On this day:

1942 > WW2

13 Jul 1942

HMAS PENGUIN, was commissioned as a naval depot at Balmoral, Sydney.

14 Jul 1942

HMAS PENGUIN, (shore establishment in Sydney), was commissioned.

15 Jul 1942

The Bathurst class minesweeper, (corvette), HMAS WALLAROO, (LEUT E. S. Ross, RANR), was commissioned. WALLAROO was laid down in Poole & Steel Ltd., Sydney, on 24 April 1941, and launched on 18 February 1942.

21 Jul 1942

Coastwatcher SBLT C. L. Page, RANVR, was escorted by the Japanese to Nemboe Island for execution.

22 Jul 1942

HMAS QUIBERON, (destroyer), was completed at J. Samuel White’s, UK.

23 Jul 1942

HMAS LAURABADA, (auxiliary patrol vessel), was commissioned.

25 Jul 1942

HMAS WAGGA, (minesweeper), was launched at Mort’s Dock, Sydney.

HMAS VIGILANT, (auxiliary patrol vessel), commanded by SBLT H. A. Bennett, RANR, sailed from Darwin on her first voyage to occupied Timor, with supplies for the Australian commando force, (Sparrow Force). The former customs launch made three passages to Timor.

29 Jul 1942

The Bathurst class minesweeper, (corvette), HMAS BROOME, (LCDR R. A. Denovan, RANVR), was commissioned. BROOME was laid down in Evans Deakin Yard, Brisbane, on 31 May 1941, and launched on 6 October 1941. Mrs J. M. McKew, (Wife of the Evans Deakin Works Manager), performed the launching ceremony.

31 Jul 1942

The Bathurst class minesweeper, (corvette), HMAS DUBBO, was commissioned. DUBBO was laid down in Mort’s Dock, Sydney, on 13 October 1941, and launched on 7 March 1942.

ADML V.C. Crutchley assumed command of Southern Force, which included HMA Ships AUSTRALIA and CANBERRA, (cruisers), and US Ships CHICAGO, PATTERSON, and BAGLEY, for Operation Watchtower.

HMA Ships CHINAMPA, (ketch), and SOUTHERN CROSS, (examination vessel), engaged Japanese shore positions at Saumlaki, Tinobar Islands, while attempting to land reinforcements. The Skipper of CHINAMPA, CWO F.J. Henderson, RANR, was killed.

01 Aug 1942

HMA Ships NAPIER, NIZAM and NORMAN, (destroyers), were with the British Eastern Fleet which was sent to the Andaman Islands, hoping to divert the attention of the Japanese from the Solomon Islands.

07 Aug 1942

The cruisers, HMA Ships AUSTRALIA, (CAPT H.B. Farncomb, RAN), CANBERRA, (CAPT F.E. Getting, RAN), and HOBART, (CAPT H.A. Showers, RAN), were engaged in Operation Watchtower, the Allied assault on Guadalcanal.

The Brisbane based USS S38, (submarine), sighted and reported ADML Chokai’s Fleet en route from Rabaul to Savo Island.

Coastwatcher LEUT P.E. Mason, RANVR, warned the Allied Fleet off Guadalcanal of an impending Japanese air attack. Mason signalled: ‘From STO 24 bombers headed yours’. The advance warning enabled the cruiser, HMAS CANBERRA, (CAPT F.E. Getting, RAN), to announce over the ship’s PA system: ‘The ship will be attacked by 24 torpedo bombers at noon. All hands will pipe to dinner at eleven o’clock’.

08 Aug 1942

The Brisbane based USS S38, (submarine), sank the Japanese transport MEIYO MARU, off the Bismarck Archipelago.

The Bathurst class minesweeper, (corvette), HMAS TAMWORTH, (LEUT W.H. Deans, RANR), was commissioned. TAMWORTH was laid down in Walker’s Yard, Maryborough, QLD, on 25 August 1941, and launched on 14 March 1942.

09 Aug 1942

Engaged in the Battle of Savo Island, the cruiser HMAS CANBERRA, (CAPT F. E. Getting, RAN), was mortally damaged in a surprise night sortie by ADML Mikawa’s Cruiser Squadron. CANBERRA was hit by torpedoes and point-blank gunfire. 10 officers and 74 ratings, including her commanding officer, were killed. CANBERRA was sunk by American destroyers when the extent of her damage was realised. The US Ships ASTORIA, QUINCY, and VINCENNES, (cruisers), were also lost in the battle.

10 Aug 1942

The Brisbane-based submarine USS S44, (LCDR J. R. Moore, USN), sank the Japanese cruiser KAKO, off Kavieng.

13 Aug 1942

The ashes of LEUT Matsuo, LEUT Chuma, PO Ohmiri and PO Tsuzuku, crews of two midget submarines sunk in Sydney Harbour, were formally handed over to the Japanese Minister in Australia, Mr. Tatsuo Kawai. The ashes were carried back to Japan in the exchange ship KAMAKURA.

14 Aug 1942

The examination vessel HMAS FAURO CHIEF, (LEUT Perry), was commissioned.

The Bathurst class minesweeper, (corvette), HMAS GAWLER, (LCDR W. J. Seymour, RAN), was commissioned. GAWLER was laid down in Broken Hill Pty Co’s Yard, Whyalla, SA, on 24 January 1941, and launched on 4 October 1941. Lady Duncan, (Wife of the Hon. Sir Walter Duncan, Leader of the Liberal and Country Party in South Australia), performed the launching ceremony.

The Brisbane-based USS S39, (submarine), was wrecked on Rossel Island, in the Louisiades Group. The submarine’s crew were rescued by HMAS KATOOMBA, and landed at Townsville.

15 Aug 1942

HMAS SHEPPARTON, (minesweeper), was launched at Williamstown Dockyard, VIC.

18 Aug 1942

HMAS FREMANTLE, (minesweeper), was launched at Evans Deakin, QLD.

20 Aug 1942

The Australian Naval Board convened a Board of Inquiry to investigate the loss of HMAS CANBERRA at Savo Island.

24 Aug 1942

Australian Coastwatchers at Porlock, reported the 5th Sasebo Special Landing Force was moving along the coast in barges from Buna to Milne Bay.

25 Aug 1942

HMA Ships AUSTRALIA and HOBART, (cruisers), were engaged in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons.

HMAS ARUNTA, (destroyer), was ordered out of Milne Bay prior to a Japanese attack.

28 Aug 1942

The auxiliary boom defence vessel HMAS KINCHELA, was commissioned. KINCHELA was laid down in 1914. She was requisitioned for the RAN, from her owners, The Macleay River Co-op SS Co Ltd, NSW, on 28 August 1942.

29 Aug 1942

HMAS ARUNTA, (destroyer), sank the Japanese submarine RO33, off Port Moresby. CMDR J. C. Morrow, RAN, was awarded the DSC for the operation. He received the DSO, and was MID while commanding HMAS VOYAGER, (destroyer), in the Mediterranean.

30 Aug 1942

HMA Ships ARUNTA, MATEFELE, and POTRERO towed the torpedoed transport MALAITA to shallow water in Basilisk Passage.

31 Aug 1942

RADM G. C. Muirhead-Gould, Flag Officer-in-Charge, Sydney, presided over the Board of Inquiry into the loss of HMAS CANBERRA, (cruiser). Muirhead-Gould also served on the Boards which inquired into the loss of HMS ROYAL OAK, (battleship), at Scapa Flow, Scotland, and the Japanese midget submarine attack on Sydney.

01 Sep 1942

Australian Coastwatchers LEUT A. F. Kyle, DSC, RANVR, and SBLT G. M. W. Benham, DSC, RANVR, were believed executed by the Japanese in New Ireland. The two officers had radioed shipping and aircraft movements, and arranged the evacuation of civilians from the enemy-occupied territory.

The amphibious training base HMAS ASSAULT, (CMDR F. H. Cook, DSC, RAN), was commissioned at Port Stephens, NSW. The base was used for the training of Australian and American forces in amphibious warfare.

06 Sep 1942

HMAS ARUNTA escorted the freighter ANSHUN and the hospital ship MANUNDA into Milne Bay. ARUNTA departed the bay at 1500 to screen other ships, and that night a Japanese naval force sank the ANSHUN by gunfire, but left the hospital ship unharmed.

07 Sep 1942

The Bathurst class minesweeper, (corvette), HMAS ECHUCA, was commissioned. ECHUCA was laid down in Williamstown Naval Dockyard on 22 February 1941, and launched on 17 January 1942. Lady Royle, (Wife of VADM Sir

08 Sep 1942

The British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, announced that the cruiser HMS SHROPSHIRE would be transferred to the RAN, as a replacement for HMAS CANBERRA, lost in the Battle of Savo Island. SHROPSHIRE was built with subscriptions from the people of the county of Shropshire, and her name was not changed.

09 Sep 1942

The 7th Destroyer Flotilla, HMA Ships NAPIER, NIZAM, NORMAN, and NEPAL, joined the assault forces for the invasion of Madagascar. The former RAN seaplane carrier, ALBATROSS, was in the naval force.

10 Sep 1942

Engaged in Operation Stream-Line-Jane, HMAS NAPIER, (destroyer), entered the Vichy-French port of Morandava, in Madagascar, and landed 50 commandos. The landing was made in a violent thunderstorm, which enabled the commandos to surprise the defenders, who laid down their arms after the exchange of a few shots. NAPIER returned to Diego Suarez with six prisoners, including the Mayor of Morandava. HMA Ships NIZAM and NORMAN covered the assault on Majunga, and were later engaged in intercepting small craft attempting to escape from the port.

12 Sep 1942

The hulk of HMAS ENCOUNTER, (cruiser), was scuttled off Sydney.

The Bathurst class minesweeper HMAS BUNDABERG, (LCDR N. D. Pixley, RANR), was commissioned. BUNDABERG was laid down in Evans Deakin Yard, Brisbane, on 7 June 1941, and launched on 1 December 1941. Mrs W. S. Hurwood, (Wife of a Director of Evans Deakin), performed the launching ceremony.

13 Sep 1942

ML 352, (LEUT R. G. Worledge, RANVR), picked up survivors from damaged landing craft during an assault by Royal Marine Commandos on Mersa Sciause, near Tobruk.

14 Sep 1942

The Q class destroyer HMAS QUICKMATCH, (CMDR R. Rhoades, RAN), was commissioned. QUICKMATCH was laid down in J. Samuel White & Co, Cowes, Isle of Wight, England, on 6 February 1941, and launched on 11 April 1942. QUICKMATCH was converted to a fast anti-submarine frigate at Williamstown Naval Dockyard, VIC, in 1954-1955, and re-commissioned on 23 September 1955, (LCDR D. H. Stevens, RAN).

LEUT R. H. E. Kerruish, RAN, was navigator of HMS COVENTRY, (anti-aircraft cruiser), when it was sunk by German bombers, during a British Commando raid near Tobruk. He was also serving in HMS ARK ROYAL, (aircraft carrier), during the operations against the German-pocket battleship GRAF SPEE, in 1939.

The training ship/tender/store-carrier HMAS KOOPA, was commissioned. KOOPA was laid down in Ramage & Ferguson Ltd, Leith, Scotland, in 1911. She was requisitioned for the RAN, from her owners, the Brisbane Tug & Steamship Co Ltd, on 10 August 1942.

17 Sep 1942

The Bathurst class minesweeper, (corvette), HMAS INVERELL, was commissioned. INVERELL was laid down in Mort’s Dock, Sydney, on 6 December 1941, and launched on 2 May 1942.

18 Sep 1942

HMA Ships NAPIER, NIZAM, NEPAL, and NORMAN, (destroyers), participated in the assault on Tamatave, Madagascar. The port surrendered after a two-hour bombardment by HMS WARSPITE, (battleship), and the destroyers.

The minefield tender HMAS GIPPSLAND was commissioned. GIPPSLAND was laid down in Payensville, VIC, in 1908. She was requisitioned for the RAN, from her owners, Red Funnel Trawlers Pty Ltd, on 24 June 1942.

The tug HMAS WAREE, was commissioned. WAREE was laid down in Cockatoo Island Dockyard, Sydney, on 4 July 1938, and launched on 26 January 1939. She was requisitioned for the RAN, from her owners, The Waratah Tug & Salvage Co Pty Ltd, Sydney, on 18 September 1942.

21 Sep 1942

The cutter HMAS MAROUBRA, was commissioned. MAROUBRA was laid down in Brisbane in 1930. She was requisitioned for the RAN, from her owners, the Australian Petroleum Co Ltd, on 20 March 1942.

22 Sep 1942

HMAS GLENELG, (minesweeper), was launched at Cockatoo Island, Sydney.

HMAS STUART, (destroyer), landed the Australian 2/lOth Battalion on Normanby Island, New Guinea.

23 Sep 1942

HMAS STUART, (destroyer), re-embarked the Australian 2/10th Battalion, and eight Japanese POWs, from Normanby Island. The prisoners were survivors of the Japanese destroyer YAYOI, sunk off the island by American bombers on 11 September.

The destroyer HMAS VOYAGER, (LCDR R. C. Robison, RAN), ran aground at Betano Bay, Timor, while attempting the relief of the Australian Commandos of Sparrow Force. Despite attempts to free VOYAGER, Robison found the pounding sea had built up a sand bar between the vessel and open water, and she could not be freed without assistance, which was not available. Demolition charges were placed under her keel and exploded to prevent her falling into enemy hands. Japanese bombers finished the task of destruction next day.

24 Sep 1942

HMAS NIZAM, (destroyer), captured the French Vichy vessel MARECHAL GALLIENI in the Mozambique Channel. LEUT V. Cohen, RANVR, sailed the ship as a prize to Durban.

'On This Day' is based on the book "Navy Day by Day: Historic Naval Events in Australia and Abroad" written by the late Lew Lind. More information.

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