Presentation salver : Launching of USS Canberra by Lady Dixon

Place North & Central America: United States of America
Accession Number REL32927.001
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Brass, Leather, Silk taffeta, Sterling silver, Velvet, Wood
Maker Hodgson Kennard & Co Inc
Place made United States of America
Date made c 1943
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Sterling silver presentation salver with a decorative pierced rim in a blue velvet and silk taffeta lined box. The salver is engraved: 'Lady Dixon Sponser U.S.S. Canberra Launched 19 April 1943 Bethlehem Steel Company Fore River Yard Quincy, Massachusetts'. These details are also engraved on a brass plaque on top of the square, black wooden, leather covered box in which the salver is housed. A label on the inside of the box reads ‘HODGSON KENNARD & CO., INC. BOSTON, MASS.’ Impressed on the reverse of the salver is a maker’s mark and ‘STERLING 999C’.

History / Summary

This salver was presented to Lady (Alice Crossland) Dixon, wife of Sir Owen Dixon, Australian Minister to the United States, when she launched the USS Canberra on 10 April 1943. Lady Dixon was the sponsor of USS Canberra which was built by Bethlehem Steel Company of Quincy, Massachusetts and named as a tribute to the Australian cruiser HMAS Canberra which was lost off the Solomon Islands in 1942. The United States Navy ‘Baltimore’ class heavy gun cruiser received seven battle stars for service during the Second World War before being converted to a guided missile cruiser in 1952. In 1958 USS Canberra was designated as ceremonial flagship for the selection of the unknown servicemen of the Second World War and the Korean War. Initially, two unknown Second World War servicemen were selected, one from the Pacific Theatre and the other from the European Theatre. A ceremony was conducted on the USS Canberra to select one of the unknown servicemen of the Second World War to be buried at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery. The unselected unknown serviceman was buried at sea with military honours by USS Canberra. After completing several Vietnam cruises between 1965 and 1969, USS Canberra was decommissioned in February 1970 and sold for scrap in July 1980.