William George Whitting DSC, RANR(S)

Born  14 Jul 1915Cardiff, Wales, U.K.

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15 Apr 1939 S.Lt.
24 Sep 1940 Lt.

Retired: 6 Oct 1945


5 Jan 1943 DSC

Warship Commands listed for William George Whitting, RANR(S)

HMAS Vendetta (D 69)Lt.Destroyer29 Nov 194110 May 1942
HMAS Colac (J 242)Lt.Minesweeper11 Jun 1943Aug 1944

Career information

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Events related to this officer

Destroyer HMAS Vendetta (D 69)

21 Jan 1942
During air attacks on Singapore, HMAS Vendetta's 12pdr AA gun, which was mounted ashore near the ship and was manned by crew members of HMAS Vendetta (Lt. W.G. Whitting, RANR(S)), shot down a Japanese aircraft. (1)

23 Jan 1942
Lt. W.G. Whitting, RANR(S), which is currently in command of HMAS Vendetta during her refit, is ordered to prepare the ship to be towed away from Singapore. All the ships superstructure was ashore, boiler rooms and engine rooms were completely stipped down. The 4" armament and ammunition were at the Naval Base about 20 miles away on the other end of the island.

Preparations were started the following day. The ship was prepared for the tow and equipment was being collected and taken on board. This had to be done mostly by the ships skelleton crew as native labour had almost come to a standstill due to the air attacks.

Also the Gunner and the Yeoman of stores went to the Naval Base and eventually found the ships guns in various states of assembly. They managed, with the help of other naval personnel at the base to salvage all guns and equipment belonging to them en take it all with them to Keppel Harbour where it was put on board HMAS Vendetta.

On 27 January, the ship came to 24 hours notice. The ships Gunner was formally appointed the ships First Lieutenant.

On 28 January, the torpedo tubes and other equipment arrived from the Naval Base. By now two 4" gun had been assembled on board for self defence, one forward and one aft. However the locks were still missing and it was found out that these were at a workshop which was now in Japanese hands so the guns, though fitted, could not be used.

On 28 January 1942, HMAS Vendetta was put into dock for bottom cleaning and painting. The dock was flooded the following day.

On 30 January 1942, HMAS Vendetta left the dock and the following day all towing preparations were completed. (1)

2 Feb 1942
At 0700GH/2, HMAS Vendetta (Lt. W.G. Whitting, RANR(S)) slipped her moorings and departed Singapore in tow of HMS St. Just (Master R.W.H. Millen). Off the harbour they were joined by HMS Stronghold (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) G.R. Pretor-Pinney, RN) which was to act as escort.

Around 1000GH/2, the tow was transferred to HMS Stronghold but it parted around 1130GH/2. Tow was resumed half an hour later. HMS St. Just had made fast on the stern to act as rudder.

Around 1120GH/3, an air attack took place, a single plane dropped four bombs, two on either side of HMAS Vendetta.

Around 1145GH/3, a formation of five bombers attacked but no hits were obtained.

Around 1230GH/3, another formation of five bombers attacked but again no hits were obtained.

Between 1500GH/3 and 1730GH/3, a formation of eleven bombers made repeated attacks.

Around 1600GH, a burning tanker was sighted ahead and HMS St. Just was ordered to slip her tow and assist the tanker but her help was not required and she then rejoined the tow.

During the day a total of between 100 and 120 bombs had been dropped by Japanese aircraft. Only some minor damage due to near misses had been sustained by HMAS Vendetta.

On the 4th the tow arrived off the mouth of the Palembang river and HMAS Vendetta and HMS St. Just went up river to Palembang to await a faster tow for onward passage to Batavia.

On the 8th, HMAS Vendetta, which had come down again from Palembang with HMS St. Just, was taken in tow by HMAS Yarra (Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN). HMS St. Just remained at Palembang where she was later scuttled to prevent her from falling into Japanese hands.

Around 1000GH/10, the tow arrived at Batavia (Tandjong Priok) without being attacked at all. (1)

17 Feb 1942

Convoy SJ 3.

This convoy departed Batavia on 17 February 1942.

It was made up of the following merchant vessels; Darvel (British, 1929 GRT, built 1924), Giang Ann (British, 1265 GRT, built 1902), Krian (British, 845 GRT, built 1911), Oriskany (British, 1644 GRT, built 1924) and E Sang (British, 3370 GRT, built 1934).

The destroyer HMAS Vendetta (Lt. W.G. Whitting, RANR(S)) was also part of the convoy. She was in tow of the naval auxiliary HMS Ping Wo (T/Lt. J. Fant, RNR).

The convoy was escorted by the destroyer HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN) and the sloop HMAS Yarra (Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN).

The convoy later split into two sections, one for Colombo made up of the Krian, Oriskany and . It is possible these ships proceeded independently. It seems likely that HMS Electra then parted company on the convoy splitting and then returned to Batavia.

The other section was for Fremantle, and was made up of the Darvel and Giang Ann. Also with this section was HMS Ping Wo towing HMAS Vendetta. HMAS Yarra remained with this section until she was relieved by the light cruiser HMAS Adelaide (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) around 1830I/22 in position 15°50'S, 105°07'E.

Around 1830I/27, the Darvel was sent ahead to Fremantle due to being short of water.

The Fremantle section arrived there during the night of 3/4 March 1942. (2)

10 Mar 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Vendetta (Lt. W.G. Whitting, RANR(S)) departed Fremantle for Melbourne. Once again she was in tow of the naval auxiliary HMS Ping Wo (T/Lt. J. Fant, RNR).

On 12 March 1942, HMS Ping Wo developed engine trouble and course was set for Albany where they arrived on the 15th. HMAS Vendetta then anchored outside Albany harbour. Due to the bad weather conditions and the risk of dragging anchor she was towed into the harbour on the 19th.

On 24 March 1942, HMS Ping Wo towed HMAS Vendetta out of the harbour where the merchant vessel Islander (British, 1619 GRT, built 1929) took over the tow.

Early on the 25th the tow parted and later HMS Ping Wo took over while the Islander prepared a new tow line. The Islander was able to resume towing HMAS Vendetta late in the afternoon.

Early the 29th, weather had become so bad that the ships had to hove to. HMS Ping Wo then parted company and continuing on to Melbourne independently. Late on the 29th the Islander resumed towing.

Around noon on 31 March the tow again parted and due to the bad weather conditions a new tow could not be established. HMAS Vendetta was at the mercy wind and sea.

On 1 April weather had cleared a little and an attempt was made to pass another tow line but while doing so the Islander fouled the line and as a result also lost propulsion to her port screw decreasing her manoeuvring capabilities.

Shortly before noon on the 3rd of April a new tow line was finally established and the ships got underway again. It had been decided to proceed to Adelaide.

Around mid afternoon of 5 April 1942, the sloop / escort vessel HMAS Moresby (T/Lt. C.H. Brown, RANR(S)) joined.

Around mid afternoon of 6 April 1942, the tug Woonda joined and shortly afterwards she took over the tow and towed HMAS Vendetta into Adelaide harbour. (1)

10 Apr 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMAS Vendetta (Lt. W.G. Whitting, RANR(S)) departed Adelaide for Melbourne. Once again she was in tow of the merchant vessel Islander (British, 1619 GRT, built 1929). they were escorted by the minesweeper HMAS Whyalla (T/Lt. L.N. Morison, RANR(S)).

Tow parted on the 12th but it was re-established after a few hours.

Tow parted again on the 13th but it was re-established after a few hours.

Very early on the 15th the tug Tooronga took over the tow and towed HMAS Vendetta into Port Phillip and they arrived at Melbourne later the same day. (1)


  1. Report of proceedings of HMAS Vendetta from 6 December 1941 to 15 April 1942
  2. Report of proceedings of HMAS Adelaide for February 1942 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Adelaide for March 1942 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Vendetta from 6 December 1941 to 15 April 1942

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