HMAS Gladstone, in company with HMA Ships Gympie (I) and Stawell (I), were escorting convoy TN 192 of eight ships with troops embarked bound for Milne Bay when almost the entire convoy ran aground on Bougainville Reef in the Great Barrier Reef just after 9:30pm that evening. Gladstone had observed Aldis Lamp signals down the convoy and intercepted the word “hit”. Assuming that the convoy was under attack, the ship closed up at action stations, altered course towards the ship thought to be under attack and increased speed. She then prepared to attack with a full pattern of depth charges. Luckily for Gladstone, less than a minute after going to actions stations, she observed the signal “am aground” enabling her to reduce speed and prevent a hard grounding on the reef. As it was, Gladstone made a soft grounding and, thanks to some masterful manoeuvring of the vessel, was refloated 42 minutes later. She navigated her way clear of the reef and waited, in company with Gympie and Stawell, until daylight.
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