- Mesley, Rear Admiral J.S., CBE, MVO, DSC
- Biographies and personal histories, Ship histories and stories
- None noted.
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Swan II
- September 1987 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
The range of the tide at Broome reaches 28 feet and at low water the wharf is some half mile from the water, so on arrival on 28th, Swan anchored some mile from the landing place.
On 31st the guard was landed and the Captain unveiled a war memorial in the form of a small stone sea chest in the presence of the majority of the population and the crews of many pearling luggers. In the middle of the ceremony a large dog lifted its leg and sprayed the Captain’s immaculate white trousers much to the amusement of the onlookers.
Leaving Broome on 1st November, Swan proceeded to an anchorage in the Timor Sea, arriving on 3rd, to act as wireless link and possible rescue vessel for three Wellesley bombers of the RAF on a non-stop flight from Egypt to Darwin. The water was alive with sharks about eight feet in length and several were caught, opened up and returned to become the centre of furious fights and tugs-of-war amongst their fellows, an awesome sight. Suitable weather for the flight occurred on 6th and the bombers reached Darwin, without mishap, on 7th, when Swan weighed and proceeded to Darwin for fuel arriving on 8th and leaving the next day for Sydney, arriving there on 1st November after a pleasant and calm passage.
Swan was inspected by the Rear-Admiral Commanding the Australian Squadron on 25th November and the ship then prepared for a refit, docking, and the Christmas leave period. The complement was reduced to enable Reserve training to resume in 1939 and a considerable change in personnel took place. I changed over to be Navigating Officer for Yarra on 28th November and in my place Lieutenant James M. Ramsay (later H.E. Sir James Ramsay, Governor of Queensland) joined on 22nd December. Paymaster Lieutenant Owen was relieved by acting Warrant Supply Officer Angus B. Godfrey on 1st January 1939; the First Lieutenant was relieved by Lieutenant Commander Alexander M. Wilkinson on 25th January, 1939 and the Captain was relieved by Commander Henry A. Showers on 26th January 1939. On 28th January Swan sailed for Brisbane and the resumption of Reserve training.
So ended the first two years of Swan’s first commission and a very busy and interesting two years they had been with a lot of steaming, visits to a large number of places some which were rarely, if ever, visited by RAN ships, and the successful training of numbers of Reserve officers and ratings which proved a valuable asset later in 1939 when World War II began.