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Fate: Withdrawn from service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 & 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: 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]


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 HMAS Gambier, for the city of Mount Gambier, South Australia.[2]

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.[3]

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".[4][5]

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 corevette 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 "HMAS Gawler (I)". HMA Ship Histories. Sea Power Centre – Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 24 December 2008. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur (1995–2013). "Yoma". Ships hit by U-boats. Guðmundur Helgason. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  4. ^ "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. 
  5. ^ "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.