HMAS Wollongong (J 172)
Minesweeper of the Bathurst class
|Navy||The Royal Australian Navy|
|Built by||Cockatoo Docks and Engineering Co. Ltd. (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia)|
|Ordered||29 Jul 1940|
|Laid down||29 Jan 1941|
|Launched||5 Jul 1941|
|Commissioned||23 Oct 1941|
|End service||11 Feb 1946|
Decommissioned on 11 February 1946.
Commands listed for HMAS Wollongong (J 172)
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. Gordon Alexander Keith, RANR(S)||27 Jul 1941||7 Mar 1943|
|2||Lt. Thomas Hartley Smith, RANR(S)||8 Mar 1943|
|3||T/Lt. John Hare, RANR(S)||26 Jun 1944||11 Feb 1946|
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Notable events involving Wollongong include:
20 Jul 1942
Convoy ZK 14.
This convoy departed Sydney on 20 July 1942.
It was made up of the following transports; Katoomba (Australian, 9424 GRT, built 1913).
They were escorted by the light cruiser HMAS Adelaide (A/Capt. J.C.D. Esdaile, OBE, RAN) and the destroyer HMAS Stuart (Cdr. S.H.K. Spurgeon, DSO, RAN).
Around 0200K/21, HMAS Stuart parted company and returned to Sydney arriving there later the same day.
Around 1530K/22, the transports Cremer (Dutch, 4608 GRT, built 1926) and Van Heutsz (Dutch, 4588 GRT, built 1926) joined coming from Melbourne.
Around 0922H/27, HMAS Wollongong (T/Lt. G.A. Keith, RANR(S)) joined the convoy as local A/S escort in the approaches to Fremantle.
The convoy arrived at Fremantle in the afternoon of 28 July 1942. (1)
31 Jul 1942
Convoy Schooner B '.
This convoy departed Fremantle on 31 July 1942.
It was made up of the following (troop) transports; Aronda (British, 9031 GRT, built 1941), Clan MacDonald (British, 9653 GRT, built 1939), Devonshire (British, 11275 GRT, built 1939), Ekma (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911), Elisabeth Bakke (Norwegian, 5450 GRT, built 1937), Kaituna (British, 4914 GRT, built 1938), Rajula (British, 8478 GRT, built 1926) and Westernland (Dutch, 16479 GRT, built 1918).
On departure from Fremantle the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMAS Adelaide (A/Capt. J.C.D. Esdaile, OBE, RAN), armed merchant cruiser HMS Kanimbla (A/Capt. W.L.G. Adams, RN), destroyer HMAS Voyager (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Robison DSC, RAN) and the minesweeper HMAS Wollongong (T/Lt. G.A. Keith, RANR(S)). HMAS Wollongong most likely was with the convoy only for a short time.
Around 1900H/2, HMAS Adelaide and HMAS Voyager parted company with the convoy to return to Fremantle.
The Elisabeth Bakke arrived at Adelaide on 5 August 1942 after having been detached from the convoy.
The convoy arrived at Melbourne on 7 August 1942. It appears that the Westernland proceeded to Sydney independently.
14 Nov 1942
Convoy KA 4.
This convoy departed Kilindini / Mombasa around 0630C on 14 November 1942.
The convoy was made up of the (troop) transports; Salween (British, 7063 GRT, built 1937) and Takliwa (British, 7936 GRT, built 1924).
On departure from Kilindini / Mombasa the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Ranchi (Capt.(Retd.) J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN) and the minesweepers HMAS Cairns (T/Lt. E. MacMillan, RANR(S)) and HMAS Wollongong (T/Lt. G.A. Keith, RANR(S)).
Around 1830C/14, HMAS Cairns and HMAS Wollongong parted company.
Around 1645D/18, the destroyer RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas, RHN) joined the convoy to the south-west of Socotra. HMS Ranchi then parted company.
The convoy arrived at Aden on 20 November 1942.
12 Sep 1943
German U-boat U-617 was beached, in the Mediterranean Sea near Melilla, in position 35°13'N, 03°21'W, after being damaged by depth charges from two British Wellington aircraft (179 Sqn RAF). The wreck was subsequently attacked by British Hudson aircraft (48 and 233 Sqn RAF) and two British Swordfish aircraft (833 and 886 Sqn FAA) and finally destroyed by gunfire from the British corvette HMS Hyacinth (Lt.Cdr. J.D. Hayes, DSO, RN) and the Australian minesweeper HMAS Wollongong (Lt. T.H. Smith, RANR(S)).
5 Jul 1944
USS Gurnard (T/Cdr. C.H. Andrews, USN) and USS Ray (T/Cdr. W.T. Kinsella, USN) conducted exercises off Fremantle attacking a 'convoy' made up of HMAS Adelaide (A/Capt. J.C.D. Esdaile, OBE, RAN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN), HMAS Dubbo (T/Lt. F.W. Roberts, RANR(S)), HMAS Horsham (T/A/Lt.Cdr. W.H. Newby, RANR(S)) and HMAS Wollongong (T/Lt. J. Hare, RANR(S)). (2)
9 Jul 1944
Around 0850H/9, the destroyer HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN) and the minesweepers HMAS Cairns (T/Lt. N.G. Weber, RANR(S)) and HMAS Wollongong (T/Lt. J. Hare, RANR(S)) departed Fremantle for Trincomalee / Addu Atoll. They were escorting the tanker Esso Rochester (American, 11344 GRT, built 1944).
On 13 and 15 July 1944, HMAS Norman fuelled from the tanker.
On 15 July HMAS Norman parted company in position 18°35'S, 89°48'E to proceed to Trincomalee where she arrived on 19 July.
The other ships proceeded to Addu Atoll where they arrived on 20 July. (3)
26 Jan 1945
Ships belonging to the Fleet Train of the British Pacific Fleet departed Trincomalee for Fremantle. These were the destroyer deport ship Tyne (Capt. S. Boucher, RN), repairs ships HMS Resource (Capt.(Retd.) D.B. O’Connell, RN), Artifex (A/Capt.(Retd.) C.C. Flemming, RN) and the target ship HMS Lewes (T/Lt. M.H. Grylls, SANF(V)). The tanker Battle Rock (American, 10448 GRT, built 1944) was also in company with these ships.
Escort was provided by the heavy cruiser London and the minesweepers HMAS Cairns (T/Lt. N.G. Weber, RANR(S)), HMAS Cessnock (Lt. A.G. Chapman, RANR(S)), HMAS Gawler (Lt.Cdr. J.H.P. Dixon, RANR(S)), HMAS Geraldton (Cdr. J.K. Walton, RAN), HMAS Ipswich (T/Lt. R.H. Creasey, RANR(S)), HMAS Tamworth (T/Lt. D.B. Lloyd-Jones, RANR(S)) and HMAS Wollongong (T/Lt. J. Hare, RANR(S)).
They arrived at Fremantle on 9 February 1945. (4)
19 Mar 1945
HMS Voracious (Lt. F.D.G. Challis, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Sydney with HMAS Nizam (A/Lt.Cdr. W.F. Cook, RAN) and HMAS Wollongong (T/Lt. J. Hare, RANR(S)).
HMAS Nizam also conducted gunnery and torpedo firing exercises. (5)
10 Aug 1945
HMS Virtue (Lt. R.D. Cairns, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Sydney with (at least) HMAS Wollongong (T/Lt. J. Hare, RANR(S)). (6)
- Report of proceedings of HMAS Adelaide for July 1942
- Report of proceedings of HMAS Horsham for July 1944
- Report of proceedings of HMAS Norman for July 1944
- ADM 199/1457
- ADM 173/20340 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Nizam for March 1945
- ADM 173/20293
ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.