SDB
1323

HMAS SDB 1323
Pennant
ML1323
Builder
Mcfarlane and Sons, Birkenhead, South Australia
Laid Down
26 October 1942
Launched
28 December 1943
Commissioned
21 January 1944
Decommissioned
15 August 1958
Dimensions & Displacement
Displacement
  • 46 tons (standard)
  • 54 tons (full load)
Length 80 feet
Beam 15 feet 10 inches
Draught 4 feet 5.5 inches (forward), 6 feet (aft)
Performance
Speed 12 knots
Complement
Crew 10
Propulsion
Machinery 2 'Buda Lanova' six cylinder diesel engines, 200 bhp
Armament
Guns
  • 2 twin Vickers .303" machine guns
  • 1 x 3-pounder gun
Other Armament
  • 1 x 20mm Oerlikon
  • 8 depth charges

(EX-SDML 1323, EX-HDML 1323)

SDB 1323 was one of a class of thirty motor launches built for the Royal Australian Navy during World War II. Nine were constructed in Australian shipyards, three in the United Kingdom and eighteen in United States shipyards. Originally classified as Harbour Defence Motor Launches (HDMLs), they were redesignated Seaward Defence Motor Launches (SDMLs) in the early 1950s and Seaward Defence Boats (SDBs) in 1957 .

After commissioning at Adelaide, South Australia, on 21 January 1944, SDB 1323 served in Australian waters until June before proceeding via Thursday Island to New Guinea, arriving at Merauke on 1 August 1944. She remained in Netherlands New Guinea waters operating on reconnaissance and patrol duties until December 1944, when she proceeded to Townsville and then Brisbane for refit and paying off into Reserve.

HDML 1323 in her wartime configuration
HDML 1323 in her wartime configuration

SDB 1323 was brought back into sea-going service in 1946 and in May that year was attached to the 20th Minesweeping Flotilla serving in New Britain and Solomon Islands waters between June and November. She then served in Australian waters until October 1947. On 6 November 1947 she arrived in Sydney from Queensland where she remained until she again paid off on 10 September 1948.

In 1950 SDB 1323 was transferred on loan to the Royal Navy for service in the Far East, based in Hong Kong.

The Pearl River Incident

On 9 September 1953, ML 1323 was on patrol off the western side of Hong Kong in the Pearl River estuary was she was fired upon by a Chinese gunboat. During this action the vessel was subjected to a continuous barrage of shell and machine gun fire and her Captain and half her crew were killed.

Remarkably, those who survived the bloody engagement managed to effect temporary repairs and recover the stricken vessel to Tai O pier, on Lantau Island where the survivors received first aid. Further assistance was rendered by the British destroyer HMS Concord which had hurriedly sailed from Junk Bay, Hong Kong, in an attempt to intercept the aggressor.

Six Royal Navy personnel and one member of the Royal Hong Kong Defence Force were killed in this action.

HMS Concord rushing to the assistance of the stricken ML. Visible in this picutre is the officer of the watch, Yeoman of Signals Vine, and Signalman A.L. Perryman
HMS Concord rushing to the assistance of the stricken ML. Visible in this picutre is the officer of the watch, Yeoman of Signals Vine, and Signalman A.L. Perryman
ML 1323 under tow to Hong Kong by HMS Concord
ML 1323 under tow to Hong Kong by HMS Concord
ML 1323 secured alongside HMS Concord and her sister ship ML1329
ML 1323 secured alongside HMS Concord and her sister ship ML1329
Damage to ML 1323's wheel house
Damage to ML 1323's wheel house
The stricken ML alongside HMS Concord
The stricken ML alongside HMS Concord
The extent of the damage.
The extent of the damage.

ML1323 required extensive repairs but was eventually returned to service. As economic assistance for South East Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO) defence, ML1323 and her sister ships 1326, 1328 and 1329 were later presented as gifts to the Philippines Navy in 1958. On 13 August 1958 USS Oak Hill departed Hong Kong for Manila with SDB 1323 on board.

On 15 August 1958 the Australian Ambassador in Manila handed the vessels over to the Philippines Navy. By letters dated 3 October 1958 to the Secretary, Department of External Affairs, the Australian Ambassador, Manila, advised that the Commodore of the Philippines Navy had accepted the Ambassador's suggestions (made at the request of the Philippine Navy) for naming the vessels. The Ambassador selected four Aboriginal words from Sidney J. Baker's book 'The Australian Language'. He advised that the names would be as follows:

  • Yindi (sun)
  • Yarraman (horse)
  • Yacki (celebration)
  • Yanga (fish)

SDB 1323 was finally withdrawn from service in 1964.