24 July 1943
14 September 1945
Sold 25 January 1946
Dimensions & Displacement
Displacement 80 tons
Length 60 ft
Beam 17 ft 6 in
Draught 11 ft
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 KE 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 CW 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

24 July 1943
For New Guinea
Oro Bay
22 November 1943
6 December 1943
Oro Bay
07 December 1943
12 December 1943
16 March 1944
18 March 1944
Cape Gloucester
20 March 1944
Survey Ops
Port Moresby
12 April 1944
10 November 1944
Thursday Island
08 January 1945
16 January 1945
24 January 1945
14 September 1945