On This Day
1942 > WW2
On This Day - 1942
- December 12, 1942
Merchant vessel MERKUR was requisitioned by the RAN and converted to a victualling ship.
- December 9, 1942
HMAS LANIKAI, (auxiliary boom defence vessel), was commissioned. LANIKAI was lost in a storm in the Philippines in 1946.
- December 7, 1942
HMAS BUNGAREE, (minelayer), laid a defensive minefield along the Great Barrier Reef QLD, to protect shipping lanes from Japanese submarine attacks.
- December 3, 1942
HMAS COOTAMUNDRA, (minesweeper), was launched at Poole & Steel’s Yard, Sydney. On the same day HMAS PIRIE was launched at Whyalla, SA.
- December 2, 1942
HMAS QUIBERON, (destroyer), with HM Ships ARGONAUT, AURORA, SINUS, and QUENTIN, sank the Italian destroyer FOLGORE, and four merchant ships, in a point-blank night attack off Skerki Bank, North Africa.
HMAS KURU, (auxiliary patrol boat), fought off 23 attacks by 44 Japanese aircraft in the Arafura Sea. An estimated 200 bombs fell in close proximity to the 23 metre wooden vessel. Although damaged by near-misses, KURU arrived safely at Darwin on 3 December.
A motorboat from HMAS ARMIDALE, (minesweeper), set out for Darwin to obtain assistance for other survivors on rafts. The boat was sighted by an RAAF reconnaissance aircraft on 5 December, 150 miles north-east of the position where ARMIDALE sank. HMAS KALGOORLIE found the boat next day. The 35 men on the rafts were never recovered.
- December 1, 1942
The minesweeper HMAS ARMIDALE, (LCDR D. H. Richards, RAN), was sunk by 12 Japanese bombers, 70 miles south of Betano Bay, Timor.
ARMIDALE was involved in the re-supply of Australian and Dutch forces fighting a guerilla campaign against Japanese forces in Timor. The ship was struck by two torpedoes, and sank within a few minutes, with the loss of over 2 officers, 38 ratings, and 37 Dutch native troops. Japanese aircraft then machine gunned the survivors in the water.
OS Teddy Sheean, despite being mortally wounded, remained at his 20 mm Oerlikon gun, and continued to fire at the attacking aircraft, even when his position had gone under water. He was credited with shooting down one of the enemy aircraft, and driving the others off. Sheean was later posthumously awarded a MID, and in 2001 a Collins class submarine was commissioned as HMAS SHEEAN in his honour. This was the first and only time a ship of the RAN had been named in honour of a sailor.
HMAS KURU recorded in her Report of Proceedings:- ‘Attacks by Japanese bombers off Timor: Two on my bows, about 10 feet off, one aft, which blew up our assault boat which was being towed by 10 feet of line. The straddle shook up the ship’s clock, an eight day striking clock, and rang the bell. One of the ratings, Signalman Jamieson, looked up at the planes and said “Tojo, you’ve got a bloody cigar“.’
HMAS QUICKMATCH and HMS REDOUBT, (destroyers), sank with gunfire and torpedoes, the Italian blockade runner CORTELLAZZO, off the North African coast.
- November 30, 1942
RAAF Beaufighters of No. 31 Squadron, drove off 14 Japanese fighters and bombers which were attacking HMA Ships CASTLEMAINE and ARMIDALE, (minesweepers), in the Arafura Sea.
- November 28, 1942
HMAS QUIBERON and HMS QUENTIN, (destroyers), sank the Italian submarine DESSIE, north of Bone, North Africa.
HMA Ships BALLARAT and KATOOMBA, (minesweepers), were attacked by 10 Japanese dive bombers west of Buna. The ships escaped serious damage, shot down one aircraft, and damaged two.
- November 26, 1942
HMAS ADELAIDE, (cruiser), intercepted the German blockade runner RAMSES in the Indian Ocean. RAMSES was sunk by gunfire, and 88 survivors, plus a dog and a pig, were picked up.
HMAS GLADSTONE, (minesweeper), was launched at Maryborough, QLD.
- November 23, 1942
The Tribal class destroyer, HMAS WARRAMUNGA, (CMDR E. F. V. Dechaineux, RAN), was commissioned. WARRAMUNGA was laid down in Cockatoo Island Dockyard on 10 February 1940, and launched on 7 February 1942. Mrs F. M. Forde, (wife of the Minister for the Army), performed the launching ceremony.
HMAS URALBA, (minefield tender), was commissioned. The vessel served on the east coast of Australia, and in New Guinea. In 1971, URALBA was sunk in Port Phillip, VIC, to form an artificial reef.