HMAS Gawler (J188)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMAS Gawler.
HMAS Gawler
HMAS Gawler
Career (Australia)
Namesake: Town of Gawler, South Australia
Builder: Broken Hill Pty Co Ltd
Laid down: 24 January 1941
Launched: 4 October 1941
Commissioned: 14 August 1942
Decommissioned: 5 April 1946
Motto: "Serve With Pride"
Honours and
Battle honours:
Pacific 1942
Indian Ocean 1942–45
Sicily 1943
Fate: Transferred to Turkish Navy
Badge: HMAS gawler crest.png
Career (Turkey)
Name: Ayvalik
Acquired: 5 April 1946
Commissioned: Mid 1946
Decommissioned: 1963
Fate: Withdrawn from service
General characteristics during RAN service
Class and type: Template:Sclass-Bathurst
Displacement: 650 tons (standard), 1,025 tons (full war load)
Length: 186 ft (57 m)
Beam: 31 ft (9.4 m)
Draught: 8.5 ft (2.6 m)
Propulsion: triple expansion engine, 2 shafts, 2,000 hp
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) at 1,750 hp
Complement: 85
Armament: 1 × 12-pounder gun (later replaced by 1 × 4-inch gun)
3 × 20 mm Oerlikons (later increased to 5, then reduced back to 3)
1 × 40 mm Bofors (installed later)
Machine guns
Depth charges chutes and throwers

HMAS Gawler (J188/B241/A115), named for the town of Gawler, South Australia, was one of 60 Bathurst-class corvettes constructed during World War II and one of 20 built for the Admiralty but manned by personnel of and commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).[1]

Design and construction[edit]

In 1938, the Australian Commonwealth Naval Board (ACNB) identified the need for a general purpose 'local defence vessel' capable of both anti-submarine and mine-warfare duties, while easy to construct and operate.[2][3] The vessel was initially envisaged as having a displacement of approximately 500 tons, a speed of at least 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph), and a range of 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 km; 2,300 mi)[4] The opportunity to build a prototype in the place of a cancelled Bar-class boom defence vessel saw the proposed design increased to a 680-ton vessel, with a 15.5 knots (28.7 km/h; 17.8 mph) top speed, and a range of 2,850 nautical miles (5,280 km; 3,280 mi), armed with a 4-inch gun, equipped with asdic, and able to fitted with either depth charges or minesweeping equipment depending on the planned operations: although closer in size to a sloop than a local defence vessel, the resulting increased capabilities were accepted due to advantages over British-designed mine warfare and anti-submarine vessels.[2][5] Construction of the prototype HMAS Kangaroo did not go ahead, but the plans were retained.[6] The need for locally built 'all-rounder' vessels at the start of World War II saw the "Australian Minesweepers" (designated as such to hide their anti-submarine capability, but popularly referred to as "corvettes") approved in September 1939, with 60 constructed during the course of the war: 36 ordered by the RAN, 20 (including Gawler) ordered by the British Admiralty but manned and commissioned as RAN vessels, and 4 for the Royal Indian Navy.[2][7][8][9][1]

Gawler was laid down by the Broken Hill Pty Co Ltd Shipyard at Whyalla, South Australia on 24 January 1941.[1] She was launched on 4 October 1941 by the wife of Sir Walter Duncan, then Governor of Victoria, and commissioned into the RAN on 14 August 1942.[1] The ship was originally to be named Gambier, for the city of Mount Gambier, South Australia.[10]

Operational history[edit]

RAN service[edit]

Upon entering service in September 1942, Gawler was briefly based at Fremantle, Western Australia as an anti-submarine patrol vessel before being assigned to the British Eastern Fleet and ordered to sail to Colombo.[1] The corvette served in the Indian Ocean as a convoy escort between January and April 1943.[1]

Following this, Gawler and three sister ships were formed into as the 21st Minesweeping Flotilla and sent to the Mediterranean to serve as minesweepers and convoy escorts.[1] On 17 June 1943 when the British troopship Yoma was sunk off the coast of Libya, Gawler and her sister ship HMAS Lismore were among the ships that rescued 1,477 survivors.[11]

In July, Gawler was involved in the Allied invasion of Sicily, and in August the corvette sailed into the Atlantic to meet a Mediterranean-bound convoy.[1] Gawler rejoined the Eastern Fleet in October 1943, and resumed escort duties until January 1945, with the exception of a refit in Durban during January and February 1944.[1]

After leaving the Eastern Fleet, Gawler underwent a four-month refit in Adelaide, before joining the British Pacific Fleet at Manus Island in April 1945.[1] She remained with the Pacific Fleet until after the end of World War II; operating in Hong Kong waters during September with mine-warfare and anti-piracy duties, before sailing to the Molucca Islands and spending the rest of 1945 providing surveillance of former Japanese positions in the area.[1]

Gawler returned to Australian waters in February 1946, and was decommissioned in Sydney on 5 April 1946.[1] The corvette received three battle honours for her wartime service: "Pacific 1942", "Indian Ocean 942-45", and "Sicily 1943".[12][13]

Turkish Navy service[edit]

Prior to decommissioning, Gawler was marked for transfer to the Turkish Navy.[1] Upon decommissioning, Gawler was immediately recommissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Gawler.[1] On 21 May 1946, Gawler, with sister ships Launceston and Pirie, sailed for Colombo, where they were decommissioned from the Royal Navy and commissioned into the Turkish Navy.[1] Gawler was renamed TCG Ayvalik.[1]

The corvette was withdrawn from service in 1963.[1] The name was passed on to sister corvette TCG Antalya (the former Geraldton).[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "HMAS Gawler (I)". HMA Ship Histories. Sea Power Centre – Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 24 December 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c Stevens, The Australian Corvettes, p. 1
  3. ^ Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, p. 103
  4. ^ Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, pp. 103–4
  5. ^ Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, pp. 103–5
  6. ^ Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, p. 104
  7. ^ Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, pp. 105, 148
  8. ^ Donohue, From Empire Defence to the Long Haul, p. 29
  9. ^ Stevens et al., The Royal Australian Navy, p. 108
  10. ^ Straczek, Joe (Winter 2003). "What's in a name: a chronological list – part 2". Australian Sea Heritage (Australian Heritage Fleet) (75): 13. ISSN 0813-0523. 
  11. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur (1995–2013). "Yoma". Ships hit by U-boats. Guðmundur Helgason. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  12. ^ "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. 
  13. ^ "Royal Australian Navy Ship/Unit Battle Honours" (PDF). Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 


  • Donohue, Hector (October 1996). From Empire Defence to the Long Haul: post-war defence policy and its impact on naval force structure planning 1945–1955. Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs. No. 1. Canberra: Sea Power Centre. ISBN 0-642-25907-0. ISSN 1327-5658. OCLC 36817771. 
  • Stevens, David (2005). A Critical Vulnerability: the impact of the submarine threat on Australia's maritime defense 1915–1954. Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs. No. 15. Canberra: Sea Power Centre Australia. ISBN 0-642-29625-1. ISSN 1327-5658. OCLC 62548623. 
  • Stevens, David; Sears, Jason; Goldrick, James; Cooper, Alastair; Jones, Peter; Spurling, Kathryn, (2001). Stevens, David, ed. The Royal Australian Navy. The Australian Centenary History of Defence (vol III). South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-554116-2. OCLC 50418095. 
Journal and news articles
  • Stevens, David (May 2010). "The Australian Corvettes" (PDF). Hindsight (Semaphore) (Sea Power Centre – Australia) 2010 (05). Retrieved 13 August 2010.