Allied Warships

HMAS Bunbury (J 241)

Minesweeper of the Bathurst class

NavyThe Royal Australian Navy
PennantJ 241 
Built byEvans Deakin Ltd. (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia) 
Ordered16 May 1941 
Laid down1 Nov 1941 
Launched16 May 1942 
Commissioned3 Jan 1943 
End service26 Aug 1946 

Decommissioned to reserve on 26 August 1946.
Sold to be broken up for scrap on 6 January 1961 to Kinoshita (Australia) Pty. Ltd.


Commands listed for HMAS Bunbury (J 241)

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and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1T/Lt. John Symington Bell, RANR(S)Dec 19426 Jul 1944
2Lt. John Farquharson Bleckman, RANR(S)6 Jul 1944Sep 1945

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Notable events involving Bunbury include:

26 Jun 1944
Around 1710K/26, a convoy departed Langemak Bay (Megum Island anchorage) for Humboldt Bay (Hollandia).

This convoy was made up of the (troop) transports; Abigail S. Duniway (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944), Ada Rehan (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944), Ambrose Bierce (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Don Marquis (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Franklin K. Lane (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), George Eastman (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), George A. Pope (American, 7212 GRT, built 1944), Henry White (American, 7216 GRT, built 1944), Julien Dubuque (American, 7194 GRT, built 1943), Mormachawk (American, 6711 GRT, built 1942), Otis Skinner (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944), Robert S. Bean (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Simon Bamberger (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Stephen M. White (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Van der Lijn (Dutch, 2464 GRT, built 1929), Walter Williams (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Watson C. Squire (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943) and Wilfred Grenfell (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943).

On departure from Langemak Bay the convoy was escorted by the destroyer HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. J.S. Mesley, RAN, Senior Officer of the escort), minesweepers HMAS Broome (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Denovan, RANVR), HMAS Bunbury (T/Lt. J.S. Bell, RANR(S)), HMAS Gladstone (T/Lt. J.W. Penney, RANR(S)), HMAS Kiama (T/Lt. S.J. Benson, RANR(S)), HMAS Stawell (T/A/Lt.Cdr. S.J. Griffith, RANR(S)) and the patrol vessels PC-1131 (?) and SC-749 (Lt.(jg) H.W. Sadler, USNR).

At 0040K/27, the transports; Joseph P. Bradley (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943) and Francis A. Wardwell (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943) joined the convoy. They were escorted by the patrol vessel PC-1121 (Lt. R.D. Blocksom, USNR) which also joined the convoy.

Around 1000K/28, the Francis A. Wardwell, Joseph P. Bradley and Julien Dubuque were detached to Aitape escorted by all three American patrol vessels.

The convoy arrived at Humboldt Bay around 0800K/29. (1)

9 Nov 1944
During 9 and 10 November 1944, HMS Sea Rover (Lt. J.P. Angell, RN), HMS Spiteful (Lt.Cdr. F.H. Sherwood, DSC, RCNVR) and HMS Sturdy (Lt. W.St.G. Anderson, DSC, RNR) conducted exercises off Fremantle. These also included night exercises.

Convoy attack exercises were carried out during which HMAS Bunbury (Lt. J.F. Bleckman, RANR(S)), HMAS Inverell (Lt. A.I. Chapman, RANR(S)), HMAS Launceston (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E.J. Barron, RANR(S)), HMAS Mildura (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Little, RANR(S)) and HMAS Warrnambool (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) E.J.B. Wight, RAN) served as the targets. (2)

22 Nov 1944
During 22 and 23 November 1944, HMS Sirdar (Lt. J.A. Spender, RN), conducted exercises off Fremantle. These included night exercises. These included practice attacks on USS Coucal (Lt.Cdr. D.H. Byerly, USNR). During the night convoy attack exercises were carried out with USS Coucal, HMAS Bunbury (Lt. J.F. Bleckman, RANR(S)), HMAS Inverell (Lt. A.I. Chapman, RANR(S)) and HMAS Warrnambool (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) E.J.B. Wight, RAN) pretending to be a convoy. (3)

17 Dec 1944
At 0023 hours (zone -9.5), HMS Sea Rover (Lt. J.P. Angell, RN) and HMAS Bunbury (Lt. J.F. Bleckman, RANR(S)) collide with each other in position 31°45'S, 115°13'E. Damage is caused to both ships.

At 0505 hours ended her 8th war patrol (7th in the Far East and 2nd in the South-West Pacific area) when she entered Fremantle harbour. (4)

5 Feb 1945
USS Blenny (Cdr. W.H. Hazzard, USN) departed from Fremantle for her 2nd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China Sea off the coast of French Indo-China. Before proceeding to her patrol area exercises were carried out with HMAS Bunbury (Lt. J.F. Bleckman, RANR(S)).


  1. Report of proceedings of HMAS Vendetta for June 1944
  2. ADM 173/18679
  3. ADM 173/18790
  4. ADM 199/1871

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

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