1960-1975 > Vietnam era
HMAS SYDNEY, (fast troop transport), sailed from Sydney with troops and equipment for Malaya.
HMAS DERWENT, (destroyer escort), was the first Ship of the RAN to fire a guided missile when she launched a Seacat.
HMAS QUIBERON, (frigate), was decommissioned in Sydney.
The Royal Commission’s report on the loss of HMAS VOYAGER, (Daring class destroyer), was tabled in Parliament.
USN nuclear-powered ships ENTERPRISE, LONGBEACH, and BAINBRIDGE, visited Australia.
The RAN Nursing Service, (RANNS), which had been disbanded in 1948, was re-formed. Initially 21 registered nurses were commissioned, and they commenced duty at HMAS PENGUIN and HMAS CERBERUS. The RANNS continued as a separate service until amalgamated with the RAN in June 1985.
The Minister for the Navy, Mr. F. C. Chaney, announced plans to establish the RAN’s submarine base at Neutral Bay, Sydney. The base was commissioned HMAS PLATYPUS.
Commonwealth Navy Order 614 extended the maximum retirement age for RAN personnel to 57 years.
HMAS TEAL, (minesweeper), intercepted two Indonesian sampans off Borneo. The sampans opened fire, and TEAL retaliated, killing three of the crew. LEUT K. Murray, RAN, TEAL’s captain, was awarded the DSC for gallantry in the action. This was the only gallantry award to an RAN officer in the Indonesian-Malaysian confrontation.
LEUT K. Murray, RAN, of HMAS TEAL, (minesweeper), was awarded the DSC for conspicuous service in Malaysian waters, during the Indonesian-Malayan confrontation.
RADM T. K. Morrison, CBE, DSC, was appointed Flag Officer Commanding Her Majesty’s Australian Fleet.
VADM Sir Alan McNicholl was appointed as Chief of Naval Staff.
HMAS SPRIGHTLY, (fleet tug), was taken in hand for conversion to a submarine rescue ship.
Bosun fibreglass sailing dinghies were introduced into the RAN as replacements for the 4.3 metre timber Island class dinghies.
Gallantry awards were conferred on the following RAN personnel for their part in saving lives after HMAS VOYAGER, (destroyer), was sunk following a collision with HMAS MELBOURNE, (aircraft carrier):GC (Posthumous) – CPO Jonathon Rogers, DSM Albert Medal – (Posthumous) – MIDN Francis Marien, RANAlbert Medal – EM 1st Class William Joseph CondonGM – PO Douglas Moore, BEMBEM – PO Geoffrey Percival WorthBEM – POEM Edward James McDermott BEM – LS Raymond Ernest RichBEM – LEM Brian Victor LongbottomBEM – LSBA John Ronnie WilsonBEM – AB Eric Noel RobsonQueens Commendation – EM Hugh Francis GilvarryQueens Commendation – EA 2nd Class Anthony Page
ASLT J. M. Hutchinson, RAN, (a Fleet Air Arm pilot from HMAS MELBOURNE), was killed when his aircraft crashed in the Malacca Straits. He was the only RAN casualty for Confrontation, (the low level insurgency conflict between Malaysia and Indonesia during 1964-66).
The fast troop transport HMAS SYDNEY, (former aircraft carrier), sailed from Sydney on her maiden voyage to Vietnam. She had previously undertaken troop transport voyages to Malaysia.
HMAS SYDNEY, (fast troop transport), arrived at Vung Tau, South Vietnam, on her first passage to the war zone.
The Perth class, (Charles F Adams, DDG), guided missile destroyer HMAS PERTH, (CAPT I. H. Cartwright, RAN), was commissioned. PERTH was laid down in Defoe Shipbuilding Co, Bay City, Michigan, USA, on 21 September 1962, and launched on 26 September 1963. Lady Beale, (Wife of the Sir Harold Beale, Australian Ambassador to the USA), performed the launching ceremony.
HMAS MILDURA, (minesweeper), was sold out of service for breaking up at Brisbane. For the last 10 years of her life, she served as a stationary training ship for the RANR at Brisbane.
In the Australian Federal Parliament the Member for Batman, Mr S. J. Benson, argued with respect to the White Ensign being flown in Vietnam by Australia ships, which at that time was the British RN ensign, suggesting that Australia should look to introduce her own White Ensign.
LEUT Hugh Randall Syme, GC, GM and Bar, RANVR, died in Melbourne. Syme distinguished himself in rendering safe a wide variety of explosive devices employed by the Germans. Many of these bombs, mines and incendiary devices were dropped on British cities.
The Australian Naval Board approved ‘Australia’ shoulder insignia as standard uniform for the RAN.
The Perth class, (Charles F Adams, DDG), guided missile destroyer HMAS HOBART, (CAPT G. R. Griffiths, DSO, RAN), was commissioned. HOBART was laid down in Defoe Shipbuilding Co, Bay City, Michigan, USA, on 26 October 1962, and launched on 9 January 1964. Mrs D. O. Hay, (Wife of the Australian Ambassador to the United Nations), performed the launching ceremony.
RADM V. A. T. Smith, CBE, DSC, was appointed Flag Officer Commanding Her Majesty’s Australian Fleet.
RAN clearance divers operating from HMAS KIMBLA, (trials ship), located and recovered a ton of explosives lost overboard from a vessel off Lakes Entrance, VIC.
The Australian Government made a grant of $20,000 for the construction of a replica of HMS ENDEAVOUR to retrace CAPT Cook’s voyages.
The Queen’s Commendation was awarded to the following personnel of the RAN’s Clearance Diving Teams for rendering safe, and later destroying, a World War II mine, washed ashore in a heavily populated area at Surfers Paradise, QLD. LCDR B. J. Hamill, RAN; LCDR N. O. Vidgen, RANVR; CPO J. F. C. Dollar;AB Clearance Divers:- P. J. Turley, P. C. Kember, A. L. Ingham.
The RAN Clearance Diving Teams 1 and 2 were formed.
The New York Times announced that the USN, with the co-operation of the RAN and the RAAF, would carry out an aerial survey of northern Australia, New Guinea and adjacent islands.
HMAS HAWK, (Ton class minesweeper), berthed at Semporna, (Malay State of Sabah), for rest and recreation leave during her patrols associated with Confrontation. Later that day one of her crew returned onboard drunk, and took one of the ships 9mm Owen sub machine guns, and started to fire it indiscriminately around the ship. Over 300 rounds were fired causing some damage to the ship, but fortunately no one was hit. The sailor was eventually subdued, and later medically discharged from the RAN.
HMAS SYDNEY, (fast troop transport), sailed on her fourth voyage to Vietnam.
HMAS VENDETTA, (Daring class destroyer), rescued four survivors from the dredge W.T. ATLAS, which had sunk in Jervis Bay, NSW. Boat crews from VENDETTA later recovered four bodies from the water. The following day RAN helicopters continued the search, but no more survivors or bodies were found. A Queens Commendation for the rescue was awarded to LEUT R. B. Lovett, RAN, LEUT P. J. Vickers, RAN, PO F. C. McCreanor, PO G. W. Peters, and Leading Airman K. J. Beaton.
HMAS VAMPIRE, (Daring class destroyer), and the Danish ship EMILIE MAERSK, collided in the Bangkok River, Thailand. As damage to the destroyer required dockyard assistance, VAMPIRE set course for Singapore at 23 knots, arriving in Singapore Dockyard at 0812 on Saturday 11th June.
Confrontation between Malaysia and Indonesia officially ceased. Several RAN units, including destroyer escorts, and the Ton class minesweepers, had been involved in the confrontation, mainly conducting anti-infiltration patrols off Singapore, and Sabah/Sarawak in East Malaysia.
The largest warship to be built in Australia, HMAS STALWART, (escort maintenance ship), was launched at Cockatoo Island, Sydney.
HMAS QUEENBOROUGH, (frigate), made a high speed dash from Hobart to Macquarie Island, to rescue a seriously ill scientist of the Australian Antarctic Expedition.
HMAS VENDETTA, (Daring class destroyer), towed the USS TIRU, (submarine), off Frederick Reef in the Coral Sea.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II gave Royal Consent to the new Australian White Ensign.
The Prime Minister, Mr Harold Holt, announced to Parliament that the new Australian White Ensign was formally approved.
Clearance Diving Team 3, LEUT M. T. Shotter, RAN, arrived at Vung Tau. This was the first unit of the RAN to serve in Vietnam.
The Peruvian Navy training ship INDEPENCIA visited Sydney. The vessel was the first warship of Peru to visit Australia.