SPC-A Commercial Publications: The ABC of Royal Australian Navy Corvettes

by
Able Seaman Libby Pearce
The ABC of Royal Australian Navy Corvettes by Able Seaman Libby Pearce  © Copyright Libby Anna Pearce 2019  ISBN: 9780646804040
The ABC of Royal Australian Navy Corvettes
by Able Seaman Libby Pearce
© Copyright Libby Anna Pearce 2019
ISBN: 9780646804040

The tradition of naming ships of the Royal Australian Navy’s fleet after our nation’s cities and towns began when the Royal Australian Navy Fleet Unit was created in the years immediately preceding World War I. When the Australian Fleet Unit first arrived in Sydney on 4 October 1913 it was led into Port Jackson by the flagship HMAS Australia (I), followed closely by two brand new cruisers each carrying the name of Australia’s largest cities - Melbourne and Sydney.

Later, more cruisers were ordered and over time the names of other capital cities were added including Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth and Hobart. The citizens of those major cities took much pride in having state-of-the-art Australian warships so named, particularly as most knew someone serving in them. It followed that the exploits and adventures of those men and ships were reported with great enthusiasm and pride by ‘hometown’ newspapers.

Soon after the outbreak of World War II an order was placed for sixty minesweepers of simple design to be constructed in Australian shipyards as part of the Commonwealth Government’s wartime shipbuilding programme. Rapidly produced, these vessels were capable of patrol work, shore bombardment, minesweeping, escort and survey duties and troop-transport. They became popularly known as corvettes and with so many ships commissioning the Navy turned its attention to regional towns and communities in search of worthy names.

The lead ship of the class was named HMAS Bathurst (I) after the town in the central tablelands of NSW and those that followed each took their names from other regional towns dotted around the country. This linkage between the Navy and the Nation forged strong and enduring links between the RAN and the communities it drew upon to crew its fighting ships at a time when Australia never felt more threatened.

Altogether 56 Bathurst Class corvettes saw active service in the RAN during World War II, performing valuable work in far-flung theatres in both hemispheres. Four corvettes were built for the Royal Indian Navy. Three corvettes were lost during the war and a fourth in 1947 while clearing mines from the Great Barrier Reef.
 

Online orders

An online order portal will be coming soon. ‘The ABC of Royal Australian Navy Corvettes’ will be available for purchase online by 15 November 2019.

In the interim, please send order enquiries with your name, address and email address to william.singer1@defence.gov.au.
 

References

Read the Navy Daily article about Able Seaman Libby Pearce and ‘The ABC of Royal Australian Navy Corvettes’.