On This Day
1942 > WW2
On This Day - 1942
- December 23, 1942
The Bathurst class minesweeper, (corvette), HMAS WAGGA, (LEUT D. K. Cracknell, RANR), was commissioned. WAGGA was laid down in Mort’s Dock, Sydney, 9 March 1942, and launched on 25 July 1942.
The auxiliary boom defence vessel HMAS KOOMPARTOO, was commissioned. KOOMPARTOO was laid down in Walsh Island, Newcastle, NSW, in 1922. She was transferred to the RAN, from the British Ministry of War Transport, in October 1942.
- December 21, 1942
HMAS QUIBERON, (destroyer), took off troops and crew from the bombed and burning transport STRATHALLAN, torpedoed off North Africa.
- December 15, 1942
HMAS CASTLEMAINE, (minesweeper), beat off Japanese aircraft attacks on the convoy she was escorting on the north Australian coast.
- December 13, 1942
HMA Ships COLAC, BALLARAT, BROOME, and WHYALLA, (minesweepers), landed troops at Buna, New Guinea.
- December 12, 1942
Merchant vessel MERKUR was requisitioned by the RAN and converted to a victualling ship.
- December 9, 1942
HMAS LANIKAI, (auxiliary boom defence vessel), was commissioned. LANIKAI was lost in a storm in the Philippines in 1946.
- December 7, 1942
HMAS BUNGAREE, (minelayer), laid a defensive minefield along the Great Barrier Reef QLD, to protect shipping lanes from Japanese submarine attacks.
- December 3, 1942
HMAS COOTAMUNDRA, (minesweeper), was launched at Poole & Steel’s Yard, Sydney. On the same day HMAS PIRIE was launched at Whyalla, SA.
- December 2, 1942
HMAS QUIBERON, (destroyer), with HM Ships ARGONAUT, AURORA, SINUS, and QUENTIN, sank the Italian destroyer FOLGORE, and four merchant ships, in a point-blank night attack off Skerki Bank, North Africa.
HMAS KURU, (auxiliary patrol boat), fought off 23 attacks by 44 Japanese aircraft in the Arafura Sea. An estimated 200 bombs fell in close proximity to the 23 metre wooden vessel. Although damaged by near-misses, KURU arrived safely at Darwin on 3 December.
A motorboat from HMAS ARMIDALE, (minesweeper), set out for Darwin to obtain assistance for other survivors on rafts. The boat was sighted by an RAAF reconnaissance aircraft on 5 December, 150 miles north-east of the position where ARMIDALE sank. HMAS KALGOORLIE found the boat next day. The 35 men on the rafts were never recovered.
- December 1, 1942
The minesweeper HMAS ARMIDALE, (LCDR D. H. Richards, RAN), was sunk by 12 Japanese bombers, 70 miles south of Betano Bay, Timor. ARMIDALE was involved in the re-supply of Australian and Dutch forces fighting a guerilla campaign against Japanese forces in Timor. The ship was struck by two torpedoes, and sank within a few minutes, with the loss of over 2 officers, 38 ratings, and 37 Dutch native troops. Japanese aircraft then machine gunned the survivors in the water. OS Teddy Sheean, despite being mortally wounded, remained at his 20 mm Oerlikon gun, and continued to fire at the attacking aircraft, even when his position had gone under water. He was credited with shooting down one of the enemy aircraft, and driving the others off. Sheean was later posthumously awarded a MID, and in 2001 a Collins class submarine was commissioned as HMAS SHEEAN in his honour. This was the first and only time a ship of the RAN had been named in honour of a sailor.
HMAS KURU recorded in her Report of Proceedings:- ‘Attacks by Japanese bombers off Timor: Two on my bows, about 10 feet off, one aft, which blew up our assault boat which was being towed by 10 feet of line. The straddle shook up the ship’s clock, an eight day striking clock, and rang the bell. One of the ratings, Signalman Jamieson, looked up at the planes and said “Tojo, you’ve got a bloody cigar”.’