List of Australian Military Vessel Losses.
You can visit our Google Earth page for information on where they were lost.
|HMA AE1||Submarine||14-09-1914||On 14/9/1914 HMA Submarine AE1, (LCDR T. F. Besant, RN), was lost while patrolling off the Duke of York Island. The wreck of the submarine was found in December 2017||The full complement of 2 officers and 32 ratings killed|
|HMA AE2||Submarine||30-04-1915||On 30/4/1915 the submarine HMAS AE2, (LCDR H. H. G. D. Stoker, RN), was sunk by the Turkish torpedo boat SULTAN HISSAR in the Sea of Mamora||No losses during sinking but 4 died in captivity|
|HMAT Geelong||Transport||01-01-1916||Collided with SS Bonvilston in the Mediterranean and sank on 1 January 1916.|
|HMAT Itonus||Transport||20-12-1916||HMAT Itonus torpedoed and sunk near Malta in the Mediterranean by Austrian submarine U-38 on 20 Dec 1916 as she was making her way from Marseilles to Sydney with a load of tiles. Five engine room crew members perished, and the Captain was taken prisoner. All other crew escaped in lifeboats.||5 killed|
|HMAT Marere||Transport||18-01-1917||The cargo ship was shelled and sunk in the Mediterranean Sea 236 nautical miles (437 km) east of Malta (35°51′N 19°07′E) by SM U-35 ( Imperial German Navy). Her crew survived|
|HMAT Afric||Transport||12-02-1917||On 12 February 1917 she was sunk in the English Channel after being torpedoed by the German submarine SM UC-66, whilst sailing outbound between Liverpool and Plymouth, 12 miles (19 km) south south-west of the Eddystone Lighthouse, there were 145 survivors, but 22 people lost their lives.|
The wreck lies at the position (49°59′N 04°18′W) at a depth of around 70 metres (229.7 feet), and has been filmed by divers
|HMAT Ballarat||Transport||25-04-1917||Torpedoed by a submarine in the English Channel 25 April 1917. Efforts made to tow the ship to shallow water failed and she sank off The Lizard the following morning. No lives were lost of the 1752 souls on board.|
|HMAT Seang Choon||Transport||10-07-1917||The Seang Choon was sunk off coast of Ireland, 10 July 1917. She was torpedoed by U-87 ten miles southwest of Fastnet with the loss of 19 lives. Carried as part of her general cargo, 400 tons of copper and 601 tons of lead. 350 tons of copper and 601 tons of lead were later salvaged as they were insured for £55,000.||19 killed|
|HMAT Barunga||Transport||15-07-1918||Barunga was on its way to Australia with 800 sick and wounded on board and was torpedoed at 4.30 pm on 15 July 1918. Destroyers which had been some miles away were quickly on the scene to pick up survivors and returned them to Plymouth. All hands were saved before Barunga subsequently sank. SS Barunga was formerly the German-Australian liner Sumatra of Hamburg, captured at Sydney, NSW, at the outbreak of war. She was requisitioned by the Australian Government and during the period 1915-1918 was used to transport troops and or produce in various areas.|
|HMAT Warilda||Hospital Ship||03-08-1918||On 03/08/1918 HMAT Warilda was transporting wounded soldiers from Le Havre, France to Southampton when she was torpedoed by the German submarine UC-49. This was despite being marked clearly with the Red Cross; as with a number of other hospital ships torpedoed during the war, Germany claimed the ships were also carrying arms.|
The ship sank in about two hours, and of the 801 persons on board, 123 died when the Warilda sank. The Deputy Chief Controller of the Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corp, Mrs Violet Long, lost her life in this action. Amongst the survivors was her commander, Captain Sim, who was later awarded the OBE by King George V. Her wreck lies in the English Channel.
|HMAS Goorangai||Auxiliary Minesweeper||20-11-1940||On 20 November 1940 HMAS Goorangai, auxiliary minesweeper, was sunk in a collision with the liner Duntroon in Port Phillip Bay. The full complement of 24 from Goorangai were lost. This was the first RAN loss of WWII.||The full complement of 24 killed|
|HMAS Waterhen||Destroyer||30-06-1941||n 28 June 1941 Waterhen (I) left Alexandria for Tobruk with HMS Defender on what was to be her last run. At 7:45pm on 29 June, off Sollum, both ships were attacked by dive bombers and Waterhen (I), though not directly hit, was holed by near misses and immobilized. Her ship's company and embarked troops were taken off by Defender. There were no casualties.As darkness fell, Defender took Waterhen (I) in tow, but it was soon apparent that she could not be saved and the working party was taken off. At 1:50am on 30 June 1941 the 23-year old 'Chook', as she was affectionately known to her crew, rolled over and sank. She was the first ship of the RAN to be lost by enemy action in World War II.|
|HMAS Sydney II||Cruiser||19-11-1941||HMAS Sydney II sank off Western Australia on 19/11/1941 after engaging the German raider Kormoran||The full complement of 42 officers and 603 ratings killed. This number included 6 members of the Royal Australian Air Force and 4 civilian canteen staff.|
|HMAS Parramatta I||Sloop||27-11-1941||On 27 November 1941 the sloop HMAS Parramatta, (CMDR J. H. Walker, RAN), was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U559, while on passage to Tobruk.|
|HMAS Sirocco||Channel Patrol Boat||26-01-1942||HMAS Sirocco was destroyed by fire and burnt to the waterline at Hobart on 26 January 1942|
|HMAS Mavie||Channel Patrol Boat||19-02-1942||HMAS Mavie, a Channel Patrol Boat, was sunk on 19-02-1942 by Japanese aircraft.|
|Kelat||Coal Hulk||24-02-1942||Damaged by Japanese Air Raid on Darwin on 19-02-1942 and sank 5 days later on 24-02-1942.|
|HMAS Perth I||Cruiser||01-03-1942||On 1 March 1942 HMAS Perth was sunk by enemy action in the Sunda Strait|
|HMAS Yarra II||Sloop||04-03-1942||On 4 March 1942 the sloop HMAS Yarra, (LCDR Robert Rankin, RAN), MMS 51 and the merchant ships ANKING and FRANCO, were overwhelmed and sunk in the Indian Ocean by Japanese fleet of 3 cruisers, (ATAGO, TAKAO and MAYA), and destroyers, commanded by VADM Kondo.|
|Karalee||Lighter||05-03-1942||During the first Darwin air raid on 19 -02-1942 Karalee, a lighter used for unloading vessels in the harbour, was damaged. |
She was repaired but later sank on 02-03-1942 when water entered the hull.
She was refloated on 03-03-1942 but was not secured and floated away into the channel and finally sank on 05-03-1942.
|HMAS Vampire I||Destroyer||09-04-1942||Japanese carrier-borne aircraft sank the destroyer HMAS Vampire, (CMDR W.T.A. Moran, RAN), and HMS Hermes, (light aircraft carrier), off Trincomalee, Ceylon. CMDR Moran, and 7 ratings from Vampire were lost in the action. A total of 590 survivors from both ships were picked up by the hospital ship VITA, and landed at Colombo.||Commander Moran and eight ratings were killed or died of wounds|
|HMAS Kuttabul||Depot Ship||01-06-1942||On the night of 31 May-1 June 1942 three Japanese midget submarines launched an attack on Sydney Harbour. At around 12:30am on 1 June, the midget submarine M-24, crewed by Sub Lieutenant Katsuhisa Ban and Petty Officer Mamoru Ashibe, fired one of its torpedos at the American heavy cruiser, USS Chicago, but missed its intended target. The torpedo struck the seabed underneath Kuttabul sinking the vessel with the loss of 21 lives||21 killed|
|HMAS Nestor||Destroyer||16-06-1942||On 15 June 1942 HMAS Nestor was severely damaged when near-missed by two heavy bombs, 100 miles north of Tobruk.Nestor was an escort for the Operation Vigorous convoy to Malta. The destroyer was taken in tow by HMS Javelin, but was sunk by Javelin on 16 June when it was realised she could not reach port.|
|HMAS Nereus||Naval Auxiliary Patrol Boat||02-07-1942||Burnt out in Sydney Harbour|
|HMAS Siesta||Naval Auxiliary Patrol Boat||14-07-1942||Destroyed off Fremantle by an explosion in the engine room.|
|HMAS Canberra I||Cruiser||10-08-1942||On 9 August 1942 the cruiser HMAS Canberra, (CAPT F. E. Getting, RAN), was mortally damaged in a surprise night sortie by ADML Mikawa's Cruiser Squadron. CANBERRA was hit by torpedoes and point-blank gunfire. CANBERRA was scuttled later in the morning by American destroyers when the extent of her damage was realised.||10 officers and 74 ratings killed|
|HMAS Voyager I||Destroyer||23-09-1942||HMAS Voyager ran aground on 23 September 1942 when supplying troops in Timor.|
|HMAS Armidale I||Minesweeper||01-12-1942||HMAS Armidale was sunk by Japanese aircraft on 1/12/1942 during a mission to resupply troops on Timor||2 officers and 38 ratings killed.Losses of Netherlands East Indies personnel were 2 officers and 58 soldiers.|
|HMAS Patricia Cam||Stores Vessel||22-01-1943||On 22 January 1943 the stores vessel HMAS Patricia Cam (LEUT A. C. Meldrum, RANR), was attacked and sunk by a Japanese sea plane off the Wessel Islands in northern Australia||5 ratings and 3 natives onboard were killed in the attack, or died from wounds and exposure.The Reverend Kentish was picked up by the Japanese seaplane and taken to Dobo, (Aru Islands Group), where he was questioned and later executed by the Japanese.|
|Yampi Lass||Stores Lighter||11-04-1943||Lost in a storm at Darwin. Salvaged in 1945 she was sold for parts.|
|HMAS Adele||Stores Carrier||07-05-1943||On the evening of 7 May 1943 Adele was performing duties as a stores carrier when she was wrecked on a breakwater off Port Kembla, Wollongong, NSW|
|HMAS Maroubra||Cutter||10-05-1943||On the 10th of May 1943, whilst on a return voyage from Thursday Island to Darwin, Maroubra was strafed by a fleet of nine Imperial Japanese Navy Mitsubishi Zero fighters conducting a raid on the Allied airstrip on Milingimbi Island. Maroubra caught fire and the vessel was abandoned, eventually becoming stranded on the beach north-east of the Milingimbi Mission|
|HMAHS Centaur||Hospital Ship||14-05-1943||on 14 May 1943 HMAHS Centaur was sunk by a Japanese submarine, (believed to be I178), off the Queensland coast near Brisbane.|
|HMAS Wallaroo||Minesweeper||11-06-1943||On 11 June 1943 HMAS Wallaroo sank in a collision with the American merchant ship HENRY GILBERT COSTIN, 60 miles west of Fremantle, WA. 3 ratings lost their lives.||3 killed|
|HMAS Silver Cloud||Channel Patrol Boat||22-07-1943||On 12 July 1943 whilst getting underway at Hunters Bay, Sydney Harbour, HMAS Silver Cloud was consumed by fire. She was towed to the nearby wharf at HMAS Penguin where the local fire brigade was able to extinguish the fire, however the fire destroyed a large portion of the vessel to the waterline. A proposal was considered by the RAN for her to be re-built as a stores vessels, however, this was rejected and the remaining hull was sold to Lars Halvorsen and Sons.|
|HMAS Satrfish||Channel Patrol Boat||07-09-1943||On 07-09-1943 HMAS Starfish, a Channel Patrol Boat, ran aground at Wollongong and was declared a total loss.|
|Hulda||Tender||22-09-1943||Sunk by Japanese aircraft at Buna, New Guinea|
|HMAS Gladmor||Naval Auxiliary Patrol Boat||17-10-1943||HMAS Gladmor, a Naval Auxiliary Patrol Boat, was destroyed by fire at Fremantle on 17-10-1943.|
|HMAS Matafele||Stores Vessel||20-06-1944||HMAS Matafele was presumed sunk around 20 June 1944. 4 officers, 20 ratings, and 13 native crew lost their lives when she disappeared.||The full complement of 4 officers, 20 ratings, and 13 native crew were lost|
|HMAS ML430||Motor Launch||14-08-1944||On 14 August 1944 HMAS ML430, (LEUT A. A. Wordsworth, RANVR), was mistaken for an enemy submarine, and was sunk by gunfire from HMAS ML819, (LEUT R. A. E. Moore, RANVR), north of Biak. No lives were lost.|
|HMAS Geelong I||Minesweeper||18-10-1944||On 18 October 1944 HMAS Geelong was sunk in a collision with the US tanker YORK, off Langemak, New Guinea|
|HMAS Marlean||Channel Patrol Boat||12-11-1944||Burnt out in Sydney Harbour|
|HMAS ML 827||Motor Launch||20-11-1944||While on patrol ML 827 went aground in Jacquinot Bay, New Britain on 17 November 1944. She capsized and sank while under tow on 20 November 1944 off Cape Kawai, New Britain|
|HMAS Steady Hour||Air Sea Rescue Craft||03-03-1945||On 3 March 1945 HMAS Steady Hour and HMAS Sea Mist stopped at Melville Bay in East Arnhem in order to repair a cracked bearing in Sea Mist’s port engine. While refuelling alongside the RAAF jetty a static electric spark ignited fumes in Steady Hour’s starboard fuel tank causing a large explosion and fire. The crews of both Steady Hour and Sea Mist courageously fought the flames but the fire quickly took hold igniting the vessel’s ammunition. |
She was subsequently evacuated and towed clear by an RAAF work boat. After an unsuccessful attempt to sink her she was beached south of Drimmie Head. Several members of Steady Hour’s crew suffered burns including her Commanding Officer, Sub Lieutenant Sykes. Sykes was to make a full recovery, later commanding HMAS Mischief before being promoted Lieutenant in July 1945. He demobilised on 5 March 1946.
The subsequent Board of Inquiry found a static spark ignited fumes that had accumulated in a void above the fuel tank. The Board determined that the crews of both vessels did everything possible to extinguish the fire and salvage the ship. The Board also specifically recorded their appreciation of the action of Telegraphist Percy Allan Shirley, O/N B4611 of HMAS Sea Mist in diving into shark infested waters to rescue Leading Seaman [William] Piper who was blown overboard from Steady Hour and is unable to swim. Telegraphist Allan Shirley was later further commended by the Naval Board for his actions.
|HMAS Terka||Stores Carrier||26-03-1945||On 26 March 1944, she was alongside the coal hulk Rona in Madang Harbour, having recently completed coaling, when without warning she took on a sudden list to starboard before coming to an even keel and sinking stern first in eleven fathoms. The weather was dead calm and there was no immediate explanation for her loss. There were only two minor casualties, both of whom recovered from their ordeal in hospital.|
During 1971, RAN Clearance Diving Team One partly cleared the wreck which was obstructing a channel needed to allow oil tankers access to storage tanks to discharge their cargoes.
|HMAS Watcher||Mobile port wireless telegraphy and signal station||15-05-1945||ON 14 May 1945 while towing the 30-ton ketch STINGRAY from Coconut Island to Thursday Island , HMAS Watcher, commanded by Commissioned Officer from Warrant Rank Francis G. Squire RANR [S] , grounded one mile off Harvey Rock Light. The ship was a total loss but there were no casualties.|
|HMAS Fauro Chief||Auxiliary Schooner||16-05-1945||Sank when a jetty collapsed at Milne Bay|
|HMAS Lolita||Air Sea Rescue Craft||13-06-1945||HMAS Lolita was alongside the wharf at Alexishafen at HMAS Madang nested with four other motor launches on 13-06-1945 when a massive explosion completely destroyed her engine room and wheelhouse. Lolita was quickly aflame as the vessels nearest her, Martindale and HDML 1327, immediately turned their fire hoses on her. It was soon apparent, however, that the situation was irretrievable and with live ammunition embarked in Lolita she posed a considerable threat to both the wharf and those vessels nested with her.|
Lolita's crew was evacuated and Martindale cast off, allowing the burning vessel to be set adrift. A strong north-easterly breeze soon saw Lolita clear of the wharf before she grounded on a reef to the south-west of the base. HMAS Potrero, which had been at anchor at the time, subsequently fired a drum of 20mm ammunition into Lolita ensuring that she would remain hard and fast on reef where the little patrol boat continued smouldering until 10:00pm. She was completely destroyed.
It was later determined that the explosion was caused by a back-flash from the carburettor at the moment that the starter button was pressed, which in turn ignited an explosive mixture of petrol vapour which had accumulated in the engine room bilges.
At least two members of Lolita’s crew, including her Commanding Officer Lieutenant John Trim, RANR, suffered serious injuries. Two members of the base staff, Motor Mechanics William Bertalli and Alfred Smith, engaged in maintenance work aboard Lolita at the time, suffered severe burns and, tragically, later passed away in hospital.
|2 later died of wounds|
|HMAS Warrnambool I||Minesweeper||13-09-1947||On 13 September 1947 HMAS Warrnambool sank after striking an Allied laid mine near Cockburn Reef, QLD.||3 killed and 26 injured|
|HMAS Tarakan||Landing Ship Tank||25-01-1950||On 25 January 1950, HMAS Tarakan was berthed alongside HMAS Kuttabul naval base at Garden Island in Sydney, making good defects prior to departure for New Guinea, when an explosion occurred aft under the mess decks. The explosion killed seven sailors and one dockyard tradesman, and injured twelve sailors and a second tradesman. The ship was extensively damaged. |
Tarakan's captain and executive officer were subsequently court martialed for negligence during March 1950, and were found not guilty. In April that year the coroner ruled that the explosion was accidental, and most likely caused by an electric arc from a fan in a compartment of the ship which had filled with petrol fumes.
Tarakan never returned to seagoing service following the incident in 1950. She was sold for breaking up on 12 March 1954.
The ship caught fire again while she was being scrapped in the Sydney suburb of Balmain during September 1954, but damage was minimal and there were no serious injuries.
|8 killed and 13 injured|
|HMAS Woomera||Stores Carrier||11-10-1960||On 11 October 1960 an explosion occurred onboard HMAS Woomera during an ammunition dumping operation off the NSW coast which started a fierce fire in Woomera’s hold. A sailor pulled a flare from a pile and there was a small crack, followed by a blinding flash and a large volume of whitish-yellow smoke. A fierce fire followed in the hold, from which some ratings escaped. The ship sank about 90 minutes after the fire started. The ship’s Executive Officer, Lieutenant (later Commodore) Sam Bateman later recalled the incident: “It was a wooden ship, so once the fire took hold it burnt (sic) very quickly. The crew abandoned ship mostly with their lifejackets. The fire came up over the superstructure so there was no time to launch the lifeboats.”|
Lieutenant Bateman, the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Doug Marshall, the navigator, the chief engineer and the radio operator remained on board dumping ammunition for another ten minutes after the rest of the crew had abandoned ship. The fire claimed the lives of two sailors, Able Seaman Barrie Baker and Seaman Robert Herd who were part of an attached work party and not actually part of Woomera’s crew. After spending approximately an hour in the water the 25 survivors were rescued by the frigate HMAS Quickmatch and destroyer HMS Cavendish which were exercising nearby. Quickmatch and Cavendish conducted an unsuccessful search for the two missing sailors before transporting the survivors to Sydney
|HMAS Voyager II||Destroyer||10-02-1964||On the night of Monday 10 February 1964, HMAS Melbourne (II) was engaged in night flying exercises off the New South Wales coast. Voyager (II)’s role was that of plane guard, involving the rescue, if necessary, of aircrew personnel from the sea. Since both ships had just completed refits, this was the first time they had been involved in close quarters maneuvering for almost six months. Both the carrier and destroyer were ‘darkened’ with only navigational/operational lighting in use.|
At approximately 20:56, some twenty miles south east of Jervis Bay, the two ships were in collision. Melbourne (II) struck Voyager (II) at the aft end of her bridge, heeling her over to an angle of about 50 degrees. A flash appeared to come from Voyager (II)’s ‘A’ Boiler, and she emitted high pressure steam and black smoke. Debris, including the revolution table from Voyager (II)’s bridge, and a pair of binoculars, was thrown onto Melbourne (II)’s flight deck.
The impact pushed Voyager (II) bodily through the water for a few seconds, and then she broke in two. Her forward section passed down Melbourne (II)’s port side, and the stern section down the starboard side. The forward section sank soon afterwards and the after section about three hours later. The disaster resulted in the loss of 82 lives (14 officers, including the Commanding Officer, 67 sailors and one civilian dockyard employee). There were 232 survivors. Melbourne (II) was damaged but sustained no casualties.
The wreck of HMAS Voyager (II) lies some 600 fathoms deep, twenty nautical miles off Cape Perpendicular on a bearing of 120 degrees.
|HMAS Arrow||Patrol Boat||25-12-1974||When Cyclone Tracy struck darwin the patrol boats HMAS Arrow, (LEUT R. G. Dagworthy, RAN), and HMAS Attack, (LEUT P. Degraaff, RAN), attempted to sail and ride out the storm as sea. Neither vessel made it out of the harbour. ATTACK was blown ashore and damaged, and Arrow was driven under Stokes Hill Wharf, and sank with the loss of two of her crew, (PO Leslie Catton and AB Ian Rennie). HMA Ships Advance and Assail, (patrol boats), also suffered some damage, but remained afloat. Later that day CAPT Johnston was able to re-establish communications with Fleet Headquarters, and advise them of the total destruction of Darwin, and loss of vessels and life. He later wrote; 'The scene at first light was beyond belief, the harbour empty, every building within eyesight destroyed with the exception of Government House. Soon after dawn the crew of the patrol boat Arrow arrived outside my wrecked headquarters to report that their vessel had been driven under Stokes Hill Wharf, losing two crew in the process'.||2 killed|
|HMAS Bundaberg II||Patrol Boat||18-12-2014||In June 2014 Bundaberg entered a refit at Aluminium Boats Australia Pty Ltd in Brisbane. At 11:52 on 11 August 2014 a fire, thought to be caused by a ‘blow through’ during welding activities, broke out in Bundaberg while she was on the hardstand. The fire quickly took hold spreading throughout the boat. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services brought the blaze under control at around 15:44 that afternoon but by that time, the damage to the boat was extensive. After examinations to assess whether the vessel could be salvaged, the decision was made to decommission Bundaberg on 18 December 2014. Her hull was subsequently dismantled and disposed of as scrap.|