HMAS Gladstone (J324)
|Namesake:||City of Gladstone, Queensland|
|Laid down:||4 August 1942|
|Launched:||26 November 1942|
|Commissioned:||22 March 1943|
|Decommissioned:||16 July 1956|
|Reclassified:||Training ship (1946)|
New Guinea 1943–44
|Fate:||Entered civilian service in 1956|
|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|
1 × 4-inch HA gun
HMAS Gladstone (J324/M324), named for the city of Gladstone, Queensland, 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).
Gladstone was laid down by Walkers Limited at Maryborough, Queensland on 4 August 1942. She was launched on 26 November 1942 by Mrs. Watson, wife of a dockyard employee, and was commissioned into the RAN on 22 March 1943.
World War II
After entering active service, Gladstone was assigned as a convoy escort between Queensland ports and New Guinea. On 18 December 1943, a seven ship convoy escorted by the corvette ran aground on Bougainville Reef (part of the Great Barrier Reef). The eight ships were later refloated, and Gladstone sailed to Brisbane for repairs. She resumed convoy escort duties between January and March 1944, then sailed to Adelaide for refit.
After the refit, Gladstone sailed to Milne Bay, arriving on 29 April 1944. The corvette served as a convoy escort and anti-submarine patrol ship in the waters around Milne Bay until January 1945, when she was redeployed to Morotai for similar duties. In May, Gladstone and a group of United States Navy PT boats bombarded Japanese barges off Halmahera.
After the end of World War II, Gladstone was involved in the Japanese surrender of Timor at Koepang, performed surveillance in the Lesser Sunda Islands, and transported Netherlands East Indies soldiers from Darwin to Timor. In early December 1945, Gladstone sailed for Sydney, visiting her namesake city en route. After a refit, the corvette arrived at Flinders Naval Depot on 23 February 1946, where she was reclassified as a training ship attached to the depot.
Decommissioning and post-military career
Gladstone paid off from military service on 16 July 1956, was sold to the Port Phillip Sea Pilots Association and renamed Akuna. In November 1973, Akuna was sold to a private owner and used as a yacht. A report in 1981 revealed that the vessel had since been sold to Food for the Hungry International, was based in Singapore, and tasked with rescuing Vietnamese boat people from the Gulf of Thailand.
- "HMAS Gladstone (I)". HMA Ship Histories. Sea Power Centre Australia. Retrieved 24 December 2008.
- "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.
- "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.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to J324 Gladstone (ship, 1943).|