- A.N. Other and NHSA Webmaster
- History - general, Ship histories and stories
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Anzac II
- March 2011 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
In May 1952, now under command of Captain G.G.O. Gatacre, RAN, Anzac cruised with HMAS Australia (II) to New Guinea and the Solomons. In September she left for a second tour in Korea, relieving HMAS Bataan and serving with units of the USN, maintaining blockades of the enemy coast and bombarding enemy positions. She was shelled off the west coast on 16 November 1952 but Australia Day 1953 saw her shelling the battery position which had shelled her. On another occasion she was called to come to the aid of HMAS Condamine, which had come under fire whilst supporting minesweeping operations. The severe Korean winter posed great difficulties, with the ship and equipment coated in ice and snow.
In April 1953 Captain J.S. Mesley, DSC, RAN, relieved Captain Gatacre in command. On 26 May Anzac steamed into Tokyo, representing Commonwealth Navies during celebrations of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. After returning to the war zone Anzac was relieved by Tobruk in July. She returned to Sydney, having logged 57,000 nautical miles during her tour of duty, which included 140 days in the combat area.
Following a refit at Williamstown and now under command of Commander D.A.H. Clarke, DSC, RAN, Anzac escorted the Royal Yacht Gothic during the royal tour of Australia in February 1954. Anzac then conveyed Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh to islands of the Great Barrier Reef.
In April 1955 Anzac visited New Caledonia prior to engaging in Commonwealth Fleet exercises in South East Asia. During this period she had a succession of commanding officers including Commanders MacDonald, Crabb and Peel. From November 1955, for several deployments up till March 1959, Anzac was attached to the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve based at Singapore. In September 1956, in company with Tobruk, she took part in the first of only two offensive actions taken by the RAN during the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960) when they bombarded terrorist positions in Johore State.
During gunnery exercises off Jervis Bay in September 1960 a misdirected shot from Anzac badly damaged Tobruk. The cause of the accident was neglecting to correctly apply six degrees of ‘throw-off’; as a result Anzac’s guns, while near maximum range, were directly facing Tobruk. Whilst there were no casualties, Tobruk’s engine room was flooded and her main machinery damaged. She limped into Jervis Bay for emergency repairs and then to Sydney for more extensive repairs but Tobruk saw little sea service after this.
In 1961 Anzac became the Fleet Training Ship with the gradual removal of armament in favour of additional accommodation. The process continued in 1963 when she was further modified with ‘B’ turret and torpedo tubes removed and replaced by classrooms. This once handsome ship was to become rather ungainly in later years.
In February/March 1963, during the royal visit to Australia, Anzac again acted as escort to HMS Britannia.
In October/November 1966 she under-took survey work off the north of Western Australia, and in June 1967 visited Tonga for the coronation of His Majesty King Taufa’Ahau Tupo IV.
In September 1967 Anzac conducted a South Pacific training cruise visiting Tahiti, Western Samoa and New Zealand. Following refit, and although a training ship, Anzac escorted the troop carrier HMAS Sydney to Vietnam in June 1968.
During 1970 she participated in the Captain Cook celebrations at Possession Island, Queensland, the site of Captain Cook’s final departure from Australian shores. In March 1972 Anzac acted as command ship during exercise ‘Planti Manua’, a large patrol boat exercise held in northern waters involving ten patrol vessels. New Zealand was again visited during a training cruise in September 1972.
In 1974 Anzac departed for her final training cruise to Fiji and New Zealand and returned to Sydney on 11 August of that year flying her paying-off pendant.
After twenty three years of eventful service Anzac was taken out of commission in October 1974 and removed to Athol Bight. This ship, which had fired in anger in both Korea and Malaya, slipped almost unnoticed out of Sydney on New Year’s Eve 1975, under the tow of a Japanese tug on her way to be scrapped in China.