Allied Warships

HMAS Swan (L 74 / U 74)

Sloop of the Grimsby class

NavyThe Royal Australian Navy
TypeSloop
ClassGrimsby 
PennantL 74 / U 74 
Built byCockatoo Docks and Engineering Co. Ltd. (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia) 
Ordered2 Jan 1935 
Laid down1 May 1935 
Launched28 Mar 1936 
Commissioned21 Jan 1937 
End service20 Sep 1962 
History

Decommissioned on 20 September 1962.
Sold to be broken up for scrap on 5 June 1964.

 

Commands listed for HMAS Swan (L 74 / U 74)

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.

CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Edward James Prevost, RN1 Sep 193914 May 1940
2Lt.Cdr. Alan Jeger Travis, RAN15 May 19408 Jul 1942
3Cdr. George Carmichael Oldham, RAN9 Jul 194218 Sep 1943
4Lt.Cdr. Andrew Veitch Bunyan, RANR(S)19 Sep 194315 Sep 1944
5T/A/Lt.Cdr. Douglas Winston Hodges, RANR(S)15 Sep 194417 Nov 1944

6Lt. William John Dovers, RAN10 Feb 194515 Oct 1945

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Notable events involving Swan include:


8 Sep 1939
The heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (Commodere. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN), destroyer HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Cant, RAN) and the sloops HMAS Swan (Lt.Cdr. E.J. Prevost, RN) and HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN) conducted gunnery exercises off Sydney. (1)

14 Sep 1939
On 14 September the heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (Commodere. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN), destroyers HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN), HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Cant, RAN), HMAS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN) and the sloops HMAS Swan (Lt.Cdr. E.J. Prevost, RN) and HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN) all conducted gunnery exercises off Sydney.

On completion of the exercises all ships entered harbour. (2)

19 Sep 1939
On 19 September the heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (Commodere. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN), destroyers HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN), HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Cant, RAN), HMAS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN) and the sloops HMAS Swan (Lt.Cdr. E.J. Prevost, RN) and HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN) all conducted exercises off Sydney.

HMAS Canberra, HMAS Stuart and HMAS Waterhen continued their exercises during the night of 19/20 September and entered Jervis Bay on the morning of the 20th.

HMAS Vendetta briefly returned to harbour on completion of the exercises. She departed later the same day for Melbourne together with the light cruiser HMAS Adelaide (Cdr. H.A. Showers, RAN). (3)

20 Sep 1939
On 19 September the heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (Commodere. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) and HMAS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN) departed Jervis Bay for night exercises and then to return to Sydney.

One of the exercises they were to perform was intercepting the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) which was en-route from Melbourne to Sydney via Tasmania. She joined the exercises on 21 September.

Before entering harbour on 21 September exercises were carried out off Sydney by HMAS Canberra, HMAS Hobart, HMAS Stuart, HMAS Waterhen, HMAS Swan (Lt.Cdr. E.J. Prevost, RN) and HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN). (4)

29 May 1940
HMAS Perth (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN) departed Western Port Bay and proceeded to Port Phillip (this is the bay south of Melbourne).

4" AA gunnery exercises were then carried out on a sleeve target towed by an aircraft followed by torpedo firing exercises during which HMAS Swan (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Travis, RAN) served as target.

HMAS Perth then anchored off Point Cook. (5)

30 May 1940
HMAS Perth (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN) conducted 4" AA and .5" AA gunnery exercises firing on a sleeve target towed by an aircraft followed by torpedo firing exercises during which HMAS Swan (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Travis, RAN) again served as target. (5)

15 Oct 1940
HMAS Perth (Capt. P.W. Bowyer-Smith, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN) departed Port Phillip (Melbourne) for Sydney. On leaving gunnery exercises were carried out in Port Phillip during which HMAS Swan (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Travis, RAN) acted as target during a trow off shoot. (2)

19 Dec 1941
On this day the heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, CB, RN) and the light cruisers HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) and HMNZS Achilles (Capt. H.M. Barnes, RN) joined a convoy of American transports that had been en-route from San Francisco / Pearl Harbour to Manila but had now been diverted to Australia.

This convoy was escorted by the heavy cruiser USS Pensacola (Capt. N. Scott, USN) and was made up of the (troop) transports; Admiral Halstead (American 3545 GRT, built 1920), Bloemfontein (Dutch, 10081 GRT, built 1934), Coast Farmer (American, 3545 GRT, built 1920), Meigs (American (Army transport, 7358 GRT, built 1921) and Willard A. Holbrook (American (Army transport, 14812 GRT, built 1921).

The transport USS Chaumont (7556 GRT, built 1920) was also part of the convoy as was the troop transport USS Republic (18089 GRT, built 1907).

On 21 December 1941, the sloops HMAS Swan (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Travis, RAN) and HMAS Warrego (Cdr. R.V. Wheatley, RAN) joined the escort to provide A/S protection.

The convoy arrived at Brisbane on 22 December. (6)

28 Dec 1941

Convoy ZK 5.

This convoy departed Sydney on 28 December 1941.

It was made up of the (troop) transports; Aquitania (British, 44786 GRT, built 1914), Herstein (Norwegian, 5100 GRT, built 1939) and Sarpedon (British, 11321 GRT, built 1923). They were escorted by the heavy cruisers HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, CB, RN), HMAS Canberra (Capt. G.D. Moore, RAN) and light cruisers HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) and HMNZS Achilles (Capt. H.M. Barnes, RN).

Around 1500K/2, the sloops HMAS Swan (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Travis, RAN) and HMAS Warrego (Cdr. R.V. Wheatley, RAN) joined the escort.

The convoy arrived at Port Moresby on 3 January 1942. (7)

23 May 1942
At 1000 hours, HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and HMAS Arunta (Cdr. J.C. Morrow, DSO, RAN), turned over the escort of convoy ZK 8 over to HMAS Swan (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Travis, RAN), HMAS Goulburn (Lt. B. Paul, RANR(S)) and HMAS Cessnock (A/Lt.Cdr. T.S. Marchington, RANR(S)).

HrMs Tromp and HMAS Arunta then reversed course to return to Sydney. (8)

14 Aug 1942

Combined convoy A 4 / B 4.

This convoy departed Moreton Bay on 10 August 1942.

It was made up of the following transports; Anhui (British, 3414 GRT, built 1925), Bantam (Dutch, 3322 GRT, built 1930), Cremer (Dutch, 4608 GRT, built 1926), John Hart (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942) and Pennant (American, 6576 GRT, built 1937).

On departure from Moreton Bay the convoy was escorted by the destroyer HMAS Stuart (Cdr. S.H.K. Spurgeon, DSO, RAN) and the minesweeper HMAS Geelong (Lt. C.G. Hill, RANR(S)).

HMAS Stuart and HMAS Geelong parted company around 1200K/15, in the Capricorn Channel and the convoy continued on unescorted.

Around 0900K/17, the sloop HMAS Swan (Cdr. G.C. Oldham, RAN) and corvette HMAS Cessnock (A/Lt.Cdr. T.S. Marchington, RANR(S)) joined the convoy coming from Townsville. Also coming from Townsville were two more transports, these were the Daniel Boone (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942) and Maetsuycker (Dutch, 4131 GRT, built 1936) while the Pennant was detached to Townsville.

Around 1530K/19, the mineweeper HMAS Warrnambool (T/Lt. E.J. Barron, RANR(S)) made rendezvous with the convoy in position 12.13'S, 147.42'E and then took the transports of convoy B 4 with her to Port Moresby, these were the Daniel Boone, John Hart and Maetsuyker. They arrived at Port Moresby around 0830K/20. They had been joined earlier on the 20th by the minesweeper Colac (Lt. W.S. Reynolds, RANR).

Convoy A 4, made up of the Anhui, Bantam and Cremer meanwhile continued on to Fall River (Milne Bay) escorted by HMS Swan and HMAS Cessnock.

Convoy A 4 arrived at Fall River around noon on 21 August 1942.

31 Oct 1944
Around 1400K/31, HMAS Vendetta (Lt. W.F. Cook, RAN, with Commander (D), Cdr. J.C. Morrow, DSO, RAN on board), HMAS Swan (T/A/Lt.Cdr. D.W. Hodges, RANR(S)) and HMAS Barcoo (A/Lt.Cdr. C.G. Hill, RANR(S) departed Madang for Langemak Bay where they arrived around 1000K/1. It appears that at some point HMAS Vendetta proceeded ahead as she arrived at Langemak Bay around 0700K/31. (9)

2 Nov 1944
Around 0530K/2, HMAS Vendetta (A/Lt.Cdr. W.F. Cook, RAN, with Commander (D), Cdr. J.C. Morrow, DSO, RAN on board), HMAS Swan (T/A/Lt.Cdr. D.W. Hodges, RANR(S)) and HMAS Barcoo (A/Lt.Cdr. C.G. Hill, RANR(S) departed Langemak Bay for Lae where they arrived around 1115K/2.

They departed again around 1845K/2, escorting the transport Cape Alexander (American, 6711 GRT, built 1943) to Jacquinot Bay, New Britain. On board the Cape Alexander were 1100 Australian troops.

They arrived at Jacquinot Bay around 0700K/5 and the troops and stores on board the Cape Alexander were put ashore unopposed.

HMAS Swan and HMAS Barcoo meanwhile conducted A/S patrols off the Bay. (10)

6 Nov 1944

Around 0001K/6, HMAS Vendetta (A/Lt.Cdr. W.F. Cook, RAN, with Commander (D), Cdr. J.C. Morrow, DSO, RAN on board), HMAS Swan (T/A/Lt.Cdr. D.W. Hodges, RANR(S)) and HMAS Barcoo (A/Lt.Cdr. C.G. Hill, RANR(S) left the area of Jacquinot Bay to proceed to Wide Bay for a bombardment of enemy positions near Reid Bay (at the northern end of Wide Bay).

Around 0615K/6, they commenced bombarding their pre-allocated targets. Results were however difficult to observe. They then returned to Jacquinot Bay where they arrived around 1415K/6. (10)

7 Nov 1944

Around 1200K/7, HMAS Vendetta (A/Lt.Cdr. W.F. Cook, RAN), HMAS Swan (T/A/Lt.Cdr. D.W. Hodges, RANR(S)) and HMAS Barcoo (A/Lt.Cdr. C.G. Hill, RANR(S) departed Jacquinot Bay for Langemak Bay where they arrived around 0715K/8.

Cdr. Morrow was no longer on board HMAS Vendetta as he had left earlier that morning to return to [presumably] New Guinea by aircraft. (10)

8 Nov 1944

Around 1740K/8, HMAS Vendetta (A/Lt.Cdr. W.F. Cook, RAN), HMAS Swan (T/A/Lt.Cdr. D.W. Hodges, RANR(S)) and HMAS Barcoo (A/Lt.Cdr. C.G. Hill, RANR(S) departed Langemak Bay for Madang where they arrived around 0640K/9.

On arrival at Madang HMAS Vendetta and HMAS Swan commenced cleaning boilers. (10)

9 May 1945
Around 1430K/9 the destroyer HMAS Arunta (Cdr. A.E. Buchanan, DSO, RAN) departed Manus followed around 1800K/9 by the light cruiser HMS Newfoundland (Capt. R.W. Ravenhill, CBE, DSC, RN).

Around 1720K/9, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. R.S. Dowling, RAN, flying the broad pendant of Commodore H.B. Farncomb, DSO, MVO, RAN) and the destroyer HMAS Warramunga (Cdr. M.J. Clark, DSC, RAN) departed Hollandia.

Both forces made rendezvous off Cape Wom around 0800K/10 and the 'Wewak support force' arrived off Wewak around 1300K/10.

After a preliminary run along the coast to search for the targets the sheduled bombardment commenced.

Around 1600K/10, the force retired to seaward for the night.

At 0630K/11, the 'Wewak support force' made rendezvous with the 'Wewak force' made up of the sloop HMAS Swan (Lt. W.J. Dovers, RAN) and minesweepers/corvettes Colac (Lt. K.J. Hopper, RANR(S)) and HMAS Dubbo (T/Lt. F.W. Roberts, RANR(S)) and the assault forces proceeded to their fire support areas. From 0730K/11, targets were successfully engaged to cover the assault on Red Beach. The bombardment was completed at 0840K/11.

After the landing the 'Wewak support force' retired to seaward.

Around 1230K/11, HMS Newfoundland obtained an A/S contact which was subsequently depth charged by HMAS Arunta. Both destroyers then continued to search the area during the afternoon, but no further contact was obtained.

Around 1700K/11, HMAS Hobart and HMS Newfoundland carried out another bombardment after which the force was released around 1900K/11 and proceeded to Hollandia arriving there at 0700I/12. (11)

Sources

  1. Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron + Report of proceedings of HMAS Vendetta for September 1939
  2. Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron
  3. Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron for 15 September 1939 to 2 October 1939 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Stuart for September 1939 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Vendetta for September 1939 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Waterhen for September 1939
  4. Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron + Report of proceedings of HMAS Stuart for September 1939 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Waterhen for September 1939
  5. Report of proceedings of HMAS Perth from 1 April to 6 June 1940
  6. ADM 199/2234 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Canberra for December 1941 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Perth for December 1941
  7. Report of proceedings of HMAS Perth for December 1941
  8. File 2.12.03.6849 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  9. Report of proceedings of HMAS Barcoo, HMAS Swan and HMAS Vendetta for October 1944 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Barcoo, HMAS Swan and HMAS Vendetta for November 1944
  10. Report of proceedings of HMAS Barcoo, HMAS Swan and HMAS Vendetta for November 1944
  11. ADM 53/121909 + Report from HMAS Hobart

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


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