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HMAS BALLARAT Ship's Company

Date: 1944
Dimensions:
Image: 295 x 245 mm
Medium: Silver gelatin print
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Captain Donald Dykes
Classification:Photographs
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00050545
Related Place:Darwin, Timor, Singapore, Hong Kong, Ambon, Thursday Island, Buna, New Guinea, Sydney,

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    Description
    The ship's company of HMAS BALLARAT, one of sixty minesweepers built in Australia during World War II, are shown aboard the corvette in 1944. At the time the vessel was under the command of LEUT C D Dykes.
    SignificanceThis photograph is of interest for its depiction of the ship's company of HMAS BALLARAT, a World War II Bathurst class minesweeper.
    HistoryHMAS BALLARAT was one of sixty minesweepers (corvettes) built during World War II in Australian shipyards as part of a wartime building program. The corvette was commissioned into the RAN in Melbourne on 30 August 1941 under the command of LCDR Alfred D Barling RANR(S). In September the corvette joined the 20th Minesweeping Flotilla based in Sydney and two months later was performing escort duties between Darwin, Timor and Ambon. In February 1942 BALLARAT reached Singapore and carried out patrols in Banka Strait, and area known colloquially as Bomb Alley. Whilst stationed in the region, the corvette was also involved in rescuing shipwrecked crews and carrying out demolition work, picking up 215 survivors from the MV DERRYMORE after it had been sunk by a Japanese submarine.

    In November 1942, whilst on convoy escort duties in New Guinea, BALLARAT and sister ship HMAS KATOOMBA were heavily attacked by dive bombers, but escaped largely unscathed.

    In December 1942 HMAS BALLARAT with two of its sister ships transported over 750 Australian troops to Buna in Papua New Guinea, originally aborting the landing after less than 50 men had disembarked when enemy aircraft were spotted signalling and releasing flares. The landing of the rest of the troops was successfully completed a few hours later in a new landing position and under the cover of darkness.

    For most of 1943 BALLARAT operated off the east coast of Australia to counter the threat of the Japanese submarines. On 5 November of that same year Lieutenant Donald Dykes, the donor of this photograph, was appointed Commanding Officer of HMAS BALLARAT at the age of twenty-four. In January 1944 the vessel travelled north to New Guinea and operated between Thursday Island and Darwin. On 11 June 1944 Dykes was informed his posting on BALLARAT was finished and he would shortly be posted to HMAS AUSTRALIA.

    In 1945 the vessel was minesweeping off the coast of Sydney and later participated in the operation for the capture of Okinawa between March and May. BALLARAT, like many allied naval vessels, took part in the surrender ceremony held in Tokyo and following this event was detailed to minesweeping duties in the Hong Kong area. On 6 November the corvette was damaged by a mine at Amoy, returning to Melbourne on 13 December.

    The ship paid off to the Reserve in Sydney in September 1946 and was sold to China Traders Ltd, a Hong Kong shipping company in July 1947. However, the vessel did not leave Australian waters and was resold in December 1950 to the Ta Hing company (Hong Kong), refitted for Chinese coastal trade and renamed CARMENCITA. However, the Commonwealth Government issued a Statutory Order banning the vessel from proceeding to Chinese waters and subsequently in 1953 it was sold again, this time to John Manners and Co (Aust) Pty Ltd. It is believed the ship was broken up in the same year.

    Officers from left: Midshipman; Sub-Lieut. Ian McInnes RANR(S) - Navigator; Lieut. Bill Richmond RNVR - First Lieutenant and Gunnery; Lieut. C.D Dykes RANR(S) - Commanding Officer; Lieut. Frank Callaghan RANR(S) - Engineer Officer; Sub-Lieut. Pitman RANR - ASDIC Officer.

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