Search the Collection
Advanced Search

Commissioning pennant from HMAS BOMBARD

Date: 1968
Dimensions:
Overall: 500 x 760 x 10 mm
Medium: Canvas, ribbon, rope
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Jill Pinkham
Classification:Ceremonial artefact
Object Name: Pennant
Object No: 00045317

User Terms

    Description
    This pennant was presented to BOMBARD's first commanding officer, Lieutenant Robert Hugh Gyton. The ceremonies for commissioning and decommissioning a warship call for the hoisting of the ensign, jack and commissioning pennant as the first act after the new captain reads the commissioning order, and as the final act before the last captain declares the ship decommissioned.
    SignificanceThis commissioning pennant comes from the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Attack class patrol boat HMAS BOMBARD and represents the distinctive mark of a Royal Australian Navy ship in commission, other than the Australian White Ensign.
    HistoryThe distinctive mark of a Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ship in commission, other than the Australian White Ensign, is a flag or pennant at the masthead. The modern RAN commissioning pennant is the red cross of St. George at the hoist with a white fly, and is based on the pennant of the British Royal Navy. The hoisting of the commissioning pennant is considered the key moment in the commissioning of a naval ship. Once hoisted, it flies continuously, night and day, except when displaced by an admiral's flag or a command pennant.

    The last commanding officer is allowed to keep the commissioning pennant when a ship is decommissioned. The ceremonies for commissioning and decommissioning a warship call for the hoisting of the ensign, jack and commissioning pennant as the first act after the new captain reads the commissioning order, and as the final act before the last captain declares the ship decommissioned.

    By the 1960s Australia was closely involved in events in the Asia-Pacific region, and was no longer depending on a British strategic presence close to the north in Malaya and Singapore. The effect of this on Australia's naval strategy was a greater commitment to improving surveillance and control of our enormous coastline, especially the northern approaches.

    In 1963 the Navy requested a preliminary feasibility study for a boat of simple characteristics about 70-80 feet in length (21-24 metres) with a speed of 12 knots and accommodation for two officers, two petty officers and 10 junior rates. A final design was developed for a 100 foot (30.4 metres) 20-knot boat based on US Coast Guard cutters and tank testing.

    The decision to produce a new patrol boat for the RAN was approved by the Australian Government in 1964 - initially for nine all-purpose craft, although this was soon increased to 14 and then 20 (five of which were specifically for the Papua New Guinea division). In 1965 contracts were awarded to Evans, Deakin & Co Pty Ltd of Brisbane and Walkers Ltd of Maryborough.

    HMAS BOMBARD was built for the Royal Australian Navy by Walkers Ltd and was launched on 6 July 1968 and commissioned on 5 November 1968. The Attack class, named after the first of the type, HMAS ATTACK, was primarily designed for general patrol and survey work in Australian and New Guinean waters.

    Along with the other patrol boats, BOMBARD was available to undertake control of illegal fishing, seaward and harbour defence, coast watching duties, smuggling and immigration control, search and rescue, act as a target towing vessel, anti-infiltration and counter insurgency control, servicing of local navigational beacons, occasional inshore survey work, and also to act as a training vessel for Naval Reserve officers and sailors and for general training in small ship handling.

    The Attack class reflected a stage in the development of high-speed patrol boat design, which had moved away from short-range, petrol-driven timber craft to medium-range diesel vessels. The hulls were of steel while the superstructures were of aluminium. They were lightly armed for small-scale encounters, with one 40/60 mm Bofors gun and two 0.5-inch (12.7 mm) Browning machine guns which could put warning shots across the bows of a suspect vessel.

    The vessels were originally designated the First Australian Patrol Boat Squadron. In 1972 they underwent reorganisation and were divided into First, Second and Third Squadrons plus the PNG Division. Their respective bases were Sydney, Cairns, Darwin and Manus Island. BOMBARD was primarily with the Third Squadron in Darwin, where they were locally called the 'Darwin Navy' and a buffalo head insignia was painted on their funnels.

    These patrol boats drew upon designs from Britain and the USA. They used much British equipment, such as the Paxman main engines, but they also foreshadowed the RAN's increasing swing to US equipment with American generators. An Australian modification was the use of readily available commercial components in some of the fitout. This was because of their need to operate in remote northern waters far from military bases, where their best supply source might be the hardware store of an isolated coastal town. According to the Reports of Proceedings such non-military repair materials included Araldite and nail varnish!

    Five of the boats were built for Papua New Guinea service (with Australian officers in command), and formed the basis of its navy at Independence in 1975. Seven (including BOMBARD) were given to the Indonesian navy between 1973 and 1985 and are still in operation. They were transferred as part of the Australian-Indonesian Defence Cooperation project for Indonesia's maritime surveillance capability. HMAS BOMBARD was transferred in September 1983 and renamed KRI SIRIBUA.

    BOMBARD is probably best known for starring (with HMAS ADVANCE) in the first series of the popular ABC-TV production, Patrol Boat, as the fictional HMAS AMBUSH. The series was produced in 1979 and 1983 and was filmed around Sydney Harbour, Pittwater, Kuringai and the Hawkesbury.

    BOMBARD's equipment included high-definition navigation radar type RM916, high and ultra-high frequency radio transmitters and receivers, gyro and magnetic compasses and echo sounders. The patrol boats were fully air conditioned for tropical conditions and there was enough freezer space on board to provide the sailors and officers with quality food, even when at sea for extended periods. Water and victualling stores were generally stored for 14-day deployments.



    Discuss this Object

    Comments

    Please log in to add a comment.