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Date: 10 October 1941
Overall: 126 x 75 mm
Medium: Silver gelatin print
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Philip Stafford Jay
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00029069

User Terms

    This photo depicts Philip Jay, a sailor on board HMAS WARREGO, seated at his sewing machine. Jay used the handraulic sewing machine, dubbed "Bertha" by his messmates, throughout World War II to earn money.
    SignificanceThis photograph is an important pictorial record of life in the Royal Australian Navy. It conveys the activities saliors outside of routine tasks such as holystoning (scrubing) the decks and painting.

    Philip Jay sewed hundreds of sailor’s collars at two shillings and six pence each, as well as dickey fronts and torn overalls. He later worked on an electric machine and expanded his sewing repertoire, making underpants and bags, even an altar cloth. He sewed on gold lace when officers were promoted, as well as badges and medal ribbons. By the end of the war, his extra income from sewing enabled him to pay off his home.
    HistoryHMAS WARREGO was a Grimsby class sloop of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Laid down at Cockatoo Island Dockyard in Sydney on 15 May 1939, WARREGO was launched on 10 February 1940 by Mrs Pattie Menzies, wife of the Prime Minister, and commissioned into the RAN on 22 August 1940.

    WARREGO was engaged in mine sweeping operations in Australian waters during 1940; and then sailed to Darwin in 1941 for anti-submarine and escort duties. On 19 February 1942 Japanese planes attacked Darwin. WARREGO miraculously avoided damage during the attack. She sailed to Sydney for a refit in May 1942.

    WARREGO then participated in various anti-submarine patrols and escort convoys from Townsville to New Guinea, Thursday Island to Darwin, and later Onslow to Darwin. After a refit in Brisbane in 1943, she resumed convoy duties as well as survey duties in New Guinea in 1944 and the Philippines in 1945. WARREGO also contributed to the successful Australian troop landing at Borneo in July 1945.

    After World War II WARREGO conducted surveys off Tasmania and Queensland until 1949 when she was returned to Sydney. WARREGO was recommissioned in June 1951 and undertook various survey operations in Australian waters until she was decommissioned in August 1963. WARREGO was sold two years later, and broken up in 1966 at Rozelle Bay, Sydney.

    HMAS WARREGO (II) earned the following Battle Honours - Darwin 1942, Pacific 1941-45, New Guinea 1942, Lingayen Gulf 1945, and Borneo 1945.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Man sewing at sewing machine named Bertha

    Primary title: Earning an honest bobo or two

    Web title: Sewing on HMAS WARREGO

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