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The Officers of HMS KANIMBLA, 1941

Date: 1941
Image: 140 x 200 mm
Medium: Silver gelatin print
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Captain Donald Dykes
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00050543
Related Place:Bandar-e Khomeyni,

User Terms

    A formal group portrait of the Australian and British officers of HMS KANIMBLA, shown with the life ring souvenired from the HOHENFELS, a German ship captured by the allied naval forces at the Iranian port of Bandar Shahpur in August 1941.
    SignificanceThis photograph of HMS KANIMBLA clearly documents the results of a successful naval operation.
    HistoryFormerly a merchant passenger ship with McIlwraith McEachern Limited, the KANIMBLA was requisitioned on 5 September 1939 for conversion to an armed merchant cruiser in Britain's Royal Navy. On 6 October 1939, the ship was commissioned HMS KANIMBLA and under the command of Commander Frank Getting, RAN, patrolled the China and Japan coasts. It intercepted and searched ships for contraband as well as performing other general patrol and escort duties. In 1941 KANIMBLA was deployed to the Persian Gulf. On the evening of 24 August 1941 KANIMBLA, with 300 Indian troops embarked, led a flotilla of vessels in a surprise attack on the Iranian port of Bandar Shahpur capturing eight German and Italian merchant vessels with valuable cargo, two Iranian gunboats and a floating dock. KANIMBLA remained in the area until 11 October, supervising the port and carrying out salvage work on the captured vessels, most notably the German ship HOHENFELS.

    Sydney Morning Herald, 20 September 1941 reported the event:
    Daring in Iran
    LONDON, Sept. 19 (A.A.P.). Australian naval ratings, assisted by Indians, carried out a daring exploit when seven of eight Axis ships were saved from scuttling at Bandar Shahpur (Iran) after the British landing, reports the Tehran correspondent of the "Daily Telegraph."

    The Navy prepared an expeditionary force consisting of dhows, tugs, and launches. The Australians and Indians had been practising old-time tactics of boarding, including the use of grappling-irons.

    The little fleet set out before dawn, and when it stole in, the look-out in the nearest Axis ship, the Hohenfels (7,862 tons) did not suspect anything until it was too late. The Australians and Indians scrambled aboard the ships, and groping in the dark holds, turned off the sea cocks, plugged the holes, cut the wires to gelignite charges, and dowsed deliberately-lit fires. All this was done so quickly that there were no British casualties.

    Six of the seven ships saved are at present being repaired in India. The seventh is being salvaged. The eighth was burnt out."

    In 1943 the ship was again converted, this time into a landing ship infantry (LSI) for operations in the Pacific and was commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy as HMAS KANIMBLA. Transport and troop landings followed and as part of task force 79 in 1945, KANIMBLA was involved in the battle of Lingayen Gulf. After the war ended, the ship was involved in the repatriation of Australian servicemen from the Pacific Islands and also in returning Dutch dependents to the East Indies; and transporting troops of the British Commonwealth occupation forces to Japan. Decommissioned in 1949, KANIMBLA was returned to McIlwraith McEachern in 1950.

    In 1961 the vessel was sold to the Pacific Transport Company and renamed ORIENTAL QUEEN. The Indonesian government chartered the vessel for three years to transport pilgrims from Indonesia to Jeddah. A Japanese shipping company later chartered ORIENTAL QUEEN for service between Guam and Yokohama. The vessel was sold for scrap and broken up after 1973.

    This photograph includes identification of the following men:
    Front row (seated on deck) L-R: Sub. Lt. RANR; Pay Sub. Lt. Campbell RANR(S); Sub-Lt. F.D. Simon RANR(S); Sub. Lt. RANR.

    Second row (seated) L-R: Lt. Clark RANR(S); Lt. Wally Mullans RANR(S); Lt. John Netherton RANR; Lt. Cdr David Richards RANR(S); Lt. Cdr. G.C.F. Branson RN; Capt. W.L.G. Adams RN; Cdr. E. McGuffog RANR(S); L. Cdr. Eng. Carmichael RANR(S); Surg. Lt. Cdr. McKenzie RANR; Pay Lt. Cdr Bruce Freeman RANR(S); Lt. Gordon Henry RANR(S); Eng. Lt. Brown RANR(S).

    Back row (standing) L-R: Sub-Lt. Tony Ellis RANR(S); Eng. Lt. Norton RANR(S); Pay Lt. RANR; Lt. John Maynard RANR; Sub Lt. G.S.H Champion RANR(S); Sub Lt. S.P Cains RANR(S); War-Gnr Lowry RAN; Eng. Lt. Marshall RANR(S); Lt. Ted Hackford RANR; Elec. Lt. Curry RANR(S); Lt. E.C. Connor RANR; Lt. RANR; Sub-Lt C.D Dykes RANR(S); Eng. Lt. Bob Sinclair RANR(S)
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: HMS KANIMBLA Ship's Officers

    Web title: The Officers of HMS KANIMBLA, 1941

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