Allied Warships

HMAS Bathurst (J 158)

Minesweeper of the Bathurst class

NavyThe Royal Australian Navy
PennantJ 158 
Built byCockatoo Docks and Engineering Co. Ltd. (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia) 
Ordered9 Dec 1939 
Laid down10 Feb 1940 
Launched1 Aug 1940 
Commissioned6 Dec 1940 
End service27 Sep 1946 

HMAS Bathurst began her career in January 1941 as a unit of the 21st Minesweeping Flotilla (RAN), operating on the east Australian coast.

In March 1941 she left Australian waters for Malaya, where she operated as a patrol vessel based on Singapore until 26th May 1941.

On 3rd June 1941 she arrived at Colombo and there joined the Eastern Fleet for escort and patrol duties. At the close of June, HMAS Bathurst entered the Red Sea, spending a month in those waters before docking at Alexandria on 4th August 1941.

On 25th August 1941 she returned to Aden, and then began a period covering; three-and-a-half months on patrol in the Gulf of Tajura (French Somaliland), with the mission of preventing dhow traffic and blockade maintenance of the African coast. On 18th October 1941 she captured the French launch Heron, a dhow on 5th September and another on 14th November 1941.

Red Sea patrols ended on 16th December when she proceeded to Colombo, arriving on 29th December. Throughout 1942 she was based on Colombo for escort and patrol duties in the Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea. On 18th October 1942 her commander, Lt-Cdr A. V. Bunyan, RANR(S), was relieved by Lt-Cdr C. MacDonald, RANR(S), after almost two years in command. At this stage of her career HMAS Bathurst had steamed 70 ,000 miles and escorted more than 1,000 ,000 tons of shipping without loss.

Bombay-Persian Gulf-Aden convoys kept her almost constantly at sea during the period January-August 1943. Inter-spersed with anti-submarine patrols she escorted twenty-eight convoys safely across the Arabian Sea.

In September 1943 with 102,000 miles steaming behind her, she began refitting at Colombo . Convoy escort (Colombo-Bombay) was resumed in November, and the year closed with HMAS Bathurst at sea en route for Calcutta.

Colombo-Bombay escort duties continued in 1944. At Bombay on 14th April HMAS Bathurst played a worthy role in the rescue and salvage work that followed the explosion of the munition ships Fort Strikine and Jalapadma. Fifteen ships were gutted by the resulting fires and large numbers of the local population killed and injured.

On 7th August 1944 HMAS Bathurst reached Colombo after escorting her last Indian Ocean convoy. Three weeks later ( 29th August) she sailed for Australian ending almost three and a half years Indian Ocean--Red Sea service. On 20th September 1944 she entered Fremantle harbour.

Australian coastal anti-submarine patrols kept her in home waters until April 1945 when she proceeded to New Guinea waters. At this stage of the Pacific War, with the Philippines in American hands, there remained only routine patrols for her until the end of hostilities in August 1945.

The war ended, HMAS Bathurst proceeded to the Far East as a unit of the 21st Minesweeping Flotilla (eleven Australian Minesweepers) attached to the British Pacific Fleet. based on Hong Kong the Flotilla carried out sweeping operations on the China coast until mid-November 1945.

On 9th December 1945 she returned to Sydney, bringing her sea-going career to an end., She had steamed 150,165 miles. On 27th September 1946 she was placed in Reserve for disposal and on 21st June 1948 she was sold to T. Carr and Co of Sydney as scrap.


Commands listed for HMAS Bathurst (J 158)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1Lt.Cdr. Andrew Veitch Bunyan, RANR(S)9 Sep 194018 Oct 1942
2T/Lt. Charles Macdonald, RANR(S)18 Oct 19421 Sep 1944
3Lt. Thomas Hartley Smith, RANR(S)2 Sep 194422 Feb 1945
4A/Lt.Cdr. Kenneth Oswald Stewart, RANR23 Feb 19456 Feb 1946

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Notable events involving Bathurst include:

3 Feb 1942

Convoy JS 1.

This convoy departed Colombo on 3 February 1942 and arrived at Batavia, Netherlands East Indies on 14 February 1942.

This convoy was made up of the following ships;
British transports; Adastrus (7905 GRT, built 1923), Alice Moller (4986 GRT, built 1914), Filleigh (4856 GRT, built 1928), Lulworth Hill (7628 GRT, built 1940), Modasa (9070 GRT, built 1921), Prominent (2232 GRT, built 1918) and Yoma (8131 GRT, built 1928).

Norwegian transports Hai Lee (3616 GRT, built 1934) and Hermion (5202 GRT, built 1937).

The Alice Moller had to return to Colombo with defects.

The convoy sailed from Colombo on 3 February 1942 and was escorted initially by the British heavy cruiser HMS Cornwall (Capt. P.C.W. Manwaring, RN) and the Australian minesweepers HMAS Bathurst (Lt.Cdr. A.V. Bunyan, RANR(S)) and HMAS Lismore (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Crawford, RANR(S)).

The Australian minesweepers parted company with the convoy on 5 February. HMS Cornwall was relieved by HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) around 1350GH/10 in position 05°40'S, 93°00'E.

Around 2000GH/11, the British heavy cruiser HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN) joined the escort and remained with it until 13 February.

Around 1100GH/12, the British destroyer HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN) joined the convoy followed around 1500GH/12 by the Indian sloop HMIS Jumna (Cdr. W.R. Shewring, RIN).

At 1530GH/13, the convoy was split up and the Filleigh Lulworth Hill, Yoma, Hai Lee and Hermion arrived at Oosthaven, Sumatra. They were escorted by HMAS Hobart and HMIS Jumna. HMIS Jumna remained at Oosthaven to provide A/S protection for that port together with the Australian minesweepers HMAS Goulburn (Lt. B. Paul, RANR(S)) and HMAS Burnie (T/A/Lt.Cdr. G.E. Gough, RANR(S)).

The other ships of the convoy, the Adastrus, Modasa, and Prominent arrived at Batavia on 14 February 1942 escorted by HMS Electra.

HMAS Hobart later also went on to Batavia but while en-route she was ordered to return to Oosthaven. (1)

6 Feb 1942
Around 0830 hours, HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN) and HMS Guardian (A/Capt. H.A.C. Lane, RN), were joined in approximate position 00°30'N, 75°36'E, by the Australian minesweepers HMAS Bathurst (Lt.Cdr. A.V. Bunyan, RANR(S)) and HMAS Lismore (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Crawford, RANR(S)) which were to escort them to Trincomalee. (2)

7 Feb 1942
Early in the morning, HMAS Bathurst (Lt.Cdr. A.V. Bunyan, RANR(S)), developed engine problems which reduced her speed. HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN) then parted company with HMS Guardian (A/Capt. H.A.C. Lane, RN), HMAS Bathurst and HMAS Lismore (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Crawford, RANR(S)), and proceeded to Trincomalee unescorted. (2)

13 Feb 1942

Combined convoy BM 13 and JS 3.

Convoy BM 13 departed Bombay on 13 February 1942.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports; City of London (British, 8875 GRT, built 1907, 2271 troops and stores), City of Paris (British, 10902 GRT, built 1922, 1390 troops and stores), Eastern Prince (British, 10926 GRT, built 1929, 1277 troops and stores), Egra (British, 5109 GRT, built 1911, 926 troops and stores), Esperance Bay (British, 13837 GRT, built 1922, 1357 troops and stores) and Kosciuszko (Polish, 6598 GRT, built 1915, 254 troops and stores).

On departure from Bombay this convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Caledon (A/Capt. H.J. Haynes, DSO, DSC, RN).

The convoy merged with convoy JS 3 around 0930F/17 in position 05°52'S, 77°18'E. HMS Caledon then parted company to proceed to Colombo.

Convoy JS 3 departed Colombo on 16 February 1942.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports; Empire Glade (7006 GRT, built 1941, 243 service personnel), Madras City (9040 GRT, built 1940 200 service personnel), Penrith Castle (6369 GRT, built 1929, 236 service personnel), Silverteak (6770 GRT, built 1930, 500 service personnel) and Silverwillow (6373 GRT, built 1930, 236 service personnel).

On departure from Colombo this convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Glasgow (Capt. H. Hickling, DSO, RN), sloop HMS Falmouth (Cdr. U.H.R. James, RN) and the minesweeper HMAS Bathurst (Lt.Cdr. A.V. Bunyan, RANR(S)).

The combined convoy then set course for the Batavia area.

On 21 February the combined convoy was ordered to steer to the north. Later it was ordered to proceed to Colombo where it arrived on 25 February 1942.

The heavy cruiser HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. A.W.S. Agar, VC, DSO, RN) had been breefly with the convoy during the morning of 23 February 1942. (1)

2 Mar 1942

Convoy C 5.

This convoy departed Colombo on 2 March 1942.

It was made up of the following transports; Mendoza (British (former French), 8233 GRT, built 1919), Silverteak (British, 6770 GRT, built 1930) and Yoma (British, 8131 GRT, built 1928).

On departure from Colombo the convoy was escorted by the minesweeper HMAS Bathurst (Lt.Cdr. A.V. Bunyan, RANR(S)).

Around 0105EF/4, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Hector (Capt.(Retd.) F. Howard, DSC, RN) joined the convoy in position 10°30'N, 74°48'E. HMAS Bathurst then parted company.

The convoy arrived at Bombay on 6 March 1942. (1)

21 May 1942
HrMs K XI (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Deketh, RNN) departed Colombo for Bombay, India. She was escorted by the Australian minesweeper HMAS Bathurst (Lt.Cdr. A.V. Bunyan, RANR(S)). (3)

31 May 1943

Convoy PB 43.

This convoy departed Bandar Abbas on 31 May 1943 and arrived at Bombay on 5 June 1943.

It was made up of the following transports; Aronda (British, 9031 GRT, built 1941), Brangaza (Norwegian, 6327 GRT, built 1924), British Fusilier (British (tanker), 6943 GRT, built 1923), El Madina (British, 3962 GRT, built 1937), Nevasa (British, 9213 GRT, built 1913), Valentijn (Dutch, 2071 GRT, built 1928) and Varsova (British, 4701 GRT, built 1914).

The convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Durban (Capt. G.F. Stevens-Guille, DSO, OBE, RN) and the minesweepers HMAS Bathurst (T/Lt. C. Macdonald, RANR(S)) and HMIS Carnatic (T/Lt. C.S. Loughnane, RINVR). (4)

6 Jul 1943

Convoy PB 47.

This convoy departed Khasab Bay on 6 July 1943.

On departure from Khasab Bay the convoy was made up of the following ships; Barjora (British, 3164 GRT, built 1912), British Architect (British (tanker), 7388 GRT, built 1922), British Chemist (British (tanker), 6997 GRT, built 1925), British Hope (British (tanker), 6951 GRT, built 1928), British Sincerity (British (tanker), 8538 GRT, built 1939), British Zeal (British (tanker), 8532 GRT, built 1937), Carelia (British (tanker), 8062 GRT, built 1938), El Madina (British, 3962 GRT, built 1937), El Segundo (Panamanian (tanker), 3664 GRT, built 1912), George Wythe (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Horace Gray (American, 7200 GRT, built 1943), John A. Sutter (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), John Lykes (American, 6829 GRT, built 1941), Masimpur (British (tanker), 5586 GRT, built 1927), Nigerstroom (Dutch, 4639 GRT, built 1939), Norfjell (Norwegian (tanker), 8129 GRT, built 1942), Olynthus (British (tanker), 6888 GRT, built 1918), Polarsol (Norwegian (tanker), 10022 GRT, built 1939), San Alvaro (British (tanker), 7385 GRT, built 1935), Santhia (British, 7754 GRT, built 1925), Steaua Romana (British (tanker), 4969 GRT, built 1916), Straat Malakka (Dutch, 6439 GRT, built 1939), Thorshavn (Norwegian (tanker), 6869 GRT, built 1930), Valentijn (Dutch, 2071 GRT, built 1928), Varela (British, 4651 GRT, built 1914) and Varsova (British, 4701 GRT, built 1914).

The convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Ceres (A/Capt. R.C. Harry, RN) and the minesweepers HMAS Bathurst (T/Lt. C. Macdonald, RANR(S), HMAS Burnie (T/Lt. T. Christie, RANR(S)) and HMIS Carnatic (T/Lt. J.U. Webb, RINVR).

At 0735Z/7 the transport Barala (British, 3148 GRT, built 1912) joined the convoy.

At 0100Z/8, the Nordfjell was detached from the convoy.

At 1250Z/8, six ships were detached. These were the British Zeal, George Wythe, Horace Gray, John Sutter, Olynthus and Steaua Romana.

At 1130Z/9, ten ships were detached to Karachi were they arrived on 10 July 1943. These were the Barala, Barjora, British Sincerity, El Madina, El Segundo, John Lykes, Nigerstroom, Santhia, Straat Malakka and Varsova. They were escorted by HMS Ceres and HMAS Burnie for a while but these later rejoined the ' Bombay section '.

The remaining ships, British Architect, British Chemist, British Hope, Carelia, Masimpur, Polarsol, San Alvaro, Thorshavn, Valentijn and Varela proceeded to Bombay where they arrived on 12 July 1943 as did the escorts.

12 Jul 1943
HMS Ceres (A/Capt. R.C. Harry, RN), HMAS Bathurst (T/Lt. C. Macdonald, RANR(S), HMAS Burnie (T/Lt. T. Christie, RANR(S)) and HMIS Carnatic (T/Lt. J.U. Webb, RINVR) arrived at Bombay from convoy escort duty. (5)

1 Apr 1945
Around 1000K/1, HMAS Nepal (Lt.Cdr. C.J. Stephenson, RAN) and HMAS Nizam (A/Lt.Cdr. W.F. Cook, RAN) departed Sydney for gunnery exercises on a target that was being towed by HMAS Bathurst (A/Lt.Cdr. K.O. Stewart, RANR).

On completion of the exercises, HMAS Nepal returned to harbour while HMAS Nizam was joined at sea by HMAS Napier (Capt. H.J. Buchanan, DSO, RAN) and HMAS Norman (Cdr. J. Plunkett-Cole, RAN) which had departed Sydney at 1200K/1. Course was then set for Manus. (6)

4 Apr 1945
HMS Voracious (Lt. F.D.G. Challis, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Sydney with HMAS Bathurst (A/Lt.Cdr. K.O. Stewart, RANR). (7)


  1. ADM 199/426
  2. ADM 53/116603 + ADM 199/426
  3. File (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  4. ADM 53/117421 + ADM 199/636 + ADM 199/643
  5. ADM 53/117179 + ADM 199/643
  6. Report of proceedings of HMAS Nizam for April 1945
  7. ADM 173/20341

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.

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