On this day:

1942 > WW2

25 Sep 1942

HMAS VOYAGER, (destroyer), was lost in Betano Bay, Timor, due to grounding and enemy action. 2 ratings lost their lives

26 Sep 1942

USS HOLLAND, (submarine tender), was towed stern first to Port Phillip, VIC, when she lost her rudder in rough seas off SA. HOLLAND was the submarine depot ship at Fremantle during WWII.

27 Sep 1942

HMA Ships WARRNAMBOOL, and KALGOORLIE, (corvettes), arrived back in Darwin, NT, after rescuing the ship’s company of HMAS VOYAGER, (destroyer), from Betano Bay. Some were wounded, but not a man was lost.

28 Sep 1942

Coastwatcher LEUT W.J. Read, RANVR, signalled from Buka Passage:- “A ship, which may be a cruiser and probably another, entered Kessa 1 pm, believe from the north. Heavy destroyer and light cruiser, derrick on stern, just entered Buka Passage. Unusual air activity today, nine fighters landed drome. Believe about 20 fighters and bombers now here. First mentioned ship now leaving Kessa, believe may come this way”.

The anti-submarine escort vessel HMAS ABRAHAM CRIJNSSEN, (LEUT A.I. Chapman, RANR), was commissioned. ABRAHAM CRIJNSSEN was laid down in Werf Gusto, Schiedam, Holland, for the Royal Netherlands Navy, and launched on 22 September 1936, completed in 1937.

29 Sep 1942

HMAS NIZAM, (destroyer), and aircraft, participating in Operation Stream-Line-Jane, intercepted the Vichy French ship AMIRAL PIERRE, off Lourenco Marques The vessel was scuttled on 30 September.

30 Sep 1942

A Board of Inquiry into the loss of HMAS CANBERRA, (cruiser), delivered its report to the Australian Government. It found CANBERRA was not in a state of readiness when attacked by Japanese ADML Chokai’s cruisers.

HMS QUICKMATCH, (destroyer), was completed at J. Samuel White’s Yard, UK. QUICKMATCH was transferred to the RAN in 1945.

HMAS NIZAM, (destroyer), operating out of Durban, South Africa, captured the Vichy ship MARSHAL GALLIENI, and intercepted and sunk by gunfire the ADMIRAL PIERRE.

01 Oct 1942

The Brisbane-based USS STURGEON, (submarine), sank the Japanese aircraft ferry KARSURAGI MARU off New Britain.

Ratings for the WRANS were introduced.

03 Oct 1942

RAN rates of pay were increased. They were:- Able Seaman, 8s 6d per day;Chief Petty Officer, 12s 6d per day; Midshipman, 7s 6d per day; Sub-Lieutenant, 12s 6d per day; Lieutenant £1 per day; Lieutenant Commander, £1 11s 6d per day; Commander, £2 1s 6d per day; Captain, £3 1s 6d per day; Rear Admiral, £5 1s 6d per day.

05 Oct 1942

The auxiliary minesweeper HMAS MARY CAM, was commissioned. MARY CAM, (as JOHN FISSER), was laid down in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1918. She was requisitioned for the RAN, from her owners, Cam & Sons Pty Ltd, Sydney, (who renamed her MARY CAM), on 5 October 1942.

07 Oct 1942

The first Australian-built Fairmile motor launch, ML 813, was launched at Lars Halvorsen Yard, Sydney.

The Brisbane-based USS SCULPIN, (submarine), sank the Japanese transport NAMINOUE MARU, in the Bismarck Archipelago.

08 Oct 1942

Coastwatcher LEUT R. Woodroffe, RANR, was believed executed by the Japanese on Amir Island.

HMAS NIZAM and HMS FOXHOUND, (destroyers), picked up survivors from the Greek ship KOUMOUNDOUROS, torpedoed off Cape Town.

09 Oct 1942

HMAS NIZAM and HMS FOXHOUND, (destroyers), picked up survivors from the Dutch ship GAASTERKERK, torpedoed off Cape Town by German submarines.

10 Oct 1942

The Bathurst class minesweeper, (corvette), HMAS PIRIE, (LCDR C. F. Mills, RAN), was commissioned. PIRIE was laid down in Broken Hill Pty Co’s Yard, Whyalla, SA, on 19 May 1941, and launched on 3 December 1941. Mrs R. T. Kleeman performed the launching ceremony.

HMAS NIZAM and HMS FOXHOUND, (destroyers), attacked the German submarine U 159 on the surface, 150 miles south- east of Cape Town. The submarine dived and escaped.

12 Oct 1942

The RAN Nursing Service was established. Twelve nursing sisters were appointed at both Sydney and Melbourne.

13 Oct 1942

HMAS LAUNCESTON, (minesweeper), rescued 61 of the crew of the merchant vessel MARTABAN, which was torpedoed south of Ceylon.

The USS GRAMPUS, (submarine), landed a party of Australian Coastwatchers under LEUT H. E. Josselyn, RANVR, at Vella Lavella. A Japanese destroyer was anchored nearby while the party was put ashore.

14 Oct 1942

The Brisbane-based USS SCULPIN, (submarine), sank the Japanese transport SUMIYOSHI MARU, in the Bismarck Archipelago.

15 Oct 1942

The war diary of HMS CARADOC, (cruiser), reported on the shortage of meat. ‘Some meatless days are inevitable in the Persian Gulf. On one or two occasions HMS ALAUNIA was able to come to our rescue. Once, a bullock, slaughtered on board by an RANVR officer in the absence of a butcher, provided a supply of meat and a good profit to the Crown’.

20 Oct 1942

HMAS NIZAM and HMS FOXHOUND, (destroyers), were fired at by the STEPHEN A DOUGLAS, (ammunition carrier). NIZAM and FOXHOUND were rendezvousing with the ammunition carrier to escort her into Cape Town, and were mistaken for German submarines.

21 Oct 1942

The Bathurst class minesweeper, (corvette), HMAS KAPUNDA, was commissioned. KAPUNDA was laid down in Poole & Steel Ltd, Sydney, on 27 August 1941, and launched on 23 June 1943.

The minesweeper HMAS LAUNCESTON, (LCDR P. G. Collins, RANR), rescued 64 of the crew of the merchant ship MARIABAN, which was sunk by a Japanese submarine in the Northern Indian Ocean on 13 October.

The Brisbane-based USS GUDGEON, (submarine), sank the Japanese transport CHOKO MARU, in the Bismarck Archipelago.

22 Oct 1942

ining. The surveying vessel HMAS STELLA, (LEUT J. J. Cody, RAN), was commissioned. STELLA, (as WAREEN), was laid down in Williamstown Dockyard, VIC, in 1938. She was requisitioned for the RAN on 1 October 1942.

23 Oct 1942

LEUT P. G. Evatt, DSC, RANVR, in HMS UNITED, (submarine), participated in wolf-pack attacks on Axis ships running supplies to Rommel’s Africa Korps. The operations of British submarines spelt disaster to the Germans at the Battle of El Alamein.

28 Oct 1942

Williamstown Dockyard, VIC, was acquired by the Commonwealth of Australia.

30 Oct 1942

The sloop HMAS WARREGO, (LCDR A. D. C. Inglis, RAN), surveyed the passage from Milne Bay to Cape Nelson, New Guinea, for the amphibious assault on Buna by Australian and American troops.

01 Nov 1942

HMAS QUIBERON, (destroyer), was part of Force ‘Q’ which destroyed an Italian supply convoy.

HMAS QUICKMATCH, (destroyer), was involved in the destruction of the Italian ship CORTELLAZZO off Capr Finisterre.

02 Nov 1942

The Fremantle-based USS SEAWOLF, (submarine), sank the Japanese transport GIFU MARU, at the mouth of Davao Gulf.

03 Nov 1942

The Fremantle-based USS SEAWOLF, (submarine), sank the converted Japanese gunboat KEIKO MARU, and the transport AGAMI MARU, in Davao Gulf.

LEUT John Stuart Mould, GM, RANVR, was awarded the GC for outstanding courage and devotion to duty in the rendering safe of new types of enemy mines.

04 Nov 1942

The Bathurst class minesweeper, (corvette), HMAS GYMPIE, (LCDR C. W. J. Patterson, RANR), was commissioned. GYMPIE was laid down in Evans Deakin Yard, Brisbane, on 27 August 1941, and launched on 30 January 1942.

The survey vessel HMAS PALUMA, (LEUT I. Champion, RANVR), surveyed Japanese-held Oro Bay, New Guinea, and buoyed the channels. LEUT Champion distinguished himself in coastwatching operations in this area.

06 Nov 1942

The Bathurst class minesweeper, (corvette), HMAS LATROBE, was commissioned. LATROBE was laid down in Mort’s Dock, Sydney, on 27 January 1942, and launched on 19 June 1942. The Reverend A. G. Rix, (of St John’s Parish, which included Mort’s Dock in it’s boundaries), performed the launching ceremony.

07 Nov 1942

Coastwatcher LEUT W. J. Read, RANVR, on the north end of Bougainville, reported a convoy of 12 Japanese ships steaming south for the Solomons.

The USN requisitioned the following Australian vessels between 7 and 17 November:- KAROORA, WORTANNA, MULCRA, NOORA, and ARGOSY LEMAL. The latter vessel was a small, auxiliary engined, schooner rigged coaster.

08 Nov 1942

HMAS QUIBERON, (destroyer), participated in Operation Torch, the Allied landing in North Africa.

09 Nov 1942

The Bathurst class minesweeper, (corvette), HMAS BOWEN, (LEUT G. L. Olsen, RAN), was commissioned. BOWEN was laid down in Walker’s Yard, Maryborough, QLD, on 9 February 1942, and launched on 11 July 1942. Mrs G. Crittall performed the launching ceremony.

10 Nov 1942

Australian Coastwatcher, LEUT P. E. Mason, RANVR, signalled from Buin:- ‘At least 61 ships this area viz 2 Nati, 1 Aoba, 1 Mogambi, 1 Kis, 1 Tatsuta, 2 sloops, 33 destroyers, 17 cargo, 2 tankers, and 1 passenger liner of 8000 tons’. Mason identified the cruisers by their class names from a page of Jane’s Fighting Ships.

11 Nov 1942

AB H. Hammond, RANR, was awarded the DSM for his courage and cool leadership. He commanded the single 4-inch gun mounted in the tanker ONDINA, in an engagement in which the tanker and her escort, HMIS BENGAL, defeated the heavily armed Japanese raiders HOKOKU MARU and AIKOKU MARU, in the Indian Ocean. 1943 The Fremantle-based US Submarines BOEFIN and CAPELIN, sank three Japanese ships. BOWFIN torpedoed two small tankers in Sibutu Passage, and CAPELIN torpedoed the transport KUNITAMA MARU, north of Timor.

12 Nov 1942

Coastwatcher SBLT M. Wright, RANVR, was landed by the US submarine S42 at Adler Bay, New Britain, to determine the natives’ loyalty. Wright remained a week behind the Japanese lines, and was taken off by S42. He was awarded the DSC for outstanding gallantry.

HMAS FAURO CHIEF, (auxiliary ketch), drove off a Japanese submarine in a point-blank gun battle at Misima, Louisiade Archipelago. FAURO CHIEF matched her single Vickers machine-gun against the submarine’s 4-inch gun and other weapons.

13 Nov 1942

HMAS BURRA BRA, (target vessel), was commissioned. BURRA BRA was a former Sydney Harbour ferry, and was later employed as an anti-submarine training ship at Jervis Bay, NSW.

16 Nov 1942

The Bathurst class minesweeper, (corvette), HMAS GLENELG, was commissioned. GLENELG was laid down in Cockatoo Island Dockyard, Sydney, on 2 March 1942, and launched on 22 September 1942. Mrs H. V. Evatt, (Wife of the Attorney- General and Minister for External Affairs), performed the launching ceremony.

18 Nov 1942

The Bathurst class minesweeper, (corvette), HMAS HORSHAM, was commissioned. HORSHAM was laid down in Williamstown Naval Dockyard, VIC, on 26 June 1941, and launched on 16 May 1942.

The Garden Island Company of the Volunteer Defence Corps commenced training. The Company was initially a RAN unit. It was armed with Oerlikon guns, machine-guns and small arms, and trained to resist commando-type raids on the dockyard. The unit was absorbed into the Army later in the war.

22 Nov 1942

The minefield tender HMAS URALBA, was commissioned. URALBA was laid down in E Wright Yard, Tuncurry, NSW, in 1942. She was requisitioned for the RAN, from her owners, the North Coast Steam Navigation Co, NSW, on 13 July 1942.

23 Nov 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.

26 Nov 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.

'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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