- Thomson, Max
- History - WW2, Letter to the Editor
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Hawkesbury I
- June 1999 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Not long after Archie Trader’s letter was received came a package of documentation from Bryan E. Cleary who lives at Anchorage in Alaska USA.
Bryan’s father had served in the South Pacific, especially at the Los Negros Ship Repair Base at Manus.
Amid Bryan’s enthralling collection of documentation was a poignant listing of the numbers dead (45), declared missing (327), and wounded (371); 743 casualties in all. The scope of the disaster also can be measured by the following statistics:
- ships big and small (including Mount Hood) destroyed, sunk, damaged beyond repair or otherwise damaged … 38 plus 66 small craft.
- estimated man hours required to effect repairs … 107,367
Completed at the North Carolina Shipbuilding Yard at Wilmington USA, the USS Mount Hood was on its maiden voyage out into the Pacific.
After only four months of actual service. AE11- USS Mount Hood was struck from the US Naval Register.
Next day, November 11, was Armistice Day and it was a stunned and sombre ship’s company aboard HMAS Hawkesbury when it steamed away from the anchorage at Manus with the transports President Hayes and George Clymer plus the American destroyer USS Kane en route to the Marshall Islands in convoy after that awful day previously when it had virtually rained metal from the sky over the fleet anchorage following the explosion of USS Mount Hood.
Historically, HMAS Hawkesbury was to witness another momentous holocaust when, as guard ship for the official British Atomic Tests off Monte Bello, crewmen were in the operation that purposely disintegrated the Royal Navy frigate HMS Plym when the atomic weapon was detonated.
Max Thomson (Vic. Chapter/Member)