in Canberra. This initiative ensures that future generations will learn about the profound significance of the Australian-American relationship.

The commemorative service also marked the 82nd anniversary of this pivotal battle. Attendees who joined us for the service and the informal dinner at the Canberra Services Club gained more insights into Michael Leggins recent travels across Queensland attending other Battle of the Coral Sea commemorative activities.

The Commemorative Dinner of the 81st Anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea was dedicated to Derek Holyoake, the last surviving Canberran veteran of the Battle of the Coral Sea. Considered part of the “greatest generation,” Derek lived through the Depression and witnessed the defeat of German and Japanese aggression in WWII. He died peacefully in February 2023 at the age of 98.

To read the AAACBR’s tribute to Derek Holyoake’s incredible life, please visit: The 81st Anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea: Commemorative Dinner – AAA Canberra Division (

For more information on the Battle of the Coral Sea and its historical significance, please visit: Australian War Memorial (