- A.N. Other and NHSA Webmaster
- Ship histories and stories, History - Between the wars
- None noted.
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Anzac I
- March 2011 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
As regards speed, the older destroyer men were a bit critical of Anzac, probably because she could not keep up with the flotilla that she was supposed to lead. Anzac ran trials with a displacement of 1,511 tons, so it can be assumed that she was in light condition. Her speed, however, was disappointing. With her main engines developing 37,060 shp and turning over at 653.1 rpm, she managed to make 32.91 knots. When loaded down to her deep displacement, she could manage about 29 knots, which really wasn’t bad.
Being quite a large ship she was reasonably comfortable, the crew spaces and officers’ cabins following the normal pattern of the day. Evidently she was accepted by her crews, as there appeared to be no really adverse comments from those who served in her. The one constant complaint, which was quite general for all destroyers, was the lack of refrigeration. Meat safes were the order of the day and were most unpopular.
Anzac seems to have been a fairly good seaboat, although in 1918 she did lose two of her funnels and her boats in a North Sea gale. At the time when Anzac suffered this damage she was in company with some of the smaller ‘S’ boats. However, they suffered no damage at all.
Stability was good, and the raised foc’sle was a definite advantage. Although designed for 34 knots, it is extremely doubtful that this speed was ever attained. It was a pity that Anzac was selected as leader for the ‘S’ boats. However, she was still a fairly reliable destroyer and for that reason she was an asset.
The long foc’sle with its superimposed guns gave Anzac a powerful appearance. The straight stem and the three funnels did slightly detract, but she was an easy ship to recognise. Considerably larger than her flotilla mates, she had the air of a leader, of the ‘do as I say’ not ‘do as I do’ type.
Anzac was well supplied with boats, two 25 foot whalers, a 20 foot motor boat and a 13 foot 6 inch skiff being carried. The placing of the davits of one whaler abreast the after deckhouse was an unusual feature. The motor boat was acquired by the Snapper Island Sea Cadets when Anzac was scrapped, and was used by them for many years. By 1930 this little boat had been fitted with a permanent canopy with a rounded screen for the cox’n, who was given a steering position up in the bows.
Service in the RN/RAN
Anzac was commissioned as an HM Ship on 24 April 1917, as leader of the 14th Destroyer Flotilla, Grand Fleet. The 14th was a large flotilla, comprising 23 ‘M’ class boats, with HMS Vampire as half leader. In 1919 she paid off for presentation to the RAN as leader for the five ‘S’ class destroyers.
In September 1919 Commander S.H. Simpson, RN, was appointed to command Anzac and the flotilla as Commander ‘D’. On 27 January 1920 she commissioned as an HMA Ship, and prepared for the delivery voyage to Sydney. The ship was an outright gift to the Commonwealth of Australia, as were the five ’S’ boats that formed the flotilla. Anzac sailed from Plymouth England, on 26 February 1920 and arrived in Sydney on 29 April the same year, after a pleasant trip via Suez, Singapore, and Thursday Island. In July 1920 Commander A.F.W. Howard assumed command as Commander ‘D’. She saw the normal peace time service that prevailed in those years.
During the tour of the Prince of Wales to Australia in 1920, the Prince was transferred from HMS Renown to Anzac to complete his visit to Melbourne. However, the Prince nearly didn’t make it to Melbourne. Or rather, Renown nearly didn’t make it, because of the heavy fog which greeted the battlecruiser at Port Phillip Heads. By 0700, the fog had engulfed Renown. It was virtually impossible for a ship of her size to pass through the narrow and shallow entrance of the bay except at slack water and with clear visibility. Renown ‘stopped steaming and began screaming’. She ‘screamed’ with her siren and called by wireless to Melbourne to request Australian destroyers to come and collect the Prince.