Allied Warships

HMAS Bathurst (J 158)

Minesweeper of the Bathurst class

NavyThe Royal Australian Navy
TypeMinesweeper
ClassBathurst 
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 
History

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)

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CommanderFromTo
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.

Convoy from Colombo to Batavia .
Departure date: 3 February 1942.
Arrival date: 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 Februaury. HMS Cornwall was relieved by HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) on 10 February in position 05°40'S, 93°00'E.

On 11 Februry 1942, the British heavy cruiser HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN) apparently joined the escort and remained with it until 13 February.

On 12 February 1942, the British destroyer HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN) and the Indian sloop HMIS Jumna (Cdr. W.R. Shewring, RIN) joined the convoy.

On 13 February 1942 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. (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)). (2)

Sources

  1. ADM 199/426
  2. File 2.12.37.200 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)

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


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