On This Day
1941 > WW2
On This Day - 1941
- December 31, 1941
HMA Ships NAPIER, NIZAM, and NESTOR, (destroyers), joined HM Ships AJAX, KINGSTON, ARROW, and GHURKA in the bombardment of German defence posts on the outskirts of Bardia.
- December 24, 1941
CAPT H. B. Farncomb, RAN, assumed command of HMAS AUSTRALIA, (cruiser), at Sydney.
- December 22, 1941
The boom working vessel HMAS KARANGI, was commissioned. KARANGI was laid down in Cockatoo Island Dockyard, Sydney, on 5 February 1941, and launched on 16 August 1941. Mrs G. Hutcheson performed the launching ceremony.
- December 20, 1941
MIDN L. J. Tathan, RAN, and the crew of the whaler from HMS KANDAHAR which he was commanding in rescue operations, was killed when the boat was heavily strafed by German aircraft. KANDAHAR had gone to the rescue of HMS NEPTUNE, (cruiser), which had struck a mine before the aircraft launched their attack. KANDAHAR also struck a “mine, and was later sunk by HMS JAGUAR. The minefield was laid off Tripoli.
- December 19, 1941
HMS NEPTUNE, (cruiser), sank after striking a mine off the coast of Tripoli. Only one rating of the crew of 717 survived. Among those lost were the two RAN members of the ship’s company, ORD K. Campbell and ORD S. Kemp.
The Bathurst class minesweeper, (corvette), HMAS TOWNSVILLE, (LCDR J. Abbott, RAN(E)), was commissioned. TOWNSVILLE was laid down in Evans Deakin Yard, Brisbane, on 4 November 1940, and launched on 13 May 1941.
HMAS NIZAM reported she was lifted bodily out of the water by an underwater explosion in Alexandria Harbour. Shortly after, HM Ships QUEEN ELIZABETH and VALIANT, (battleships), bottomed at their moorings. The tanker SAGONA, and HMS JERVIS, (destroyer), were severely damaged. The attack was launched by Italian frogmen.
- December 17, 1941
HMA Ships SWAN, (sloop), and BANTAM, (transport), landed troop reinforcements on Ambon Island.
HMAS NIZAM, (destroyer), was straddled twice by 15 inch shells from Italian battleships during the Battle of Sirte. This was the last occasion a ship of the RAN was engaged by an enemy battleship.
The Bathurst class minesweeper, (corvette), HMAS KATOOMBA, (CMDR A. P. Cousins, RANR), was commissioned. KATOOMBA was laid down in Poole & Steel Ltd, Sydney, on 9 September 1940, and launched on 16 April 1941.
- December 16, 1941
HMAS NESTOR, (destroyer), destroyed the German submarine U127 off the Spanish Atlantic coast, the first in WWII by an Australian warship.
- December 15, 1941
HMAS NESTOR, (destroyer), sank the German submarine U127 south-west of Cape St Vincent. The following awards resulted from this action:-
- Bar to DSO CAPT A. S. Rosenthal;
- DSC Mr. R. G. Fennessy, RAN;
- DSM AB J. S. McLeod;
- DSM AB A. V. Healy;
- DSM LS R. J. Anderson;
- MID SBLT P. S. Colclough;
- MID LS A. M. Krautz;
- December 14, 1941
Three gallantry awards to RAN officers for service in the Mediterranean were announced:
- DSC CMDR M. J. Clark
- DSC CMDR G. McD. Wilson; Both received for gallantry in the Battle of Crete.
- DSC LCDR R. Rhoades. Received for gallantry while commanding HMAS VENDETTA, (destroyer), in the Mediterranean.
- December 12, 1941
HMAS NESTOR, (destroyer), opened fire on an aircraft showing a navigation light in the North Atlantic. The ‘aircraft’ was later identified as the planet Venus.
HMAS MARRAWAH, (a former coaster), was commissioned as an auxiliary minesweeper.