HMAS Bungaree

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HMAS Bungaree in Sydney Harbour
HMAS Bungaree in Sydney Harbour
Career (Australia)
Builder: Caledon Shipbuilding
Commissioned: 9 June 1941
Decommissioned: 7 August 1946
Honours and
awards:
Battle honour:
Pacific 1942–43
Notes: Bungaree was owned by the Adelaide Steamship Company
General characteristics
Displacement: 3,155 tonnes (gross)
Length: 369 ft (112 m)
Beam: 48 ft 6 in (14.78 m)
Draught: 20 ft 3 in (6.17 m)
Propulsion: Triple expansion and geared turbine, 2,500 HP
Speed: 11 knots (20 km/h; 13 mph)
Capacity: 467 mines
Complement: 175
Armament: 2 × 4 inch guns, 1 × 12-pounder gun, 4 × Oerlikon 20 mm, 2 × machine guns

HMAS Bungaree was an auxiliary minelayer of Royal Australian Navy (RAN), serving during World War II. The ship was built as a cargo vessel for the Adelaide Steamship Company by Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Company at Dundee, and launched in 1937. The ship operated in Australian waters and was requisitioned by the RAN in October 1940. Decommissioned on 7 August 1946 and returned to her owners on 5 November 1947, she was sold in 1957 and renamed Dampier. She was then sold in 1960 and renamed Eastern Mariner and while operating in South Vietnamese waters she struck a mine on the Saigon River and was sunk on 26 May 1966. She was salvaged by a Japanese company and subsequently scrapped in 1968.

Construction and design[edit]

Bungaree was built in 1937 for the Adelaide Steamship Company[1] by Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Company at Dundee.[2] Displacing 3,155 tonnes (gross), the ship was 369 ft (112 m) long, with a beam of 48 ft 6 in (14.78 m), and a draught of 20 ft 3 in (6.17 m). She had a crew of 175 personnel and was powered by a triple-expansion geared turbine producing 2,500 hp, which gave the vessel a top speed of 11 knots.[1] In RAN service, the vessel was armed with two 4-inch guns, one 12-pounder gun, four 20 mm Oerlikons, and two machine guns for self defence.[1]

Operational history[edit]

The civilian merchant freighter Bungaree was requisitioned by the RAN in October 1940, and was commissioned into the RAN on 9 June 1941 after being converted into a minelayer. Following her conversion, HMAS Bungaree had a capacity of 423 naval mines.[3] She was later modified to carry 467 mines.[4] Bungaree laid her first minefield off Port Moresby in August 1941 and, as Australia's only minelayer, laid over 10,000 mines in defensive minefields in Australian and New Zealand waters during World War II.[5] Bungaree was present in Sydney Harbour during the Japanese midget submarine attack on 31 May 1942.[6] As the Allies moved onto the offensive the need for defensive minefields lessened, with Bungaree re-tasked as a survey ship from January 1944 and a store ship from August 1944.[1]

Bungaree was awarded the battle honour "Pacific 1942–43" for her wartime service.[7][8]

Decommissioning and fate[edit]

HMAS Bungaree was decommissioned on 7 August 1946 and was returned to her owners on 5 November 1947.[9] The mines she laid in Australian waters were swept by the RAN between 1945 and 1948. She was sold in 1957 to a company based out of Hong Kong and renamed Dampier.[10] In 1960 she was sold again,[1] and renamed Eastern Mariner.[11] The vessel was lost on 26 May 1966, after striking a mine in the Saigon River, South Vietnam.[11] The ship was later salvaged by a Japanese company and briefly renamed Kitagawa Maru before being scrapped in 1968.[10]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Gillett and Graham, Warships of Australia, p. 212.
  2. ^ "H C Sleigh". Flotilla Australia. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  3. ^ Gill, Royal Australian Navy, 1939–1942, p. 420.
  4. ^ Lange, Don (26 November 2001). "Mystery Ship Bungaree". Navy News: The Official Newspaper of the Royal Australian Navy. Volume 44 (No. 23). p. 29. 
  5. ^ Straczek, J.H. "RAN in the Second World War". Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 19 September 2008. 
  6. ^ Jenkins, Battle Surface!, pp. 193–194.
  7. ^ "Navy Marks 109th Birthday With Historic Changes To Battle Honours". Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  8. ^ "Royal Australian Navy Ship/Unit Battle Honours". Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  9. ^ Stratton, David. "List of RAN Ships from 1911 – onwards". Haze Grey. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  10. ^ a b "Adelaide Steamship Company". The Ship List. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  11. ^ a b Morley, Dave (12 September 2013). "Corvette's final sweep". Navy News. p. 16. 

References[edit]

  • Gill, G. Herman (1957). Royal Australian Navy, 1939–1942. Official History of Australia in the War of 1939–1945. Series 2 – Navy. Volume I (1st ed.). Canberra: Australian Capital Territory: Australian War Memorial. 
  • Gillett, Ross; Graham, Colin (1977). Warships of Australia. Adelaide, South Australia: Rigby. ISBN 0-7270-0472-7. 
  • Jenkins, David (1992). Battle Surface! Japan's Submarine War Against Australia 1942–44. Milsons Point, New South Wales: Random House Australia. ISBN 0-09-182638-1. 
  • Straczek, Joe (2000). "Bungaree – One and Only". Australian Warship Review. 6/2000: 17.