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Australia Battle of Sunda Strait

2002 Proof Five Dollar reverse 2002 Proof Five Dollar obverse

2002 Proof Five Dollar

Reverse Designer:Vladimir Gottwald Obverse Designer:Ian Rank-Broadley Size:39mm Weight:28g Edge:Reeded Composition:92% Copper
6% Aluminium
2% Nickel


Sales History


The Battle of Sunda Strait commemorative coin pays tribute to the USS Houston and the HMAS Perth. The coin was released in 2002 in a two tone combination of gold and black. The reverse of this coin features the images of the USS Houston and the HMAS Perth in good detail. Each ship is named accordingly along with the legend 5 DOLLARS. It also has the legend BATTLE OF SUNDA STRAIT 1942 in one quarter of the coin. It was designed by Vladimir Gottwald. The obverse features the Ian Rank-Broadley portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and has the legend reading ELIZABETH II AUSTRALIA 2002.

Sunda Strait is a channel of water between Sumatra and Java, Netherlands East Indies. Late February 1942, a Japanese amphibious force was preparing to invade Java. Meanwhile, An Allied force of five cruisers and nine destroyers engaged the Japanese in the Java Sea. Two Dutch cruisers and four destroyers were sunk. The USS Houston and HMAS Perth both retreated to Tanjung Priok, Java, the main port of Batavia (now Jakarta). Later that day, Houston and Perth received orders to sail through Sunda Strait to Tjilatjap, on the south coast of Java. Air-force reconnaissance had passed information to the Allied force that the Sunda Strait was clear of enemy craft but the report was 24 hours out of date. Up to date reconnaissance had spotted the Japanese forces but the USS Houston and the HMAS Perth did not receive the information. Upon entering the area, they encountered the Japanese force and opened fire. A battle ensued but they were hopelessly outnumbered with the loss of some 350 men from HMAS Perth (AWM London, 2013) whilst another 300 survived but were taken POW. The USS Houston fared even worse as 696 were killed and another 368 others were taken POW.It is thought that the total losses for Allied forces during the battle were 1071 killed, 675 prisoners of war (POW), 1 heavy cruiser sunk, 1 light cruiser sunk and 1 destroyer sunk. The Japanese suffered minimal losses with 10 killed and 37 wounded. Their heaviest loss was a Japanese minelayer which was sunk by 'friendly fire' (Wikipedia, 2013) .

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