1945 > WW2
The Fremantle-based USS BULLHEAD, (submarine), was sunk with all hands, by Japanese aircraft in the Lombok Strait.
The services reconnaissance department (SRD) craft HMAS TAIPAN, was commissioned.
Hostilities with Japan ended at 12 noon. When HRH Duke of Gloucester made the announcement in Canberra, three flags were flown. They were the flag raised by Australian troops at Villiers Bretoneux in the First World War, the flag worn by HMAS SYDNEY when she sank the Italian cruiser Bartolomeo Colleoni, and the flag which was flying on Government House, Darwin, when the Japanese attacked the port in February 1942. CDRE J. A. Collins signalled the RAN: ‘I wish to congratulate every officer and man of His Majesty’s Australian Squadron on his share in our final victory announced by the Prime Minister of Great Britain this morning. I rejoice with you that the Japanese have been forced to surrender. We have every reason to be proud of the part played by the RAN during six years of war across the seas of the world, and I say again to all hands ‘Well done’. Let us always remember with sad pride our lost ships and their companies and thank God that their sacrifice was not in vain’.
The corvette, HMAS STAWELL, (LCDR W. H. Burke, RANR), sank a Japanese armed barge in a night engagement north of the eastern tip of the Celebes. This was the last sinking by an Australian ship in WWII.
The Japanese surrender of Bougainville was signed on board HMAS LITHGOW, (corvette).
HMA Ships MILDURA, CASTLEMAINE, BATHURST, BROOME, FREMANTLE, STRAHAN, and STAWELL, were formed into the Australian Minesweeping Flotilla, at Subic Bay, under LCDR J. M. Little, RANR.
HMAS ST GILES was re-commissioned as a navy tug.
HM Submarine OTWAY, (formerly HMAS OTWAY), was sold out of service for breaking up.
CAPT H. Buchanan, RAN, in HMAS NAPIER, accepted the surrender of Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. HMAS NIZAM, (CMDR W. F. Cook, RAN), leading HMAS NAPIER, (LEUT H. D. Stevenson), followed HMS KING GEORGE V into Tokyo Bay. They were the first RAN ships to enter the port after hostilities ceased.
CMDR G. D. Tancred, RAN, was awarded the DSC for conspicuous gallantry in surveying forward combat areas in New Guinea and the Philippines.
The formal surrender of Japan was signed on the USS MISSOURI, (battleship), in Tokyo Bay. The RAN was represented by CDRE J. A. Collins, CB, and HMA Ships SHROPSHIRE, HOBART, WARRAMUNGA, NAPIER, NIZAM, BATAAN, IPSWICH, CESSNOCK, and BALLARAT.
HMAS VENDETTA, (destroyer), became the first Allied warship to enter Rabaul Harbour since the surrender in 1942.
RAN losses in WWII were:- 3 cruisers, 4 destroyers, 2 sloops, 3 minesweepers, and 22 miscellaneous vessels. Personnel losses in action were:-191 officers and 1832 ratings. Losses from other causes were:- 28 officers and 119 ratings.HMAS WARRNAMBOOL was lost while minesweeping off the Queensland coast, in 1947, but was included in the war losses because cessation of hostilities had not been proclaimed.
The surrender of Dutch Borneo was signed by the Japanese, in HMAS BURDEKIN, (frigate).
Twenty five per cent of the 76,000 mines laid by British naval forces in WWII, were manufactured in Australia. British mines were responsible for the sinking of 1070 enemy vessels and for damaging 540.
HMAS VENDETTA, (destroyer), transported 28 released European POW’s from Rabaul to Madang, for repatriation to Australia.
HMA Ships BUNDABERG, KAPUNDA, BLACK SNAKE, RIVER SNAKE, and ML 1343, plus army craft used by SRD, AM 1629, AM 1499, AM 1983, and AM 1985, accepted the Japanese surrender at Kuching, Jesselton, and Sandakan, Borneo.
The Japanese surrender of Kairiru and Muschu islands was signed on board ML805.
HMA Ships GLENELG, COOTAMUNDRA, JUNEE, and LATROBE, (minesweepers), embarked liberated POW’s at Ambon, and transported them to Morotai.
Japanese forces on Timor signed the surrender document on board HMAS MORESBY, (survey vessel/escort).
HMAS HAWKESBURY, (River class frigate), became the first ship of the RAN to enter Singapore since the surrender to the Japanese in 1942.
The surrender of Japanese forces at Wewak, New Guinea, was signed aboard ML805.
The Japanese surrender of Nauru was signed on board HMAS DIAMANTINA, (frigate).
US Submarines based in Australia during WWII, sank 25 destroyers, 17 frigates, four minesweepers, 10 submarine chasers, torpedo boats, and gunboats. Eighteen Australian-based submarines were lost through enemy action.
HMAS SWAN, (sloop), accepted the Japanese surrender at Namatanai, New Ireland.
A BBC announcer described the scene in Tokyo Harbour, after the surrender ceremony:- ‘and there are the four Australian minesweepers BALLARAT, IPSWICH, PIRIE, and CESSNOCK. They are a husky bunch and without them the Fleet could not have operated’.
HMAS STRAHAN was damaged by a mine explosion while sweeping a minefield off the China coast. The ship returned to Hong Kong for repairs.
The British Navies laid 260,000 mines in WWII, which sank or damaged 1588 enemy vessels. The Axis laid 225,000 mines which claimed 1117 victims.
Japanese forces on Ocean Island surrendered to HMAS DIAMANTINA, (River class frigate).
The Japanese surrender of Ocean Island was signed on board HMAS DIAMANTINA. The RN was represented by the motor launch HMS KIA KIA.
Chief Stoker Percy Collins became the first Australian to be awarded a Bar to the Distinguished Service Medal. He was awarded the DSM for service in HMAS NAPIER off Crete in 1941, and the Bar for service in HMAS STRAHAN in the Pacific in 1945.
The DSC was awarded to LEUT E. J. Peel, RAN, and LCDR S. W. S. Scott, RAN(E), for conspicuous gallantry in the Battle of the Philippines. LEUT Peel’s award was for distinguished service while commanding HMAS GASCOYNE, (frigate), during the action off Luzon in January 1945. LCDR Scott’s award was for hazardous operations while commanding the smallest RAN vessel engaged in the Philippines campaign, ML 1074.
The Q class destroyer HMAS QUADRANT was commissioned. QUADRANT was laid down in Hawthorn Leslie & Co Ltd Yard, Hebburn on Tyne, England, on 24 September 1940, and launched on 28 February 1942. QUADRANT served in the RN 1942-1945. She replaced HMAS NIZAM on transfer to the RAN. QUADRANT was converted to a fast anti-submarine frigate at Williamstown Naval Dockyard, VIC, in 1950-1953, and re-commissioned on 16 July 1953, (CAPT S. H. Beattie, VC, RN).
The Q class destroyer HMAS QUALITY was commissioned. QUALITY was laid down in Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Wallsend on Tyne, England, on 10 October 1940, and launched on 6 October 1941. QUALITY served in the RN 1942-1945. She replaced HMAS NAPIER on transfer to the RAN. QUALITY was laid up in reserve in June 1950.
The Q class destroyer HMAS QUEENSBOROUGH was commissioned. QUEENBOROUGH was laid down in Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Wallsend on Tyne, England, on 6 November 1940, and launched on 16 January 1942. QUEENBOROUGH served in the RN 1942-1945. She replaced HMAS NORMAN on transfer to the RAN. QUEENBOROUGH was converted to a fast anti-submarine frigate at Cockatoo Island Dockyard, Sydney, in 1950-1954, and re-commissioned on 7 December 1954, (CMDR D. C. Wells, RAN)
CAPT Theodore Detmers, of the German raider KORMORAN, informed the Commandant of his Australian POW camp, of the whereabouts of film taken in the German raider at the time of the sinking of HMAS SYDNEY, (cruiser). The film was not found.
LEUT E. Howitt, RANVR, was MID for outstanding service while commanding ML427 in the Philippines.
CAPT R. R. Dowling, RAN, was awarded the DSO for courage, skill and initiative while commanding HMAS HOBART, (cruiser), in operations at Cebu, Tarakan, Wewak, Labuan, and Balikpapan.
HMAS HOBART, (cruiser), was flagship of His Majesty’s Australian Squadron in Japan.
HMAS VENDETTA, (destroyer), was paid off at Sydney.
The River class frigate HMAS MACQUARIE, (LEUT L. M. Hinchliffe, DSC, RAN), was commissioned. She was laid down as CULGOA in Mort’s Dock, Sydney, on 3 December 1943, and launched on 3 March 1945 as MACQUARIE.
HMAS KARA KARA, (boom defence vessel), was paid off at Darwin. The ship returned to Sydney in 1950.
The Q class destroyer, HMAS QUEENBOROUGH, was commissioned. QUEENBOROUGH was laid down at Swan Hunter’s Yard, England, on 6 November 1940, and launched on 16 January 1942. QUEENBOROUGH was transferred to the RAN in September 1945.
HMAS BASILISK, (shore establishment at Port Moresby), paid off.
The modified River class frigate HMAS MURCHISON, (LCDR J. McL Adams, RAN), was commissioned. MURCHISON was laid down in Evans Deakin Yard, Brisbane, on 3 June 1943, and launched on 31 October 1944.
Four GCs, nine GMs and three Bars to the GM were awarded to RANR personnel serving in the Rendering Mines Safe Section of the RN during WWII.