Allied Warships

HMAS Warrego (L 73 / U 73)

Sloop of the Grimsby class


Photo courtesy of Allan C. Green Collection

NavyThe Royal Australian Navy
TypeSloop
ClassGrimsby 
PennantL 73 / U 73 
Built byCockatoo Docks and Engineering Co. Ltd. (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia) 
Ordered 1938 
Laid down15 May 1939 
Launched10 Feb 1940 
Commissioned22 Aug 1940 
End service8 Aug 1963 
History

Decommissioned 8 august 1963.
Sold to be broken up for scrap in April 1965.

 

Commands listed for HMAS Warrego (L 73 / U 73)

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.

CommanderFromTo
1Cdr. Ross Valdar Wheatley, RAN29 Jul 194028 May 1941
2Lt. (emergency) David Logan, RAN29 May 194119 Jul 1941
3Cdr. Ross Valdar Wheatley, RAN20 Jul 194126 May 1942
4Lt.Cdr. Arnold Holbrook Green, RAN27 May 194222 Aug 1942
5Lt.Cdr. Alexander Douglas Colin Inglis, RN22 Aug 194211 Jul 1944
6Lt.Cdr. George Dalton Tancred, RAN11 Jul 194419 Nov 1944

7A/Cdr. Colin Goyder Little, DSC, RAN15 May 194525 Aug 1945
8A/Cdr. Robert Bagster Atlee Hunt, OBE, RAN25 Aug 1945Mar 1946

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Notable events involving Warrego include:


14 Sep 1940

Convoy US 5.

This convoy departed Sydney on 14 September 1940.

It was made up of the troopships; Indrapoera (Dutch, 10825 GRT, built 1925) and Slamat (Dutch, 11636 GRT, built 1924).

They were escorted by the light cruiser HMAS Perth (Capt. P.W. Bowyer-Smith, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, RN).

In the afternoon of 16 September in Bass Strait the troopships Christiaan Huygens (Dutch, 16287 GRT, built 1927) and Nieuw Holland (Dutch, 11066 GRT, built 1927) joined coming from Melbourne.

At dawn on 21 September the sloop HMAS Warrego (Cdr. R.V. Wheatley, RAN) joined in the approaches to Fremantle. The convoy arrived at Fremantle later the same day.

The convoy departed Fremantle on 22 September escorted by the heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN) and the sloop HMAS Warrego.

HMAS Warrego parted company around 0615H/23 and returned to Fremantle.

The convoy arrived at Colombo on 1 October 1940.

The convoy departed Colombo for Aden on 2 October 1940 escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire. (Capt. J.H. Edelsten, RN).

The convoy arrived off Aden on 8 October 1940 where HMS Shropshire parted company after the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), destroyer HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and the sloop HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) had joined.

The escort parted company with the convoy around 0800C/10 to join southbound convoy SW 2.

The convoy arrived at Suez on 12 October 1940.

19 Dec 1941
On this day the heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, CB, RN) and the light cruisers HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) and HMNZS Achilles (Capt. H.M. Barnes, RN) joined a convoy of American transports that had been en-route from San Francisco / Pearl Harbour to Manila but had now been diverted to Australia.

This convoy was escorted by the heavy cruiser USS Pensacola (Capt. N. Scott, USN) and was made up of the (troop) transports; Admiral Halstead (American 3545 GRT, built 1920), Bloemfontein (Dutch, 10081 GRT, built 1934), Coast Farmer (American, 3545 GRT, built 1920), Meigs (American (Army transport, 7358 GRT, built 1921) and Willard A. Holbrook (American (Army transport, 14812 GRT, built 1921).

The transport USS Chaumont (7556 GRT, built 1920) was also part of the convoy as was the troop transport USS Republic (18089 GRT, built 1907).

On 21 December 1941, the sloops HMAS Swan (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Travis, RAN) and HMAS Warrego (Cdr. R.V. Wheatley, RAN) joined the escort to provide A/S protection.

The convoy arrived at Brisbane on 22 December. (1)

28 Dec 1941

Convoy ZK 5.

This convoy departed Sydney on 28 December 1941.

It was made up of the (troop) transports; Aquitania (British, 44786 GRT, built 1914), Herstein (Norwegian, 5100 GRT, built 1939) and Sarpedon (British, 11321 GRT, built 1923). They were escorted by the heavy cruisers HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, CB, RN), HMAS Canberra (Capt. G.D. Moore, RAN) and light cruisers HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) and HMNZS Achilles (Capt. H.M. Barnes, RN).

Around 1500K/2, the sloops HMAS Swan (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Travis, RAN) and HMAS Warrego (Cdr. R.V. Wheatley, RAN) joined the escort.

The convoy arrived at Port Moresby on 3 January 1942. (2)

31 May 1942
HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) returned to Sydney. After fuelling she departed for yet another convoy mission.

Convoy ZK 9 was to be escorted northwards. This convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; American Robert Gray (7176 GRT, built 1942) (joined off Melbourne on 2 June), Stephen A. Douglas (7176 GRT, built 1942) (joined off Melbourne on 2 June), Australian Katoomba (9424 GRT, built 1913), Ormiston (5815 GRT, built 1922) and Dutch Japara (3323, built 1930) (joined off Melbourne on 2 June). Besides Tromp they were escorted by the US destroyer USS Selfridge (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Reynolds, USN) and the Australian sloop HMAS Warrego (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, RAN). (3)

10 Aug 1942

Combined convoy A 3 / B 3.

This convoy departed Caloundra on 10 August 1942.

It was made up of the following transports; Anshun (British, 3188 GRT, built 1930), Daniel Boone (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Kooliga (Australian, 2459 GRT, built 1928), Perida (American, 6580 GRT, built 1937), 's Jacob (Dutch, 2988 GRT, built 1907), Sea Witch (American, 6021 GRT, built 1940) and Van der Lijn (Dutch, 2464 GRT, built 1928).

On departure from Caloundra, around 2000K/10, the convoy was escorted by the destroyer HMAS Stuart (Cdr. S.H.K. Spurgeon, DSO, RAN) which parted company around 1200K/12, in the Capricorn Channel. The convoy then continued on unescorted.

On 13 August the Kooliga parted company and entered Bowen.

On 14 August the Daniel Boone parted company and entered Townsville.

Also on the 14th the sloop HMAS Warrego (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, RAN) and minesweeper HMAS Bendigo (T/Lt. S.J. Griffith, RANR(S)) joined coming from Townsville.

On the 16th the minesweeper HMAS Warrnambool (T/Lt. E.J. Barron, RANR(S)) joined coming from Port Moresby but she parted company again shortly afterwards taking the ships of convoy B 3 with her, these were the transports Perida and Sea Witch.

Convoy B 3 arrived at Port Moresby around 0615K/17.

convoy A 3, made up of the Anshun, 's Jacob and Van der Lijn and escorted by HMAS Warrego and HMAS Bendigo arrived at Fall River (Milne Bay) around 1800K/17.

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. (4)

Sources

  1. ADM 199/2234 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Canberra for December 1941 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Perth for December 1941
  2. Report of proceedings of HMAS Perth for December 1941
  3. File 2.12.03.6849 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  4. Report of proceedings of Task Force 44

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


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