HMAS Cowra

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HMAS Cowra in 1944
HMAS Cowra in 1944
Career (Australia)
Namesake: Town of Cowra, New South Wales
Builder: Poole & Steel
Laid down: 12 August 1942
Launched: 27 May 1943
Commissioned: 8 October 1943
Decommissioned: 4 December 1946
Recommissioned: 20 February 1951
Decommissioned: 26 June 1953
Reclassified: Training ship (1951)
Honours and
Battle honours:
Pacific 1943–45
New Guinea 1944
Fate: Sold for scrap in 1961
General characteristics
Class & type: Bathurst class corvette
Displacement: 650 tons (standard), 1,025 tons (full war load)
Length: 186 ft (57 m)
Beam: 31 ft (9.4 m)
Draught: 10 ft (3.0 m)
Propulsion: triple expansion engine, 2 shafts
Speed: 15.5 knots (28.7 km/h; 17.8 mph)
Complement: 85
Armament: 1 × QF 4-inch (102 mm) Mk XIX gun
3 × 20 mm Oerlikons

HMAS Cowra (J351/M351), named for the town of Cowra, New South Wales, was one of 60 Bathurst class corvettes constructed during World War II, and one of 36 initially manned and commissioned solely by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).[1]


Cowra was laid down by Poole & Steel at Balmain, New South Wales on 12 August 1942.[1] She was launched on 27 May 1943 by the wife of Percy Spender, the Federal Treasurer and member of the Advisory War Council, and was commissioned into the RAN on 8 October 1943.[1]

Operational history[edit]

Cowra began active service in November 1943 as a convoy escort along the east coast of Australia.[1] She continued until March 1944, when she was reassigned to New Guinea as an escort and anti-submarine patrol vessel.[1] In June 1944, the corvette sailed to Melbourne for refits, which concluded on 19 August.[1] She returned to New Guinea at the end of the month, and for the next eleven months was primarily assigned to escort and patrol duties near Morotai.[1] In January 1945, Cowra fired on Japanese shore positions at Yalela Bay, before visiting Brisbane briefly in February 1945.[1] On 17 July, she was recalled to Australian waters, where she spent the rest of World War II.[1] The ship was awarded two battle honours—"Pacific 1943–45" and "New Guinea 1944"—for her wartime service.[2][3]

Following the end of the war, Cowra was assigned to the 20th Minesweeping Flotilla, and performed mine clearance operations in the waters of Australia, New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands.[1] On 2 December 1946, Cowra returned to Sydney and was decommissioned into reserve.[1]

On 20 February 1951, Cowra was recommissioned for use as a training ship for National Service trainees.[1]

Decommissioning and fate[edit]

Cowra was paid off for the second time on 26 June 1953.[1] In January 1961, the corvette was sold to the Kinoshita Company of Japan for scrapping.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "HMAS Cowra". HMA Ship Histories. Sea Power Centre – Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 23 December 2008. 
  2. ^ "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. 
  3. ^ "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. 

External links[edit]