HMAS Fremantle (J246)
|Namesake:||City of Fremantle, Western Australia|
|Builder:||Evans Deakin & Co|
|Launched:||18 March 1942|
|Commissioned:||24 March 1943|
|Decommissioned:||25 January 1946|
|Recommissioned:||10 December 1952|
|Decommissioned:||22 June 1959|
|Fate:||Sold for scrap in 1961|
|Class and 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|
|Speed:||15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) at 1,750 hp|
HMAS Fremantle (J246/M246), named for the port city of Fremantle, Western Australia, 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).
Design and construction
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. 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) 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. Construction of the prototype HMAS Kangaroo did not go ahead, but the plans were retained. 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 (including Fremantle) ordered by the RAN, 20 ordered by the British Admiralty but manned and commissioned as RAN vessels, and 4 for the Royal Indian Navy.
Fremantle was laid down by Evans Deakin & Co at Brisbane, Queensland. She was launched on 18 March 1942 by the wife of Prime Minister John Curtin, and commissioned into the RAN on 24 March 1943.
World War II
When Fremantle entered active service in April 1943, she was immediately assigned to convoy escort duties along the east coast of Australia. This continued until August 1943, when the corvette was assigned as a convoy escort between Darwin and Thursday Island. She continued this duty until June 1945, when she was ordered to New Guinea waters to act as a guard ship. Fremantle remained in New Guinea waters until the end of World War II. The ship received two battle honours for her wartime service; "Darwin 1943" and "Pacific 1943–45".
Following the war's end, Fremantle was sent to Hong Kong, where she joined the 21st Minesweeping Flotilla in August 1945 and was involved in mine clearance in Chinese waters. On completion, the corvette returned to Australia, visiting her namesake city for the first time on 18 November 1945, before arriving in Melbourne and paying off into reserve on 25 January 1946.
Fremantle was recommissioned on 10 December 1952 as a training ship for National Service trainees. Based in the port of Fremantle, the corvette was also involved in fisheries protection, monitoring of the Japanese pearling fleet, and hydrographic surveys.
Decommissioning and fate
Fremantle paid off to reserve for the second time on 22 June 1959. She was sold for scrapping to Kinoshita (Australia) Pty Ltd on 6 January 1961.
- "HMAS Fremantle (I)". HMA Ship Histories. Sea Power Centre – Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 23 December 2008.
- Stevens, The Australian Corvettes, p. 1
- Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, p. 103
- Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, pp. 103–4
- Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, pp. 103–5
- Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, p. 104
- Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, pp. 105, 148
- Donohue, From Empire Defence to the Long Haul, p. 29
- Stevens et al., The Royal Australian Navy, p. 108
- "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" (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.
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