HMAS Castlemaine (J 244)
Minesweeper of the Bathurst class
|Navy||The Royal Australian Navy|
|Built by||Williamstown Dockyard (Williamstown, Victoria, Australia)|
|Ordered||24 Sep 1940|
|Laid down||17 Feb 1941|
|Launched||7 Aug 1941|
|Commissioned||17 Jul 1942|
|End service||14 Dec 1945|
Decommissioned 14 December 1945.
She is now moored at Gem Pier, Williamstown, as a museum ship.
Commands listed for HMAS Castlemaine (J 244)
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.
|1||T/Lt.Cdr. Philip Jack Sullivan, RANR(S)||13 Apr 1942||23 Jun 1944|
|2||Lt. Gilbert Sutherland Gordon, RAN||23 Jun 1944||Nov 1944|
|3||T/A/Lt.Cdr. Percy Goldsworthy Collins, RANR(S)||Nov 1944||May 1945 ?|
|4||Lt. Francis Reginald Bruce Moss, RANVR||4 Nov 1944||21 Dec 1945|
You can help improve our commands section
Click here to Submit events/comments/updates for this vessel.
Please use this if you spot mistakes or want to improve this ships page.
Notable events involving Castlemaine include:
7 Sep 1942
Operations by Task Force 44 in the south-west Pacific / Milne Bay area.
7 September 1942.
Around 1100K/7, ships of Task Force 44, the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), light cruiser USS Phoenix (Capt. H.E. Fischer, USN) and the destroyers USS Selfridge (T/Cdr. C.D. Reynolds, USN, with Capt. C.W. Flynn, USN, commanding Destroyer Squadron 4 on board) and USS Bagley (T/Cdr. G.A. Sinclair, USN) departed Brisbane to patrol in the Coral Sea so as to be in position to support operations in the Milne Bay area if called upon. Reinforcements were to join as soon as possible as some ships of Task Force 44 had been detached on other duties or were undergoing repairs.
On departure from Brisbane it had been intended to conducted gunnery exercises using a target that was being towed by the auxiliary M/S trawler HMAS Tongkol (?). Bad weather conditions hover prevented the exercises proceeding as the towline of the target fouled the srew of HMAS Tongkol. USS Bagley briefly stood by the M/S trawler but rejoined the other ships later the same day.
8 September 1942.
At 1200K/8, Task Force 44 was in position 23°27'S, 154°45'E, course 345°, speed of advance 15 knots.
Around 1 830K/9, USS Selfridge and USS Bagley parted company with the cruisers for a night encounter exercise. On completion of the exercise they rejoined the cruisers.
9 September 1942.
During the forenoon Allied bomber aircraft made contact with the force in order to learn the recognition and identification of our ships.
At 1200K/9, Task Force 44 was in position 17°42'S, 152°58'E, course 345°, speed of advance 15 knots.
At 1500K/9, course was reversed to make contact with the destroyers USS Helm (T/Cdr. C.E. Carroll, USN) and USS Henley T/Cdr. E.K. van Swearingen, USN) who were approaching the area coming from Efate. They were however not sighted and at 1745K/9 course was shaped to the north-west and speed was increased to 22 knots.
10 September 1942.
Around 0700K/10, USS Helm and USS Henley were sighted and joined company and the force then entered the area in which it had been intended to operate. Course was thus set to the northward at 15 knots to get within striking distance of Milne Bay whilst awaiting the results of our land based reconnaissance aircraft.
At 1200K/10, Task Force 44 was in position 13°45'S, 148°47'E, course 350°, speed of advance 15 knots.
Around 1145K/10, HMAS Hobart ( Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN), with her repairs completed, departed Brisbane to join Task Force 44 at sea.
By 1800K/10, no reports of enemy forces had been received to Task Force 44 retired to the southwards for the night.
11 September 1942.
At daylight Task Force 44 turned and steered towards the north-east to await the result of this mornings air reconnaissance.
At 1200K/11, Task Force 44 was in position 12°49'S, 147°49'E.
The forenoon air searches had not located any enemy forces within reach of Milne Bay. Task Force 44 therefore turned to the south-east and USS Selfride and USS Bagley were ordered to fuel from HMAS Australia and USS Phoenix. Fuelling was barely begun when an aircraft report was received placing two enemy destroyers east of the Trobriand Islands at noon steering to the south-west. As this was the type of force that had previously been sent into Milne Bay and that when these ships would continue to Milne Bay they would find the destroyer HMAS Arunta (Cdr. J.C. Morrow, DSO, RAN) and two transports there.
Fuelling was at once stopped and Rear-Admiral Crutchley ordered Captain Flynn to proceed, from position 13°09'S, 148°03'E, with USS Selfridge, USS Helm, USS Henley and USS Bagley at 28 knots towards Milne Bay to destroy any enemy force entering or found in the bay or to withdraw to the southward in case the enemy was forced to withdraw due to our bombing by land based striking forces or to withdraw by early dawn if his force had entered Milne Bay and contact had not been made with the enemy.
Meanwhile HMAS Australia and USS Phoenix would proceed to the northward to be in position to provide cover if needed. At 1600K/11, a reconnaissance aircraft reported an enemy cruiser north of Woodlark Island and on a southerly course. It was seen that this enemy vessel could also reach Milne Bay during the night and Rear-Admiral Crutchley therefore turned his cruisers towards China Strait at 22 knots. At 1630K/11, an air striking force from Port Moresby attacked the two enemy destroyers which had now reached Normanby Island and scored on hit on the stern of one of them, setting her on fire and bringing her to a standstill. The second enemy destroyer was last seen at 1725K/11, heading 160° at 30 knots. No other report subsequent to the original sighting report was received of the enemy cruisers. It seemed, therefore, that one enemy destroyer and one enemy cruiser might enter the Milne Bay area during the night and that Captain Flynn's force would be ample to deal with them. [The Japanese destroyers were the Isokaze and Yayoi of which the last one was sunk in position 08°45'S, 151°25'E.]
By 2030K/11, no further information had been received and so being confident that cruiser support was not required, Rear-Admiral Crutchley turned HMAS Australia and USS Phoenix to the southward to make rendezvous with HMAS Hobart the next morning. Speed was set to 17 knots.
12 September 1942.
Around 0800K/12, HMAS Hobart joined having steamed from Brisbane at 22 knots. The three cruisers then shaped course to the northward to make contact with the four destroyers now withdrawing from the Milne Bay area.
At 1200K/12, the cruisers were in position 14°03'S, 148°02'E steering 000° at 15 knots.
Around 1600K/12, the destroyers rejoined. USS Helm and USS Henley were at once fuelled by HMAS Australia and USS Phoenix.
Captain Flynn reported that they had entered Milne Bay at 2345K/11 and then swept to the westward to 150°33'E and then patrolled east and west between that longtitude and 150°54'E on either side of latitude 10°24'S. They had cleared China Strait at 0615K/12 and had sighted nothing of interest. HMAS Arunta and two transports then entered the Bay at 0600K/12.
On completion of fuelling the two destroyers Task Force 44 set course to the south-west of the night.
13 September 1942.
At 0630K/13, USS Selfridge and USS Bagley commenced fuelling from HMAS Australia and USS Phoenix.
At 1200K/13, Task Force 44 was in position 12°21'S, 147°37'E, steering 130° at 15 knots.
14 September 1942.
At 1200K/14, Task Force 44 was in position 14°07'S, 149°25'E, steering 050° at 15 knots.
Shortly after noon, HMAS Henley obtained a promising A/S contact which was immediately attacked with a full pattern of depth charges after which contact was lost. An A/S patrol launched by HMAS Australia then patrolled the area of the attack but found no sign of an enemy submarine being present.
During the night the force proceeded to the southward.
15 September 1942.
At 1200K/15, Task Force 44 was in position 14°02'S, 149°00'E, steering 010° at 15 knots.
Around 1400K/15, Task Force 44 turned to the South-West to proceed to Challenger Bay, Palm Islands to fuel.
16 September 1942.
At 0545K/15, USS Phoenix launched two aircraft for A/S patrol off Grafton Passage through which the force was to pass.
Task Force 44 passed through the Grafton Passage around 0745K/15 and arrived at Challenger Bay around 1545K/15. They now had to wait for the tanker to arrive, meanwhile the sloop HMAS Warrego (Lt.Cdr. A.D.C. Inglis, RN) conducted A/S patrol off the bay. This duty was later taken over by HMAS Castlemaine (T/Lt.Cdr. P.J. Sullivan, RANR(S)).
A transport with fresh supplies was also sent from Townsville. (1)
18 Sep 1942
Continued operations by Task Force 44 in the south-west Pacific / Milne Bay area.
18 September 1942.
Around 0900K/18, Task Force 44, made up of the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN), USS Phoenix (Capt. H.E. Fischer, USN) and the destroyers USS Selfridge (T/Cdr. C.D. Reynolds, USN, with Capt. C.W. Flynn, USN, commanding Destroyer Squadron 4 on board), USS Bagley (T/Cdr. G.A. Sinclair, USN), USS Helm (T/Cdr. C.E. Carroll, USN) and USS Henley T/Cdr. E.K. van Swearingen, USN) sailed from Challenger Bay (Palm Islands) to operate again to the south of New Guinea. On sailing USS Selfridge developed a steering gear defect and she had to be left behind to effect repairs and join on completion of these. The chartered tanker British Sailor (British, 5576 GRT, built 1918) and supply ship Yunnan (British, 2812 GRT, built 1934) also departed for Townsville escorted by HMAS Castlemaine (T/Lt.Cdr. P.J. Sullivan, RANR(S)).
Around 1730K/18, Task Force 44 cleared the Grafton Passage and shaped course to the north-east at 15 knots. USS Selfridge rejoined around 1800K/18 having completed repairs to her steering gear.
19 September 1942.
At 1200K/19, Task Force 44 was in position 13°24'S, 148°46'E, course 110°, speed of advance 15 knots.
As HMAS Stuart (Cdr. S.H.K. Spurgeon, DSO, RAN), which had been at Milne Bay with four transports, had to retire to Port Moresby to fuel, Task Force 44 changed course to the northward at 1600K/19 so as to give close cover to these ships. By 2100K/19 there had been no report of enemy activity in the area and Task Force 44 turned to the southward for the night.
20 September 1942.
At 0600K/20, Task Force 44 turned to the north-west.
At 1200K/20, Task Force 44 was in position 12°37'S, 149°07'E, course 330°, speed of advance 15 knots.
Around 1600K/20, Task Force 44 changed course to the southward to meet the destroyer USS Mugford (T/Cdr. E.W. Young, USN) which was coming north from Sydney having completed repairs there.
During the day USS Bagley reported her gun director out of action. This additional casualty now makes it necessary for her to be the first destroyer to be withdrawn to Sydney for overhaul.
21 September 1942.
Around 0800K/21, USS Mugford joined.
At 1200K/21, Task Force 44 was in position 14°09'S, 149°07'E, course 080°, speed of advance 14 knots.
Around 1400K/21, course was altered to the northward. USS Bagley was then detached to proceed to Sydney so as to arrive there during daylight on 24 September.
Around 1800K/21, Task Force 44 turned to the westward as no enemy sightings had been made by our reconnaissance aircraft.
22 September 1942.
Around 0600K/22, course was altered to the eastward.
At 1200K/22, Task Force 44 was in position 13°29'S, 147°49'E, course 060°, speed of advance 15 knots. This course was maintained until 2000K/22 by which time there had been no enemy sightings by our reconnaissance aircraft and Task Force 44 retired to the southward during the night.
23 September 1942.
At 1200K/23, Task Force 44 was in position 12°26'S, 150°05'E, course 070°, speed of advance 15 knots.
At 1300K/23, course was altered to the north and at 2000K/23 course was altered to 220° for the night.
24 September 1942.
During the forenoon HMAS Hobart and the destroyers were fuelled by HMAS Australia and USS Phoenix.
At 1200K/24, Task Force 44 was in position 15°45'S, 148°37'E, course 120°.
Fuelling was completed around 1300K/24, and course was changed to north with speed set at 15 knots.
25 September 1942.
During the forenoon two unidentified aircraft flew over the Task Force at 15000 feet. Visibility was poor and it was hoped the aircraft did not see Task Force 44. They later disappeared of the radar screen steering a steady course of 190°.
At 1200K/25, Task Force 44 was in position 13°45'S, 148°02'E, course 060°, speed of advance 15 knots.
At 2000K/25, Task Force 44 turned to the south for the night.
26 September 1942.
Around 0600K/26, Task Force 44 turned to the east-north-east.
At 1200K/26, Task Force 44 was in position 14°41'S, 149°46'E, course 030°, speed of advance 15 knots.
By 1800K/26, no reports of enemy warships within reach of Milne Bay had been received course was set for the Grafton Passage as Task Force 44 needed to refuel.
27 September 1942.
Around 1130L/27, Task Force 44 entered the Grafton Passage. Half an hour later USS Mugford, which had collected mails from all ships, parted company to proceed to Townsville so as to arrive there around 1830L/27. She had orders to remain at Townsville overnight and having embarked mails, stores and personnel for Task Force 44, to leavy harbour around 0800L/28 and then rejoin the force at Cid Harbour.
At 1230L/27, HMAS Australia's aircraft was launched to fly to Townsville with despatches. the aircraft was recovered at 1800L/27 when Task Force 44 was near the Brook Islands.
28 September 1942.
At 0730L/28, Task Force 44, less USS Mugford, reached Cid Harbour and began fuelling and provisioning from the chartered tanker British Sailor (British, 5576 GRT, built 1918) and supply ship Merkur (Australian, 5946 GRT, built 1924).
At 1400L/28, USS Mugford arrived from Townsville.
A/S patrol of the area was maintained during daylight hours on 28 and 29 September by a Catalina flying boat. (1)
10 Feb 1943
HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. C.J. Stephenson, RAN) departed Cairns escorting the RFA tanker Bishopdale (8406 GRT, built 1937) to Goods Island (Torres Strait) where they arrived on 12 February 1943.
Off Goods Island, HMAS Castlemaine (T/Lt.Cdr. P.J. Sullivan, RANR(S)) was fuelled by the Bishopdale.
They all departed Goods Island on 13 February 1943 for Darwin where they arrived on 16 February 1943. (2)
20 Feb 1943
The RFA tanker Bishopdale (8406 GRT, built 1937) departed Darwin for Townsville via Thursday Island.
She was escorted by the destroyer HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. C.J. Stephenson, RAN) and the minesweeper HMAS Castlemaine (T/Lt.Cdr. P.J. Sullivan, RANR(S)).
They arrived off Thusday Island on 23 February 1943 where HMAS Castlemaine was detached.
HMAS Vendetta and the Bishopsdale arrived at Townsville on 26 February 1943. (2)
- Report of proceedings of Task Force 44
- Report of proceedings of HMAS Vendetta for February 1943