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- December 2006 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Captain James Cook with HM ships Resolution and Discovery, arrived at Kerguelen or Desolation Island and named it after Capitan de Kerguelen, the French navigator.
Entry in New South Wales Colonial Diary: ‘West to south-west winds. Temperature 90 degrees. A turtle bought in HMS Supply from Lord Howe Island, served at the Governor’s table.
Governor Lachlan Macquarie and Mrs. Macquarie celebrated Christmas in HM Colonial Ship Lady Nelson on passage from Hobart to Newcastle. ‘My poor Elizabeth has suffered a great deal from the seasickness’, recorded the Governor.
A Spartan Christmas was the lot of torpedo boat destroyer HMAS Huon in Malayan waters: ‘On patrol – dirty weather – had bully beef and biscuits and some duff knocked up by ourselves’. (Extract from a stoker’s diary.)
HMAS Huon, torpedo boat destroyer, transported the Greek Prime Minister, M Venizelos, and his staff, from Taranto to Piraeus. A crewman wrote: ‘As we passed the British cruisers, they gave us three cheers for going to sea on Christmas Day’.
Commander W Burrows assumed command of the Australian Torpedo Boat Destroyer Squadron.
Destroyer HMAS Stuart was battling heavy seas off Corsica. Christmas fare was a piece of cake and a glass of beer.
Christmas Day on HMAS Perth, cruiser, was heralded by the playing of the hymn ‘Christians Awake’ over the ship’s PA system. The menu for Christmas dinner was: soup, roast turkey, York ham with French beans, green peas, roast and boiled potatoes, Christmas pudding with brandy sauce, fresh fruit and nuts.
Destroyer HMAS Napier at Scapa Flow recorded a ‘coldly sober Christmas’. The fare was turkey, apple pie and ice cream. A disappointed sailor wrote: ‘Never even spliced the main brace – never will forget it’.
HMAS Waterhen, destroyer, off the Libyan coast, sank the Italian supply schooner, Tireremo Diritto west of Bardia. From a prisoner, the destroyer learned that the schooner was carrying Christmas mail and comforts.
The Brisbane-based US submarine Grayback sank four Japanese supply barges with gunfire off New Georgia.
A Japanese coastwatcher on Cape Ward Hunt reported TF74, HMA Ships Australia, Shropshire, Warramunga and Arunta, and US Ships Helm and Ralph Talbot heading towards Cape Gloucester.
The Brisbane-based US Submarine Peto reconnoitred Boang Island in the Solomons and landed a party of coastwatchers.
HMAS Warramunga, Tribal Class destroyer, in the Philippines, served the following Christmas menu: Breakfast: fresh fruit, tea and coffee, cereal, fried eggs and bacon: Dinner: roast turkey and ham, beans and peas, plum pudding and brandy sauce, fruit trifle and jelly, nuts and beer; tea: Christmas cake, nuts, iced fruit juice: Supper: giblet soup, cold roast pork and ham, potato salad and mayonnaise, iced fruit juice.
Frigate HMAS Gascoyne took off 1300 troops from the burning transport Sommelsdijk , torpedoed by Japanese aircraft off Leyte.
The German submarine U682 torpedoed and sank the US Merchant ship Robert J Walker off Jervis Bay.
RAN Chaplains Reverend L. Breslan and Reverend A. Batt celebrate Mass and Holy Communion in HMAS Vendetta, some six miles off the coast of Vietnam.
HMAS Perth, guided missile destroyer withdrew from the firing line off Vietnam and celebrated Christmas Day in Hong Kong. During the day, the ship was visited by the Minister for the Navy, Mr. D J Killen, MHR.
HMAS Arrow, patrol boat, Lieutenant R.G. Dagworthy, RAN, foundered during Cyclone Tracy in Darwin Harbour. Two members of the ship’s crew were lost. HMAS Attack, patrol boat, Lieutenant De Graff, was blown aground and damaged. Naval Headquarters was destroyed during the cyclone.