- Zammitt, Alan
- Biographies and personal histories
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Kanimbla I, HMAS Sydney III
- March 1982 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
On September 1st we anchored off Cawsand Bay near a small Cornish village, and just about everyone in the village came out to watch us. After embarking the remaining personnel of the 21st CAG the Sydney sailed for Tor Bay for the weekend.
From Tor Bay we met our attendant destroyer HMS Rapid, and headed for Moray Firth via Pentland Firth, where we were met by a full gale.
Sydney anchored off Cromarty on 8th September 1950, and the next day proceeded to Invergordon for the weekend. Ashore, the surname of Gordon was very common. Commander Smith arranged 100 mile bus tours from Invergordon to the Scottish Highlands where we saw huge castles, salmon jumping up waterfalls, heather, highland cattle, etc.
On Monday, September 11th we sailed from Invergordon to continue working up the 21st CAG for the week when weather permitted. Sydney visited Rosyth from 16th until 19th September 1950. The Revenge was being broken up at Inverkeithing. Most of the ship’s company visited Edinburgh.
After leaving Rosyth, we headed north, carrying out flying if the weather was suitable during the day, and anchored off Scotland at night.
From 22nd September 1950, we spent two days at Invergordon before sailing for more exercises. Tuesday night, September 26th, was spent anchored off the village of Cromarty. Near the town was an old castle called by the same name as the village. On Wednesday we anchored off Lossiemouth where the RNAS is situated.
Because we were encountering such bad weather in the Invergordon area and off the northeast coast of Scotland, Captain Harries decided to proceed to the west coast of Scotland in the hope of getting some flying carried out in the lee of Ireland. We pitied the destroyer Rapid and her crew as we struck rough weather in the Pentland Firth and the Butt of Lewis.
Some flying was carried out off the Irish coast, including the deck landing of our Sea Otter flown by Mr. Webb, a commissioned pilot. This was Mr. Webb’s first deck landing in a Sea Otter and there was more than the usual number of goofers watching the landing.
On 28th September 1950, Sydney anchored in Brodick Bay and the next day at the Tail of the Bank near Greenock, where fuel was embarked from the RFA Cezerol and two damaged aircraft were disembarked.
After sailing from the Clyde the Sydney arrived and anchored in Belfast Lough off Bangor, County Down on 1st October 1950, where HMS Illustrious and her destroyer HMS Roebuck were already at anchor.
The Sydney remained at Bangor for 4 days while Captain Harries and some 40 officers and aircrewmen attended lectures at the Joint Anti-Submarine School at Londonderry. Commodore J.M. Armstrong, DSO, RAN joined the Sydney before sailing for antisubmarine exercises. Commodore Armstrong had commanded the RN escort carriers HMS Ruler and later HMS Vindex after leaving the Australia in 1945.
The anti-submarine exercises were carried out in conjunction with submarines, destroyers, and frigates based at Londonderry.
The Sydney remained anchored off Bangor between 5th and 9th October 1950. Weekend leave was given and a large number of the ship’s company headed for Dublin.
Sydney continued her anti-submarine exercises, sometimes with the Loch Tral A16, Crispin, Creole, Rapid and HM submarines Truncheon and Alliance, mostly RN ships of the Third Training Flotilla based at Londonderry, followed by a visit to Belfast and Greenock, after which the Sydney proceeded up the Clyde River to the King George and Fifth Dock, Glasgow. During the stay, 23 Fireflies and 32 Furies, together with air stores were embarked for passage to Australia.
We sailed from Glasgow on 18th October passing many ships being built on the Clyde, including the Cruiser Tiger, and arrived at Portsmouth on 20th October passing Indomitable, Implacable, Victorious, HMCS Magnificent, Sirius, Royalist and Duke of York. Portsmouth dockyard was so full of ships there was no room for us to come alongside so we had to embark our stores in the stream, using lighters and which made a lot of double handling.
Sydney sailed for Australia on 26th October 1950.