- Richardson, G
- WWII operations, Ship histories and stories
- None noted.
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Bendigo I, HMAS Vendetta I, HMAS Whyalla I, HMAS Yarra II, HMAS Burnie, HMAS Perth I, HMAS Hobart I, HMAS Cessnock I, HMAS Wollongong I, HMAS Toowoomba I, HMAS Ballarat I, HMAS Taroona, HMAS Bingera, HMAS Adelaide I, HMAS Colac, HMAS Goulburn, HMAS Maryborough
- March 1975 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
9.3.42. Goulburn arrived today. The reaction has set in, and all hands feel terrible.
10.3.42. Maryborough, Toowoomba and Wollongong have come in, thank God. We heard that Stronghold was torpedoed two hours after leaving Tjilatjap and merchant packet copped it half an hour after us. It’s against the law of averages, and it’s good to be alive.
11.3.42. Japs reported loss of one plane at Merak on 27th. You beaut! One to us.
12.3.42. Out on patrol off Rottnest. Wouldn’t it! Well, leave can’t be far off.
14.3.42. A/S patrol. Heard that Perth and Yarra were sunk, the former in Sunda Straits a few hours behind us. Ashville was sunk by a cruiser 23 miles astern of us on the night of 3.3.42. That bomber must have spotted us and reported to the cruiser; and, as we altered course at dusk, the Ashville copped what was meant for us. We got away at 13 knots while 30 and 40-knot ships were skittled!
15.3.42. At 1600 proceeded with Goulburn to rendezvous with convoy of eight large freighters under escort of Cornwall, an 8″ cruiser of the Canberra class. Our losses were announced last night, about 13 men-o-war.
16.3.42. Returned alongside in forenoon. It is now known that Yarra, Frankol, Nankin and Patrol Boat 51 were sunk by cruisers and destroyers. Exeter and Encounter were sunk while trying to reach Sunda Straits from Sourabaya. Perth, Houston, Electra and Pope (Yankee) were sunk at Nicholas Head, the northern entrance to the Straits. Phoenix told us that they nearly opened fire on us, as our camouflage made us look like a small cruiser with aircraft derricks aft. Wow! Some narrow squeaks, what!
17.3.42. Alongside Fremantle. Cornwall, Maryborough and Ballarat slipped and proceeded to sea. The ‘galloping 21st Flotilla’ (corvettes) was reported sunk weeks ago, but we seem to be the only survivors of the massacre.
20.3.42. Hobart arrived, slightly damaged and was surprised to see these cheeky little ships.
22.3.42. Attended thanksgiving Church Parade on Hobart and mention was made of the ‘gallant little corvettes’. The newspapers are full of our exploits. Adelaide arrived with transports.
23.3.42. Queen Mary arrived and anchored.
24.3.42. Slipped and proceeded with QM, later she sailed with two Yank destroyers. Anchored in Gage Roads.
27.3.42. Submarine alarm and we went through our hoops with Goulburn and a destroyer. No luck as usual.
28.3.42. Back in harbour. The old nerves have recovered now, but we miss our rum and tobacco. Alongside Goulburn.
29.3.42. Slipped at noon with Goulburn to escort Panamanian ship George G. Henry. We are bound for Hobart, and expect to be stationed there.
30.3.42. At sea. Weather getting worse, and cold is intense, and the ship is behaving badly. Our speed is a mere 7 knots.
31.3.42. Wind and sea is now on the beam and the quarterdeck is continually awash. We are making history as the first corvettes to ever cross the Great Australian Bight. If she rolls much more she’ll tip over, and we ain’t in the Bight yet.
1.4.42. At sea. Rounded Cape Leeuwin. Left ship at 1400 and increased speed to 11 knots. Sea is on starboard quarter and going down slightly. Woollens and seaboots are in great demand for the first time in months.
2.4.42. Weather getting worse. Ship is rolling over 40 degrees. Now well in the Bight and sliding up and down enormous waves. Have to eat standing up.
3.4.42. At sea. Orders have been changed, we are now to proceed to Adelaide and expect to get there p.m. Sunday. Goulburn is bouncing around, can only see her now and again.
4.4.42. Weather pretty bad; one roll put No. 2 Carley float under water. Passed two transports going west. Enemy subs believed to be in vicinity.
5.4.42. Still at sea. Kangaroo Island sighted at 0200, proceeded through Backstairs Passage in Spencers Gulf. Secured alongside tanker at Outer Harbour at 1000. Whyalla alongside.
6.4.42. Alongside Outer Harbour. Leave granted to ship’s company. Long and slow trip to Adelaide by steam train, but the city is beautiful, people very cordial. Blackout is a bit strict. Three of our boys in a car smash, and left one in hospital (Nipper Norton).
7.4.42. Slipped and proceeded at 0800. We expect to meet up with US submarines during afternoon tomorrow.
8.4.42. Sea is like a mill pond now and sighted two subs at 1415. Altered course east and expect to reach Melbourne Saturday afternoon. Slight delays while subs carry out repairs. We are convoying them owing to the fact that a US sub was damaged by bombs recently from an Aussie plane.
9.4.42. Weather extremely cold, but the sea is calm.
10.4.42. Still at sea, fed up to the back teeth. Want some leave badly.
11.4.42. Entered the Rip at 1345 and secured alongside at Williamstown at 1800. Adelaide is nearby. A much quieter and sober lot than when we left this place a few months ago. War ages one.
12.4.42. Out visiting at Hampton! People glad to see me.
13.4.42. Slipped at 1300. Anchored to await arrival of these infernal subs. 1400 Bingera arrived with two different subs. On our way up the Heads we passed Goulburn with two more subs. Cleared the Rip at 1830. Don’t feel so well, she’s driving into it.
14.4.42. At sea and bound for Brisbane, you beaut!
15.4.42. At sea. Unidentified merchantman altered course and disappeared over the horizon, very suspicious. Sub’s engines giving trouble so we’ve reduced speed. What a life?
16.4.42. Bingera left us and turned towards Sydney during the forenoon. Training gear of the 4″ gun has broken down, and the pompom is seized up owing to bad weather. A/S gear is giving trouble. What a great protection we are.
17.4.42. At sea. We believe the Bingera will relieve us so as we can proceed to Sydney for repairs.
18.4.42. Proceeded to Sydney and secured to No. 6 buoy. No leave granted. Carried out repairs and back to sea at 1700. Sydney natives are mad as rattlers.