HMAS Duntroon

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StateLibQld 1 142755 Duntroon (ship).jpg
MV Duntroon
Career
Name: MV Duntroon
Owner: Melbourne Steamship Company
Builder: Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Wallsend-on-Tyne
Fate: Requisitioned by Army
Career (Australia (Army))
Name: HMAT Duntroon
In service: 1942
Out of service: April 1946
Fate: Acquired by RAN
Career (Australia (RAN))
Name: HMAS Duntroon
Acquired: July 1946
Commissioned: 1946
Decommissioned: 1949
Fate: Returned to civilian service
Career
Name: MV Duntroon (Melbourne Steamship Company)
Tong Hoo (Kie Hock Shipping Co.)
Lydia (Africa Shipping Co.)
In service: 1950–1960 (Melbourne Steamship Company)
1961–1966 (Kie Hock Shipping Co.)
1966–1967 (Africa Shipping Co.)
Fate: Broken up for scrap in 1973
General characteristics
Tonnage: 10,346 tons

HMAS Duntroon was a troopship operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) from 1946 to 1949.

Built in 1935 as MV Duntroon for the Melbourne Steamship Company, the ship was offered for conversion into an armed merchant cruiser at the start of World War II, but was not accepted. In 1942, the ship was requesitioned by the Australian Army for use as a troopship, and became HMAT Duntroon. Her army service continued until 1946, when she was chartered by the RAN for transport duties with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force. Duntroon was returned to her civilian owners in 1950. In 1961, the ship was sold to Kie Hock Shipping Co. and renamed Tong Hoo. She was sold again in 1966 to Africa Shipping Co. and renamed Lydia. The ship was laid up in Singapore in 1967, and sailed to Taiwan for scrapping in 1973.

During her career, Duntroon collided with and sank two vessels: the auxiliary minesweeper HMAS Goorangai in November 1940, and the destroyer USS Perkins in November 1943.

Construction[edit]

The 10,346 ton vessel was built by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Wallsend-on-Tyne, in 1935 for the Melbourne Steamship Company of Australia.[1] She was designed for the East–West Australian coastal passenger service.

Operational history[edit]

Melbourne Steamship Company[edit]

Duntroon operated as a passenger transport until the start of World War II, when she was offered for conversion into an armed merchant cruiser. This offer was turned down, and she continued to operate as part of the merchant navy.

On the evening of 20 November 1940, Duntroon departed from Melbourne for Sydney, with soldiers aboard.[2] At 20:37, while attempting to exit Port Phillip Bay, Duntroon collided with the blacked-out auxiliary minesweeper HMAS Goorangai, which was sailing to Portsea to anchor for the night.[2] The smaller ship was cut in two, and all 24 aboard were killed: the first RAN losses of World War II.[2] Duntroon attempted to recover survivors, but was only successful in finding six bodies.[2] The ship returned to Melbourne for bow repairs, which were completed on 18 December.

Military service[edit]

In February 1942, Duntroon was requisitioned by the Australian Army. She was converted into a troopship and received the prefix HMAT.

Duntroon was one of two Australian transports, the other being Katoomba, that were substituted for the SS Mariposa to transport a U.S. Army fighter group's ground troops and equipment to India. The troops and crated P-40 pursuit aircraft had arrived in a convoy from San Francisco escorted by USS Phoenix with Mariposa and the United States Army Transport Willard A. Holbrook that were intended to continue on to India; however, Mariposa was withdrawn and the Australian transports substituted. The Phoenix with Duntroon, Katoomba and Holbrook departed Melbourne 12 February as convoy MS.5 for Colombo, Ceylon by way of Fremantle. There the USS Langley and Sea Witch with aircraft for Java joined and the convoy departed Fremantle on 22 February. The ill fated Langley and the Sea Witch left the convoy to proceed independently to Java while the remaining ships continued under escort by Phoenix until that cruiser was relieved by HMS Enterprise on 28 February about 300 miles west of Cocos Island. The convoy arrived at Colombo on 5 March.[3]

Duntroon transported elements of the Second Australian Imperial Force from the Middle East back to Australia before commencing operations in the South West Pacific and Far East.

Duntroon was involved in a second collision in November 1943, this time with United States Navy destroyer USS Perkins. The destroyer was sailing from Milne Bay to Buna when she was rammed portside amidships and cut in two by Duntroon just before 02:00 on 29 November, 2 nautical miles (3.7 km; 2.3 mi) from Ipoteto Island.[4] Four Americans were killed.[4]

Between 24 and 28 December 1944, Duntroon transported the 58th/59th Battalion from Julago, Queensland to Torokina, Bougainville.[5]

After the war's end, Duntroon was used to repatriate prisoners of war to Australia. The ship left army service in April 1946, but was chartered by the RAN three months later. Duntroon was commissioned into the navy, and received the prefix HMAS. While in RAN service, Duntroon was used to transport personnel of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force between Japan and Australia until late 1948.

Return to civilian service[edit]

Duntroon was returned to her owners in March 1949, and resumed coastal passenger and cruising services in August 1950. On 23 October 1950, she was damaged by fire while berthed in the Yarra River.

In 1960, Duntroon was sold to the Grosvenor Shipping Co. and was towed to Hong Kong by the tug Ajax. The ship's bell was removed; this was later installed on the parade ground of the Royal Military College Duntroon, in Canberra.[6] She was resold to Kie Hock Shipping Co. in 1961 and was renamed Tong Hoo and used on Hong Kong–Indonesia passenger service.

Tong Hoo was sold in 1966 to the Africa Shipping Co., renamed Lydia and used for the India–Pakistan–East Africa route.

Fate[edit]

She was laid up in 1967 at Singapore for her last voyage Yokosuka to Kaohsiung, Taiwan in 1973 where she was scrapped.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kludas, Arnold. Great Passenger Ships of the World. 3 (1924–1935). p. [page needed]. OCLC 741730989. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Goorangai". Goorangai (Royal Australian Naval Professional Studies Program) 1 (1). November 2004. Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  3. ^ Gill, G. Hermon (1957). Royal Australian Navy 1939-1942. Australia in the War of 1939–1945. Series 2 – Navy 1. Canberra: Australian War Memorial. pp. 601—602. LCCN 58037940. 
  4. ^ a b "Perkins". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Naval Historical Center (United States Navy). Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  5. ^ Mathews, Russel1 (1961). Militia battalion at war: the history of the 58/59th Australian Infantry Battalion in the Second World War. Sydney: 58/59th Battalion Association. pp. [page needed]. OCLC 222036875. 
  6. ^ Coulthard-Clark, Chris (1986). Duntroon: the Royal Military College of Australia, 1911–1986. Sydney: Allen & Unwin. p. 240. ISBN 978-0-86861-883-8. OCLC 15053240. 

Further reading[edit]