HMAS
Kybra

HMAS Kybra
Type
Anti-submarine and RDF Training Vessel
Builder
Coastal Construction Company Ltd, Montrose, Scotland
Launched
13 January 1926
Commissioned
30 September 1940
Decommissioned
23 November 1945
Dimensions & Displacement
Displacement
  • 858 Tons (Gross)
  • 440 Tons (Net)
Length 204 feet 2 inches
Beam 31 feet 1 inch
Draught 11 feet 10 inches
Performance
Speed 10.5 knots
Complement
Crew 55
Propulsion
Machinery Six-cylinder oil engine, single screw, 233 NHP
Armament
Guns
  • 1 x 4 inch gun
  • 1 x 2 pounder gun
  • 2 machine guns
Other Armament 2 depth charge throwers

MV Kybra was a single screw passenger and cargo motor vessel built for the Government of Western Australia by the Coastal Construction Company of Montrose, Scotland. She was requisition for naval service on 8 July 1940. That day, after discharging a cargo at Esperance, WA, she sailed for Sydney to be fitted out as an auxiliary anti-submarine vessel. She arrived in Sydney on 16 July.

She was commissioned HMAS Kybra on 30 September 1940 as a tender to the anti-submarine training establishment, HMAS Rushcutter, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Basil T. Brewster, DSC, RN. Over the next five years she served in eastern Australian waters mainly off the NSW coast but as far north as Townsville and as far south as Devonport.

Kybra group
Front left: Stoker Ted Caton with members of Kybra's ships company c.1941.

In June 1942, with the institution of the convoy system, Kybra began operations as an escort vessel out of Sydney. In March the following year, she was attached as a seagoing radar training ship to the RAN radar school located at South Head, later named HMAS Watson. She was later relieved in this capacity by HMAS Yandra. On 12 May 1943, she escorted SS Ormiston, damaged after being torpedoed by a Japanese submarine, back into Sydney.

 


As well as performing duties in the ship's engine room Stoker Ted Caton was also the ship's designated barber.

Left: Stoker Ted Caton with Lofty Rogers and another shipmate in Kybra c.1942    

Christmas lunch in Kybra: L-R: George Welch, Ted Caton, Joe Green, Harry Anderson, Lofty Rogers, Ian Hamilton and 'Frangipani' Stone

On 19 October 1945, Kybra departed Sydney to return to Western Australia. She decommissioned at Fremantle on 23 November 1945 and was returned to her owners on 25 March the following year. She was sold to Panamanian interests in 1957 and later re-sold to a Singapore company and re-named Floretta. She departed Fremantle in tow on 28 February 1958 bound for Singapore.

HMAS Kybra with her wartime camouflage paint scheme faintly visible.
HMAS Kybra with her wartime camouflage paint scheme faintly visible.

Len Falla, Ted Caton and another shipmate from Kybra in Sydney c.1941.

 

 

Commanding Officers

30/9/1940 – Lieutenant Commander B.T. Brewster, DSC, RN

16/10/1940 – Lieutenant Commander G.L. Cant, RAN

13/1/1941 – Lieutenant J.M. Little, RANR(S)

7/6/1942 – Lieutenant Commander N.R. Read, RAN

28/3/1943 – Lieutenant Commander E.J. Barron, RANR(S)

10/1943 – Lieutenant R.V.A. Corbett, RANR(S)

20/6/1945 – Lieutenant T.O. Kolts, RANVR

 

 

 

HMAS Kybra at sea 12 April 1943
HMAS Kybra at sea 12 April 1943