Hector Macdonald Laws Waller DSO, RAN

Born  4 Apr 1900Benalla, Victoria, Australia
Died  1 Mar 1942(41)HMAS Perth (D 29)

Ranks

31 Dec 1913 Cadet
1 Jan 1918 Mid.
1 Sep 1919 A/S.Lt.
1 Oct 1919 S.Lt.
1 Mar 1921 Lt.
1 Mar 1929 Lt.Cdr.
30 Jun 1934 Cdr.
30 Jun 1940 Capt.

Decorations

11 Sep 1940 DSO
29 Jul 1941 Mentioned in Despatches (MID)
11 Nov 1941 Mentioned in Despatches (MID)
3 Feb 1942 Bar to DSO

Warship Commands listed for Hector Macdonald Laws Waller, RAN


ShipRankTypeFromTo
HMAS Stuart (D 00)Cdr.Destroyer1 Sep 193926 Sep 1940
HMAS Vampire (D 68)Capt.Destroyer26 Sep 194027 Dec 1940
HMAS Voyager (D 31)Capt.Destroyer27 Dec 19409 Jan 1941
HMAS Vampire (D 68)Capt.Destroyer9 Jan 194110 Jan 1941
HMAS Stuart (D 00)Capt.Destroyer10 Jan 194121 Aug 1941
HMAS Perth (D 29)Capt.Light cruiser24 Oct 19411 Mar 1942 (+)

Career information

We currently have no career / biographical information on this officer.

Events related to this officer

Destroyer HMAS Stuart (D 00)


2 Dec 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) arrived at Diego Suarez from Colombo. (1)

4 Dec 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) departed Diego Suarez for Aden. She had been ordered to proceed to the Mediteranean. (1)

10 Dec 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) made a short stop at Aden for fuel and provisions before leaving for Suez later the same day. (1)

14 Dec 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) arrived at Suez. She immediately transferred to Suez Canal northbound and arrived at Port Said later the same day. (1)

15 Dec 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) departed Port Said for Malta. (1)

17 Dec 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) arrived at Malta from Port Said.

During the period 17 to 19 December while in harbour, one of her boilers was cleaned. (1)

19 Dec 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) departed Malta for Marseilles. (1)

21 Dec 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) arrived at Marseilles from Malta. (1)

22 Dec 1939
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) departed Marseilles escorting the transports Neuralia (British, 9182 GRT, built 1912) and Nevasa (9213 GRT, built 1913).

Late on the 24th, HMAS Stuart and the Neuralia parted company with the Nevasa to proceed to Malta. HMAS Stuart fuelled and provisioned at Malta and the Neuralia exchanged drafts following which they departed again and rejoined the Nevasa at sea A.M. on the 25th.

Around 2200B/27, the Nevasa was detached to Port Said.

HMAS Stuart and the Neuralia arrived at Haifa A.M. on 28 December 1939. (1)

28 Dec 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 2000B/28, HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) departed Haifa escorting the transport Neuralia (British, 9182 GRT, built 1912) to Port Said.

They arrived at Port Said around 0930B/29. (1)

30 Dec 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) departed Port Said for Malta. (1)

1 Jan 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) arrived at Malta from Port Said. (1)

9 Jan 1940
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) arrived at Haifa with convoy K6A. (2)

17 Jan 1940
The repair ship HMS Resource (Capt.(Retd.) D.B. O’Connell, RN) departed Malta for Gibraltar. She was escorted by the destroyer HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN). (3)

21 Jan 1940
HMS Resource (Capt.(Retd.) D.B. O’Connell, RN) and HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) arrived at Gibraltar from Malta. (3)

23 Jan 1940
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) departed Gibraltar for Malta. (2)

25 Jan 1940
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) arrived at Malta from Gibraltar. (2)

1 Feb 1940
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) is docked at Malta. (4)

3 Feb 1940
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) is undocked. (4)

16 Feb 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) departed Malta. At sea she made rendezvous with the transports Devonshire (British, 11275 GRT, built 1939) and Dilwara (British, 11080 GRT, built 1936) and their current escort the French destroyer Tramontaine (Cdr. R.M.J.A. Renault). (5)

20 Feb 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) and the transports Devonshire (British, 11275 GRT, built 1939) and Dilwara (British, 11080 GRT, built 1936) arrived at Haifa. (4)

22 Feb 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) departed Haifa escorting the transport Devonshire (British, 11275 GRT, built 1939) to Malta where they arrived on the 25th. (4)

27 Feb 1940
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) commenced a short refit at the Malta Dockyard. She is also docked on this day.

The refit was completed on 19 March.

[We have been unable to find out when HMAS Stuart was undocked.] (4)

20 Mar 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) departed Malta under ' Special orders of the Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean '. She returned to Malta on 24 March 1940.

[No further details available.] (6)

25 Mar 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
The aircraft carrier HMS Glorious (Capt. G. D’Oyly-Hughes, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) departed Malta for exercises. She was escorted by the destroyers HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) and HMS Westcott (Lt.Cdr. W.F.R. Segrave, RN). (7)

26 Mar 1940
Around 2300A/26, the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious (Capt. G. D’Oyly-Hughes, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) and HMS Westcott (Lt.Cdr. W.F.R. Segrave, RN), which were exercising near Malta, are ordered to proceed to approximate position 36°00'N, 15°45'E where the tanker Trocas (British, 7406 GRT, built 1927) is reported to have broken down.

They sighted the tanker around 0310A/27.

Around 0430A/27, HMAS Stuart was detached to standby the tanker while HMS Glorious and HMS Westcott continued the exercises. HMAS Stuart took the tanker, which had a broken propeller shaft, in tow towards Malta. She was later relieved by the tug HMS Respond. (7)

28 Mar 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) returned to Malta. (6)

17 Apr 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) departed Gibraltar for Malta. (8)

19 Apr 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) arrived at Malta from Gibraltar. (8)

21 Apr 1940
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) departed Malta for gunnery and A/S exercises but she was recalled and the exercises were cancelled.

HMAS Stuart then embarked ammunition for the aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. H.C. Bovell, RN) which was operating of southern France on flying training duties.

In the evening HMAS Stuart departed Malta to escort the transports Dilwara (British, 11080 GRT, built 1936) and Lancashire (British, 9557 GRT, built 1917). These transports were approaching Malta coming from the east (Alexandria and Port Said respectively).

On joining the transports course was set for Marseilles where they arrived on the 25th.

HMAS Stuart then made rendezvous with HMS Argus and her attendant destroyer HMS Sturdy (Lt.Cdr. G.T. Cooper, RN) near Hyères to transfer the supplies.

Orders for HMS Argus had meanwhile been changed and she set course for Malta escorted by HMAS Stuart and HMS Sturdy. They arrived at Malta on the 27th. (5)

12 May 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
While on patrol off Alexandria, the aircraft of HMS Neptune (Capt. J.A.V. Morse, DSO, RN) had to make a forced landing. HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) proceeded at full speed to take off the crew. She was able to take the stricken aircraft in tow and towed it back to Alexandria. (9)

17 May 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) conducted an A/S patrol off Alexandria. (9)

10 Jun 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
The battleship HMS Malaya (Capt. Sir A.F.E. Palliser, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. She was escorted by the destroyers HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN), HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN) and HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN).

However, in the evening, before they exercises were completed they were ordered to return to harbour. (10)

24 Jun 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) commenced cleaning boilers at Alexandria. This was completed on the 29th. (10)

26 Jun 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) is docked at Alexandria for bottom cleaning. (10)

27 Jun 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Cdr. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) is undocked. (10)

29 Jun 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
The destroyers HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) and HMS Hostile (Cdr. J.P. Wright, DSO, RN) proceeded to sea from Alexandria P.M. on the 29th to join the hunt for Italian submarines of which the patrol positions were mentioned in secret documents which had been captured.

1 Jul 1940
Around 1030B/1, HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) and HMS Hostile (Cdr. J.P. Wright, DSO, RN) detected an enemy submarine. HMS Hostile then attacked with HMAS Stuart directing. HMS Hostile attacked with depth charges, but only using the thrower depth charges as the trap had jammed. At 1050B/1, HMAS Stuart dropped a full pattern of depth charges. Damage was caused on board the enemy submarine, which was the Italian Salpa.

She had to abandon her patrol due to the damage sustained. The destroyers were under the impression that the submarine had been sunk.

The destroyers then proceeded eastwards to join the escort of convoy AS 1. [For more info on convoy AS 1 see, 27 June 1940.] (11)

4 Jul 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
During an enemy air attack on Alexandria, bombs were dropped close to HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) and HMS Protector (Capt. W.Y la L. Beverley, RN). Neither ships was damaged but they were showered by iron fragments from a shed ashore that had been hit. (12)

5 Jul 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
The minesweepers HMS Abingdon (Lt. G.A. Simmers, RNR) and HMS Fareham (Lt. W.J.P. Church, RN) plotted enemy minefields off Alexandria. They were escorted by the destroyer HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, RAN). (12)

1 Aug 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
From 1 to 13 August 1940, HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, RAN), cleaned boilers, was wiped and conducted small repairs at Alexandria. (13)

6 Sep 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
From 6 to 15 September 1940, HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) refitted auxiliary machinery at Alexandria. Also turbine blading was examined. (14)

15 Sep 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) conducted trials off Alexandria. These were not satisfactory. The Commander-in-Chief decided that HMAS Stuart was in need of a refit and that she was to be sent to Malta at the earliest opportunity. (14)

16 Sep 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
From 16 to 27 September 1940, HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, RAN) remained at Alexandria undergoing self refit in preparation for a major refit at Malta. (14)


Destroyer HMAS Vampire (D 68)


30 Sep 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Vampire (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) and HMS Decoy (Cdr. E.G. McGregor, DSO, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Alexandria with HMS Rover (Lt.Cdr. H.A.L. Marsham, RN). (15)

2 Oct 1940
The battleship HMS Ramillies (Capt. H.T. Baillie-Grohman, OBE, DSO, RN) was to conduct exercises off Alexandria for which she had departed the harbour escorted by the destroyers HMAS Vampire (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN), HMAS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN), HMAS Stuart (Lt. N.J.M. Teacher, RN) and HMS Diamond (Lt.Cdr. P.A. Cartwright, RN).

They however soon returned to harbour after the exercises had been cancelled. (16)

16 Oct 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Between 16 and 25 October 1940, remained at Alexandria to clean boilers and for two days the ships was cleared and fumigated to get rid of bed bugs and cockroaches which had invaded the ships in alarming numbers. (17)

2 Nov 1940
On 2 November 1940, the RFA tanker Brambleleaf, (5917 GRT, built 1917), netlayer HMS Protector (Cdr. R.J. Gardner, RN) and the armed boarding vessels HMS Chakla (Cdr. L.C. Bach, RD, RNR) and HMS Fiona (Cdr. A.H.H. Griffiths, RD, RNR) departed Suda Bay for Alexandria. They were escorted by the destroyers HMAS Vampire (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN), HMAS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN) and HMS Defender (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, RN).

The convoy arrived at Alexandria on 3 November 1940.

The light cruiser HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D. McCarthy, RN) also departed Suda Bay on 2 November 1940. She also arrived at Alexandria on 3 November 1940. She was not with the actual convoy but most likely provided some distant cover during a part of the voyage. (18)

1 Dec 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
From 1 to 10 December 1940, HMAS Vampire (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN), remained at Alexandria, cleaning boilers. (19)

14 Dec 1940
HMAS Vampire (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN), HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades RAN) and HMAS Voyager (Cdr. J.C. Morrow, DSO, RAN) departed Alexandria for an A/S sweep and to provide cover for the Bombarding Squadron which was operating in the Gulf of Sollum. This Squadron was made up of the monitor HMS Terror (Cdr. H.J. Haynes, DSC, RN) and the gunboats HMS Aphis (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.O. Campbell, DSC, RN) and HMS Ladybird (Cdr.(Retd.) J.F. Blackburn, RN).

On the 14th HMS Terror bombarded Bardia supported by the smaller gunboats which conducted bombardments as required.

At 1800C/14, HMAS Vampire departed the area to return to Alexandria.

On the 15th weather was too rough for the smaller gunboats to operate and they remained at Mersah Matruh. HMS Terror did bombard Bardia and many fires were started in the bombardment area.

On the 16th, HMS Terror continued to bombard the enemy. She was attacked by four enemy torpedo aircraft but none of the torpedoes fired hit. HMAS Vendetta and HMAS Voyager were taken under fire while operating with HMS Terror. HMAS Voyager sustained some splinter damage and one men was wounded when she was straddled by shore batteries. HMAS Vampire meanwhile conducted an A/S patrol in the area. At twilight she was attacked by two enemy torpedo aircraft and a torpedo missed astern by 50 yards.

Late on the 16th, HMAS Vendetta was ordered to proceed to Alexandria. (20)

17 Dec 1940
HMAS Vampire (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) returned to Alexandria from operation in / off the Gulf of Sollum. She returned to the Gulf of Sollum later the same day. (19)

18 Dec 1940
HMAS Vampire (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN), HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades RAN) and HMAS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN) conducted an A/S patrol off the Gulf of Sollum. (21)

19 Dec 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Vampire (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) and HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades RAN) conducted A/S patrols of the Gulf of Sollum.

In the evening HMAS Vampire proceeded to Sollum and then left again for Alexandria escorting HMS Protector (Cdr. R.J. Gardner, RN). (21)

20 Dec 1940
HMAS Vampire (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) and HMS Protector (Cdr. R.J. Gardner, RN) arrived at Alexandria.

HMAS Vampire then proceeded alongside HMS Woolwich (Capt.(Retd.) J. Fawcett, RN) for repairs to her starboard turbine. These lasted until 8 January 1941. In the meantime other repairs were also undertaken. (21)


Destroyer HMAS Voyager (D 31)


27 Dec 1940
Around 0010B/27, HMAS Voyager (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) departed Alexandria escorting a local convoy to Sollum.

Around 2100B/27, Capt. Waller was temporary transferred to HMS Terror (Cdr. H.J. Haynes, DSC, RN).

HMAS Voyager then proceeded on A/S patrol off Sollum with Cdr. J.C. Morrow, DSO, RAN again in command.

Around 0410B/28, Capt. Waller transferred from HMS Terror to HMAS Voyager and HMS Terror then proceeded for a bombardment of Bardia screened by HMAS Voyager.

Around 1100B/28, Capt. Waller was again transferred to HMS Terror after their return to Sollum from the bombardment.

Around 1900B/28, HMAS Voyager proceeded on a patrol between Bardia and Tobruk to search for enemy shipping. (22)

29 Dec 1940
Around 0145B/29, HMAS Voyager (Cdr. J.C. Morrow, RAN), which is on patrol between Bardia and Tobruk, intercepted a small Italian auxiliary ketch.

Ten minutes later the vessel was brought to with a shot across her bows. British POW's aboard the vessel then took control and followed HMAS Voyager towards Sollum. The Italian vessel in question was the Zingarella (190 GRT). The Italian vessel was later taken into service by the British.

Around 1635B/29, they arrived off Sollum very the captured vessel was detached and HMAS Voyager assumed an A/S patrol off the Gulf of Sollum.

At 1620B/30, Capt. Waller boarded HMAS Voyager again which departed the area around 1945B/30 to proceed to Alexandria where she arrived around 0625B/31. (23)

1 Jan 1941
Shortly after midnight, HMAS Voyager (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) and HMS Diamond (Lt.Cdr. P.A. Cartwright, RN) departed Alexandria for Sollum where they arrived later the same day. (21)

3 Jan 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 2115B/3, HMAS Voyager (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) arrived at Alexandria from operations after being detached from the destroyer screen of the battlefleet. (21)

4 Jan 1941
Around 0100B/4, HMAS Voyager (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) departed Alexandria for Sollum. She was escorting the transport Cingalese Prince (British, 8474 GRT, built 1929). They arrived at Sullum around 2100B/4.

Capt. Waller was then transferred to HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhodes, RAN).

HMAS Voyager (Cdr. J.C. Morrow, DSO, RAN) then departed Sollom to return to Alexandria where she arrived around 1855B/5. (21)

6 Jan 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
From 6 to 10, HMAS Voyager (Cdr. J.C. Morrow, DSO, RAN) cleaned boilers at Alexandria. (21)


Destroyer HMAS Vampire (D 68)


9 Jan 1941
Off Sollum, Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN, rejoined HMAS Vampire from HMAS Vendetta.

HMAS Vampire returned to Alexandria the following day when Capt. Waller departed Vampire as the flotilla leader HMAS Stuart had just returned to Alexandria from refit at Malta. (24)


Destroyer HMAS Stuart (D 00)


10 Jan 1941
Around 2050B/10, HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN) and HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) arrived at Alexandria from Malta. En-route they had been with the Mediterranean Fleet briefly. (25)

21 Jan 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 1105B/21, HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) and HMAS Vampire (Cdr. J.A. Walsh, RAN) departed Alexandria for operations with the Inshore Squadron.

[For more information see the event ' Operation IS 1 ' for 17 January 1941.] (26)

9 Feb 1941
Around 1545B/9, the destroyers HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) and HMS Hereward (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN) departed Alexandria escorting the transport Ulster Prince (British, 3791 GRT, built 1930) with around 1300 troops on board, to Tobruk where the arrived P.M. on the 10th. (27)

16 Feb 1941
P.M. on the 16th, the destroyer HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) departed Benghazi escorting the armed boarding vessel HMS Chakla (Cdr. L.C. Bach, RD, RNR) to Alexandria.

P.M. on the 17th, HMAS Stuart and HMS Chakla were diverted to Tobruk arriving there later the same day.

During the night of 17/18 February 1941, HMAS Stuart conducted an A/S patrol off Tobruk returning there A.M. on the 18th to refuel.

HMAS Stuart then departed Tobruk P.M. on the 18th for an A/S sweep to the northwards. Also a 4.7" gunnery exercise was carried out using a smoke float as target.

A.M. on the 19th course was set to proceed to Benghazi at high speed to join a convoy leaving Benghazi P.M. that day.

Around 1520B/19, HMAS Stuart was attacked by four HE 111 aircraft who dive bombed and machine gunned the ship in four separate attacks. Some minor structural damage was sustained due to near misses.

Around 1630B/19, HMAS Stuart joined up with the convoy. (28)

19 Feb 1941
A convoy made up of the transports Palermo (British, 2928 GRT, built 1938) and Escaut (Belgian, 1087 GRT, built 1938) departed Benghazi for Tobruk.

They were escorted by the AA cruiser HMS Coventry (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN), destroyer HMAS Voyager (Cdr. J.C. Morrow, DSO, RAN), corvettes HMS Gloxinia (Lt.Cdr. A.J.C. Pomeroy, RNVR), HMS Hyacinth (T/Lt. F.C. Hopkins, RNR), HMS Peony (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) M.B. Sherwood, DSO, RN) and the auxiliary M/S trawlers HMS Arthur Cavanagh (Skr. T.W. Kirby, RNR) and HMS Milford Countess (T/A/S.Lt. R.H. Vallings, RNR).

Shortly after departure the destroyer HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) joined coming from patrol.

A.M. on the 20th, HMS Coventry parted company.

P.M. on the 20th, HMS Gloxinia, Hyacinth, HMS Arthur Cavenagh and HMS Milford Countess parted company with the convoy to proceed to Alexandria.

The remaining ships arrived at Tobruk on 21 February 1941. (28)

24 Feb 1941
From 24 February to 3 March 1941, HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) was boiler cleaning at Alexandria. (29)

3 Mar 1941
Around 0800B/3, the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, CBE, RN) departed Alexandria for flying exercises. She was escorted by the destroyers HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN), HMS Ilex (Capt. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN) and HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN).

Around 1230B/3, the battleship HMS Warspite (Capt. D.B. Fisher, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Admiral Sir A.B. Cunningham, KCB, DSO, RN) departed Alexandria for gunnery exercises.

Around 1330B/3, HMS Eagle entered harbour her destroyer screen meanwhile having been detached to escort HMS Warspite minus HMAS Stuart which set course to proceed to Port Said where she arrived around 1900B/3.

HMS Warspite, HMS Ilex, HMS Hasty, HMS Nubian and HMS Jaguar returned to harbour around 2200B/3. (30)

4 Mar 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)

Convoy AN 17.

This convoy departed Alexandria / Port Said on 4 March 1941 for Piraeus.

The Alexandria section was made up of the transports; El Hak (British, 1022 GRT, built 1929) and Warszawa (Polish, 2487 GRT, built 1915). They were escorted by the AA cruiser HMS Coventry (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN) and the destroyer HMS Hereward (Lt. W.J. Munn, RN) .

The Port Said section was made up of the transports; Goalpara (British, 5314 GRT, built 1919) and Katie Moller (British, 3100 GRT, built 1919). They were escorted by the destroyer HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN).

The two sections joined company A.M. on the 6th.

during the afternoon of the 6th the convoy was attacked several times by enemy bombers but no damage was done although HMAS Stuart was near missed twice.

Around 0830B/7, near Ovgo Island (north of Crete), a torpedo aircraft made a most determined attack on the convoy. It's torpedo narrowly missed El Hak and HMAS Stuart.

The convoy arrived at Piraeus A.M. on the 8th. (31)

8 Mar 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)

Convoy AS 17.

This convoy departed Piraeus around 1400B/8.

This convoy was made up of the transports; Alavi (British, 3566 GRT, built 1924), Benalder (British, 5161 GRT, built 1919), Eocene (British, 4216 GRT, built 1922) and Levernbank (British, 5150 GRT, built 1925).

The convoy was escorted by the AA cruiser HMS Coventry (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) and HMS Hereward (Lt. W.J. Munn, RN).

P.M. on the 10th, the Alavi parted company with the convoy and proceeded to Alexandria escorted by HMAS Stuart where they arrived around 1345B/11.

The remainder of the convoy went on to Port Said where they arrived on the 12th. (31)

14 Mar 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)

Convoy ANF 20.

This convoy departed Alexandria on 14 March 1941.

The convoy was made up of the following transports; Araybank (British, 7258 GRT, built 1940), Brattdal (Norwegian, 4968 GRT, built 1935), Custodian (British, 5881 GRT, built 1928), Devis (British, 6054 GRT, built 1938), Kohistan (British, 5884 GRT, built 1930), Port Halifax (British, 5820 GRT, built 1937) and Thermopylae (Norwegian, 6655 GRT, built 1930).

On departure from Alexandria the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN), HMS Hereward (Lt. W.J. Munn, RN) and the corvette HMS Salvia (Lt.Cdr. J.I. Miller, DSO, RD, RNR).

On the 15th they were joined by the AA cruiser HMS Coventry (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN).

The convoy arrived at Piraeus P.M. on the 17th. (32)

29 Mar 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
A.M. on the 29th, HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN), HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO, RN) and HMS Hereward (Lt. W.J. Munn, RN) were detached by the battlefleet to proceed at high speed to Piraeus where they arrived P.M. They then quickly fuelled and departed later the same day escorting convoy GA 8. (31)

29 Mar 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)

Convoy GA 8.

This convoy departed Piraeus P.M. on 29 March 1941.

It was made up of the transports HMS Breconshire (9776 GRT, built 1939) and Cameronia (British, 16297 GRT, built 1920).

They were escorted by the destroyers HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN), HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO, RN) and HMS Hereward (Lt. W.J. Munn, RN).

A.M. on 30 March 1941, the light cruiser HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.G. Egerton, RN) joined.

Around 2030B/30, the Italian submarine Dagabur made an unsuccesful torpedo attack on HMS Bonaventure.

Around 0250B/30, Ambra torpedoed and sank HMS Bonaventure in position 33°20'N, 26°35'E. She sank very quickly having been hit by two out of the three torpedoes fired by the Italian submarine. HMAS Stuart was missed by the third torpedo. She then proceeded to counter attack the attacker while HMS Hereward started picking up survivors. HMS Griffin remained with the convoy. Seven depth charge attacks were made by HMAS Stuart and two by HMS Hereward after she had picked up the survivors. After the second attack by HMS Hereward the submarine was briefly seen to break surface. Contact could not be regained afterwards.

The convoy arrived at Alexandria P.M. on 31 March 1941.

HMS Hereward arrived a few hours earlier having gone ahead with the survivors from HMS Bonaventure. (31)

1 Apr 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) is docked at in the Gabbari Dry Dock at Alexandria for repairs to her rudder, which was almost completely stripped of her plating due to damage from near misses by bombs. She also cleaned boilers in the meantime. (33)

9 Apr 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) is undocked. She completed repairs and boiler cleaning on the 11th. (34)

14 Apr 1941
HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) and HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO, RN) arrived off Sollum at daylight on the 14th. They then conducted bombardments in support of the Army following which they set course for Alexandria where they arrived around 0640C/15. (33)

19 May 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) conducted D/G trials at Alexandria. (35)

25 May 1941
In the evening, the landing ship HMS Glenroy (Capt.(Retd.) J.F. Paget, RN) with a battalion of the Queen’s Regiment on board, departed Alexandria for Tymbaki. She was being escorted by the AA cruiser HMS Coventry (A/Capt. W.P. Carne, RN), and the destroyers HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) and HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN).

[For more info on subsequent events see the event ' Battle for Crete ' for 20 May 1941.] (36)

29 May 1941
HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN), Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine RN) and Defender (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, RN) sailed from Alexandria to cover the return the transport HMS Glengyle (A/Capt.(Retd.) C.H. Petrie, RN) from Crete. They joined Glengyle at daylight the next day. They arrived at Alexandria on the 31st.

1 Jun 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
From 1 to 8 June 1941, HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) was cleaning boilers at Alexandria. Also small repairs were made. (37)

10 Jun 1941
Around 1130C/10, the light cruiser HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, RN) departed Haifa to provide cover for operations off the Syrian coast. She was joined around 1200C/10, by the destroyers HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN), Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine RN), HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO, RN) and Defender (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, RN) coming from Alexandria. These destroyers later proceeded to conduct an A/S sweep off the Syrian coast.

HMS Jaguar was then detached to join HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, RN) and HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN) which were operating close inshore to support the Army.

HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO, RN) joined around the same time coming from Port Said. (38)

11 Jun 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) arrived at Haifa from operations off Syria. (37)

8 Jul 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) and HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) departed Mersa Matruh for Tobruk. On board were troops, ammunition and stores.

In the evening, while approaching Tobruk. HMAS Stuart hit the Ahal Rocks, to the east of Tobruk. Her starboard propeller was badly damaged. Shortly afterwards, in the moonlight, the destroyers were attacked by enemy aircraft but all bombs missed and the destroyers made Tobruk where the troops, ammunition and stores were disembarked. (39)

20 Jul 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 1005C/20, the fast minelayer HMS Latona (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) and destroyer HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) departed Alexandria for Tobruk. On board were troops, ammunition and stores.

They arrived late at Tobruk, early on 21 July instead of late on the 20th, and were unable to unload all the ammunition and stores before they had to depart to be well enough clear of Tobruk at daybreak.

They returned to Alexandria around 1400C/21. (40)

27 Jul 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
On opening up the Port condenser on board HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN), pieces of turbine blading were found. It was then decided to open up the port turbines for inspection and the result was that it was decided that HMAS Stuart was to return to Australia to refit as the port engine could not be repaired on station. (41)


Light cruiser HMAS Perth (D 29)


19 Nov 1941
During her refit at Sydney, HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) is docked in the Sutherland Dry Dock at the Cockatoo Island Dockyards. (42)

20 Nov 1941
During her refit at Sydney, HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) is undocked. (42)

22 Nov 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) completed her refit at the Cockatoo Island Dockyard. (42)

23 Nov 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) conducted degaussing trials and compass swing trials at Sydney. (42)

24 Nov 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) conducted full power trials off Sydney.

She departed Sydney for Port Phillip (Melbourne) later the same day. (42)

26 Nov 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) arrived in Port Phillip. She then conducted exercises, including gunnery, aircraft launching and recovering, etc., etc. (42)

27 Nov 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) conducted exercises in Port Phillip. (42)

28 Nov 1941
HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) conducted exercises in Port Phillip on completion of which she departed Port Phillip for Sydney. (42)

29 Nov 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) arrived at Sydney from Port Phillip. (42)

30 Nov 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) departed Sydney for Auckland. (42)

3 Dec 1941 (position 0.00, 0.00)
At 0806K/3, HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN), made rendezvous with the transport Mariposa (American, 18017 GRT, built 1931) which she was to escort. This transports departure from Auckland had been brought forward so HMAS Perth no longer was to proceed there.

Course was now set for Sydney where they arrived around 1330K/5. (43)

9 Dec 1941
HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) and FSS Le Triomphant (Cdr. P.M.J.R. Auboyneau) conducted exercises off Sydney. These included night exercises.

At 0105K/10, they were ordered to proceed to the east-north-east with despatch. Course 110° was set at a speed of 28 knots. At 0940K/10 they reduced speed to 20 knots and at 1000K/10 the established patrol but 40 minutes later they were ordered to return to Sydney where they arrived around 2300K/10. (43)

12 Dec 1941
Around 1645K/12, the heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN) and light cruiser HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) departed Sydney to patrol in the northern part of the Tasman Sea to protect the shipping lanes.

Around 1115K/14, they were ordered to proceed to Brisbane with despatch.

Around 1000K/15, they arrived at Brisbane from patrol. Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, CB, RN, then hoisted his flag in HMAS Canberra. (44)

16 Dec 1941
The heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, CB, RN) and light cruiser HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) departed Brisbane to protect the shipping route between Australia and New Caledonia. (44)

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. (45)

22 Dec 1941
Around 1230K/22, HMNZS Achilles (Capt. H.M. Barnes, RN) departed Brisbane to return to Auckland.

Later in the afternoon HMAS Canberra (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, CB, RN) and HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) departed Brisbane for Sydney.

Around 1815K/23, HMAS Canberra and HMAS Perth were joined by HMNZS Achilles which had been ordered to join the Australian Squadron instead of returning to Auckland. (44)

24 Dec 1941
Around 088K/24, HMAS Canberra (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, CB, RN), HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) and HMNZS Achilles (Capt. H.M. Barnes, RN) arrived at Sydney.

Rear-Admiral Crace then struck his flag in HMAS Canberra and hoisted it in HMAS Australia. Also the Commanding Officers of HMAS Australia and HMAS Canberra were swapped. (44)

26 Dec 1941
HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) is docked at the Cockatoo Island Dockyard for an inclining test. She is undocked later the same day. (43)

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. (43)

4 Jan 1942
The heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (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) departed Port Moresby for Noumea. (46)

7 Jan 1942
The heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (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) arrived at Noumea from Port Moresby. (46)

9 Jan 1942
Around 0800L/9, the Australian Squadron which was made up of the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (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) departed Suva to proceed to the south-east and the join convoy ZS 6.

[For more info on this convoy see the event ' Convoy ZS 6 ' for 10 January 1942.] (46)

10 Jan 1942

Convoy ZS 6.

This convoy departed Auckland on 10 January 1942.

It was made up of the (troop) transports; Port Montreal (British, 5882 GRT, built 1937), Rangitira (New Zealand, 6152 GRT, built ) and Wahine (New Zealand, 4436 GRT, built 1913).

On departure from Auckland the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMNZS Leander (Capt. R.H. Bevan, RN).

Around 1330M/11, the convoy was sighted by the Australian Squadron which was made up of the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (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). The Australia Squadron then patrolled ahead of the convoy.

Around 1800M/13, HMAS Perth and HMNZS Achilles parted company with HMAS Australia and proceeded one hour later with the Rangitira to Lautoka, Fiji where they arrived around 0800M/14. The cruisers then set course for Suva where they arrived around 1300M/14.

Meanwhile the remainder of the convoy had proceeded to Suva escorted by HMAS Australia and HMNZS Leander. They had arrived in the morning of the 14th. (46)

15 Jan 1942
Around 0600M/15, the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, CB, RN), light cruisers HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN), HMNZS Achilles (Capt. H.M. Barnes, RN), HMNZS Leander (Capt. R.H. Bevan, RN) and the destroyer FSS Le Triomphant (Cdr. P.M.J.R. Auboyneau) departed Suva for Sydney.

Around 1100M/15, FFS Le Triomphant was detached to return to Suva to escort the chartered tanker Falkefjell (Norwegian, 7927 GRT, built 1931) to Brisbane.

Around 1130L/17, HMNZS Achilles was detached to proceed to Auckland for docking.

Around 1400K/19, HMAS Australia, HMAS Perth and HMNZS Leander arrived at Sydney. (46)

23 Jan 1942
HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, CB, RN), HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) and HMNZS Leander (Capt. R.H. Bevan, RN) conducted exercises off Sydney. (46)

27 Jan 1942
HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, CB, RN), HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN), HMAS Adelaide (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) and HMNZS Leander (Capt. R.H. Bevan, RN) departed Sydney to proceed eastwards to provide cover for a US troop convoy proceeding to Melbourne. HMAS Adelaide was to join the close escort of the convoy.

HMAS Australia, HMAS Perth and HMNZS Leander returned to Sydney on 31 January 1942.

The convoy continued on and arrived at Melboune on 1 February 1942 escorted by USS Phoenix and HMAS Adelaide.

Rendezvous with the US Convoy was made around 1130L/29. The US convoy was made up of the light cruiser USS Phoenix (Capt. H.E. Fischer, USN) and the (troop) transports Mariposa (18017 GRT, built 1931) and President Coolidge (American, 21936 GRT, built 1931). HMAS Adelaide then join the close escort while HMAS Australia, HMAS Perth and HMNZS Leander patrolled ahead of the convoy.

(46)

31 Jan 1942
Around 1730K/31, HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, CB, RN), HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) and HMNZS Leander (Capt. R.H. Bevan, RN) departed Sydney to proceed to the eastward to make rendezous with HMNZS Achilles (Capt. H.M. Barnes, RN) coming from Auckland and to provide cover for an American transport enroute to Australia.

Plans were however changed and around 2330K/1, HMAS Perth was detached having been ordered to proceed to Melbourne.

HMNZS Leander was ordered to escort / provide cover for the transport while HMAS Australia was ordered to proceed to Wellington. (46)

3 Feb 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 0700K/3, HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO and Bar, RAN) arrived at Williamstown. (47)

5 Feb 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 1800K/5, HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO and Bar, RAN) departed Williamstown to proceed with all despatch to Fremantle. (47)

8 Feb 1942
Around 1215H/8, HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO and Bar, RAN) arrived at Fremantle from Williamstown. (47)

9 Feb 1942
Around 1100H/9, HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO and Bar, RAN) departed Fremantle for Batavia, Dutch East Indies where she was to join the ABDA Command. (47)

9 Feb 1942

Convoy MS 4.

This convoy departed Melbourne on 9 February 1942.

It was made up of five empty tankers [identities currently not known to us] and the cargo ship 's Jacob (Dutch, 2988 GRT, built 1907).

It was escorted by the light cruiser HMAS Adelaide (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) which before joining the convoy had first conducted gunnery exercises in Port Phillip.

Around 1200H/15, some 50 miles south of Cape Leeuwin, the light cruiser HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO and Bar, RAN) made rendezvous with the convoy and HMAS Adelaide proceeded to Fremantle to fuel. She arrived at Fremantle around 1540H/16. Destination had by now been established as being Oosthaven, Sumatra and the convoy was to have been joined by one more empty tanker and two laden merchant vessels from Fremantle.

On the the orders were received to sent all five empty tankers to Fremantle as it was no longer possible to load oil in Sumatra due to the Japanese advance.

Around 0830H/17, HMAS Adelaide rejoined the convoy having departed Fremantle around 2340H/16. On HMAS Adelaide rejoining HMAS Perth proceeded to Fremantle to top off with fuel. HMAS Perth arrived at Fremantle around 1430H/17 and left again around 1800H/17. The two merchant vessels that were to have joined the convoy were delayed and they were ordered to catch up later. These were the Karsik (Dutch, 2191 GRT, built 1938. former German Soneck) and Swartenhondt (Dutch, 4661 GRT, built 1924).

HMAS Perth rejoined the convoy, currently only made up of the 's Jacob, around 2200H/17. HMAS Adelaide then parted company to return to Fremantle where she arrived around 2140H/18.

Around 1000H/18, the first of the two merchant vessels caught up from astern.

Around 1000H/19, the second merchant vessel caught up from astern.

Around 2100H/21, HMAS Perth was ordered to return with the convoy to Fremantle and course was reversed.

Around 1400H/22, HMAS Perth was ordered to disperse the convoy and order the ships to return to Fremantle independently and herself to proceed to Batavia with all despatch. HMAS Perth then set course for the Sunda Strait at 28 knots. (48)

10 Feb 1942
Around 0030H/10, HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO and Bar, RAN) is ordered to return to Fremantle where she arrived around 1400H/10. (47)

24 Feb 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 1000GH/24, HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO and Bar, RAN) arrived in harbour at Batavia, Dutch East Indies. Here she was able to fuel from the RFA tanker War Sirdar (5542 GRT, built 1920). (47)

28 Feb 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
Around 1400GH/28, the heavy cruiser USS Houston (Capt. A.H. Rooks, USN) and light cruiser HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO and Bar, RAN) arrived at Batavia following the Battle of the Java Sea. At Batavia both ships commenced fuelling. Ammunitioning was not possible.

They departed around 1900GH/28 to proceed through the Sunda Strait to Tjilatjap on the south coast of Java. The Dutch destroyer HrMs Evertsen (Lt.Cdr. W.M. de Vries, RNN) was to have sailed with them but was delayed and did not join. She later attempted to pass the Sunda Strait on her own but was also sunk by the Japanese. (47)

28 Feb 1942

Battle of the Sunda Strait.

Around 1900GH/28, the heavy cruiser USS Houston (Capt. A.H. Rooks, USN) and light cruiser HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO and Bar, RAN) departed Batavia to proceed through the Sunda Strait to Tjilatjap on the south coast of Java. The Dutch destroyer HrMs Evertsen (Lt.Cdr. W.M. de Vries, RNN) was to have sailed with them but was delayed and did not join. She later attempted to pass the Sunda Strait on her own.

At 2306GH/28, a vessel was sighted by HMAS Perth, which was leading, close to St. Nicolas Point. This turned out to be the Japanese destroyer Harukaze. The destroyer, which was first though that it might have been an Australian minesweeper/corvette, was then challenged but she gave a wrong reply with a lamp in the wrong color. Fire was then opened. Unbeknown to the Allied cruisers they had already been spotted almost an hour earlier by the Japanese destroyer Fubuki which had been patrolling off Banten Bay with the above mentioned Harukaze and also the Hatakaze.

Shortly after opening fire other ships were seen approaching from the north. These were the Japanese cover force for the landings, the Western Support Force made up of the heavy cruisers Mogami, Mikuma and the destroyer Shikinami and the remainder of the Third Escort Force (the three above mentioned destroyers also belonged to this Force) made up of the light cruiser Natori and the destroyers Hatsuyuki, Murakumo, Shirakumo, Shirayuki and Asakaze.

The Allied cruiser tried to break through to the transports but they never succeeded in doing so. Around 2350GH/28, Capt. Waller was informed that his ship, HMAS Perth was almost out of ammunition so he decided to break off the action and try to make a run for it southwards through the Sunda Strait.

It was however not to be, as the Japanese had by now launched a great number of their feared Long Lance torpedoes. Shortly after changing course for their dash down the Sunda Strait, HMAS Perth was hit be a torpedo on the starboard side followed not long afterwards by a second torpedo a little further forward than the first torpedo hit. The crew was then ordered to abandon ship. Between five to ten minutes later a third torpedo hit the ship well aft on the starboard side followed shortly afterwards by a torpedo hit on the port side. HMAS Perth sank around 0025GH/1 in position 05°51'42"S, 106°07'52"E. The torpedoes which sank HMAS Perth appear to have been fired by Harukaze, Hatakaze and Murakumo.

USS Houston was still fighting but heavily on fire. She too was hit by a torpedo shortly after midnight. Not long afterwards she was hit by three more torpedoes. Capt. Rooks was killed by the explosion of a shell around 0030GH/1 and within 15 minutes USS Houston sank in positon 05°48'45"S, 106°07'55"E.

On board HMAS Perth there had been 681 officers, men and passengers, 353 of these did not survive the sinking. There were 328 survivors. After the war 218 of them were repatriated the remainded had not survived Japanese captivity. Capt. Waller was last seen on the bridge refusing to abandon ship himself having decided to go down with her instead. [Sources vary on the number of deaths and survivors, the ones we have used are from an Australian government website.]

On board USS Houston had been 1061 men, of which 368 survived. 77 of these later died in captivity. [sources on these numbers vary too.]

The Dutch destroyer HrMs Evertsen, which had been unable to sail with the cruisers eventually departed Batavia later that evening saw the battle unfolding. She tried to creep round to the Sumatra side of the Sunda Strait but was eventually spotted by the Japanese destroyers Murakumo and Shiryakumo. She was hit and a fire erupted. HrMs Evertsen was then run aground on Sebuku Besar (Sebuku Island) and then abandoned by her crew. The fire eventually reached the after magazine and the stern was blown off when the magazine detonated.

During the battle the Japanese heavy cruiser Mogami's Long Lance torpedoes ended up among the transports in Banten Bay. As a result the minesweeper W-2, Navy landing craft depot ship Shinshu Maru and the army transports Horei Maru and Sakura Maru were sunk. The army transport Tatsuno Maru grounded when avoiding the torpedoes.

[Note: all links to Japanese ships are offsite links.]

Sources

  1. Report of proceedings of HMAS Stuart for December 1939
  2. Report of proceedings of the Australian Destroyer Flotilla for January 1940
  3. ADM 53/113104 + Report of proceedings of the Australian Destroyer Flotilla for January 1940
  4. Report of proceedings of the Australian Destroyer Flotilla for February 1940
  5. Report of proceedings of the Australian Destroyer Flotilla
  6. Report of proceedings of the Australian Destroyer Flotilla for March 1940
  7. ADM 53/122339 + Report of proceedings of the Australian Destroyer Flotilla for March 1,940
  8. Report of proceedings of the Australian Destroyer Flotilla for April 1940
  9. Report of proceedings of the Australian Destroyer Flotilla for May 1940
  10. Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla for June 1940
  11. ADM 199/386 + Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla for July 1940
  12. Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla for July 1940
  13. Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla for August 1940
  14. Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla for September 1940
  15. ADM 173/16502 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Vampire for September 1940
  16. ADM 53/113047 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Vampire for October 1940 + Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla
  17. Report of proceedings of HMAS Vampire for October 1940
  18. Report of proceedings of HMAS Vampire for November 1940 + Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla
  19. Report of proceedings of HMAS Vampire for December 1940
  20. ADM 53/113323 + ADM 199/387 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Vampire for December 1940 + Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla
  21. Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla
  22. Report of proceedings of HMAS Voyager from December 1940
  23. Report of proceedings of HMAS Voyager for December 1940
  24. Report of proceedings of HMAS Vampire for January 1941 + Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla
  25. ADM 53/115208 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Stuart for January 1941 + War diary of HMAS Sydney for January 1941
  26. Report of proceedings of HMAS Stuart for January 1941 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Vampire for January 1941
  27. ADM 199/414 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Stuart for February 1941 + Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla for February 1941
  28. Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla for February 1941 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Stuart for February 1941
  29. Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla for February 1941 + Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla for March 1941
  30. ADM 53/114188 + ADM 53/115181 + ADM 199/414 + Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla for March 1941
  31. Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla for March 1941
  32. Report of proceedings of the Australian Destroyer Flotilla for March 1941
  33. Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla for April 1941
  34. ADM 53/115211 + Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla for April 1941
  35. Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla for May 1941
  36. ADM 199/414 + Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla for May 1941
  37. Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla for June 1941
  38. ADM 53/113530 + Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla for June 1941
  39. Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla for July 1941
  40. ADM 53/115212 + Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla for July 1941
  41. Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla for July 1941 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Stuart for August 1941
  42. Report of proceedings of HMAS Perth for November 1941
  43. Report of proceedings of HMAS Perth for December 1941
  44. Report of proceedings of HMAS Canberra for December 1941 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Perth for December 1941
  45. ADM 199/2234 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Canberra for December 1941 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Perth for December 1941
  46. Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron + Report of proceedings of HMAS Perth for January 1942
  47. Report of proceedings of HMAS Perth for February 1942
  48. Report of proceedings of HMAS Adelaide for February 1942 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Perth for February 1942

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


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