- Bradford, John
- Ship histories and stories, History - WW2
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Hobart I, HMAS Yarra II
- March 1998 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Inevitably my line of research was destined to raise many more questions than answers – for starters: what became of all those correspondence files for which, save for their ledger entries, records no longer exist? If they were destroyed, when were they destroyed, by whom and for what reason?
Also, concerning the roles of the various central characters of the debate over YARRA gallantry claims:
To the Minister for the Navy (be it Makin or Riordan)
- Which Minister claimed Rankin’s action `paralleled’ that of the `Commander of the JERVIS BAY?
- In what context and what place was the comment made?
- And if the particular Minister felt that way, why was not a formal request made by the Australian Government to exercise powers, granted under the Warrant of 31 Dec. 1942, ((‘The Evolution of the Victoria Cross’, Michael Crook, Midas Books, Turnbridge Wells, 1975.)) to forward to the British Admiralty recommendations for VC awards?
To Australian members of the Naval Board:
- Why would DNI decline to respond to DCNS’s request for his comments?
- Why didn’t Cdre Showers seek to clarify his own query by contacting Harrington who, at that time, was stationed at HMAS PENGUIN, Sydney? Alternatively, why didn’t Showers request YARRA’s final ROP?
- Why were two, senior, Naval Board RAN officers reluctant to query an Admiral’s decision?
To Royle and Hamilton:
- What, if anything, was the substance of Royle’s 1942 investigation into the question of recognition for YARRA and what was his response to Howden’s general query of Nov. 1943?
- Was there any documentation associated with YARRA’s loss beyond statements made by survivors?
- What justification would Hamilton have had for merely assuming that Royle had fully considered the matter in 1942? (As Royal Navy men, both must surely have been aware of the significance of the JERVIS BAY action).
- Did Hamilton actually request the correspondence file covering what his predecessor may or may not have done in 1942, and after?
- Failing this, why did Hamilton choose not to consult with his fellow Naval Board members over the issue?
By way of concluding this article I wish to place one strongly-held belief on record. Hamilton’s decision to leave things as they were should have become a source of acute embarrassment to the Board in the ensuing postwar years. Not only would they have been increasingly compelled to look the other way as the various accounts were published in 1946-9 (yet another glowing testimony on YARRA followed in Eldridge’s 1949 `History of the RANC’), the realisation must have sheeted home they had singularly and collectively failed in their obligation to seek recognition for the heroism and sacrifice of some very fine Australians.