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Desmond Menlove collection

Date: 1920s-1950s
Overall: 130 x 55 x 5 mm, 23 g
Medium: Fabric, metal, cardboard
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from the Menlove family
Object Name: Epaulettes
Object No: 00026225
Related Place:Sydney,

User Terms

    A collection of ephemera associated with the career of Desmond Aubrey Menlove DSO, RANR(S) in the Royal Australian Navy Reserve, from the 1920s to the 1950s.
    SignificanceThis material forms part of a large collection of photgraphs and other records of Desmond Menlove's career in the Royal Australian Navy Reserve as well as his career in merchant shipping. Desmond Menlove was famous for his role in sinking the first Japanese submarine in World War II, as Lieutenant Commander of HMAS DELORAINE. He also commanded HMAS KAPUNDA and HMAS LATROBE during World War II.
    HistoryDesmond Menlove commanded a corvette the HMAS DELORAINE in WWII. The DELORAINE sank the first Japanese submarine during WWII. Menlove was born in 1906 in Temora, NSW. He entered Naval College in 1920. He joined the 'Merchant Navy' and when war was declared in 1939 was mobilised with the RAN. After the war he worked for the AMP as a superannuation consultant. He died in 1990.

    HMAS DELORAINE was one of sixty Australian Minesweepers (commonly known as corvettes) built during World War II in Australian shipyards as part of the Commonwealth Government's wartime shipbuilding programme. Twenty were built on Admiralty order but manned and commissioned by the Royal Australian Navy. Thirty-six (including DELORAINE) were built for the Royal Australian Navy and four for the Royal Indian Navy.
    DELORAINE commissioned at Sydney on 22 November 1941 under the command of LCDR Desmond A. Menlove RANR(S).

    On 26 December 1941 DELORAINE sailed from Sydney for Darwin to begin her active operational career with a period of anti-submarine patrol duty in the Arafura Sea. She arrived at Darwin on 7 January and began duty protecting the harbour approaches. Japanese submarines were suspected of being in the area and at noon on 20 January DELORAINE, then at sea off Darwin, received a signal 'proceed forthwith to position 12°08´South, 130°10´ East, for submarine sighted 0630 today Tuesday'. At 14 ½ knots she proceeded as ordered.

    Earlier the same day a Japanese submarine had been detected and attacked by the American destroyer USS EDSALL, but it was not known if she had succeeded in inflicting damage. It was hoped DELORAINE would regain contact on the given course. At 1:35 pm a torpedo was seen approaching, the ship swung sharply and it passed ten feet astern.
    Immediately a good echo contact was obtained and within a matter of minutes the minesweeper dropped a pattern of six depth charges. Large patches of oil and great air bubbles burst to the surface. The attack continued and after DELORAINE had expended all of her charges, she was joined by her two sister ships HMAS KATOOMBA and HMAS LITHGOW, before departing to reload with depth charges from HMAS VIGILANT.

    Returning to rejoin KATOOMBA in the early hours of the following morning, DELORAINE obtained a second contact and dropped a further series of charges over the position. Post war investigation of Japanese records showed that the first attack had been successful, and DELORAINE, KATOOMBA, LITHGOW and EDSALL were officially credited with destroying the Japanese submarine I-124. It was the first enemy submarine sunk in Australian waters. On 28 June 1977 the Minister for Administrative Services signed a declaration under the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976, that the remains of I-124 are an historic shipwreck.

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