HMAS
Winter

Type
Trawler
Pennant
WR
Commissioned
24 July 1943
Decommissioned
14 September 1945
Fate
Sold 25 January 1946
Dimensions & Displacement
Displacement 80 tons
Length 60 ft
Beam 17 ft 6 in
Draught 11 ft
Armament
Guns Small arms only

The seine trawler June commissioned in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) as HMAS June on 24 July 1943 under the command of Assistant Surveyor 4th class Lieutenant Commander Stanley William Scott Robertson, (RAN Emergency List).

June had previously seen service with the United States Army Forces in Australia (USAFIA) before being requisitioned by the RAN. To avoid confusion with the corvette of a similar name, HMAS Junee, the trawler’s name was changed to HMAS Winter in October 1943. On one occasion this confusion had led to 75 bags of mail being wrongly delivered to the small vessel – a confronting task for her small crew.

Winter was employed chiefly as a survey tender and radar maintenance vessel serving in New Guinea waters as part of Task Group 70.5 (TG 70.5). The task group, under the command of Commander K.E. Oom, RAN, was responsible for survey operations in the South West Pacific Area. On 18 February 1944, while at anchor near Mambare River in company with HMA Ships Moresby and Stella, a lone Japanese Zero carried out an unsuccessful attack on the survey ships; its single bomb missing Moresby’s starboard quarter by 150 yards.

In September 1944 Sub-Lieutenant Gordon S. Grace was appointed in command of Winter and later that year, following the conclusion of the New Guinea campaign, TG 70.5 was divided into three separate task units:

TU 70.5.1

TU 0.5.2

TU 70.5.3.

Winter was assigned to TU 70.5.2 which comprised HMS Challenger, (Commander C.W Sabine, OBE, RN), HMAS Polaris (Lieutenant Victor E. Clarke, RANR), HMAS Goolgwai (Lieutenant Stewart G. Wissell, RANR), HMAS Samuel Benbow (Lieutenant John L. Nicoll, MBE, RANVR), HMAS Durraween (Lieutenant-Commander Archie McK. Furmedge, RANR) and HDML 1353 (Lieutenant Ivan F. Champion, RANVR).

Of wooden construction, Winter did not fare well in the tropics and she was prone to leaking, necessitating a prolonged period undergoing repairs on a slipway in Port Moresby in late 1944.

HMAS Winter undergoing repairs in Port Moresby, 1944.
HMAS Winter undergoing repairs in Port Moresby, 1944.

Following the cessation of hostilities with Japan HMAS Winter returned to Sydney where she decommissioned on 14 September 1945. She was sold on 25 January 1946.

Ship Movements

Port

Arrived

Departed

Remarks

Sydney

24 July 43

 

For New Guinea

Oro Bay

22 Nov 43

6 Dec 43

 

Oro Bay

07 Dec 43

 

 

Buna

12 Dec 43

16 Mar 44

 

Lae

 

18 Mar 44

 

Cape Gloucester

20 Mar 44

 

Survey Ops

Port Moresby

12 Apr 44

10 Nov 44

Repairs

Thursday Island

 

08 Jan 45

 

Townsville

 

16 Jan 45

 

Brisbane

24 Jan 45

 

 

Sydney

14 Sep 45

 

Decommissioned