U.S.S. Frank E. EvansPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Peter F Williams

The plaque commemorates the members of the United States Navy who lost their lives and those who were saved when the U.S.S. Frank E. Evans collided with H.M.A.S. Melbourne in the South China Sea in 1969. The plaque also pays tribute to the Australian Navy for their rescue efforts and those whose lives were changed by the tragedy. 

The MelbourneEvans collision occured between the light aircraft carrier H.M.A.S. Melbourne of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and the destroyer U.S.S. Frank E. Evans of the United States Navy (USN). On 3 June 1969, the two ships were participating in SEATO exercise Sea Spirit in the South China Sea.  At approximately 3:00 am, when ordered to a new escort station, Evans sailed under Melbourne's bow, where she was cut in two. Seventy-four of Evans' crew were killed.

A joint RAN–USN board of inquiry was held to establish the events of the collision and the responsibility of those involved. This inquiry, which was believed by the Australians to be biased against them, found that both ships were at fault for the collision. Four officers (the captains of Melbourne and Evans, plus the two junior officers in control of Evans at the time of the collision) were court-martialled based on the results of the inquiry; while the three USN officers were charged, the RAN officer was cleared of wrongdoing.


Address:2 Murray Street, Australian National Maritime Museum , Darling Harbour, 2000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.869478
Long: 151.198895
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Disaster
Actual Event Start Date:03-June-1969
Actual Event End Date:03-June-1969


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Tuesday 3rd June, 2014
Front Inscription
Lest we forget

In memory of the 74 officers and sailors of the US Navy who lost their lives, the brave men who survived, and those of the Australian Navy who gallantly carried out rescue and recovery operations, and all the men, women and children whose lives have been forever changed by the collision between the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne and the destroyer USS Frank E Evans on the morning of 3 June 1969 in the South China Sea.

Dedicated 3 June 2014
Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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